Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Question of Prana Krishna: A practical question. When Sadhu Maharaj was here he gave a very nice definition about the goals of our practice – having a pious life and building the relationship with the Lord. What are the symptoms that we are properly building our relationship with the Lord and we do not make mistakes in the practice, that we really make a step towards Him and He makes a step towards us?

Tirtha Maharaj: It is a good question. You want to see the results? Enough of the theories, enough of the unseen truths. That means we want to measure. That means – illusion. “Maya” means not only “not that”, “maya” also means “to measure”[1]. So if we want to measure God, that is illusion. If we want to see the results, that is illusion. Those who have deep faith they do not need proofs. They are almost blind. “I do not mind if You show Your face or not, I do not mind! I am Your unconditional servant.” Maybe this is a little sidetrack, I did not want to talk about this on this lecture, but now it just came. Because I have mentioned thatKrishna is ultimately giving full freedom to Arjuna to say “yes”. And the same is there in Mahaprabhu’s ultimate teachings. Because in “Shikshashtaka” what He says?  “I am Your unconditional servant – irrespective of Your feedback: You accept me or reject me, I am here, I am your servant, unconditionally.” In “Gita”Krishna is talking like God; therefore He gives “full freedom” to His disciple to choose. In the “Shikshashtaka”Krishna is talking as a servant, as a devotee and there He does not give any choice to His beloved Lord. “You cannot escape me.” So God can give freedom; a devotee does not provide any freedom. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is not an obedient lover: “Well, you can go, as you like…” No. He says: “Whatever you do, I am Yours”. And implicitly it means that “You belong to me.” This is real possessive love. “You belong to me. You are not free to go, my Lord. I am Yours – that means You are mine! You are not free.” So if you ask about the importance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, this is the importance – He is possessive lover. God gives freedom; but when God comes as a worshiper, He does not give freedom. This isKrishna bhakti – when you lose your freedom, even God loses His freedom.

So how not to make mistakes in this progress? There are three ways to escape mistakes. Three ways to be perfect. One way is nitya-siddha, that means eternally perfect. These souls are born on earth in a perfect form – not under the control of illusion, karma or whatever. But this is very rare. The second is the sadhana-siddha. They are performing the job, performing the self-realization and purification process so intensively, that they reach perfection. So, by performing sadhana they achieve siddha. This is also rare. The third is the kripa-siddha – those who achieve perfection by mercy. Ah, this sounds familiar. It is providing a home feeling, home comfort. “Yes, I also have a chance. I am not born perfect; although I try, I can hardly perform everything correctly. But I am trying my best, therefore please, put my name on Your list of mercy!” So kripa-siddha means that we catch on the divine mercy. If there is a chance for service – do it, do not miss it! If you have a chance to associate with the saints – do not miss it! You will have a whole lifetime that you can waste on yourself! Devote some time to the great saints. And kripa-siddha is such a unique opportunity that sometimes the great ones exercise their mercy against our will. Because if God comes as a servant and He does not give any freedom to God, do you think that He will give you freedom?! Forget it! There is no freedom. No freedom at all – neither for God nor for the servants. Forcefully they will make you happy.

Ramvijay: Nityananda Prabhu’s style.

Tirtha Maharaj: Violent bhakti!

But to be a little bit more serious – what will guide us and what will protect us from our own shortcomings and mistakes? There is only one thing – this is the inner purity of the intention. If we have that, then naturally we want to do everything according to the best of our capacity, we try to offer the best to Krishna what is available and ultimately He will help us also in correcting our mistakes. Therefore He is providing sadhu-sanga, because by this practical association and joint services we are purified. Just like the pieces of stone upon the hill are very sharp; but when they reach down to the plain and reach the sea, for example, they are very soft and round shaped. But this is a long path. Yet ultimately they will be very smooth. In the same way we have to remove the sharp edges of the false ego. Lev Tolstoy said: “Ah my Lord! I am like a piece of stone. Make me like a piece of bread.” A little transformation…

Prana Krishna: So everything is depending on the inner purity of our motivation?

Tirtha Maharaj: This is our contribution. Otherwise we are depending on so many other factors also. Like past conditionings, karma, good chance, blessings, readiness of our abilities, how we can utilize our energies. But the main inner contribution this is the purity of intention. Do not forget: books are the basis, preaching is the essence, purity is the force and utility is the principle[2].

[1] Editor’s note: Here Gurumaharaj indicates the two kinds of etymology of the word ‘maya’. The word ‘maya’ means illusion, creating illusion. According to an explanation this word derives from the combination of words ‘ma-ya’ (not that), but Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati derives it from the verb ‘ma’ (measures, compares).

[2] Excerpt from Shrila Prabhupada’s instructions

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