Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question of Damodar: My question concerns the six types of dealings between devotees. Here (in the songbook) these dealings are described a little bit different as I knew them. “To visit the meetings of devotees, to invite devotees in your home; to listen and to discuss devotional topics; to accept mahaprasadam from devotees and to offer mahaprasadam to devotees.” For the first one especially – I knew it is to buy some things and present them to devotees. Here is a new point for me – that you should visit the meetings of devotees and that you should invite them in your home.

Tirtha Maharaj: Why not?

Damodar: Is this cancelling the presents?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, if we are following the calculative line, you can think: six elements, all right. So I will visit their gatherings, but no presents! But better we expand the services, right? If you visit the temple, bring some gifts for Krishna or the vaishnavas. Because if one person has to finance for example all the bhoga expenses of the temple for a month, that is quite a sum. But if everybody is bringing something every day visiting the temple, this sum is decreased, nobody is burdened and everybody is happy, because everybody is joining the service. But it needs a little organization. Because if everybody brings only potatoes, well, Mahaprabhu will be satisfied. But if somebody brings pepper also, Mahaprabhu is more satisfied.

So, this is part of the vaishnava culture. Don’t meet God and don’t meet guru without bringing something to them. At least a few good words: “Gurudev, I have sold so many books.” Or “I have invited so many guests for the next occasion.” Don’t think if you bring your complaints that is a very welcome, glorious offering. Or if you bring your mind only as an offering to the Lord. “Others bring the flowers, but You have enough flowers, I give my mind.”

And especially for householders this is very appropriate to invite sadhus. Because then our home turns into a temple. And also even if we are not willing to distribute gifts, when a sadhu comes, he might have a good eye and a good taste and he will understand what is your favourite item at home that you are most attached to. Then he will say: “Ah, such a nice piece of – stone, for example – can you give it to me? We need that stone in the temple.” Actually once it happened to me. I had a very old like a fossil, few million years old and I am attached to stones. And we had a very dear friend visiting, Nrisingha Maharaj, and you know, he is also a good collector. And when he saw all these stones and fossils around, he said: “Ah, that is an interesting piece. May I have that?” And, you know, if a sannyasi asks something you should not say “no”. So I felt the strong cables of attachment being cut by vaishnavas. And with trembling hands I had to deliver this to him.

Same happened in the family of Nityananda Prabhu. Because once a sannyasi visited their home. But there he did not say: “Give me this piece of stone.” He said: “May I have your son?” And what could the parents say? “Take.” Although they were heartbroken. And this boy, taken by this very nice sadhu, was Nityananda Prabhu.

Anyway, think twice before you invite a vaishnava into your home. Because somehow or other, even if you want to give gifts or not, he will decrease your attachments.

So, devotional service is never decreased, it only increases.

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