Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


We shall discuss the ten recommendations that should be practiced – practice what is favorable for devotion. During these days we are discussing the elements of surrender, dedication and this is the way to invite new energy to our life. If you have to work only from your own energy, then you are limited, but if you invite the energy of the masters, of the superiors and also the predecessor acharyas, then you can gain unlimited power. We discussed those topics where we have to be very attentive, to take care, to avoid certain mistakes. But today we have to understand and we have to study the positive engagements in the spiritual process. Rupa Goswami also gives this on his list and actually these ten commandments are the beginning of the 64 excellences of devotional service.

So, the first commandment is “Accept a bona fide guru”. So this list is not beating around the bush. No, it hits the target immediately. “Accept a bona fide spiritual master!” This is the first step in the 64 different practices of devotional life. Why? Because we are born in the darkness of ignorance and we wait until a true master will come with the torchlight of divine knowledge and enlighten us.

But here the words are very precise: ”Accept a spiritual master!” What does it mean to accept somebody? To accept somebody it doesn’t necessarily mean some official formalities. Acceptance is like a love at first sight. You don’t have to explain it to yourself, but you immediately feel connected. So, accepting a spiritual master is like determining your future. We shall see the later elements, but this initial contact will work on our life later on. Can you please tell me on what platform, or in what way one can accept another person?

Answers: In the heart. Officially, intellectually.

Swami Tirtha: Oh, very good! So, you can accept a master in your mind, or you can accept a master in your heart. If you accept a guru in your mind, you will have much trouble. But if you accept a bona fide spiritual master in your heart, you will have no trouble. Why? Because the ultimate decisions should be made in the deeper understanding of our self. The ultimate decisions are not like a mind game or a brain exercise, but this should be made deeper.

And here is another requirement “To accept a bona fide spiritual master”. How to judge who is bona fide and who is not? If we are before acquiring real knowledge, then how can we judge? If you meet a real master will he introduce himself: “I am the bona fide spiritual master”? No, you have to search, you have to understand what are the qualities of being bona fide. Of course there are some qualities, there are some requirements for the gurus, but I have to tell you that the list of requirements for the disciples is much longer than the one for the gurus. But what makes you bona fide in front of others?

Answer: Parampara

Swami Tirtha: Yes, one requirement is to belong to a paramparaa traditional system of teachers and students. Correct, other?

Comment: To live according to what he preaches.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, practice what you preach, in short. Correct, other?

Lila Avatar: You should feel it with your heart.

Paramananda: To be heavy.

Yashoda: Heavy like a rain cloud.

Swami Tirtha: I have to think about this. Other requirements?

Sarvabhauma: You feel afraid of him, but you feel attracted to him. You want to be in his presence.

Swami Tirtha: Cannot we skip the first part?

Sarvabhauma: Then he will not be bona fide.

Swami Tirtha: Something like this. You have mentioned practically all the requirements: that a master should belong to a line, a traditional line of teachers; he should have some theoretical knowledge and practical realizations; he should live according to the standards that he propagates; and also there should be some feeling, emotional contact, attraction. So, it’s not simply the official requirements that will make a person bona fide for you, but rather when you see his life, when you see his dedication, when you feel his ideals, then you can understand what his motivation is. And if this motivation to serve the Lord in that specific way that he does is an inspiration for you, then it’s very easy to establish this appreciation and loving contact.


(to be continued)



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