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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




“Prema Kunja is the most sanctified place, surrounded by wall and beautified by many madhavi creepers. The deities of Lord Gouranga and Nityananda Prabhu were situated in front of a broad courtyard. Many vaishnavas were performing kirtan there. Visiting vaishnavas were gradually coming. They all sat in the courtyard and discussed various topics. Within the kunja there was one room for the vaishnavis. One vaishnavi, named Prema Bhavini, was reciting “Chaitanya-charitamrita” there. Even though the vaishnavi room was separate, the male vaishnavas were not forbidden to visit. “After gradually moving forward, Narеn Babu and Anand Babu arrived at the woman’s room. They saw all the female servants of Krishna sitting in the dust. Prema-bhavini was sitting on a small asana and reciting shastra. She was wearing plain white cloth. Her forehead was marked with long tilaka, and her neck was decorated with tulasi beads. Her limbs were marked with the holy name of Hari. Near her was an acamana cup (this is for purifying the hand). The Vaishnavis sitting around her were wearing the same dress and holding japa-mala in their hands. They were all looking at Prema-bhavini’s face like chataka birds. She was sweetly reciting from  “Chaitanya-charitamrita” (Madhya, 23.9-13):

 

kona bhagye kona jivera sraddha yadi haya

tabe sei jiva sadhu-sanga ye karaya

sadhu-sanga haite haya sravana-kirtana

sadhana-bhaktye haya sarvanartha-nivartana

anartha-nivrtti haile bhaktaye nistha haya

nistha haite sravanadye ruci upajaya

ruci haite bhaktye haya asakti pracura

asakti haite cite janme krsne prity-ankura

sei bhava gadha haile dhare prema-nama

sei prema prayojana sravanananda dhama 

“If, by good fortune, a living entity develops faith in Krishna, he begins to associate with devotees. When one is encouraged in devotional service by the association of devotees, one becomes free from all unwanted contaminations by following the regulative principles and chanting and hearing. When one is freed from all unwanted contamination, he advances with firm faith, nishtha. When firm faith in devotional service awakens, a taste for hearing and chanting also awakens. After taste is awakened, a deep attachment arises and from that attachment the seed of love for Krishna grows in the heart. When that ecstatic emotional stage intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. Such love is  life’s ultimate goal and the reservoir of all pleasure.”[1]

 

This verse is quoted from the “Chaitanya-charitamrita” and it is also included – the same gradual development of the process – in the “Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu”. It makes our heart very calm. Because in the beginning and while on this path, we are always restless. We always want more and more, and quickly, and urgently, and expressly. But here it is said: “First you have some faith, then you associate with the devotees, then you start cultivation, in this way you get rid of he anarthas – the unnecessary things; then you will have nishtha, firm faith; then the real taste of hearing and chanting will come to you, not before! And when it intensifies, it will be the entrance of bhakti; and when it is fully purified and blossoms, this is called divine love of Godhead. We cannot start at the end. We can only start at the beginning. Have faith, associate, purify your existence. As Shrila Prabhupada said: “Work now, samadhi later”.

 

 

[1] From “Prema-pradipa” by Bhaktivinoda Thakura



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