Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 17.08.2017 morning, Ludasto)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Question: How was Haridasa Thakura initiated?

Swami Tirtha: I don’t remember exactly the formal structure of his initiation, but I am sure that he was chanting the holy names with the blessings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As he came from outside of the Hindu society, therefore formally he couldn’t enter. But Mahaprabhu was the incarnation of unconditional mercy. So although Haridasa Thakura didn’t enter the temple of Jagannath, Mahaprabhu was visiting him while he was chanting.

I think the example of Haridasa Thakura is very instructive for all of us. Because he was a convert and we are also converts. We came from a an environment of different religious background and we have changed our commitment. So I think it is very instructive how he behaved and how he practiced.

Question: As he was beаten at the market places many times, what was the depth of his chanting and how he perceived chanting?

Swami Tirtha: I have no idea about the depth of his chanting. Not at all. But the final part of his life I think it’s very instructive. He could hardly move at the end of his life and when Mahaprabhu visited him, Haridasa Thakura was deeply morose. Mahaprabhu asked: “What is it? Is your disease so painful?” “No, no. But I couldn’t accomplish my 172 rounds for today.” And then Mahaprabhu said: “Don’t worry! You have been chanting so much, it’s not necessary to exert yourself so much.” Just like in Christianity, I think there is also some license, if you are over 60 or 70 it’s not necessary to keep fasting. So Mahaprabhu also wanted to give some license to him. “Oh, you had been chanting throughout your life, it’s not necessary for you, you are beyond that numbers”. But of course He couldn’t pacify Haridasa Thakura.

And what is our problem? That you couldn’t accomplish your 172 rounds? Generally we have different problems. But when he was beaten, I am sure that his faith became stronger and stronger. He took the difficulties as an inspiration or a source of power for his practice.

Question of Shyama Tulasi: Sometimes, especially in the beginning while I was chanting, the mantra started to come like bhajan, but it’s quite slow. So I cannot accomplish many rounds like this, as I have limited time. What is your advice?

Swami Tirtha: Eternity is waiting for you.

Well, in the early times there was one devotee and for him it took twice as much time to accomplish his rounds than for the others. For some time the devotees were patient and tolerant, but then they started to inquire: “How is it that it takes so much time for you?” Because already everybody was running after the different services and he was still chanting his rounds. How is it that it takes so long? And then he explained: “Well, I chant this way, this is half a circle and another way back – this is one round.” And everybody was shocked –actually he was performing double.

But as our bodily functions, like your digestion for example – maybe it’s slower than that of others – maybe your chanting is also a little slower then others. The upgrade of japa is bhajan, the upgrade of bhajan is kirtan, and the upgrade of kirtan is sankirtan. Although japa, the word, means ‘to murmur’. So this is your private talk to Krishna. Therefore I say it’s very intimate. But slow or fast, it doesn’t matter – do it.

Last time in Sofia I inquired from one devotee about his chanting and he said that to chant 10 rounds for him it takes 2 hours. And I said: “All right, that’s very nice.” So, first I wanted to tell him to increase the numbers, but then I understood it’s so intense for him that maybe he performs less rounds, but more intensity is there – then it’s all right. And sometimes melodies of the holy name come to you in your dreams, if you have a favorable environment.

So please, take the advice of pure chanting and pray that our chanting gives pleasure to the Divine Couple. Because in this way we can come closer to the gift of divine love.

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