Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

flame of life

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 23.08.2016, morning, Ludasto)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Pibata bhagavatam rasam[1]. This is the main message of this verse – rasik. This literature is for the rasikas. And what is rasa? Rasa is the essential approach, emotional attitude to the Supreme.

And here Shrila Prabhupada mentions: “Every living entity beginning from Brahma, the first born living being within the material world, down to the insignificant ant desires to relish some sort of taste derived from the sense perceptions. These sensual pleasures are technically called rasa. They are of different varieties. In the revealed scriptures the following 12 varieties are enumerated.”

So, what is first? Raudra, anger. This we know, right? You see, the revealed scriptures tell the truth. They speak to you – anger. The second is adbutha, wonder. What is the definition of philosophy by Plato? The art of wondering. So, Plato was a rasik. His philosophy was not simple theory, this was an application, wisdom. To wonder about the beauties of the creation and God! Third one is shringara. What is shringara? Conjugal love. In the old times, in the ashram we received two packages of incense from Gurudev. And you know at that time it was so precious, it was so difficult to obtain that it was like a treasure for us. One package was pale, almost white. What do you think, what was the color of the other? Yes, it was black. The white was called ‘Musk’. Very, very delicate. And the name of the black was ‘Shringara’. At that time it was so precious for us that we couldn’t light one full stick of incense, we used only half for the offerings. So, this was the first encounter with shringara – the black rasa.

The next one is hasya, comedy or jolly approach. One god-brother of Gurudev was called Hasya Priya. Once in the old-old times, in communist times, he visited Budapest. You know at that time to meet devotees it was close to impossible. And while he was walking on the streets in Budapest all of a sudden he saw somebody coming with a kanthi. So, he said: “Haribooool!” The other person said “Haribol!” and passed by. Just like it was very usual to meet devotees on the streets. And Hasya Priya Prabhu after ten years remembered this like an incredible story: “There are so many devotees here in Budapest that they just say “Haribol” and walk by, they don’t pay any attention to you?!” He was amazed, he though that in California there were many devotees, but looks like in Budapest they were much more, it’s much more common. So, hasya, jolly mood or happiness.

Then the next one is vira, chivalry – when you fight for the truth. When you are ready to die for your Gurudev. The next one is daya, mercy – this is how we want to see Krishna, merciful. Then comes dasya, servitorship; then sakhya, fraternity. I think this is very obvious, right? We all know these feelings, we all admire these feelings. But then comes bhayanaka, horror and bibhatsa, shock. Very awkward feelings! Yet did you ever feel that something is so high, so pure that you tremble in front of that truth? Or you are shocked by your behavior? So, it happens! But these are very extreme reactions – like total servitorship, or maybe heroic approach, or shocking experience. “No, we don’t need such extremes!’ Then comes the next one: shanti, peace, neutrality. And finally the 12th rasa is vatsalya or parenthood. Vatsalya means patience, love, care – what you experience daily. So, don’t think if you again have to cook for your family, again you have to wash the dirty socks of your sons and daughters that: ‘Oh, it’s bitter.’ No, it’s rasik! This is for those who are expert in relishing rasa.

But of course, beyond jokes, these different emotional approaches to the Supreme are the basic moods how to express our gratitude and our loving search for the Supreme. So, the invitation and the message from this verse is that we should become a rasik devotee, an expert in relishing rasa.

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3

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