Vol:I- Meditations and Prayers on The Supreme Lord
Vol:II- Crying Out for the Mercy
Vol:III- Flase Ego: The Greatest Enemy of the Spiritual Leader
Vol: IV- Die Before Dying
"Take away my will Krsna, I am Yours. Force me to do what is right and best. Use me as you like. You be my intelligence. You be my mind. You act as my will. I don't know what is best for me. In this lifetime I am trying so hard and nothing is working.
I ask you to put me in the right place at the right time for the right thing. Whatever is best, whether it is auspicious or inauspicious, bring upon me what I need. My desire, my intelligence, even my will-they are all contaminated
I offer them all to you, my dear Lord Syamasundara. I am Yours. You do with me what is best. Help me to be eager to accept not in a grudging mood, but with real zeal and enthusiasm, as / submit myself and ask You what can I do?"
His words cut to the core of me... "For decades, your spiritual master has been begging, screaming and crying to the Supreme Lord on your behalf even more loudly and more feelingly than you have cried. Your spiritual master's pitiful begging for your deliverance is what sent me here to free you. You see, you were a beggar who did not know how to beg. But, fortunately for you, the cries of your spiritual master pierced the many thick lavers of the material universe and summoned my intervention. Ultimately, it was these cries of your spiritual master that actually saved you, for although he is a fully realized soul, his softened heart knows the humble art of begging."
---From Chapter 2, "Give Up Your Improper Desires"
“My dear and special friend, this indescribably healing love is also available to you. So, instead of continually analyzing and pondering the problems that are surrounding us, learn how to channel your energy into crying out for the masters' association. I assure you that when you do this with sincerity, you will become fully enlivened and refreshed, immune to and untouchable by any problem, and you will become extremely eager to receive more and more of such blessed fulfillment."
- From Chapter 7, "Advice To A Special Friend"
“False ego means accepting this body as oneself. When one understands that he is not his body and is spirit soul, he comes to his real ego. Ego is there. False ego is condemned, but not real ego. In the Vedic literature (Brhad-aranyaka Upnishad 1.4.10) it is said, aham brahmasmi: I am Brahman, I am spirit. This 'I am the sense of self. also exists in the liberated stage of self-realization. This sense of 'I am' is ego, but when the sense of 'I am' is applied to this false body it is false ego. When the sense of self is applied to reality, that is real ego. There are some philosophers who say we should give up our ego, but we cannot give up our ego, because ego means identity. We ought, of course, to give up the false identification with the body."
Bhagavad-Gita: As It Is 13.8-12
Bhakti-tirtha Swami's book, The Beggar III is a gift of love to help us in our struggles. We will realize the magnitude of this gift as we trust as we trust the process of surrender, prayers and meditation, and as we follow the teachings of this powerful spiritual leader... The Beggar III will make us think, and, more importantly, help us to grow towards the perfection that the Creator so lovingly and graciously gave to each of us. Bhakti-tirtha Swami's books are all written to facilitate us in keeping our highest Self in charge of our lives as we move towards our greatest potential and highest good. The Beggar III is his latest contribution to helping us do the oftendifficult inner work of understanding that our life force is our Good force. Typical of all true leaders, he teaches by loving, living example.
- John T. Chissell, M.D. Author : Pyramids of Power
Death removes everything that is false; death reveals to us our true friends; death exposes our true priorities; death brings forth wisdom; death educates us on our fears and weaknesses; but, most importantly, death reminds us that these material bodies and material universes are not our homes. Since death is calling you, don't fear or hide, but present yourself and see what she has to offer. After all, she is a just, faithful, and loyal servant of Krishna.
-excerpt from The Beggar IV, Meditation 15
In this book, The Beggar IV: Die Before Dying, Bhakti Tirtha Swami lovingly shares his heart with us. He addresses the fears, struggles, and pains of facing imminent death. His honesty and faith will surely enlighten the minds and melt the hearts of the readers. With humility, gratitude, and joy he teaches us a way to welcome the loving hand of God. Let us carefully ponder the contents of this valuable treasure house of realizations.
