Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

“Nityananda Prabhu is the universal spiritual master, the embodiment of the original guru. He is the guru-tattva in the four rasas; and in the fifth rasa the sister of Radharani, Ananga Manjari, is representative. But Nityananda Prabhu is in a more dignified position than Baladeva as He is distributing prema, the divine love. Prema is supreme, the most elevated, the rarest. And such a person is on the highest platform, who can give us the gift of divine love. If Mahaprabhu is more elevated than Krishna, then Nityananda Prabhu is more than Balaram. Basically they are the same, but Nityananda is more generous than Baladeva.”[1]

So, here it is mentioned that guru, the spiritual master, is a divine function. In Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura’s Gurvashtaka it is said yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado/ yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi/ dhyayam stuvams tasya yasas trisandhyam/ vande guroh sri-caranaravindam –  “by the mercy of the master the divine mercy is provided”. This is a positive remark: if the guru blesses you, the divine blessings will also come. That means that divine blessings can come in many other ways, we cannot control that; but usually it comes like this, through this channel. And “we meditate on him minimum three times per day”. So, what do you do if you start to remember your guru for the fourth time? Then you say: “Stop! Three is enough! Three is shastric!” Or you say: “No, no, no! We don’t want to be shastric, we want to be bhaktic! We want to be rasik – for permanent devotion.” And “I offer my respects at his lotus feet.”

“Although we offer respects to our master, still we should not consider our master an idol – he is not an idol or an impersonal theory. And we should not forget that these are the instructions and the teachings of the spiritual master that are really important. Therefore we praise him, the spiritual master; his teaching is what established the connection between us. Our connection is not a simple physical contact, because we are searching for the absolute truth and the guru is our help in this search. We want to follow the spiritual path. Therefore in order to accomplish it successfully a formal connection, a formal attachment is not enough. The spiritual life is fully and completely transcendental process. In order to achieve perfect and clear vision, we get rid of all material concepts, be it physical, mental or intellectual. Our understanding will become spiritual through this. This is our ultimate benefit, because it is impossible to understand the spiritual reality through material methods.”

So we should always remember that spiritual life, as it is, is a completely transcendental process, it is not something material; it is not coming from this world. Including the specific position and our connection to our master. One sign from which you can understand that something is spiritual is that from material point of view it is completely irrelevant, useless. Because what the spiritual master tells us? Work more and in a selfless manner. Work more but expect less. This is completely useless! And the obedient disciple will say: “Gurudev, this is stupidity.” But that is a sign – well, one signal – that it might be transcendental. Why? Because the spiritual master wants to establish us not simply on the material platform, but he wants to reach the root of transcendence for us.

The spiritual master is not simply a divine function. He is not an idol and not an impersonal conception. The secret teaching is: guru is also a person sometimes, a human being. And that makes the picture more beautiful – that our masters do have specific, unique, human character also. For example, Shrila Paramadvaiti Maharaj is famous all over the world as a constant traveler and preacher, organizing the big planetary movement of Vaishnavism. Permanently traveling, preaching, meeting devotees and enthusing them. Or: Sadhu Maharaj is the enchanter of the hearts, like a sweet grandpa coming and embracing everyone in his loving embrace. So we all have our masters, we all have our heroes, we all have our examples. And we should understand that disciplic succession transmits different spiritual assets and energies to the followers and practitioners. And many excellent qualities of your Gurudev is also with you, because this line transfers these positive qualities.

Still the spiritual master is not an idol, is not God, so to say, he is a person. Spiritual master is the servant-god, sevak-bhagavan, and God Divine, Krishna, the blue one, is sevya-bhagavan.

We are eternally connected to our spiritual masters. How to understand this eternal connection? The day before yesterday we did not know our masters. And the day after tomorrow we shall easily forget about him. What does it mean – eternal connection? No, this is an eternal connection because the gurus, our masters, they show eternal secret assets, the values in our heart. This connection and this link will stay with us forever.

[1] Shrila Shridhara Maharaj, “Shri Guru and his grace”

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