Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 24.08.2016 morning, Ludasto)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and offering a seat of esteem to Shrila Suta Gosvami, the great sages made inquiries with great respect about the following matters”.[1]

The sages started to inquire in a very humble and spiritual way. Something from the purport of Shrila Prabhupada: “Those who listen to the Bhagavatam may put questions to the speaker in order to elicit the clear meaning, but this should not be done in a challenging spirit. One must submit questions with a great regard for the speaker and the subject matter. This is also the way recommended in Bhagavad Gita: one must learn the transcendental subject by submissive aural reception from the right sources. Therefore these sages addressed the speaker Suta Gosvami with great respect.”

One of the basic rules of our devotional community concerning communication is given here by Shrila Prabhupada. “The discussion should be based on great respect for the speaker and the subject matter”. There are three rights and three requirements in communication in our circles. First I give the three rights: we have free communication, there are no taboos, and you can discuss anything. These are the three rights – there’s nothing to hide, open communication. But you can exercise your rights only if you follow the requirements. And the three requirements concerning communication in our circles are: the first what is mentioned by Shrila Prabhupada here – the necessary respect to the other party and to the topic discussed; there are no questions for the sake of questions; and there must be willingness to accept the answer. Do you agree on the rules? Thank you! Then you will have no problems. Whatever comes to you individually in the mission, you can always overcome the difficulties.

Question of Yashoda: There was such a situation in the ashram when there was obvious disrespect to the lecturer. What should be done in such a case? Should the lecturer insist on to be respected, or he has to work to gain this respect?

Swami Tirtha: Well, if we have to fight for respect, that’s too bad. That’s the end of the story. Nevertheless we have to work hard to be a direct representative of something higher. And fortunately you have a very mild and very protective environment in the ashram. Because if the lecturer doesn’t fight for his or her rights, the others will protect him. We have to educate people also that the proper mood of inquiries is not the challenging way. Because then one requirement is missing – the willingness to accept the answer.

But you know sometimes while preaching we face some very funny moments. Such challenging moments are always very beneficial for practicing humility. So, I don’t really see it’s a big problem. Just imagine, once Gaura Kishora das Babaji was visiting a program, a big feast in one temple. He was a full ascetic, extremely independent person. So, the devotees served him prasadam and then a young brahmachari said: “Oh, Babaji Maharaj only comes for the free chapaties!” Then he said: ”Yes! You are correct! Finally you have understood my motivation!”

So, such challenging moments are good for practicing humility. It’s not the problem of Gaura Kishora das Babaji Maharaja; this is the problem of the young brahmachari. But if you hear somebody criticizing your Babaji, stop that.

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.5

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