- His Holiness Radhanath Swami
Bhakti-Tirtha Swami Krishnapada was born John E. Favors in a pious, God-featuring family. As a child evangelist he appeared regularly on television. As a young man he was a leader in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civil rights movement. At Princeton University he became president of the student council and also served as chairman of the Third World Coalition. Although his main degree is in psychology, he has received accolades in many other fields, including politics, African studies, and international law.
Bhakti-Tirtha Swami’s books are used as reference texts in universities and leadership organizations throughout the world. Many of his books have been printed in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Macedonian, Croatian, Russian, Hebrew, Slovenian, Balinese and Italian.
His Holiness has served as Assistant Coordinator for penal reform programs in the State of New Jersey, Office of the Public Defender, and as a director of several drug abuse clinics in the United States. In addition, he has been a special consultant for Educational Testing Services in the U.S.A. and has managed campaigns for politicians. Bhakti-Tirtha Swami gained international recognition as a representative of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, particularly for his outstanding work with scholars in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe.
Bhakti-Tirtha Swami directly oversees projects in the United States (particularly Washington D.C., Potomac, Maryland, Detroit, Pennsylvania, West Virginia), West Africa, South Africa, Switzerland, France, Croatia and Bosnia. He also serves as the director of the American Federation of Vaisnava Colleges and Schools.
In the United States, Bhakti-Tirtha Swami is the founder and director of the Institute for Applied Spiritual Technology, director of the International Committee for Urban Spiritual Development and one of the international coordinators of the Seventh Pan African Congress. Reflecting his wide range of interests, he is also a member of the Institute for Noetic Sciences, the Center for Defense Information, the United Nations Association for America, the National Peace Institute Foundation, the World Future Society and the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders.
A specialist in international relations and conflict resolution, Bhakti-Tirtha Swami constantly travels around the world and has become a spiritual consultant to many high-ranking members of the United Nations, to various celebrities and to several chiefs, kings and high court justices. In 1990 his holiness was coronated as a high chief in Warri, Nigeria in recognition of his outstanding work in Africa and the world. In recent years, he has met several times with then- President Nelson Mandela of South Africa to share visions and strategies for world peace.
In addition to encouraging self-sufficiency through the development of schools, clinics, farm projects and cottage industries, Bhakti-Tirtha Swami conducts seminars and workshops on principle-centered leadership, spiritual development, international relationships, stress and time management and other pertinent topics. He is also widely acknowledged as a viable participant in the resolution of global conflict.
The Beggar series is a collection of meditations and reflections written and shared over the years by His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami, the world's only African-American in the Vaiava tradition. Although new to the Western world, the Vaiava tradition, brought primarily to the West by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, has been handed down in an unbroken line from teacher to student for over five thousand years.
One of the principal texts of the Vaiava tradition is the Bhagavad-gita, a transcript of a conversation between the Lord and His devotee, the great general Arjuna. During the course of this conversation, the Lord explains that the ultimate goal of life and the true source of lasting happiness is to be reunited in loving devotional service with Him and His associates. The Lord goes on to explain that, simply out of His love for the living entities, He occasionally descends or sends messengers to remind us of our higher calling. Although the names may change-Christ, Allah, Krishna, Jehovah, Yahweh—and there may be some external “religious” differences based on time, place and circumstance, the fundamental message is always the same: Continuous loving service to the Lord, often expressed in this lifetime by how we serve and care for each other.
Bhakti Tirtha Swami makes several references to the Bhagavadgita and other Vedic literatures in the course of these meditations, in some cases speaking to us as if calling out from within the pastimes themselves. While an understanding of Vedic literature does enhance the reading experience, these meditations are definitely not meant exclusively for those in the Vaiava tradition. Anyone who has ever struggled to persevere on the spiritual path, or whose life has been touched by the causeless love and compassion of a genuine spiritual guide will identify with these meditations and find a new appreciation of why and how this guidance has come.
His Holiness addresses the Lord using many different names from the Vedas, to emphasize different moods and relationships between the soul and the Lord—just as the names “Mr. Smith”
“Daddy” and “The Boss” may refer to the same person, but illustrate different relationships between the speaker and the subject. We have provided a glossary at the end of the text that includes brief definitions of these names and other terms from the Vedas that may be unfamiliar.
