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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




Hallerbos Belgium

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 11.01. 2014, morning, Sofia) 
 
(continues from the previous Monday) 
 
The third element here: “One should accept flowers and garlands that had been offered to the deity and spiritual master, and put them on one’s body.”[1] Flowers are expressions of love and attention. A flower is a very beautiful kind of fruit of any plant or a tree. So this is something very essential, and if we give this best part of something to Krishna as a greeting, then He might be satisfied. That is especially beautiful when we offer the petals of flowers at the lotus feet of our Lord. So that Gouranga Mahaprabhu should walk on a carpet of flowers. 
Once I had this experience here in Bulgaria. We had an excursion, I think it happened in 2005. It was early spring and everything was full of flowers. The trees, the meadows – everything! There were really thousands of flowers! I was afraid to step, not to disturb that beauty and abundance of nature. So, if we offer these beautiful flowers, these beautiful creations of the Supreme in His service, there is a feedback – He provides the flowers and we offer it back. And when the flowers that have touched His body return to you, they carry this divine energy flow. 
Then the fourth practice comes, which I think is a very favorite one for the Sofia devotees here: “One should learn to dance before the deity.” Because this process is for dancing and singing. Well, sometimes crying and suffering, but basically dancing and singing. 
Once I heard about an Indian lady, she was an internationally acclaimed historian. And she gave a guiding tour to some tourists in the National Museum of Delhi. Finally they came to a slab of stone, where Rama was carved and some part of His lila. And she was so much absorbed that she could not explain anymore, she started to dance this lila for the audience. Such a beautiful expression! 
Therefore this point here – to learn how to dance before the deities – it’s a spiritual practice. It’s not some artificial show, it’s a spiritual divine practice. Mahaprabhu is dancing. Krishna is dancing. Shiva is also dancing. Well, Shiva’s dance sometimes finishes the universe. He is so strong in his dance. But sometimes he dances with Uma Devi, which is a very lovely dance. So you see, all the Gods are dancing! Why should we sit idly? This is a way of communication also: if They dance, we also dance. We join Their happiness, we join their expression. Therefore this dance should be an expression of our service mood. 
Next point: “One should learn how to bow down immediately upon seeing the deity or the spiritual master.” This is the expression of our submission, this is the way how we offer respects. And without paying due respect, it’s impossible to learn. We have to be submissive in order to receive the divine message. 
The next point: “As soon as one visits a temple of Lord Krishna, one must stand up.” This is another way of expression. I don’t know what is usually the habit here, but in Hungary just 50 years back, what to speak of 100 year sago, when people were passing in front of a temple, they made a cross in expression of their faith and reverence. Or when the church bells were ringing at noontime every day, then people, who were cultivating the fields, were stopping their work, taking off the hats and remembering, connecting to God. This was also part of our culture. Now your bus or your car passes in front of a temple and you say: ‘Ah, it’s too late, I will not reach in time’ – you don’t pay attention. Or: “Again this traffic jam, I have to stop in front of this temple!’ So our practice and our mentality degrade so much, so quickly. Let’s try to re-establish this divine order. Irrespective of religion – it doesn’t matter. Because if somebody pays more attention to divinity – in any manner – that will help him or her, definitely. 
 
(to be continued)
 
1.  Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 6


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