Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 You know, it’s not easy with gurus. Because they are too strong and we are too weak. Let me mention one story from our tradition. In Navadvip – this is a very sacred place in Bengal, on the Ganges, close to the ocean – there lived a very famous ascetic saint. His name was Goura Kishora. He belonged to the babaji order; babajis are very renounced persons. They don’t pay practically any attention to the external formalities, they live only for their bhajan – their internal meditation. And this person was extraordinary strong. He was so much committed to chanting the holy names of God – the Hare Krishna mahamantra – that when he felt that ‘It doesn’t come on my lips’ he was ready to jump into the Ganges to drown himself. From this we can understand that spiritual practice doesn’t really depend on us; we need the blessings to be successful in our spiritual life. So, he was in this very renounced mood.

He has a good friend, Bhaktivinod Thakur; once on a stormy night somebody was knocking on the door of Bhaktivinod. He went out and he found his friend babaji standing by the door. He simply asked: “Bhaktivinod, do you have some potatoes at home?” Bhaktivinod was surprised but, then he said: “Yes, maybe we have.” He was searching and he found two pieces of potatoes. He gave these to the babaji, who left without a word in the stormy night. Bhaktivinod was a little perplexed. He thought: ‘What he will do with these two potatoes? During the stormy night?!’ He had no idea. And then he started to understand the story more. Finally he was looking at himself and thought: ‘Ah, Babaji Maharaj was so merciful to me! It looks like I have an attachment to these two pieces of potatoes. He came to stop this attachment of mine!”

So Goura Kishora das Babaji was quite a controversial person. As I mentioned, usually it is expected from babajis to have a very simple and very ascetic lifestyle. Usually babajis have only one loin-cloth. While one day he appeared in the best silken dhoti – very elegant. The worst dhoti is made of jute, a little better is made of cotton, even better is made of better cotton, but the best is made of silk – which is highly forbidden for ascetics. And he came in this very elegant, shining robes. Very unexpected, very unusual! Bhaktivinod asked: “Babaji Maharaj, what is this?” And he said: “Well, you know, so many rascals use some nice cloths, so I thought I will also put one.”

But basically he lived a hidden life. You know, if you are famous for being a great saint, people will come to you for advice. And he didn’t like too much disturbance. Therefore he decided: ‘I will hide under a boat turned upside-down on the bank of the Ganges.’ Yet if you are already famous as a renounced ascetic and people understand that you don’t have a residence, but you hide under a boat – that makes you even more famous. So you might expect more disturbance from the visitors. Then he invented a good way to repel all the visitors, he decided: ‘Let’s throw some fish bones around. In this way people will think that I pose as an ascetic, but I eat fish and then they will not come to me.’

So, he was trying to hide his powers. Sometimes with success, other times with less success. But there was one young person from whose vision he couldn’t hide. This was Bimal Prasad das. He was the son of Bhaktivinod Thakur – the friend of Babaji Maharaj. He was a very educated person and also a very renounced one. So he decided: ‘Whatever I could I have learned already. I feel I need a master now.’ And he approached Babaji Maharaj for shelter. Of course, what do you think, what did he say? “Forget it. We don’t accept disciples.” He was trying to get rid of this young man, but he was very much insisting: “Please, give me your mercy! I want to become your disciple, I want to become your follower!” Babaji Maharaj was thinking: ‘How to get rid of him?’ He said: “I will ask Mahaprabhu what to do. Come back tomorrow.” So, the young man was full of expectation. He came the next morning and asked: “Babaji Maharaj, did you ask Mahaprabhu?” And he said: “I forgot to ask Him!” Finally our young man broke in tears and said: “Mahaprabhu came to bring the ultimate unconditional mercy, but it looks like I’m excluded from this mercy.” Yet that was the moment of victory of the prospective new student. When his future master saw that he was so much committed, he said: “All right, now go to the Ganges, take a bath and come back.” And then he accepted this person as the only disciple. As the only disciple. But this one converted thirty thousand people to Mahaprabhu’s faith.

So, it’s not necessary to collect disciples. This is one little advice when you will become gurus. It’s not necessary to collect disciples. Pick only one. One is enough. One is enough.

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