Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 evening, Sofia)

Question of Pavitra: Gurudev, could you please share some story from Bhaktivinod Thakur’s life?

Swami Tirtha: He was a very strong person. He was a visionary and also like a magistrate. For one period he was the head of the administration of the Jagannath Puri Temple. He had many sons. And one of his sons was named after one servant-goddess in the Temple of Jagannath. This is one aspect of the Universal Mother – Bimala Devi. And the gift of this divine Mother was Bimal Prasad das. Who is that Bimal Prasad das?! We’ve never heard of him! Maybe if we call him by another name – Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur – then we will remember. If the son, Bhaktisiddhanta or Bimal Prasad, was a singha-guru, a lion guru, then you can imagine what the father was like.

Once there was a fake yogi in his vicinity, in the village, who posed himself as God. He indeed had some mystic powers, but Bhaktivinod also knew all the tricks. This Baba had long hair. So what did Bhaktivinod do? He made the person shave his hair. This was the way to make him lose his powers. Because he was collecting the mystic powers in his hair. But my dear brothers, it’s not necessary to grow your hair. Don’t collect your spiritual powers in your hair-style. So he was strong, he was cutting through all misconceptions.

He had his residence in the Navadvip area. It’s like a village compared to Jagannath Puri and at that time it was practically a jungle. But he had some very unusual practices. For example, his chanting was like shouting out loud. So he was walking up and down in his garden and shouting the holy names. He was so much surcharged with spiritual yearning that he couldn’t resist, he couldn’t compose himself. And although at that time not even the holy birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprbhu was identified – it was a jungle – Bhaktivinod had a vision of beautiful huge temples all around. And what happened? After 100 years everything was manifested. At the beginning of the 19th century there was hardly anything, at the end of the 20th century – huge domes all over. So his vision was so powerful. His creative power was so strong that it started to manifest.

He realized that somehow for a long time he was not acquainted with Mahaprabhu’s teachings. But when he understood that: “The Savior lived here in Bengal!”, he was enamored. He was so much enchanted by the story and the teachings of Mahaprabhu that he started to work very hard on His preaching campaign. And when he had some books written and translated, he made a list of important destinations in the world. So many books to Canada; so many books to Germany; to Russia this and this – in this way he was distributing his literature.

A very powerful person. And actually he was working through his sons. Sons and friends like Goura Kishora das Babaji. I think he had two or three different purports for the Bhagavad Gita. A summary of the Shrimad Bhagavatam, short stories and spiritual novels – so he was a very proficient writer. And he was also a poet. He was writing his songs in Bengali – just to reach people directly. Whatever we have today in our tradition is practically starting with him. He is like reviving the hidden stream.

And one more thing: he had a very unusual daily regime. Starting the day at two after midnight. His diet was a cup of milk and two chapattis. Then he had an extreme day. Somewhere it is written at what hour what he was doing – two-three hours of sleeping, otherwise chanting, translating, going to his job and this and that… And I heard about a devotee who was so much inspired by this that he decided to follow the same. For a very short time.

Of course we are inspired by the example of the great ones. But we should identify our position and act accordingly. How is it said? Do the most that you can and a little bit more. Do the most, and a little bit more. Not too much more.

Everything is a question of rasa. By practicing nicely, steadily, you will reach. Everything will come. If full realization would come before you can bear or tolerate that, it wouldn’t help you.

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