Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2018 pm, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Question of Aradhana: What is the most important, concerning the puja?

Swami Tirtha: The servitors of Krishna are practically always engaged in some kind of activities. Bringing the water, preparing the betel nuts, washing the clothes, bringing some messages here and there, etc. etc. What about us? We are engaged in so many other activities. Checking out the YouTube channels; please, don’t put advertisement on this. You know, we are engaged with so much stupid stuffs. Therefore at least we have to be engaged in proper service. And there are practically two ways of formal services to Krishna, to God. One is the yagya and the other is the puja. Yagya is a social event, it’s a sacrificial ceremony; and puja is a personal, private intimate service to the deity. For a yagya the best is if many people come together, they offer prayers, they chant hymns, they throw grains – then all auspiciousness will come to the participants. But puja is a personal expression – when you treat Krishna as a guest, as if coming to your home. Or as if you are visiting His home. If you go to guests, you always bring something – this is our custom. If you go to Krishna as a guest, please follow the same principle – bring something.

And puja is this – I bring some water, I bring some incense, I bring some flowers to offer to You. I want to make you happy and satisfied. And usually I don’t bring second class things. If I go to a dear friend, I want to bring the first-class things. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura instructs us: “Use the best type of water that is available for you. Use the best type of fire that is available for you.” Because usually these stuff – the basic elements – are offered back to the source, to Krishna. And what is the best fire that we have? These are the sparks in our eyes. And what is the best water that we have? These are the teardrops of our eyes. This is what we have to bring. This is the essence of puja. Give your best. Give your best.

When you offer like that, the wicks of the ghi lamp will help you to understand what is ecstasy, what is real spiritual happiness. You know, one name of Mahaprabhu is The Great Dancer. And although He is always dancing, sometimes you don’t see it. You think that He is standing there on the altar in this frozen pose. Have you ever thought how difficult it is to stand like this for eternity?

Comment: Tapasya.

Swami Tirtha: No, this is not tapasya – this is ecstasy, it’s prema. Some yogis also raise their hand and stay like this for, let’s say, 12 years. So much so, that their hands wither. And they keep their fingers bent in fists – so that their nails go through the flesh of their palms. That is tapas. But this is ecstasy.

Our Mahaprabhu is always dancing. And when you offer these best flames and you look at Mahaprabhu through the flames, and when the flames are burning, the air is like dancing. And whatever is behind the flames is dancing. In this way puja, offering the ghi lamp, is a way to see reality. To see that our Mahaprabhu is always dancing. This is something about puja.

Of course puja is so private, so personal that it takes a lifetime to experience that. Actually this kind of intimate worship is not only when I bow down at the altar and I do some ritual steps; we have to permanently live in puja. Therefore it is said: it’s not enough to do only those things that you like to do. But whatever you do, you have to do it with love. That is puja. Then it is not simple activity, but it is service. It’s a very mysterious transformation. A devotee and a non-devotee are digging in their gardens in a similar manner. But one is doing an ordinary job, while the other is doing devotional service. We all have that chance to improve our daily activities – to turn them into divine service, divine connection, divine expression of our life.

So, puja is individual, yagya is communal. And which yagya is mostly recommended? Sankirtan-yagya. Yes! Don’t forget, chanting the holy name together is also yagya. It’s also a sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. In the secret teachings it is mentioned: there was a priest and he asked the congregation: “What kind of blessings do you want? I will sing out these blessings upon you by chanting my mantras.” So, sankirtan-yagya means you can achieve all blessings. Specify what kind of blessings you want. You want to achieve siddhis; or you want to improve your financial standards; or you want to achieve full domination over the planet Earth in one year? Or maybe you want to become a humble servant of the servants of the servants? So, please specify your desires.


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