Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


May I draw your attention that beware, prayers are heard! So, think twice before you start praying. Because people usually pray for very ordinary, insignificant things. “Give me this, give me that! I want success, I want a wife, I want a husband, I want children, I want happiness…” and so many things we want. Sometimes you get it, other times you don’t. But this is a very elementary standard of prayers and there are not too many dangers or obstacles on this platform. Why? Because either you ask for insignificant things that will have no effect on you, or, if God is very merciful, He will not give you the harmful things that you aspire for.

But these prayers[1], that you were chanting in the morning, these are not the kindergarten elementary level of prayers. No, this is the postgradual level of prayers. Because even if there is any desire mentioned here, it is “Please, don’t give me anything material and even if You don’t give me anything spiritual, I am Your unconditional servant.”

If we think deeply on the meaning of these words, then we should take it very serious, very deep. Because if you say: “I don’t want name, fame and glory” or “I don’t want followers” you will have your prayers fulfilled. So, beware, you pray: “Please, Krishna, engage me in Your service!” and He comes with some service, and then you say: “But not now! And why me? Others are more qualified, so please take them.”

So, prayers are heard. Therefore we have to be very careful with our prayers.

But some very essential, positive teachings are also included in these prayers, like trinad api sunichena[2] – be more humble than a blade of grass. Is that realistic? It’s a little high. It’s a little high to be so low than a blade of grass. But nevertheless this should be our prayer. And why the blade of grass is a great example for us? Because it never revolts, even if it is trampled upon, it never strikes back. But in a competitive world and in a free competition spirit “never strike back” – this is a disastrous message. It’s very dangerous, because then you will be trampled upon. Others have material mentality, you try to have spiritual mentality – then you will get your lesson.

But also we have to become more tolerant than the trees. And the trees are very tolerant, they are ready to give their shade, their fruits to you, even if you break the branches for firewood, they will supply you. They are also like spiritual examples for us. Whenever the smallest breeze comes, they start to tremble. Why? Because it reminds them the sweet breeze of the Malaya Mountains, carrying the aroma of the sandalwood. Trees are supposed to have a little lower level of consciousness than for example humans. On those platforms of elementary existence, you have more like unified consciousness, not so much personalized. It is said, if there is a disease in a forest, the trees standing far away from the forest will also receive the same disease. Because they have this unified conscious field.

In the same way the trees of Mahaprabhu’s time or the trees of Vrindavana remember the sweet breezes carrying the aroma of the sandalwood. We should remember, whenever we see the trees on Vitosha, that if they start to tremble, this is due to their ecstasy. And when you will start to tremble out of ecstasy? We are very far from the example of the trees. Small breeze – ecstasy; big dose of spiritual message – nothing for us.

And sometimes trees are so selfless, that you cannot imagine. They are ready to dry some of their branches and throw it, in order to serve you. And just to give you a hint how complicated ritual service is: there are some rituals where for the cooking you have to go out into the forest, find a specific tree, and then find a branch that was growing to the northern direction, that has dried off and fallen to the ground, collect that wood and make the fire with it. Just imagine if you have to make your offerings with such collections – it’s close to impossible.

Therefore Mahaprabhu gave a different idea. “Be humble like a blade of grass, be tolerant like a tree and then you will be able to chant the holy names.” With this idea He gave the key to the solution. Our humility and our tolerance should be directed towards something – in order to chant the names, in order to call out God by the names. So prayers are heard.

Some people think that prayers, this is an old-fashioned thing, maybe only for the elderly ladies in the temples. But I have to tell you: No, this is not an outdated practice. We should make a revolution of prayers. Although myself I am not a revolutionist, but in that respect, yes, we have to make big changes in the habits of prayers.

And this big change is reflected in the last verse. “Even if You give or You don’t give, I am Your servant. Unconditional servant.”[3] Until we have conditions, that’s not the real achievement.

[1] Shikshastaka prayers

[2] Shikshashtaka 3

[3] Shikshashtaka 8

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