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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




(from lecture of B.K.Tirtha Maharaja, 26.11.2006, Sofia)

“Manasa deho geho – my mind, my house, my body – all I devote and sacrifice to You. *

I bow down in front of your house giving up everything I have at your lotusfeet. You are the Supreme Lord. Please, accept me as a protective dog at Your door.”

This song is a cry of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He sets a very high target. “Whatever I have, I offer it to You. I have a body, I have a mind, I have a house. Everything I give to You. I preserve for myself nothing.”
Nice words! Our heart is flying – yes, this is it, I would like to do that! But when the time comes and you have to invite and tolerate a guest more than a weekend, it starts to become difficult. “I give my home to You” – do you really mean it?! “I dedicate my body to You” – do you understand what does it mean?! “I give my mind. My mind is not anymore mine – I give it to You.”
What does it mean if you offer your home? That you will be a guest in your house; or maximum a servant. You are not a proprietor anymore. Therefore Bhaktivinoda says: “Keep me at Your door as a protective dog.” The dog is not living inside, he is living outside. So if we want to offer our home to Krishna – be ready to live outside.
And as we are all guests here in this universe, somebody is a host. Who is the host – that is God ultimately. We are living in His home. It is not that He is living in our home, but we are living in His home.
First you offer your home – it is very easy, because it is outside of you. To offer something, that is not us is easy. And then Bhaktivinoda Thakura says: “But I offer my body also. Not even my body belongs to me.” That is a more demanding sacrifice. Because the body is so close to us. This is our instrument to express ourselves. This is what you feel as your prime possession. We are so proud of having this body. To offer it means that you offer all your activities in divine service. Is that easier – to offer the body than to offer the house? More difficult. But the most difficult is the mind.
“I offer my mind to you.” How to offer the mind? How can you offer the mind to something? How can you dedicate your mind to something? One definition of love is “I remember you often”. This is the way to offer your mind. “I do not think of myself but I think of you because of my emotional contact.” Just like a dog is connected to the master by the leash, in the same way our mind should be connected to Krishna by the chain of divine love.
“My mind, my body, my house I dedicate to You. Keep me as a dog at Your door. You will keep me on a short chain and You will feed me and I will stay at Your threshold. Those who oppose You I will not let enter, but I will keep them outside.” Dog is not considered very high class animal. But some good characters can be learnt from him. For example loyalty to the master. Of course we have to teach a dog who is the boss in the house. Once you have to overcome him. But then he will know: “He is the boss”. And then whatever happens, he will follow. Even if you beat him, he will love you more, he will obey you more. So if you are a dog outside the house of Krishna, be prepared to get sometimes some little chastisement if you do not behave nice. But you will get some prasadam also. He will take care of you.
“And You will keep me on a short chain.” Short chain means that you are close to your master. Just like a devotee. A devotee can work on a long leash; or on a short chain. But if there is no full dedication, neither will help. I had seen, we had seen in vaishnava history that some devotees get big freedom – they can do whatever they like. Their master is so tolerant, that he provides them big freedom. But then they stop certain spiritual practices. Others are on a very short chain and do the same. So it does not matter how long or how short is your leash, but it matters what is the level of your dedication.
“And those who oppose You I will keep them outside, I will not let them enter. My everyday food will be the remnants from the prasadam of the devotees. Unlimitedly happy I will make a big feast with these remnants! Whenever I sit or lay down, all the time I will meditate on Your lotus feet. Anytime You call me I will jump, and dance, and come to You. Although I do not care about my life, still I will be happy all the time. I consider You my only maintainer.”
Although these words are an interpretation of another song, if we really offer our body, mind and home, this should be our position. We are not running after any prestigious position like Brahma, but “if it is necessary to take another birth for me, I want to live in a home of a vaishnava. I am not attracted by material enjoyment or liberation. There is only one desire for me – to be Your eternal servant from lifetime to lifetime.”
Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura prays like this in order to remind us to take a humble position by offering whatever we have and to live in that dedicated mood.

*Excerpt from the poem “Manasa deho geho”, explained further with quotations form the poem “Sarvasva tomar charane sampiya” from the cycle of songs “Sharanagati” by Bhaktivinoda Thakura



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