Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Question: I want to ask you to say something about the power of renunciation.

Tirtha Maharaj: What can you renounce? Everything belongs to Krishna. What can you renounce?! Renunciation usually makes the heart very hard. But we want to achieve a melted heart. Still in order to achieve full freedom from attachment, we should practice certain type of renunciation. Our renunciation is not to renounce the objects, but to give up the attachment. And the positive side of renunciation is to engage everything and everybody in the service of Krishna.

Usually we consider, for example, giving up sexual life a big renunciation. But Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, who was a full-life brahmachari, said: “I could make hundreds of sons and I would be ready to do this if I would be sure that they will become pure devotees. But because I am not sure, therefore I preach instead.”

In different gunas people have different approach to the things to be renounced. Still we can say that certain control on ourselves helps a lot in spiritual development. And the best self-control is service. So it is not something that we should think, we should get an idea how I should control myself or what kind of sacrifice I will do. Better if we serve the devotees, if we serve Shri Guru, if we serve Krishna and automatically this self-control will be accomplished. If we only renounce, our spiritual life will be dry. But if you submit yourself, if you give yourself to Krishna, to the service happily, then it would be full of rasa. Because it is only rasa, only the higher taste that can keep you, even in renunciation. Rasa means the happiness of the soul, coming from connection to Krishna. If you have a drop of this higher taste, then you can easily give up everything and surrender.

So there is nothing wrong with the objects, the only problem is with our attachment. If you hold a tree tightly and say: “Ah, tree, leave me, leave me!” this is stupid! This is not a problem of the tree, it is your problem. So our willingness, our willpower should be also devoted to Krishna.

And if we examine what is necessary for life – these are very, very few things. Don’t overcomplicate your life. Perform your duty in His service and automatically the renunciation will be there. Because if I live for Krishna, I cannot live for myself.

So we are not living for renunciation, we are living for dedication.


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