Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(continues from the previous Monday issue)

Question of Krishna Priya: It is obvious that envy and other things are bad, but each time you try to get rid of them and each time you do it again and you feel even more smashed, and you cannot get rid!

Tirtha Maharaj: Try again! How come?! I don’t understand. Anartha-nivritti IS possible. To get rid of the anarthas[1] IS possible. First is faith, adau shradha tattha sadhu-sanga tatha bhajana-kriya[2] sadhu-sanga is the second, then comes the active bhajan or spiritual practice – and then purification from unwanted qualities will happen. So first faith; then association, special type of association with higher authorities, masters; then active worship, follow the practice and then purification will come. And then you will achieve the level of nishtha – no material attachment. And then you will come to the level of ruchi – taste, higher taste.

There is a debate of opinions, because some say that without ruchi at the very beginning you cannot go on to the next levels. Which is a good point but Shrila Rupa Goswami has given like this: first faith, then association, then active service, worship and then the purification will come. Even before purification we feel some taste. But from this we can understand how much more fulfilling the real high taste is. And then come some more elevated levels of devotional life.

Yadunath: I learned something from envy. Envy in the ocean of mercy could be a good teacher. As I understood that envy means separation, I think that I am separated, that I am cut out. And what I start to think is what I am envious for? Then I understood that I already have and that I have always been receiving. So from dissociation envy could bring me to association.

Tirtha Maharaj: Until we see dualities we are not there.

Yadunath: And envy told me that I was the one who was saying “no” and not the other party.

Tirtha Maharaj: Sure! It’s obvious. A little boring action-reaction. So, sometimes we need a kind of divine chaos, so that something starts to happen in our empty and dull and boring life. So envy is our spiritual master – to sum up your remark. But don’t quote that: Gurudev said that envy is our spiritual master.

Dani: I wanted to say that if envy is the desire to have something that somebody else possesses I think that envy also can be converted. For me envy can be converted into the want to be like your spiritual teacher, to have the qualities that he possesses. And not in the meaning to be respected like him, but to be able to do things that he does and to help the way he does. And I wanted to add that this is again just a matter of shifting the focus, because in the beginning you want to possess material things that others have and later you understand what is most important and you somehow want not to possess, but to achieve a little from this. So in this sense you… not that you envy your teacher, but you want to be like him.

Tirtha Maharaj: But that is greed. That’s different. I try to understand you, but if we want to find a definition of envy, this is a bad possessive mentality. Yet there is a know-how how to achieve the qualities of our beloved ones or worshipable ones and this is: surrender. Then automatically all the good qualities will come to you. Because if I am a stick lying on the ground, I am only a stick. But if I am a stick in the hands of my spiritual master, then I am help for him. I become like an extended hand of my master. Automatically! So only one quality a real disciple has – dedication. And through dedication all the good qualities will manifest in you. You don’t have to do anything, you don’t even have to get rid of your bad qualities. By this magic touch of dedication it is said the bad qualities will change into precious stones.

Therefore we glorify dedication. Therefore we worship devotional service, because this is a very intensive way to establish a real, deep, essential contact with something higher. By worship the qualities will be transferred to the worshiper. It is said all the good qualities of Krishna are manifest in the pure devotee. The bramins have a short list of qualities. But the list of good qualities of a vaishnava is a long list. And my favorite is that a vaishnava is poetic! Poetic! Because we follow the aesthetic Vedanta. And only one step further it starts to become ecstatic Vedanta.


[1] Bad habits

[2] Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.4.15 by Shrila Rupa Goswami

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