Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


You know if you meet great people, spiritual people they will test your dedication. We had one friend, he was a student at the University in Hungary. Once he visited the devotees on their farm in Nandafalva and he offered his help: “Can I do something, can I help?” Gurudev was also there at that time and immediately told him: “Yes! You can help us. Can you please remove the manure from under the cows?” Just imagine the situation yourself: you come – the great newcomer – and you express your willingness to serve with all your knowledge acquired at the University. You offer your services to a great spiritual master and he says: “Oh, my dear son, here is the shit to remove.” And what’s happening to this person now? He is still a very good friend of the devotees and now he is a director of a grammar school. So, I think he was blessed by Gurudev, by his example to be honest, to be humble and if there is a simple job – do it nice, if there is a complicated job – do it nice.

So, why our willingness is tested? Because by following this path of dedication you can achieve perfection and therefore you have to be very serious about it. And “these practices are the real life of a devotee.”[1] But what is real life? Real life starts after the false life has finished. So with the death of your false identity the real identity can be born again, coming to the surface. Therefore this is real life, it’s not simple life, but the real one, the real spiritual life.

And if we are attentive then from the last part of this song we shall understand the method how to apply the elements of this process. Because here the writer – Bhaktivinoda who was a judge, a very responsible person, and also he was a very respected person of the society at the very beginning of the twentieth century in India – he says: “I shall take a blade of grass in between my teeth” – and this is the way to express your humility. Of course it is not obligatory to follow these formalities, so if you want to express your obedience or humility to your spiritual master, you don’t have to run out and find a few blades of grass. But this is the way that we should express our humility. We should show that our cup is empty, ready for being filled up. And in this very humble state of mind we offer prostrated dandavats, prostrated obeisances at the lotus feet of Rupa and Sanatana, the two Goswamis. That means express your gratitude and humility towards your superiors. And then weeping he will say: “No doubt, I am the worst of human beings, but please, make me the best by teaching me these six processes.” So, that means by following this process we, or you can become the best of human beings. Koro he uttama – make me the best! Who is a best human being? What is your criteria?

Premananda: The best human being is the one that manifests the spiritual nature of the human beings and can show his example to the others also, enlivening the others.

Swami Tirtha: Oh, this is not simply the best, but this is the best-best! Your answer is very nice and very deep. Because that means that in a universal way, in a general way we all share this capacity, that we all can become the best. Why? Because we as spirit souls, we have that original, primeval nature of being perfect. We only have to remove the curtain of illusion and then our perfection will manifest again. So, the first is the perfect – who comes to the platform of his or her spiritual identity. And higher than that is the second what you mentioned – who can inspire others also to come to that platform. And Krishna says in the Gita that: “He is my most dear servant who helps others to understand this divine knowledge.”[2] So, to be the best doesn’t only mean that you qualify yourself, but that means also that you serve others, you help others, you dedicate your life.

Yamuna: Maharaj, some years ago one lady once told you that Bhagavad Gita is a very pessimistic book and you asked her very surprised “Why?” She said: “Because there it is said that among hundreds and thousands of people there is one who starts walking on the path. Amongst one hundred thousands who started walking on the path, one maybe achieves something. And amongst hundreds and thousands of those who achieve something maybe one reaches perfection.” And you said: “So, what?” and she said: “Well, that’s very pessimistic.” You told her: “No, I think that Bhagavad Gita is a very optimistic book” and she said: “How come?! What optimistic do you see in these one hundred thousand?” and you said that: “It’s very optimistic because there is a chance for one to achieve and I would like to be that one.”

Swami Tirtha: You would like to be that one?

Yamuna: You!

Swami Tirtha: This must have happened very long time ago.

Yamuna: So, what is the new version?

Swami Tirtha: The new version, the update is that you can become that one. So, this is the small little change during these few years. Nevertheless Bhagavad Gita no doubt is very pessimistic. Gita is very pessimistic about any material achievement, but concerning the spiritual achievement it’s highly optimistic.

[1] From Bhaktiwinod Thakur’s song “Sharanagati”

[2] Bhagavad Gita 18.69

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