Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Faith is the method to understand our ultimate goal of existence. Faith is the greatest power of a human being. We can repeat: “I am a servant of God” or we can really, deeply realize that. Repeating on the surface is nothing. Superficial repetition will not help. But if we deeply dedicate ourselves, if we really depend on God and not on our plans – then it starts to work.
The next question should be: then how to obtain this faith? If faith is so strong and this is so important, how to get it, how to have it?
In the “Bhagavad-gita”, in one purport of Shrila Prabhupada it is said that faith comes from association with the devotees. So we can obtain faith from those who have it, by the blessings of Shri Guru and by practicing what they are suggesting. All these are very important elements. Because if we associate with people with deep faith, we shall also have faith. If you associate with people, who are hesitating, you will also hesitate. If you associate with drunkards, you will be a drunkard, right? So choose your association. Try to find a higher kind, a spiritual kind of association. This should be our past, this should be our present and this should be our future – associating with the devotees.
Once they asked Shrila Bhakti Promod Puri Goswami Maharaj – he was about a hundred years old pure saint: “Maharaj, you are practicing bhakti for eighty years, what is your conclusion?” He waited a minute and said: “Well… without the company of the devotees it does not work.” This was his conclusion. Please, pay attention to this advice. Without good, spiritual, elevated association, it is very, very difficult. Therefore we should search for a positive environment – such a company that helps our growth – protects, helps, nourishes… Nourishing company. Why? Because if you have to grow in an antagonistic environment, then you have to waste much of your energy for survival, not for growth.
But that is also true, one our friend today said: “My immune system is very strong, because I have got so many bad effects. Therefore I am strong, because I have a difficult life.” That is also true, it helps. But if you are fortunate enough to find this nourishing environment, then say “Thanks” to God. If He puts you into such circumstances, be thankful and happy about it. If He puts you in the hell storm, be happy and thankful about it.
And do not forget, superficial repetition is not enough. Remember always the story of the simple ladies, who were carrying the water. A big guruji was sitting on a bank of a river. He was giving a lecture to a big audience. Attentive audience they were, very spiritual and everybody was giving full attention. Just like you now, waiting for the message. Guruji was saying: “Don’t forget, by Rama naam, by the holy name of Rama, you can cross the ocean of material existence.” The audience was mesmerized: “Fantastic! Guruji is fantastic!” Everybody went home satisfied. And the ladies, who were carrying the water in big pots over their heads, were just passing by when Guruji was telling the big sentence: “By Rama naam you can cross the material existence.” So the next occasion ladies again came to the river and they wanted to cross to the other side. But the boatman was sleeping, so it was impossible to take the boat. Then they started to think: “What shall we do?” And one of them said: “Hey, you remember? Swamiji said that by Rama naam we can cross the ocean of existence! Let’s try, this is just a little river.” Then they agreed: “Ah! This is a very nice idea, we shall try! Rama! Rama! Rama…” crossing the river! So they were paying attention. They were practicing with faith and they were crossing the river. At that time guruji was meditating on the other side of the river. Then he saw the ladies walking on the surface of the river, chanting Rama naam. And he said: “Yes! I am so great. You see, simply by following my advice, they walk on the river. I am so strong! I can also cross the river!” He immediately jumped up and tried to cross the river, but immersed on the spot. Because he did not really believe what he was saying. Therefore it is a very important law: you should take yourself very seriously the advice that you are distributing to others. First do, then tell.
This is the power of faith. This is the power of pure practice. This is the way to cross the suffering ocean of material existence.

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