December 2019
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, evening, Sofia)
(continues from the previous Friday)
“Question: “It is said there are five principles for Bhakti: associating with devotees, chanting Harinama, hearing Srimad Bhagavatam, worshiping Tulasi, and residing in the holy Dhama. In regard to residing in the Dhama, is that for the general devotees, or just especially fortunate, or more advanced devotees?”
These are the five main practices of our process: sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtan, bhagavad-shravan, shri murti shradaya-seva and mathura-vas[1]. So, living in a holy place – to whom is it for? 
Shrila Shridhar Maharaj says: “Generally it is meant for madhyama-adhikari devotees – those who can discriminate. Kanistha-adhikaris cannot differentiate between the various positions of different personalities – who is advanced, who is neutral, who is envious. But “religion means proper adjustment” – our Guru Maharaj used to say this now and then, and that “proper adjustment” requires sambandha-jnana, knowing what is what. Then one’s service will come accordingly, and one’s necessity, one’s destination, will be established from that. Sanatana Goswami is the acharya of sambandha-jnana. 
“Who am I? Where am I? What am I?” All these questions – “Why am I troubled? What is the real purpose of my life?” – are answered when there is proper adjustment with the Absolute and the relative. Nothing can be sacrificed.” [2]
In order to help understand it better, we can see from this description that there are some essential points as spiritual practices. Actually this is what I was thinking yesterday. May I have a question to you? If you come here, what is the message; is there any benefit that you can take with you?
Answers: Yes. Every time.
Swami Tirtha: That’s good, because I was wondering if it helps people, or not? 
Answer: It helps.
Swami Tirtha: Thank you! It pacifies my heart. And we should be able somehow to express ourselves in the spiritual sense. So, if we gain something by visiting the ashram, then it’s a natural thing that we give a feedback. What is our feedback? We come again. Or next time we shall give the lecture. Somehow we start to be part of this exchange. Something is coming from the divine source and reflected on us, and then we reflect it back. 
Actually these are five main principles and practices that we can do. If we want to practice this bhakti-yoga, these are the five chances: chant the names, associate with the devotees, listen to the teachings, worship and live in a holy place. Practically almost everything can be done by yourself. If you create a holy place from your home by establishing an altar which is like an embassy of the divine sphere, then you can turn your home into a holy place. If you turn on your computer and you listen to the Bhagavata lectures, or you chant the holy names at home, offer your flower and incense to God. But there’s one thing you cannot really do at your home – this is the association with the devotees. Because at home only we live; it’s only me, myself. Of course, you are very fortunate if you live with your husbands and wives, and families who are also devotees. But then this is a sadhu-sanga, this is not an ordinary family. Nevertheless if we come to the ashram, we shall be drawn into some service. “Oh, so nice that you came! Can you help me a little?” By coming closer we can be part of this exchange. So if you want to practice – please, pay attention to these five principles!  
(to be continued)
1. Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.22.128.
2. The Golden staircase, Ch. 2 Harmonizing Instructions Of The Upper House , by Shrila Shridhar Maharaj

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