Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(continues from the previous issue)


Question of Yashoda: I want to ask about the level of vanaprastha; what qualities are required there? It was not mentioned.

Tirtha Maharaj: Vanaprastha is very simple. We could see that sannyas is too high. Grihastha is too complicated. Brahmachari is very ascetic. May be there is a real escape – vanaprastha! Maybe Krishna wants to keep some secret – the best part, the chocolate He is hiding! Well, vanaprastha order is very simple: you give up your home, your family, your clothes; take some barks of trees around you and collect some berries – this is your foodstuff, you cannot cook; and you perform yagyas and sacrifices all the day. Vanaprastha ki jay! So this is the chocolate, hidden from the list.

Yamuna: Maharaj, could you imagine how hard must be the family life if this is the dream of the grihasthasvanaprastha.

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, actually they consider vanaprastha to be training for sannyas, for total dedication of yourself. It is a transfer from worldly engagement to divine engagement.

Of course all the classical standards of the orders are very difficult to practice these days. Because we can see how the roles are mixed up. Sometimes people go to sannyasis to ask for a job or some support. Sometimes brahmacharis has to work, practically work to earn some money and not simply to live on donations. Sometimes the families also cannot fully manifest their requirements. Everything is mixed up these days, so to practice vanaprastha in classical sense is almost impossible – it is not required, so you do not have to go to the forest.

But this vanaprastha order comes at a certain period of our life; because family is for progeny. And when according to the natural arrangement this bodily function for fertility starts to stop, this is the time to indicate that now you should turn your energies and your attention to the next stage.  And this shows that now you can diminish your busy engagement in the material affairs and you can dedicate more time to your spiritual services. So, according to the natural arrangement everything is there and if we take nice concern, then we can understand why it is given like this. The problem starts when as a sixty-year old man or woman we try to behave like a twenty-year old kid.

This is vanaprastha – stay in your place, but dedicate more attention to spirituality.

Question of Krishna-katha: Is it possible to acquire new qualities or we simply purify what we have?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, we can say that the first task is to purify what we have; and the second task is to acquire what we do not have. If we depend only on ourselves, then we can say it is impossible to acquire anything. Yet ifKrishna wants to give you something, can you say: “No, thank You!” But ifKrishna wants to take away something from you, can you say “Stop!”

Question of Saraswati: It was mentioned that the original message is written in the hearts and souls of beings. What is the nature of the secret and how it is revealed? Is this the same message, manifested on different platforms?

Tirtha Maharaj: This is a complicated question – what is the nature of the inner message of the soul, given by God in the beginning. Some wise men, some wise opinions say that the soul has complete knowledge, the soul has enough knowledge to return back home, back to Godhead. As the soul belongs to the para-shakti, or divine shakti, the higher type of energy, so if this original consciousness is revealed, plus the outside circumstances help this inner growth – if there is a parallel and there is a harmony between the inner and outer circumstances – then the growth is undisturbed. And sometimes there is a shift or competition between the inner and the outer circumstances, yet either from the side of the inner message or from the outer circumstances, the message is correct. “Life is difficult. But help is close. You are not the centre of the universe. Divine arrangement exists. And divine love is the way.”

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