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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




(from lecture of B.K.Tirtha Maharaj, 5 of September 2005, Ahtopol)
What is the end of the sufferings of a human being? It’s taking birth. You agree? Yes and no. If we take material birth – it’s not a happy story. But if we take a spiritual birth, then it’s very, very beautiful moment. How to start a new spiritual life? How to end the sufferings of human existence?
This is only a very basic starting point in our spiritual practices. But actually the main goal of Bhakti is to be connected all the time to the Supreme. We had learned that the ideal of Bhakti Yoga is not to get liberation, but to be connected all the time. In this way this is a higher goal than average religious goals and ideals. Our tradition also teaches how to reach, how to achieve that goal, that perfection. Perfection means that you become a master. Master of life, master of your senses, master of your feelings. That you gain control over yourself and then… you loose control over yourself. Like when Krishna just lost Himself in the ocean of “Bhagavatam”. We should also loose ourselves in devotional practices. So first control; then you can loose everything!
And to become master like this, first you should become a disciple. Without becoming a servant you cannot be a lord. We have served ourselves for such a long time. Let’s start to serve somebody else. Let’s start the divine service. And this is what we learn from the devotees. This is what we try to follow in the good examples. Therefore we take the shishya-abhiman. Shishya-abhiman is the disposition of a disciple, of a servant. Shishya means such a person, who lets himself or herself to be instructed. This is the shishya-abhiman – give me guidance, give me help.
There is the guru-abhiman also. Guru-abhiman is a very special type of pride, so to say: “Yes, I will give service to you!” So what we try to learn from guru? His service mood. Don’t imitate this, but try to follow the intensity in your life. In this way you can improve your life very much.
Many people think that to be a sannyasi or guru – this is the most glorious position in life. Once there was a family man and he had a good friend – sannyasi. They were travelling together, visiting one ashram. And this family man thought: “O, to be a sannyasi it’s very good position. Everybody pays respect, everybody gives him the flower-garland. To be a sannyas – this is a good goal!” Then they arrived to the temple and everything happened according to the scenario: sannyasi got the flower-garland, he was seated on an elevated place, everybody was just praying very humbly and taking the nectar that was emanating from the lips of the master. After the lecture everybody was running with great plates and bringing tones of prasadam to him. But then started the bitter part. People started to come with their problems. And our friend – the family man – was sitting in the same room. The hours were passing by, people were coming with the problems, so they were offering the bitter garlands also, they were offering tones of problems also. At ten o’clock our friend started to feel tired. He began to roll out his sleeping bag; but even that did not helped, people did not go away. So at two o’clock in the morning the last visitor went home and then our swami could take some little rest. When they were returning back from this temple, they were talking on the way. And our friend told: “So far I wanted to become a sannyasi. But now I don’t want to become that. I thought that it was a good position, but now I better remain with my family.”
So, to become a master, first we should become servants. And we should think in a traditional way, but sometimes we should act in unusual way. Just like Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says: “I’m not a form-maker, I’m a form-breaker!”
Because there are different types of vision about the spiritual master. For example there is the orthodox way; one is the despotic guru – always sitting on a big throne and always very heavy, unshakable – you can tremble in front of your spiritual master. This is the classical. There is reform gurus also, who come closer to the disciples. Sometimes they get off the highly elevated vyasasan and act as simple human beings. Then there are the manager type, who gives business advice to the disciples and engages them in different activities. And then there are the helper types, the inspirators. If the disciple comes with an idea of service, guru just gives wings to him – yes, you go like this, do like this!
So as there are different types of gurus, there are different types of disciples also. Usually the despotic guru invites despotic disciples. And the main concern of a despotic disciple will be: “How BIG vyasasan to carry into de temple?” But sometimes missing the point… So we should not become despotic disciples and we should not become despotic gurus.
And then there is the stupid disciple, who worships the spiritual master very nicely, but keeps the picture of the guru on the shelf upside-down.  Most probably this is coming from his ecstasies… So don’t be fanatic, don’t be despotic or don’t be stupid. Be simple, gentle human beings. Be a reform disciples. Reform in such a sense that try to catch the essence, don’t remain on the surface, on the formalities.


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