January 2021
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 7.09.2015 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

Question of Lilavatar: You mentioned that the outer way is to associate with saints and the inner is the chanting. Could you please give us some instructions and advice concerning the chanting?

Swami Tirtha: Chant more. Do you need more advice?

Well, if we accept the holy name as non-different from Krishna Himself, then I think we will be able to pay more attention and more dedication to this process. To associate with the majestic Supreme Lord is not easy. Therefore we don’t chant om namo narayanaya, because to associate with Narayana it’s a challenge. But we chant something else: hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare/ hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare, because it’s very easy to associate with your good friend. It’s very easy to glorify the meeting of Shrimati Radharani and Krishna. When glorifying this you don’t tremble due to fear, but due to ecstasy. Because if you glorify the Supreme Lord with all His majesties, you will tremble a little bit. But if you serve somehow the divine unity of your cowherd friend and His beloved one, that trembling is due to ecstasy.

Many times we have heard that this is like a question and answer: hare krishna – ‘Who are you?’ Hare krishna – ‘Is it you?’ Hare rama – ‘I am here.’ Hare rama – ‘So nice that you are here!’ Etc, etc. This is not only a repetitive formula, but the maha-mantra is an instrument of deep communication. It’s also an item of worship. And it is a source of happiness for Them, and for us also. It is said: “If somebody only once pronounces the holy name, he is considered to be a devotee”. But this is not a sound formula, but this is some essential touch. And there are no hard and fast rules concerning chanting. Nevertheless we should try to follow all recommendations to be successful in our spiritual practices. If we can surcharge our chanting with more dedication, then this is the best type of chanting. And also all the other mystic practices are included here. A devotee doesn’t have to do some extra meditations for prefect control of the body. Or for enlightenment, as for the yogis; or perfect brahmacharya for 12 years. Because by chanting we accomplish everything.

So, it’s a great science, but it’s a question of taste. If you have the taste, if you have just a little introduction to the taste, then you can do it very nicely. If we don’t have the taste, then we have to do it by self-discipline. Then chanting is on the sattvic platform as a kind of dharma exercise. But this is not enough; we always have to go beyond the ritual formalities and fill our chanting with extra dedication. And we should find inspiration in our chanting.

There are some stereotype situations concerning the different phases a devotee perceives while doing spiritual practices. There are times when you are very enthusiastic about your chanting and there are times when you are very unenthusiastic about your chanting. And then comes the next time when you are a little less unenthusiastic and when you will be a little bit more enthused.

We need certain humility also for proper chanting. It’s not that: ‘Oh, today I have accomplished 85 and a half rounds’. It’s not a competition. Of course it’s good to understand, to have the feeling that ‘If I perform, it happens, it works’. But the goal of chanting is to make Radha-Govinda happy.

And how can we judge what is the level of our chanting? Is it good, is it proper? Is it useful, or is it not? How to judge? It’s not easy. Well, can you see Radha-Govinda smiling? You can see Mahaprabhu – if He is satisfied or He expects some little more attention. But there is another feedback also – whether our spiritual master is satisfied with our chanting. Again this is not very easy to judge whether our master is satisfied with our chanting. But you have an inner instrument to measure. Because while you are chanting, if only good and positive and nice spiritual thoughts or mood come to you – then your chanting is proper. When you can find your inspiration – then you are in a good direction and then you can improve your chanting more and more. Because chanting is like putting the invitation on the door “My dear Lord, please come!” Don’t be surprised if He arrives.

(to be continued)



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