June 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) 

So, Prahlada was thinking for himself: “Shanda and Amarka are not real gurus. I had the opportunity to learn vishnu-bhakti, devotion to Vishnu, from Narada Muni, who is my real guru. I can say something from the teachings of Shanda and Amarka as my father desires, but because I have been asked in the presence of others, I shall speak about the instructions of my real sad-guru Narada Muni.”[1]

From these two other teachers what can you learn? Only politics. From Narada Muni what can you learn? Devotion. Usually all the rishis and teachers give their knowledge in certain shastras, in certain written form. Narada also is considered to be the author of a very important scripture; it’s called the Narada-bhakti-sutras. Sutra is ‘the thread’ or ‘the essence of thought’ and bhakti is ‘devotion to God’. So this is an essential treatise on bhakti. And if this is the ultimate scripture of Narada, what can you learn from him? Only bhakti.

“After reflecting like this, Prahlada answered his father’s question as follows: “The highest form of knowledge is the desire to surrender to Vishnu and to try to please Him directly by the means of the nine paths of devotion, such as listening to and reciting anything related to Vishnu, remembering Him, serving His lotus feet, worshiping Him, offering Him respects, following His instructions, becoming His friend and giving oneself to Him completely with body, mind and speech. I consider that a person who regularly practices all these has learned the best science.”

So, Prahlada sticks to the truth. He never compromises. Although he is trained by demoniac teachers, although the expectation from his father: “What have you learned, my son?” is completely different and he knows that his honest answer will not be popular, nevertheless he is ready to say his opinion. So “What is the best in life?” “Surrender to Vishnu.”

“Upon hearing from the lips of his own son, Prahlada that serving and worshiping Vishnu is the best type of knowledge, Hiranyakashipu felt sure that such ideas had been taught to Prahlada by his teachers. Out of terrible anger his lips started to tremble and he shouted insults at Shanda, the son of his guru: “Ah most unworthy bramin, you idiot! What have you done? You have insulted me by taking the side of my enemy, teaching that ignorant child meaningless devotion to Vishnu! One may commit sinful activities in secret, but sooner or later such activities become manifest in the form of a disease or other symptoms. Similarly in this world there are many ill-natured people, who dress like sadhus and act like friends, but their true nature will be manifested in time.” Hiranyakashipu blamed the sons of his family guru and they were very anxious to avoid any blame, so they answered: “O, conqueror of Indra, the three worlds tremble before your power and even the lord of Svarga is afraid of you. How could a low person like me gather the courage to take sides against you! Believe me, these ideas of Prahlada are the results of his inborn nature. These thoughts have not been learned from anyone else. Don’t blame us, don’t get angry!”

At that time, in Satya Yuga, everyone was truthful. So there was no good reason to doubt the words of others. Hiranyakashipu accepted the truthfulness of the words of the son of his guru and again he inquired from his son Prahlada: “Ah, disgrace and destruction of your family, if you did not get these ideas from the teachings of your gurus, then how could you become so unfaithful and disgraceful? How did your mind turn to this inauspicious path?”


(to be continued)


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


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