Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“Actually, all Vedic culture is aiming at understanding Lord Vishnu. In the Rig Veda one mantra says that any advanced saintly person is always aspiring to be fixed in meditation upon the lotus feet of Vishnu”.

This is a very important mantra from the Rig Veda, declaring that the blessing divine feet of the Supreme Lord are ruling the whole created world. And the enlightened sages always have the vision of the lotus feet of the Lord in their hearts. This is a very nice ideal to have so we could come to that platform, to be able to visualize the feet of our beloved Lord. You might say that it sounds a little neutral. But think for yourself what your stage is.

“If one cultivates devotional service further and further, under proper guidance, other features of devotional service will gradually become manifest. At this stage of shanta-rasa, one can see Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the deliverer of even the demons. The Lord is appreciated by such would-be devotees as the eternal transcendental form, the chief of all self-realized souls, the Supersoul and the Supreme Brahman. He is also appreciated as being completely peaceful, completely controlled and pure, merciful to the devotees and untouched by any material condition. This appreciation of Lord Vishnu in awe and veneration by the saintly is to be understood as the sign that they are situated in the shanta-rasa, or the neutral stage of devotional service.”[1]

Here something very nice, very interesting is mentioned. Such would-be devotees. So, those who are in the mood of this shanta-rasa – they are the future devotees. You know there are only two types of human beings: the devotees and the future devotees. And practically we can conclude that all the different religions are in this reverential mood. In one sense, they worship the Supreme in shanta mood. Here it is mentioned that these are the features of shanta-rasa: appreciate the greatness, appreciate the peacefulness and the other qualities of the Lord and worship in a reverential mood. So we can see it describes the universal approach of the human beings to the Supreme. These features we can find all around and this is a very good background, because they are the future devotees.

And now something very important. “The qualities of a saintly person are described in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu as follows.” Because it is important to understand if we have an aspiration to become a would-be devotee in the far future. That means you will become a saintly person and then you don’t need to know the qualities.

“A saintly person is one who understands fully that simply by discharging devotional service he can become confident of liberation. He is always situated in the regulative principles of devotional life and at the same time aspires to be liberated from material entanglement.” So first there is a conviction and then there is action.

“A saintly person thinks like this: “When shall I be able to live alone in the caves of the mountains? When shall I be dressed simply with undergarments? When shall I be satisfied by eating simply a little fruit and vegetables? When will it be possible for me to always think of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who is the source of the Brahman effulgence? When, in such a spiritual condition of life, shall I fully understand my days and nights to be insignificant moments in eternal time?”

This is a general saint; but who is a devotional saint? “The devotees and self-realized persons who are engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord always maintain an ecstatic love for the Lord within their hearts. Thus they are benefited by the rays of the ecstatic moon, and they are called saintly persons.”[2]

This is a suggestion of Rupa Goswami: “To become a saintly person, always maintain an ecstatic love for the Lord within your heart.”

So, remember what is the stage of neutral devotional service – to be able to maintain your spiritual position permanently. And what is the upgrade of neutral devotional service? To maintain this loving relationship within your hearts.

(to be continued)

[1] Nectar of Devotion, 35

[2] Nectar of Devotion, 35

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