Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




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Question: If you hear open offences towards vaishnavas, how should you react and where is the limit, the borderline of aparadh, offence? Because anyway you should react somehow…

Tirtha Maharaj: I cannot give a general advice, because it depends on the situation. But basically our reactions depend on our vision and conviction. And to say “thief” on a thief is not an aparadh. If somebody commits a mistake, some nonsense, and you say: ‘Hey, wait a minute, this is nonsense!’ – this is not an aparadh. We should always consider the motivation, why somebody criticizes for example another person? If ‘to push myself in the front”, of course this is stupid; if to correct the other’s mistake, then this is service.

So, where is the limit of aparadh? I can tell you times are changing. So these limits are flexible. Once Gurudev returned from his trip and some devotees were taking him finally to Nandafalva, his place. And meanwhile he decided to visit some other places, other ashrams. While the devotees informed him that that person, that bhakta who is taking care of that ashram was already not there, but joined the upcoming celebration in Nandafalva. Gurudev was little surprised. He said: “In our times it was just unbelievable such behavior. Prabhupad told me to stay here and to go from that place – it was just impossible!”

This gives you some idea about the limits of aparadh?

Question: Yes. In this respect yes, but I am asking about a situation not when you openly talk with the person, but when somebody is talking about a third person, and not only commenting his mistakes, but calling him ill names?

Tirtha Maharaj: The stupid guy is who gives an ear.

Question: So you should immediately break this communication?

Tirtha Maharaj: Immediately or later on, it does not matter, but an endless blasphemous conversation leads to nowhere. If somebody wants to do that, no problem, it’s his or her business, but why should you enter that? Why should you give an ear to such a message? Defend yourself! Say: “Ah, very nice, but sorry, I have a few rounds to chant,” and that’s it! So, why should you stay there? It’s not the other person, it’s you if you listen.

But these small little stupid details are never ending. It’s a long story and if we should pay too much attention to this… well, I could not tolerate that job for a long time. The dogs bark, the caravan goes on.

Other questions? Something real?

Question of Manjari: I apologize for asking again a question I have already asked. It’s very easy to judge others and to see their bad characteristics, but what is the way to see our own mistakes and to correct ourselves? I need a practical advice.

Tirtha Maharaj: Sometimes honestly ask others. But honestly. Once somebody asked me in a very peaceful, intellectual way: “Tell me, what are my mistakes, my shortcomings?” And, you know, if there is a peaceful intellectual question, then you start peacefully and intellectually explain what are the mistakes. Then I received a very heavy emotional reaction: “Ah! Again you are torturing me!” or something like this. “You asked, I only tell! That was your question. I did not want to tell it to you, I know where you are, I have my opinion and I am ready to keep it for myself. But you asked! And then I tell and you are upset – come on!”

Therefore it is said: “Ask a sadhu only if you are ready to accept the answer.” – paragraph number one. Paragraph number two: “It’s not obligatory to ask.” If you are not on that platform, you should not ask, because you will get the answer.

But as we are always related to other people, therefore to have a feedback, to ask: “What is your opinion? How do you see? Please, help me to understand my position!” – it’s beneficial.

But our main duty is not to focus on our own mistakes. Our main duty is to focus on the lotus feet of Krishna. Because by connecting with the all-purifying, our whole existence will be purified. If we focus on our mistakes, on our mayas, then we shall have maya consciousness. Just like many Christians, they have devil consciousness. They always speak of the devil and how the devil is smiling in certain cases – they are obsessed with this idea. Isn’t it? Devotees also might have aparadh consciousness or maya consciousness. But we should not focus on maya or the mistakes; we should focus on the Supreme. Therefore the relevant answer to your question is: chant more. Because that will purify our heart and help us to see everything properly.

 



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