Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

“Do not grieve for any living being”[1]. Because grieving is not enough! If I am grieving about you: “Ah, I am so sorry about you, I am so sorry! I feel so bad!” – is that enough? It is not enough! From this you will not be happier. We must be actively helping other people’s spiritual progress. We have to learn this, how to do it right.

Usually we learn this from an authority. Therefore people go to spiritual authorities. “Please, help me!” – this is the main reason. “Please, help me, I am suffering so much!” The second reason: “I want to achieve perfection. Please, help me!” This is a little more humble. Because the first says: “I am suffering; I want to give all myself to you, all my suffering to you.” The second says: “I have a goal, help me in that respect.” But a real disciple would say: “I am full of suffering and I have a goal, but it does not matter. How you like, what you want.” This is very rare. Right, because you are a little selfish, a little or more selfish. “I want this, I want that.” But “How you want. Please tell me, what is to be done.”

So many things we have to learn from our spiritual authorities. First of all, we have to learn how to live. In most of the cases we do not know how to live. We have no standards of human existence. Therefore the great teachers must give very elementary rules.: “Do not kill. Do not lie.” Just imagine if you have to educate your followers on that platform: “Do not kill…” This is mercy! You go to the company of murderers and you start educating them: “Do not kill.” Or you go to those, who tell lies and start to teach them: “Do not lie.” What will be their reaction? “Guruji, that is impossible! It is too high for us. This is our daily practice, how can we give it up?!” You can go on with the commandments: “Do not steal,” etc. etc. Very basic rules. Or, in the vaishnava tradition: „practice ahimsa. Again: do not kill, do not cause sufferings to others. Very elementary things we have to learn, because somehow it is missing. We did not thinк that to be an egoist is violence.

But after the elementary platform there must be something else. We have to learn also from our masters what is the practice. What should be avoided: do not do this, do not do that; and then what should be practiced, what am I to do. Guru will teach us the practice: come to the temple, listen to the lecture, chant your rounds. This is the same elementary platform: “Do not kill/ chant your rounds.” Although we think: “Ah! I am chanting my rounds, that is great!” No. This is very basic. Just like “do not steal”. Because if I do not give myself fully to God, then I am a robber. I try to use His property for my own purpose. Because life, my small little life, comes from Life with a capital letter. So if I use my little life for my own purpose, then I am stealing this from the big Life. “Dedicate yourself” as a positive engagement from the guru is also very elementary. Still, practice is better than avoidance. Because by practicing good you automatically avoid bad. So practice should be also learned from the spiritual master.

But ultimately rasa should be learned from the master: how to worship God and how to perceive, how to feel this connection. This is not the elementary platform. This is for the elevated, for the high practitioners: how to worship and how to feel. This is the ultimate topic that we have to learn from our master.

These are the different things that we have to learn: how to live properly, what is the method and what is the goal. And by the mercy and by the help of the spiritual master, we can progress nicely. But we have to be serious about studying and performing. And in this way you do not lament over the fate of others, but you become an active instrument of help to improve others’ conditions.

[1] “Bhagavad-gita” 2.30

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