Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2016 evening, Sofia) 

So, we learned that there are different levels of devotional service. The first was the vaidhi-bhakti or devotional service according to rules and regulations.

“The principles of vaidhi-bhakti are described also in the Shrimad Bhagavatam where Shukadev Goswami instructs the dying Maharaj Parikshit how to act. Maharaj Parikshit met Shukadev Goswami just a week before his death and the king was perplexed of what should be done before he was to pass on. Many other sages also arrived there, but no one could give him the proper direction. Shukadev Goswami gave this direction to him as follows: “My dear king, if you want to be fearless in meeting your death next week, then you must immediately begin the process of hearing, chanting and remembering God. If one can chant and hear the mahamantra and always remember Lord Krishna, then he is sure to become fearless of death, which may come at any moment.”[1]

So, here a very special moment is mentioned. There was a complicated background of the story, but anyway: Parikshit Maharaj, who was a king, was cursed to die in seven days. We might think that he is fortunate, because he knew exactly the date. We can never know the date of our passing away. Once I heard from somebody: “Well, I will use the last 30 years of my life like this and like that.” Who knows if this is in the future? Maybe 29 years have passed already. So we can never know when this final exam will come. But our king was fortunate enough to know that in seven days he will have to pass away. And if we receive such a message – that very soon you will have to pass away – most probably we’ll want to use our time properly. Therefore our king Parikshit wanted to inquire from the saints what to do now.

And the name is very meaningful here also, because his name means ‘The Proper Observer’. So, we all have to be observers of our own life, of the situations around, of the prospects, trying to find the essence. So Parikshit means who has a penetrating vision. Nevertheless in this moment he was perplexed. His vision was not proper, therefore he wanted to inquire. So, whenever our vision is blurred, so to say, we have to inquire.

And Shukadev Goswami arrived on the spot where the king was waiting for consultation. He was a young man, almost a boy. Nevertheless he was considered the best authority on spiritual topics. This shows that spiritual elevation is not a question of time. Also in devotional circles it applies. Who is an elevated devotee it doesn’t really depend on time. Why? Because Krishna likes newcomers. And He gives all the enthusiasm and all the blessings to a pure heart. Therefore we have to maintain that mentality. Do you still remember the first day when you met the devotees? When you entered the ashram? When you first felt the smell of the incense? Or tasted prasadam? This is such an extreme experience! And we were all so enthused that ‘There is a way of my personal salvation! There is a chance for that!’ It is this mentality we have to maintain. And it is very beneficial to take pictures when you receive your initiation. Why? To collect my own pictures? To have a private gallery – or what? The point is not this. But in this blessed moment we are very-very close to our original spiritual identity. The original bliss of the soul is shown on your face. Therefore it is very nice and very useful from time to time to look at your face at that time. Then to have a mirror and to check your face today. What happened meanwhile? ‘At that time I was so blissful, I was so much shining! And now I’m… shining even more!’ This is what we have to maintain – that original purity, that original blissful state that we have tasted. We had an intro into reality. This is what we have to maintain by feeling a neophyte all the time, permanently. Then we can inquire properly – even if we know that we shall pass away in seven days or if we don’t know, it doesn’t matter. We can inquire properly.


(to be continued)


[1] Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 2


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