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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2014 evening, Sofia)
 
Spiritual association is very important. Simply visiting an ashram is a spiritual practice. And to associate with devotees is a great chance in our life, so that their example, their energy is transferred to us. An ashram or a temple is a place for spiritual practice. Here we can receive and here we can give, share. I don’t know what your feeling is, but my feeling is that I receive a lot! And I can give, offer very small. But fortunately we are many, so if we all offer little, little, little, then our Krishna is satisfied.
So, we continue our readings about the 64 main practices of devotional service. The first ten were preliminary necessities. “The next set of instructions is listed as follows: One should rigidly give up the company of non-devotees.”[1] What does it mean? The majority of our friends and environment, so to say, are non-devotees. To rigidly give up their company?! That means you become a hermit on the Black Peak.[2] So what does it mean? What is the positive meaning of this instruction? It’s not enough simply to give up the association of non-devotees, because if you give up the company of your fellow human beings, you will end up with yourself. And as we want to start this practice, and this practice is for non-devotees, for those who only want to become devotees, finally you will again have a non-devotional company. What is the positive instruction here? Search for the spiritual company, associate with spiritual people. In their company our vision will change. More and more we shall see the spiritual qualities of our friends around. And by sharing and showering your spiritual qualities over others, they will also become spiritualized. So this very special, subtle and slow transition will start. This is the real meaning of giving up non-devotional company. Search for devotional company. 
The second from this set: “One should not instruct a person who is not desirous of accepting devotional service.” In other words it is explained in the Bhagavad Gita: don’t disturb the mind of others.[3] This is a basic rule in any kind of help – either social or healthcare, or mental, or spiritual help to others – you can help only those who want it. If somebody doesn’t want your help – what can you do? Even then devotees have a chance. You can wish all good success to the person. Or we have another secret weapon – this is prasadam. If somehow we bring people in contact, in any way, with spiritual energy, they will take the benefit. 
But if somebody is ready and desirous of accepting devotional service, he should be instructed. There is one definition of a disciple: that he is under discipline. This is a disciple – who is ready to take the guidance, who is ready to take the shelter. Such a person should be instructed. And you know the weak disciples need much care and attention. To them you have to explain very patiently and long what should be done. I think this is obvious – if somebody is in a difficult situation, they need more care than usual. But a good disciple, a good bhakta, needs even more time and attention, because he wants to hear more, he is very inquisitive. So those who are in a very bad condition and those who are in a very good condition, they need more attention. Those who are in the middle category, they can manage themselves, they run by themselves. 
But I think you know what I mean – that we have to give special care and special attention to the newcomers and to the superiors, to say it in another word. Because the first category need so much care and attention to train them, to feel that they are protected. While we should take all the possible time and chance to associate with the higher ones, to acquire something from them, to receive their blessings. 
And instruction in devotional service has only one goal – how to make Krishna more happy, more satisfied. This is what unites us in instruction. 
 
(to be continued)
 
1. Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 6
2. The highest peak of Vitosha Mountain
3. Bhagavad Gita 3.29

 



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