May 2019
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“One day the teachers went to their home to do some work, allowing the boys, who were now alone, the opportunity to amuse themselves by playing. The schoolmates of Prahlada called him to play with them; yet Prahlada, who was very wise, smiled and replied with great affection. “Dear friends, please tell me, what is the purpose of this world?” Those innocent boys still had pure hearts, uncontaminated by the contacts with materialists who are attached to pleasure and pain. Because they loved Prahlada and respected him very much, they stopped playing and flocked around him. Sitting in a circle they listened very attentively to his words. And then Prahlada said: ”Those who are intelligent will engage in the service of the Lord from an early age, because it is very rare to obtain a human life. The human birth is temporary, but extremely valuable.”[1]

That means commitment to God doesn’t depend on age. If you are young, you can do it, if you are old, you can do it. Although we use these qualities as excuses: ‘Ah, I’m too young, I cannot join. Ah, now I’m too old, why should I join, I cannot.’ We always use the excuses. But we shouldn’t waste time, because we cannot change the current of time and we cannot bring back even one moment. So we should use the time properly. Therefore every single moment of human life is extremely valuable.

“Then Prahlada continued: “Coming in touch with the lotus feet of Vishnu means serving the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, which is the highest duty of all human beings. Shri Vishnu is the supreme object of love, the supreme controller, the well-wisher and the soul of all living entities. To approach the lotus feet of Shri Vishnu means to execute the process of devotional service in four basic sentiments – in neutral attachment, in servitorship, in friendship and in conjugal love. To follow any of these methods is known as bhagavata-dharma, devotion to the Supreme.”

Then next verse says: “Ah, children of the daityas! The pleasure of sense gratification is available in all life forms, even in the bodies of animals and birds. Just as we receive suffering even without searching for it, sense gratification will come according to our previous karma. Therefore after obtaining this valuable human life, you do not need to strive for sense enjoyment, because by this unnecessary effort valuable time is wasted. By engaging in devotional service at the lotus feet of Lord Mukunda we shall obtain benefits that are far greater than those which can be obtained through material enjoyment. Lord Mukunda will grant us liberation from the bondage of material life and he will give the real pleasure of life. No other worshipable personality is able to rescue us from the clutches of birth and death. For this reason one who is intelligent will fear the sufferings of material existence and understand that without devotion to the Lord one will fall from his position. In other words, without serving the Lord there can be no relief from misery. Having properly understood this point, one should sincerely pursue the real benefit of human life, by engaging in devotional service to the Lord in early childhood, before being attacked by disease and old age.”

And the further verses say: “A human life lasts approximately one hundred years. And during this short span of life those who are controlled by their senses can only take advantage of fifty of these years, as they spend their nights covered by ignorance and deep sleep.” So, while sleeping you cannot enjoy your body. “Of the remaining time ten years are spent with no facility of understanding during childhood, another ten years in playing and sporting during adolescence, and during old age the last twenty years of one’s life are spent as invalid in a life of retirement. The remaining time – only twenty or thirty years – is usually spent in the pursuit of sense enjoyment and the formation of strong attachment that generates innumerable sufferings, resulting in the loss of one’s very self in the deep illusion of bondage to home and family. There is no time left to search for one’s real benefit.”

So, this calculation says: hundred years of lifespan, for fifty years you sleep, for twenty you are ignorant as a small child and you play; and then at the end there are some ten-twenty years of disabled condition – so how much is left? Not so much, right? We have ten good years. Why should we waste these ten years with stupid activities?

We have to be careful about time. Because in that active period of your life you can determine your future – that you will later either enjoy or regret. Activities will definitely bring results. And the karma-phala, the fruits of our activities, will be distributed – if you like it or not. So we should be careful about our activities.

(to be continued)

[1] From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada


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