Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Prabhupad laughing

Question of Yadunath: We have understood that guru is the best receiver of charity. And he is probably the best giver, provider of charity. Could you please comment on this? What is a proper example for giving?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, for example Shrila Prabhupada is a very good example for receiver and distributor. He had met hundreds and millions of people. Once it happened that he was flying to Australia and until he arrived the person sitting next to him donated a big piece of land to him. Because he understood: “This is a very saintly person. What can I do with the 108th property of mine? I can give it to him.” So in this way the farm community in Australia started.

Other times people you know tried to serve a respectable personality with all possibilities. So when he was visiting England – the castle of John Lennon – he provided his white Rolls-Royce to Prabhupada to carry him. And if you take a picture – Prabhupada entering or taking off from a white Rolls-Royce you might misunderstand it. You might think: “What kind of saintly guy is this, riding in a Rolls-Royce?!” But nobody would be upset if John Lennon, proletarian from Liverpool, is riding a Rolls-Royce.

Other times people were trying to serve Prabhupada with different other items. If you check the pictures of Shrila Prabhupada, sometimes you will see him with Rolex watches or golden rings. You might think: “Wow, this is improper for a renounced saint to use such stuff!” But most of the time people were bringing all the different things and offerings and he accepted, put on the finger and next day he was giving it to someone.

So this is the mentality of a saint: I accept your service and distribute it to someone else. And the most impressive thing about him is his castle in Mayapur. This castle is a very special one. It is made of bamboo and palm leafs – a very simple hut practically. Even when he was a leader of a world mission, he was living in this grass hut. So, this is the mentality of the saint – channeling the energy of all around into a proper direction.

And about the service of the spiritual master – if maybe this is what you’ve meant by your question – this is very nice to remember Shrila Prabhupada. Once in Vrindavana, in Krishna-Balaram temple, one magician came. They introduced him to Prabhupada also – the hall was full, some devotees were there, the magician came and started his tricks. And you know, he started to create some diamonds in the hand and pull some coins from Prabhupad’s ears and other tricks. And Prabhupada was laughing like anything, enjoying the situation. The devotees felt a little uneasy: “He is extracting money from the ears of our Gurudev! It’s so unusual, it’s offensive!” But he was laughing and enjoying. While at once he did not laugh anymore. He became very serene and he said: “You think that you are a magician. But actually I am the magician. Because I can save these guys from death. This is the real magic.”

So this is the service of the saints provided for us. How can you remunerate it? Difficult. Therefore the real transaction between shishya and guru is that the disciple will offer his or her life and the spiritual master will offer his love in exchange. Which is more precious? Decide it for yourself.

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