Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 01.10.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

If the question is how to reach our spiritual goals – first identify your goals, learn the process and put it into practice. The result doesn’t depend on you. Because our Krishna is very selective. Just imagine yourself with another devotee, the two of you are walking, approaching Goloka Vrindavana. All of a sudden Govinda appears on the scene. He says: “So nice that you came!” He opens His arms, running towards you… and embraces the other one. Bad luck! Then you will protest: “Govinda! He was always sleeping too much! He never ever learned one verse from the Gita! I know two verses! I’m more qualified! Why him?! Why not me!?”

So what to do? Be frustrated for eternity? No, we need to learn the secret. Shall we try to enter that secret?

Well, the secret is to develop gopi-bhava[1]. Sometimes we might think that ‘Gopi-bhava is something so high, so complicated and so far away from me. This is a sacred rasic topic, so how can we enter that field!?’ Which is more or less true. It’s so sacred that – as Shridhara Maharaj says – “The fools rush in where angels fear to enter”.

But what does gopi-bhava mean here, in this context? From the Chaitanya Charitamrita we understand that the gopis are thousands or millions times more happy if they can help others to come in contact with Krishna than if they meet Him themselves. So, imagine yourself and your brother or sister walking and he gets the embrace.

Gita Govinda: Gopi-bhava.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. Otherwise we are eternally frustrated. It’s better to be happy about the achievements of others. Isn’t it very generous? Isn’t it like a gentleman’s cultivation of spiritual life – not selfish, not self-centered? And you can glorify the Lord: “Although I know two verses and he knows none, still he’s in Your embrace!”

So what makes us qualified to enjoy the embrace? These are not our achievements, this is His choice. Na pravachanena labhyo na bahuna shrutena[2] – not by much preaching or teaching, not by much listening, labhyate – ‘we’ll reach’; only by His choice. That means we have to be ready to expose ourselves not to be the chosen ones. Why are our teachers always trying to prepare us to be selfless? Millions of times we have heard: ‘selfless service, don’t expect anything in return’ – why? Because this is a chance to develop this unity consciousness – that your success is my success. And I’m happy to serve your success. Because I’m also part of you, of your achievements. Also it means that my success is your success. And it means that your failure is my failure also. But it shouldn’t mean that my failure is your failure. Keep it for yourself.

You see, this is sadhu-sanga! Your achievement is my achievement. If you learn how to make the beautiful ornaments on the foam of the milk, it’s my achievement also. Therefore we are brothers and sisters, therefore this sadhu-sanga principle is so sacred for us. If one will reach, everybody will go.

Therefore we are very much ready to serve the progress of others. This is a way to develop spiritual ideals. And not only to develop – to reach our spiritual ideals. You see, this gopi-bhava is very practical: serve others. Don’t think that this is so rasic that you cannot do that. This is practical. If we have the proper mood, then we will be very happy and satisfied in the spiritual process. And all the blessings of your superiors and the satisfaction of the Divine Couple will come with you.

It’s a question of very fine, very delicate cultivation. Because spiritual life is a culture; and culture means something that you cultivate. What happens if you cultivate a garden? The fruits will come. Proper cultivation – best fruits. So we simply have to follow the process; the results will come by themselves. We are not even hunting after the results, but we wait. As Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes: “Ah, Gopinath, You have liberated so many demons! I’m sitting here and waiting for my turn.” Just wait! If you do it properly, everything will come.

(to be continued)

[1] The mood of the gopis

[2] From the Upanishads

Leave a Reply