Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Gurudev in the church

Question of Yadunath: Gurudev, I wanted to ask you about the martyrdom, because it is very heavy for a trans-cultural, Cosmo-politic, Christian-based vaishnava to get the idea of being so very broadminded and liberal in some directions, and so focused and dedicated in another.

Tirtha Maharaj: Wait a minute! Cosmopolitan and liberal, Christian-vaishnava, sounds a little…

Yadunath: Yes, it is like no such thing.

Tirtha Maharaj: I hope so.

Yadunath: I guess this is the reason for some of the Hindus to cross us out. And I believe they have a very good reason for this. It is very much bothering me. I had the opportunity to read about the life and the glorious death of Christian saints, like these three sisters Faith, Hope and Love. So, one can say on a certain level of truth, this is a metaphor. Those guys, or girls weren’t just tortured like that, or anything. But we know, that Haridasa Thakura was also beaten almost to death. So, I believe, that for some level of consciousness, I don’t know – continental or civilizational level of consciousness – maybe this was the phenomenon for putting the faith into someone’s mind or hearth. And it is very hard for a beginner disciplic mind to be aware of this martyrdom and the meaning of sacrifice. And this makes it almost impossible to get the idea of this scale, to measure the weight of loyalty, the idea of what is important and what is our higher goal and what to die for. Can you please elaborate on martyrdom, because it is very deeply rooted in our background? And Bulgarians also like great rebels or warriors, they have also some past that is heavy, let’s say. It is full of some ideas and some convictions that can be irrelevant to many, but for us – is worth enough.

Yamuna: Maharaj, may I add something to his question, because it is very connected? Because we have this Christian background of vision that the martyrdom is something very big and important, and then for many people with such background it is very difficult to deal with the opposite idea of lila. Because they extrapolate on God the same expectations, as they used to have for martyrdom: “A real hero should suffer and sacrifice.”

Tirtha Maharaj: But Yamuna and you have given me a topic for a week seminar.

Let’s start from one expression of your question “cosmopolitan”. This is a semi-traditional expression, coming from the pre-globalization times. But it shows that some ideas, some practices penetrate different cultures practically unknowingly. I mean the cultures don’t recognize that something is happening, but those, who penetrate, they know. And I say semi-traditional because it’s been going on for a long time, but in one sense we should say “absolutely anti-traditional” as cosmopolitan means “I feel good everywhere, I feel fun everywhere.” That means, “I have no roots, I have no tradition. My tradition is not to have tradition. So in one sense we can say that this is like a mystic jewel, showing different colours. One is very revolting – this anti-traditional and penetrating nature – this is very revolting and dangerous. But, if it depends on your spiritual consciousness, that you are connected to the Supreme and therefore it doesn’t matter what are the circumstances around, what is the environment around – then this is a divine gem.

Still, better we are traditional, better we are deep rooted. These days people think that tradition limits their freedom. But it does not. A real deep rooted tradition helps you grow in your freedom. The more we submit ourselves, the more we are ready to give up our so called “freedom” and submit ourselves to the Divine will, the more free we shall be. So, traditional commitment is not against your freedom, it is for our freedom.

Then you mentioned the Cristian background vaishnava mix. If we understand that on the religious platform – yes, there are differences. But on the spiritual platform, these differences and formalities do not apply. There is only one God, but there are many monotheistic religions. And, for God’s sake, He is not a member of any. So, we have to come to the spiritual platform, and then the limitations and the enculturation or the socialization of our cultural background, they are not limit, but you can use the best elements of those in order to understand the higher truths.


(to be continued)

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