September 2020
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2016 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

The rareness of pure spiritual service: “In the preliminary phase of spiritual life there are different kinds of austerities for attaining self-realization. However even if the executor of these processes is without any material desire, he still cannot achieve devotional service. And aspiring by oneself alone to achieve devotional service, he is also not very hopeful, because Krishna does not agree to award devotional service to merely anyone. Krishna can easily offer a person any material happiness, or even liberation, but He does not agree very easily to award a person engagement in His devotional service. Devotional service can in fact be attained only through the mercy of a pure devotee. In the Chaitanya Charitamrita it is said: “By the mercy of the spiritual master, who is a pure devotee, and by the mercy of Krishna one can achieve the platform of devotional service.” There is no other way.”[1]

So, guru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija – “By the mercy of the spiritual master and Krishna the seed of devotional service is planted in the heart.”[2] So nice! And what happens if we receive a seed in our heart? We have to cultivate it, so that it grows. You have to protect the small little plant, nourish it, water it, so that it grows and penetrates through the universe. And finally it should reach the lotus feet of Radha-Govinda to enhance the beauty of the Divine Couple. This devotional seed is very precious for us. Because it will not only bring leaves, but it will also bring some flowers and ultimately it will bring the fruits. And what is the fruit of the seed of pure devotion? This is pure devotion – the most delicious fruit of any spiritual activities.

Therefore by the mercy of God Supreme and by the mercy of His representative, the spiritual master, we try to cultivate this devotional seed. How can we be so stupid to reject the blessings of a pure devotee? To eradicate the seed from our heart? ‘I don’t need this seed anymore, I don’t need this mantra anymore, I don’t need your blessings anymore’… It’s rare.

“The rarity of devotional service is also confirmed in the tantra-shastra, where Lord Shiva says to Sati: “My dear Sati…” You see, this is so special! Here Shiva is speaking and Sati, the wife, is listening. What happens usually in a family relationship?

Answer: The opposite.

Swami Tirtha: You see, this is transcendental! This is the original version – when Shiva is speaking and Sati is listening. So, when the lady is speaking and you have to listen – that’s a material reflection of the original situation, sorry to say. And I don’t know if it is a joke or reality, but two husbands are discussing: “You know, in our home the final word is always mine!” The friend is very surprised and says: “How is that?” “Yes, darling!”  But let’s try to focus on the original version.

So, “Lord Shiva says: “My dear Sati, listen! If one is a very fine philosopher, analyzing the different processes of knowledge, he can achieve liberation from the material entanglement. By performance of the ritualistic sacrifices recommended in the Vedas one can be elevated to the platform of pious activities and thereby enjoy the material comforts of life to the fullest extent. But all such endeavors can hardly offer anyone devotional service to the Lord, not even if one tries for it by such processes for many-many thousands of births.”

Although it is said that it’s difficult and rare to achieve pure devotional service, nevertheless this is possible. The next aspect of pure devotional service is that it is beyond liberation. We understand from our tradition that liberation has different gradations: like to achieve similar status to God; to have similar bodily features; to come to His presence… Yet pure devotion is not satisfied with such achievements, but it wants to establish a living and loving connection to the Supreme. And we are not satisfied with this step-by-step liberation, we want an ultimate and supreme solution to all the problems.

Nityam bhagavata sevaya[3] – permanently, eternally serving bhagavata. Devotion will be established in the heart of a devotee as an irrevocable fact. And then the knots on the heart are resolved. Therefore we want this type of solution, which shows the very bright prospect beyond liberation. So, don’t be satisfied with this insignificant liberation. There is something more waiting for you. Liberation is not a goal, this is a side effect. Maybe today these are only words for you, for us, but this is a very high type of reality.

(to be continued)


[1] Nectar of devotion, Chapter 1

[2] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 19.151

[3] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.2.18


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