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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




form-of-beauty-9781932771206_hr

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2014, morning, Sofia) 
 
Question of Hayagriva: In regard with material existence – what actually binds us is our attachment to the material. And since we are naturally attached, how can we overcome these attachments? Some transcendentalists say we should cut them. In bhakti-yoga we say we should spiritualize them. Actually should we concentrate on this attachment or just by developing some higher attachment to the spiritual we can overcome them? 
Swami Tirtha: So, the first part of your question is how to balance between the material and the spiritual. If you ask a fanatic person – a fanatic materialist or a fanatic spiritualist – he will definitely say: “Give up the other side! This is our balance – no balance!” If you ask an opportunist, he will say: “Ah, be smart. Ride two horses with your one ass.” But if you asked an accomplished spiritual person, he will ask you: “Material? What is that?” Because his vision is fully spiritualized. For him there is nothing material. 
And it is very much true what you said: in bhakti-yoga we try to use all the assets of the body and the material world in the service of Krishna. Let’s take the eyes. Sometimes the eyes… well, not sometimes, the eyes are all the time searching for some objects to see. And for a healthy young man it is very much necessary when on the street he meets some very beautiful shaped lady that his eyes observe her very properly. Then what to do – pluck out your eyes as a solution? It will not help, because the desire will stay. Therefore our solution is: provide something better, even more beautiful than the form of a woman. Therefore there is this very nice book with beautiful paintings of Krishna, The Form of Beauty. This is the real control of the eyes. Show better objects to the eyes – to take pleasure from that. 
In the same way all the different organs are trying to attract you to certain directions. The tongue wants to taste different tastes; the ear wants to listen to different advice and news, usually the bad news about others; the genitals always want to meet the other party – we are equipped like this, our body functions like this. Yet there’s certain control we should exercise. This is our method: use whatever you have in the service of Krishna. Hrishikena hrishikesha sevanam[1] – “By the bodily sensual functions serve the Lord of the senses!” 
And we can use practically all our bodily functions and parts in the service of Krishna. Just like Ambarisha Maharaj was doing. He was an ancient king, a very good example of a surrendered devotee. And you know, to be a king is quite a responsible job – you are engaged so much in administration and this and that. But he was ready to distribute and delegate these duties to others. There was one thing he never delegated to others – worship of Krishna. He was always doing it himself. 
Why it is important to mention this? Because sometimes we have the tendency to find substitutes for us. For example if you are a father, you might very quickly learn from the shastras that whatever a father cannot accomplish, the son will accomplish. Then the next day in the morning you will say: “Puja again? My son will do it.” Don’t find excuses – as Ambarisha never neglected the service of the Supreme. And although he was a king, he was ready to use his bodily limbs in the service. He used his hands to wipe the floor of the temple. He used his legs to approach the saints and the holy places. He used his body to embrace the devotees. His head – to bow down before the deities. His mouth – to glorify and to chant the names. Practically he engaged himself totally in this devotion and dedication to God. 
We should follow his example. When we visit the temple, let’s do something there! Let’s express our willingness to serve. Of course now here we are like 25 people, so we cannot wipe the floor all 25. It’s not practical. But whenever there is a service, whenever there is a chance – join! And tomorrow you can bring a rag – to help cleaning. Or bring one kg of rice to the temple: “This is my offering to Krishna.” Or such a beautiful offering – bring some flowers! There are so many ways to express our willingness to join this serving mood. 
So please, follow the example of Ambarisha. I think he is a good example to find the proper balance between material and spiritual engagements. Although he was a great king he never forgot about the service of the Supreme. 
And definitely by artha-pravritti we can achieve anartha-nivritti. Artha means ‘values’. And pravritti means ‘to cultivate’. So, by cultivating the higher values we shall naturally achieve liberation from the wrong set of values – anarthas. By good practice we can control the bad habits. If we chant the holy names, the purification of the heart will come. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So simple. 
 
1. Quotation from Narada Pancharatra, found in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.12 and Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 19.170 

 



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