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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 24.07.2016 morning, Sofia) 

Question: How to judge who is faithful and who is not, who is real and who is fake in his devotion?

Swami Tirtha: Well, let me quote two occasions in answering this problem. Once Shridhar Maharaj asked the devotees around him “How can you judge if somebody is intelligent or not?” Everybody started to think very intelligently how to judge this problem? But they couldn’t come up with a good answer. And then Shridhar Maharaj said: “If you are intelligent. If you are intelligent, immediately you will understand who is intelligent.” Because if we are not intelligent, we shall think of a very stupid person to be very intelligent. But as soon as I have the proper measurement, I will immediately, without a second word, understand who is on the same platform. In the same manner, if you are pure in heart, you will immediately recognize those who are pure in heart. If you are strong in your faith, immediately you will see the strength of the faith in others. If you are real, you will find who is real.

But this is not the top platform. The top platform means that even if you see the mistakes or the shortcomings of others, you are not interested in that news. Even if you see that others are not so strong, you are ready to make them stronger.

Other times somebody asked Gurudev: “How can we judge the level or the progress of a devotee?” How can we judge devotees – basically this was the question. I know that I mentioned this story hundreds of times to you, but it’s worth repeating. He was very upset and he said: “God didn’t send us the devotees to judge them, but to serve them!” So, this should be the principle. If we have devotees around, let’s appreciate them. Because maybe we cannot judge who is real and who is not real. But Krishna can and guru can. But let’s help each other to become more real. Because we work on a very special principle – your success is my success also. So, if one person makes one step ahead in spiritual progress, that is beneficial, that is an achievement of all others as well. Because the strength and the spiritual power of the whole group is improved.

Of course we have to be a little intelligent to understand this. Because what is our measurement? Maybe somebody follows all the external formalities, but no inner meaning. Maybe one is enjoying the position, but doesn’t possess the real qualities. Or we might think that ‘There are the front line devotees and there is this second class devotees.’ But I feel myself like third or fourth class. So, anyway a little intelligence is also necessary to have the proper measurement. And there is a Bengali proverb: ati bhakti chorera lakhana. Ati bhakti. You will say: ‘Ah, yes! This is about bhakti! This is for us!’ But beware! Ati means ‘extremely’ or ‘highly’, or ‘very much’. Ati bhakti – too much devotion. Lakhana is like a ‘sign’ or a ‘symbol’ of something. And chorera this is like a grammatical case of chora. What is chora?

Answer: ‘Thief’.

Swami Tirtha: Yes. Now how can we put this together? Too much thief is a sign of good bhakti? Or how to put this together? Ati bhakti chorera lakhana – “Too much devotion is a signal of a thief”. So, if somebody makes a show of his devotion, beware. If somebody is very humbly serving and keeps doing his commitment – follow him, that’s the good example.


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