Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


“Therefore, transcendentalists undertaking performances of sacrifice, charity and penance in accordance with scriptural regulations begin always with om, to attain the Supreme. Without desiring fruitive results, one should perform various kinds of sacrifice, penance and charity with the word tat. The purpose of such transcendental activities is to get free from material entanglement. The Absolute Truth is the objective of devotional sacrifice, and it is indicated by the word sat. The performer of such sacrifice is also called sat, as are all works of sacrifice, penance and charity which, true to the absolute nature, are performed to please the Supreme Person, O son of Pritha.”[1]

Very serious verses. Did you understand anything from this? Could you follow? Well, so many complicated things: perform sacrifice, om, dedicate to the Supreme, tat, and there is Absolute God, sat – difficult!

Let’s jump a little bit – how can we understand and not understand the devotional slang. Once we had a very nice young lady, she was working with the devotees. She came as a worker, not as a person interested in bhakti-yoga – not much. But, you know, devotees are very soft hearted and they want to invite everybody to join all the different functions. So she was coming from the morning to work and in the afternoon devotees asked her: “Do you want to take prasadam before the arati or after the arati?” And she said: “I don’t know what it is, but I don’t want to do anything!” Although this was an invitation: “Are you hungry? Why don’t you take lunch with us?” Later on she became one of the best cooks and one of the best pujaris.

So, even if you start to work for the devotees, it is dangerous. Because sooner or later you will become hungry, and with the devotees it is very difficult to avoid eating together. Then you get the higher taste. And without that higher taste we cannot live anymore.

There are some certain activities, unusual a little bit at the beginning – like different words, different practices, this om tat sat – but be patient, you will understand it later. Because the essence is very simple – we have to love the Supreme Lord, we have to express somehow our gratitude. The whole complicated system of ancient India is for that purpose – to be grateful, to express our gratitude and to invite the blessings. As we have some future hope that after this pilgrimage here on the planet earth and material universe, we shall find our way back home, back to Godhead.

So this is the explanation of religiosity: be grateful to God for supporting you, express your gratitude, cherish your hopes and fix your goal. This is the way to be religious. Actually religion means… What does it mean religion?

Kamen: Connection.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes. Religion is a connection. Some scientists say that religion is only to preserve a culture. But without transcendental connotation, without God what kind of culture you can preserve? This is only material, so this is not religious. And religion means to be grateful and to express some hopes. Because we have some business to do with this Lord Krishna.

What kind of ways are there to express our gratitude and our hopes? This is the sacrifice, these are the gifts, these are the other spiritual practices that we are doing. And meanwhile we have to become a better person. Unnoticed it should happen. If we follow the proper direction, the build up of the character will happen. Because it is said that all the divine characters are manifested in the worshiper. With these sacrifices, prayers, rituals we can express our gratitude.

And if we add these mantras – om, tat and sat – they will become more beneficial, more powerful, these rituals. Spiritual things have a very special nature. They are beyond the limitations of matter and as the goal is divine, due to this goal, the process and the actor also become divine. So whatever we sacrifice, it becomes divine. And you yourself, who are doing this service, you also become surcharged with spiritual potency.

Therefore Krishna says that all works of sacrifice, penance and charity are of absolute nature and they are performed to please the Supreme Person. And I think this is the key – that whatever we do we should try to please Krishna. Shrila Shridhara Maharaj many times says that we have to serve the ultimate interest of the universal centre. If we serve our private individual goals, it is very difficult to achieve harmony, but if we try to serve the central interest, the divine interest, then unity and harmony will automatically manifest.

Therefore the science of devotional service is very unique, because this is not only a theory contained in books on our shelves. Or maybe some old histories happening thousands of years back but not anymore… But these are eternal truths. Krishna does not change His opinion too often. But a truth is a truth, knowledge is knowledge, and affection is love. These are the three elements of devotional service.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 17.24-27

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