Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Shrila Prabhupada was the chosen one to spread the message throughout the world. Just to understand that if you are committed to the message, if you are committed to the master, then you can be a chosen one. To be a chosen one – for what purpose, to what caliber – it does not matter. You can be a conqueror of the world or you can be a loser; you can be a king of a realm or you can be a master of your family – it does not matter what is the scope; but if you are dedicated, you can achieve perfection.

But if we are talking about a pure devotee and if we are talking about Shrila Prabhupada, then we should also talk about following. For many following is an official thing, a question of affiliation. I saw a picture: a person says: “Shrila Prabhupada said that “ISKCON is my body.” So “the organization, that I established, is my body.” Then on the next picture the guru, Shrila Prabhupada says: “We are not the bodies!” So what we are talking about? For many if you belong officially to a group, you are saved – irrespective of your behavior. And now we should not limit this conception to one certain organization concerned, but generally people might have this misunderstanding: if I belong to a church, if I belong to an organization, if I belong to a certain guru, then I am saved; I can be a rascal, but I am safe, because officially I belong there. But this is fake.

How can we best glorify Shrila Prabhupada? Once his devotees asked him: “How can we please you, Prabhupad? By selling many books? By bringing new devotees? By making more money? How can we serve you, how can we satisfy you best?” And he said: “No, no, no… You can satisfy me only if you become pure devotees.” So maybe we recognize or we see only some material assets or some material chances for service, but he has a different vision. And this is our hope – that at least the spiritual master should have a divine vision. Then again the question how to satisfy Shrila Prabhupada best? If you, if we all become pure devotees. Pure as much as possible. To please Shrila Prabhupada we have to try our best to start from the present situation and reach to the divine platform.

Shrila Shridhara Maharaj identified Shrila Prabhupada as a shaktyavesha avatar. That means a special person, anointed with divine shakti, with divine powers. Therefore we can say that he was the chosen one to perform that service, to introduce the western world to Krishna and to introduceKrishna to the western world.

Question: It seems that since all the gurus represent the same message they should be one. But we see that gurus are diverse and one is attractive, the other is even more attractive. How is it?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, do not forget that divinity manifests in humans. The unity or the oneness of divinity is manifested, reflected in the diversity of humans. Just like the one sun is reflected in the many drops of dew. So, I think unity and diversity are the two necessary sides of one coin. As we are thinking according to the achintya-bhedabheda-tattva, the inconceivable oneness and difference at the same time, in the same way the guru as a principle is one and diverse. This is not a uniform. Because guru as a tattva, as a principle, is a divine principle; and that divine principle appears in different ways – to come closer to the people with different tastes, with different understandings. Actually the diversity of gurus serves the purpose to meet or to give a chance of diversity of people. Because the guru is also an instrument; he is not simply a human being, or a person, or a divine representative; there is a large scale how people understand the spiritual master. But the duty of the disciple is to recognize the divine quality in the human. Because if you ask a real spiritual master: “Whether you are a divine personality or a human being, a simple bhakta?” I think it is obvious what the answer is. Still, our duty is to see the divinity in the person. And as guru is a surrendered one and is an instrument of God, He will use the specific person to invoke the spiritual impetus, the spiritual desire in us. So one is attractive, the other is even more attractive.

At the same time I feel, as we were discussing the unity and the diversity of the masters, we can also discuss the unity and the diversity of the organizations, or groups. One mood is cultivated in a certain group of devotees; maybe another mood is cultivated in another group – just to invite more people to joinKrishna’s family. In this way I think the differences are good; they show the different sides of devotional service. AndKrishnais not a fanatic on water lilies; He likes lotus flowers also. In His garden there are many different beautiful flowers; the point is that the flowers should smell good.

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