Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2018 morning, Sofia)

Belonging to a tradition means that you know something substantially. This is not a superficial affiliation, but some substantial conviction. The basic truths of our faith are very important, because these will provide the guidelines for our life. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says: “Crystal-clear devotion, the ability to harmonize the daily duties with the supreme ideals and compassionate goodwill to the other living beings – these are the three main factors, the cream of instructions for those who are really searching for the truth.” The cream – the best of the best.

Well, I feel so fortunate to visit your country. Because this way we can have a little, tiny understanding about rasa. Because the cream is not a simple butter. No, this is the top of the top, the best of the best. Condensed, and intense, and sweet, and sour, and heavenly – and beyond! And this is rasa – something that you cannot explain, but you have to taste in order to get an idea of what it is.

After this emotional surcharge, let’s return to the dry philosophy: the first of the three main points for those who are real seekers of the truth is crystal-clear devotion. So, it starts with your attitude. What is your attitude? The basic attitude towards anything in life is devotion, dedication. If you dedicate yourself, you can achieve much more than by any other method. I think we all know the difference if you perform some duty because it is obligatory, or you can do it with your heart and soul, right? One is a job, the other is a joy. Big difference! But not simple devotion, crystal-clear. ‘Crystal’ comes from ‘Krishna’. So, this will purify, the connection to Krishna will purify our devotion. And a crystal is transparent, but whenever one ray of sunlight touches it, it will reflect it in a very diverse way.

So, crystal-clear devotion to the Supreme – this is the first principle. If we have that bright light in our life, all the darkness will be removed. It’s like an eastern star on the horizon of our consciousness. The bright star of the East.

And the second principle is compassionate loving kindness towards other living beings. What kind of attention do we prefer form others? I think we can all appreciate if somebody is compassionately paying all attention in loving kindness towards us, right? So – give others what you expect for yourself. Or the other way round: don’t give others what you wouldn’t receive happily. It’s a very simple principle, it’s called the Golden Rule, present in practically all different cultures. Mahaprabhu also says: “Give respect to others and don’t expect respect to yourself.”[1]

So, this loving kindness, this compassionate approach to others – this is the second principle. This can bridge the gap between even opposing opinions.

And the third principle is to be able to harmonize your daily life, your practical activities, with the divine principles. This is very important here. Because if your practice is very miserable, then what kind of achievement do you expect?

And here we have to be very specific. ‘Miserable practice’ doesn’t mean that sometimes we suffer throughout our spiritual services – because it’s included. ‘Miserable practise’ means when you neglect your service. When you are negligent about your service. When you don’t forget to eat and sleep, but you forget to chant and meditate. This we can call a miserable practice. And with such a miserable practice what kind of result do you expect? You will have a miserable result. No fulfilment, or only half-perfection. But best practice – best results. Not because our practice is so strong that we force the powers of nature and God to provide us with the best results. But if it is a humble offering, it will invite the attention of the Supreme and some helpers from above. And they can offer our services further.

So, this is the cream, the essence of all instructions for those who are really searching for the supreme truth. Very simple and very practical; a very good advice on how to improve our standards. So you see, Bhaktivinoda Thakura is sometimes very specific and giving good advice; other times he is very poetic in writing his novels. But what is the point? To focus our attention more.

(to be continued)

[1] Shikshshtaka, 3

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