Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


“Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and one’s senses are purified simply by being employed in the service of the Lord.”[1]

So, bhakti or devotional service means engage all your senses in the service of the Lord. Hrishikena – by the senses hrishikesha sevanam – to serve the Lord of the senses.

Our process is called “devotional service”. It’s not “service of rejection”. For example we have different sense organs, right? You have your eyes. But you don’t pluck out your eyes saying ‘Ah, it’s a material sense organ and it just hinders my devotional service, because it’s flying here and there and trying to observe everything.’ Right, it’s a little weird if you should do like this. No, the best method is to engage your eyes, to engage your vision in proper service. Ears – they are ready to listen to all the bad news of the world and also all the mistakes of others. But you should not pour molten lead into your ears to block these bad habits, but rather try to listen to the good news of divine prospects. You have a tongue, right? Usually people like to talk very much – without any meaning. And especially in this information age; everybody uses the social media although no one has any real message. Still everybody tries to publish and communicate – it’s all nonsense, 99% is nonsense. What else – we have a nose. And you poke your nose into everything. Yet the method to control the nose is not what Ramachandra used with Shurpanakha, because they cut the nose and the ears of Shurpanakha, this demon-lady. We should smell the incense offered to the Lord; but not before. What other sense organs you’ve got? You also have a sexual organ. The method is not that you castrate yourself. ‘My sexual desire gives me sometimes a little trouble, so better I stop this all together once and for all!’ Because that is just like putting yourself in the prison – you will think of that, my dears. Better engage your body in that respect in raising kids. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, who was a lifelong celibate, said: “I could make thousands of children if I would be sure that they will become pure vaishnavas. But as I am not sure, I engage in different activities.” So, to engage the senses in the service of the Lord of the senses – this is the proper solution for our bodily conditions.

And here the side effects also are described. If you are engaged with your senses in the service of the Supreme in devotion, you will be free from material designation and you will be purified. Purification means we see everything as it is. Purification means that we have become simple. Simple hearts are very close to Krishna.

So, this verse instructs us how to engage ourselves properly in this lifetime. We don’t deny the power of the senses, but we know that the soul is even more powerful. And as we try to engage our bodily capacities in the service of the Supreme, you will see the results. Krishna has given you the eyes, and the ears, and the hands, and everything for some good reason. He wants to express something through this; He expects some service by providing you a body and a mind and this structure, so that you use all your capacities in His loving service. So, whenever people ask you: “Hey, what are you doing? What is this very strange lifestyle that you follow?” you should remember this explanation that ‘Bhakti is to engage my body in the service of the Lord, because He is the lord of my body.”

[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya Lila 19.170

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