Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




Woman-Chanting-Japa-on-1108-Beads-Mala

Whatever we share with others this is called charity. In ancient times it was suggested for a family man before starting to eat he should go out in front of his house in his village and call out aloud: “Anybody hungry? Come to my home, eat.” But this was not for maintaining the lazy guys, this was for the purpose to serve those who, for example, are on a pilgrimage or come from a distant place and need some help.

Of course, if you start to do this practice in Sofia, it’s a little unusual. Nevertheless, be ready to share what you have.

But charity should be distributed in a good time. “If you give in need, you give twice indeed.” So when it is necessary and then you are ready to serve others – this is very much in use. And you have to give to the proper person, under the proper circumstances. But this is not only the outer circumstances, but the inner mood – how we give, how we share. Because if we share what we have in a loving, affectionate and selfless mood, then this is very sattvic. When we want something in return that is rajasic, that is passionate. And when we make mistakes by this service that is under the influence of ignorance.

So, from the darkness we should come to the light. And it is suggested that in all our activities – be it charity or diet or knowledge or faith – we should come closer to perfection.

Question of Revati: Could you please give some example of giving charity in ignorance, what does it mean? I could not understand.

Tirtha Maharaj: Let’s check again the verse. “Charity performed at an impure place…”[1] What is a pure place? A pure place is such a place where “Shrimad Bhagavatam” was recited. Right, all other places are impure. So, try to recite “Shrimad Bhagavatam” in as many places as you can in order to purify the place.

Of course, we know that for example a holy place is pure. We go to a holy place for purification. But unfortunately other people also go to a holy place to purify themselves. What does it mean – that all the dirt is left at the holy place. So sometimes even the holy places become overburdened with sinful activities.

Mother Ganges is considered to be pure and she has got the quality to wipe off the sins of human beings. But what happens to water if you wash something very dirty? It will become dirty also. As we understood that water takes the quality what is given to it. So, if Mother Ganga needs self-purification when she is overburdened with sin, with sinful activities of human beings that she is wiping off, washing off, then, in a personified form, she goes on a pilgrimage. She goes to Kaveri River to be purified. India is fortunate enough to have many holy rivers. Gange cha Yamune chaiva Godavari Saraswati Narmade Sindhu Kaveri jalesmin sannidhim kuru – so, if you want to make achman, sacred water, you just chant this mantra. Because this water, collected from the holy rivers, will purify your body also.

So, how to purify a place? The holy water, consecrated water purifies the places. And in Vrindavana I heard of such old ladies, totally dedicated to God, to Krishna’s service, pure like anything – they were always wearing a little water in a small little pot from the Yamuna with them. Why? Because this old mataji has this understanding: “Wherever I sit I just make the place very dirty. So when I rise, with some little drops of water I have to purify the place.” So, I think we can improve our conception of purity or how to serve a holy place, to enter deeper into the meaning of a pure place.

So, avoid impure place. Second is “improper time”. What is a proper time?

Yamuna: As you’ve mentioned, time of need.

Yadunath: On celebrations.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes, very good, on celebrations, when there is some celebration or occasion. The “Gita” defines what is auspicious time. I have to declare that we are at an auspicious time in many, many respects. Why? Because December has passed. In December, in the Winter Solstice, the sun starts its movement up to the north. The light is reborn. Because you know, the sun goes to the lowest position, stays there for three days and then comes up. And according to our tradition this period – starting from the lowest point upwards – this is called the auspicious time. So the period is good, auspicious. Then, we are at the beginning of a new year – that’s also auspicious. We are also at the beginning of a new week. Maybe that is not so auspicious, because it reminds you of your everyday duty, right? And we are fortunate and this is very auspicious time because we are attending a function in a temple. But the epoch is also auspicious. Why, because this is the twenty-first century? No, because this is the five hundredth and twenty something year of the Chaitanya era. This is a small little golden period in the big Kali-yuga. So this is also very auspicious.

Other celebrations also help to raise the dignity or the importance of the day. For example the appearance day of great saints – it’s also very beneficial. And some people are so fortunate to take birth on this day! So this is very auspicious. So this is an auspicious time! And this is an auspicious place.

 

(to be continued)

 



[1] Bhagavad Gita 17.22



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