March 2021
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

fire and water

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.01.2016 morning, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

We discussed that we have to identify our place, find our position. “Devotees may be divided into three classes. The first or the uppermost class is described as follows: one is very expert in the study of revealed scriptures and he is also expert in putting forward arguments in terms of those scriptures. He can very nicely present the conclusions with perfect discretion and can consider the ways of devotional service in a decisive way. He understands perfectly that the ultimate goal of life is to attain to the transcendental loving service of Krishna and he knows that Krishna is the only object of worship and love. This first-class devotee is one who has strictly followed the rules and regulations under the training of a bona fide spiritual master and has sincerely obeyed him in accord with the revealed scriptures. Thus, being fully trained to preach and become a spiritual master himself, he is considered first-class. The first-class devotee never deviates from the principle of higher authority and he attains firm faith in the scriptures by understanding with all reason and arguments. When we speak of arguments and reason, this means arguments and reason on the basis of revealed scriptures. The first-class devotee is not interested in dry speculative methods meant for wasting time.

“The second-class devotee has the following symptoms: he is not very expert in arguing on the strength of the revealed scriptures, but he has a firm faith in the objective. The purport of this description is that the second class devotee has a firm faith in the procedure of devotional service unto Krishna, but he may somehow fail to offer arguments and decisions on the strength of revealed scriptures to an opposing party. At the same time he is fully sure within himself as to his decision that Krishna is the supreme object of worship.

“The neophyte, or the third-class devotee is one whose faith is not strong and at the same time does not recognize the decisions of the revealed scriptures. The neophyte’s faith can be changed by someone else with strong arguments. Unlike the second-class devotee, who also cannot put forward arguments and evidences from the scriptures, but still has all faith in the objective, opposing to this the neophyte has no firm faith in the objective. Thus he is called a neophyte devotee.”[1]

So, we have to find our place. Here we have three categories. And as we are trained to be humble, we don’t claim ourselves to be on the topmost platform. But you know, as we have been sitting here for two weeks already, we don’t consider ourselves neophytes either. ‘Our position is a middle-class devotee. Better to say upper middle-class.’

Actually this scale, this classification is not for judging others, this is a mirror for ourselves. What is a real quality of a pure, first-class devotee? Whoever meets him, they want to follow him. Do you have that quality? Hardly, right. So, if we are realistic – this s what we worship! Such a person we want to find – so that all our fears and opposition are destroyed, crushed, so that we can easily follow him. This is what we are searching for – such an example. We don’t need to possess that quality; we are searching for that, we worship that quality. Because if we can find it, that means it exists. So the word of our masters is true, fully true! Therefore we worship this principle. This is an ideal for us. Finally to meet such a person whom we can follow through fire and water to cross the material ocean.

And if we are ready to follow someone like this, almost immediately we qualify on the second platform. Because in the association of such an intensive company, immediately we are trained, we are given the knowledge, we have reached some experience and some realizations. That means nobody can take it away from you. ‘Yes, this is correct, this is the path, this is the direction!’ – nobody can change that conviction in you.

(to be continued)

[1] Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 3


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