Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


We have a very special and very important topic and this is concerning our spiritual path and spiritual growth. Our spiritual progress depends on our commitment to our masters. Concerning this topic we have to study two verses from “Bhagavad Gita”. One is the verse of the disciple and the second is the verse of the guru. Which one you would like to hear first? Let’s start with the disciple, all right.

Actually the “Bhagavad Gita” is a divine song. This is like the teaching of Lord Krishna, God, to His disciple, Arjuna. In this way this conversation instructs us practically in all fields and all questions of spiritual growth. So the disciplic verse is at the very beginning.

“Karpanya-dosopahata-svabhavah prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me sisyas te ’ham sadhi mam tvam prapannamNow I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.”[1]

From this we can get some ideas about the proper mentality of a student. “I am perplexed.” If you know everything, why should you go to a person who teaches you? Although we have learned so much in life, because life is a lifelong learning, after a certain time we shall arrive to a limit, which we cannot cross by ourselves. And the first quality of a disciple is that he or she understands the limits. Therefore it is also said, in order to really be connected to a master, we need to be a little bit confused. But confused in a positive sense, confused in such a way that we want to find the solution. And when we understand our limited conditions in this lifetime, then we should search for an authority, who can help us.

And here Arjuna, the friend of Krishna, of God, says: “I am confused about my duty. What to do in this lifetime?” Good question, isn’t it? Life is long, but it passes quickly. So we have to use this short time. How much you give yourself? Sixty, seventy years? You might think in the beginning: sixty years or seventy years it’s a long time. It is long, but at the end you will see: “Ah, it was just a blink of an eye. And I had a long list of plans – all unfulfilled.”

So, we have to be careful about time and we have to use our life for the best purpose. If you know what to do, don’t ask. If you have some doubts whether you live your life properly, then ask.

“I have lost my strength because of my weakness. Tell me for sure, what is best for me?” That question means that a disciple, or a future disciple, is a responsible person. “I want to use my life for the best purpose. So, tell me, what is best – for me, not for You, for me what is best?” Is it selfish? No, this is not selfish, because a real guru will tell you what is good for you in a very high manner. The best for us, for us all, is to harmonize our goals with the divine goals. Until we want to serve our own private interests, we shall be frustrated. If we start serving the divine common interest, our life will be fulfilled. If you live for yourself, you live for nobody; if you live for God, you live for everybody. This is the first chapter of divine science.

And then Arjuna says: “Now I’m Your disciple, a surrendered soul unto You. Please, instruct me!” Actually this is the shishya-abhiman, or the mentality of the disciple. One definition of a disciple is that he is under discipline. And the other definition of a disciple is that he lets himself to be instructed. That is the willingness to learn, the willingness to acquire some knowledge. Therefore we have to be humble to become a real disciple. In some places in India they make the entrance to the temples very low. Why? In order to bow down a little bit. With a raised head and a nose poked into the sky it is very difficult to learn. Therefore it is said: a prospective disciple is that person, who has this mentality of the disciple.

Here Arjuna declares: “I am Your disciple.” This is very important – to declare. Words do have a magic power. If you say something, it is just like an object in front of you. Words do have a magic power. And when you declare that: “I’m your disciple,” it’s like an ideal manifested in front of you.

But Arjuna also said a second quality: “surrendered soul unto You”. So, I’m not a student of, let’s say, mathematics – we can think that that is also a disciple, but it’s not – a real disciple is a student of the spiritual science. Because mathematics will disappear, just like all other material engagements or achievements or sciences or whatever. But the spiritual science, achievement and life will stay with you. So we are disciples, we are students if we cultivate the permanent life, the eternal values.

And this surrendering process is just like providing the wings for the future disciple. Now you are like an uncut diamond. Or better we say, you are coal, pre-diamond. But by little heat and little pressure, from the coal diamond will start to become, correct? This is a transformation. And surrender is the beginning of this transformation. From black coal, a very beautiful diamond starts to become. But from this natural state of the diamond we have to come to the brilliant state, to cut diamond. Therefore we have to apply a method. And the method is the initiation process, this is called diksha. Diksha is such a sacred institution, when the divine knowledge and the divine connection is transferred to the disciple. This is compared to a touchstone, when by this divine touch, a simple basic element turns into gold. Do you feel that change on yourselves? This is a very deep transcendental process. And even if you don’t feel immediate effects, it is there. The sadhus, or the masters, they will transfer you the spiritual knowledge.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 2.7

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