We are very pleased to have the opportunity to share this first set of meditations in The Beggar series, and we wish all of our readers a renewed faith in the love and the mercy of the Lord, as they flow to us through the compassionate messengers we know as guru.
What initially attracts most people to a spiritual lifestyle is the prospect of a life filled with peace, harmony and tranquility. Yet we sometimes face more trials and tribulations when taking up a spiritual lifestyle than ever before. As we look at the lives of the great spiritual teachers, we see that they often undergo great challenges and hardships. Even in our own lives, we find that as we endeavor to live a more righteous lifestyle, we often get bombarded with so many temptations, fears and doubts that we may even wonder if being “spiritual” is really worth the effort.
In 1965, Bhakti Tirtha Swami's spiritual mentor, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, came to the West to spread the science of bhakti yoga, continuous loving service of God. Despite his advanced age and poor health, Srila Prabhupada worked tirelessly to translate the ancient Vedic scriptures and share this advanced knowledge of God consciousness, which had until then been preserved in very closed circles. His superhuman determination and unwavering faith in God and his own spiritual master empowered him to perform the miracles of turning hundreds of otherwise lost, hopeless "hippies” into focused, determined devotees who have now taken up his mission all over the world.
A guru or acharya is one who leads by his own example. Srila Prabhupada always faced difficulties with an inimitable poise and wisdom that almost magically turned every challenge into an opportunity to glorify the Lord. He never pretended that spiritual life was easy. Rather, he equipped us with tools of love, faith, courage and humility that would enable us to emerge victorious in all our struggles.
I have known Bhakti Tirtha Swami for many years, and have seen him cling to his firm faith in God and in Srila Prabhupada's teachings to overcome his own obstacles and to help others succeed in their struggles. The meditations in The Beggar series begin in states we can easily relate to: depression, fear, loneliness and desperation. These familiar mindsets entrap all of us at one time or another; many remain stagnated in such conditions for years, even lifetimes. As the author shows us, however, challenges can serve as great opportunities for growth. He explains that by reaching out rather than closing ourselves off, and by opening ourselves up to those who have succeeded before us, we too can succeed in helping others.
Bhakti Tirtha Swami does not portray an overly simplistic path from lost soul to pure devotee. He shows us that at every step new struggles emerge and must be overcome. The route to victory in each case is to make ever stronger connections with the spiritual mentors and guides who, out of compassion and causeless mercy, make themselves available to help us, even though we may stumble and disappoint them many times along the way. The author teaches us how a deep relationship with such advanced souls can pull us through our stagnation and turn our despair into determination.
Bhakti Tirtha Swami dedicates this book to those who have taken on the role of spiritual mentors in their communities. He tells us that as we explore our own dependence on the guidance, assistance and love of those who have gone before and cared enough to turn back and reach out to us, we should not forget our own responsibility to do the same for those who will come after us. Even though we may not be fully pure, as we progress we may see others fighting battles we have fought, crying out in ways that we ourselves have cried. At these times, Bhakti Tirtha Swami implores us to remember how important those helping hands have been, and reminds us that we should develop true compassion, integrity and love to share with those under our care.
We are all born into this world with at least five senses that we come to recognize and rely on as we grow and develop perceptions and memories based on those five senses. Memories and perceptions are further influenced by added instructions from trusted parents and elders, and others who would influence what we should think, say and do.
Very early in our lives we get the perceptions and conclusions that we are independent, separate beings, and want to be in charge of the choices and directions of our lives.
We soon realize that we have this thing called the mind that talks to us constantly, and supports us in our individuality and our efforts to get what we desire as individuals. We become aware that what we can perceive with our five senses as “me” is our body. Some call this ego, or “body-mind” or “me mind.” We falsely and mistakenly believe that this is who we really are. When things don't turn out the way we want them to, this collection of beliefs, experiences, and desires brings all of its doubts, fears, frustrations, ravings and ranting to bear to convince us that we must still listen to it, and keep it in charge, because it is real and the only thing that we can trust. Once in a while, something inside so strong manages to remind us that something greater than we are is inside and around us, and it needs to be listened to, especially when we don't know what to do, or where to turn for advice and guidance.
· Now comes John E. Favors who tells us who he was before he became this internationally known and revered spiritual leader now known as His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami. Bhakti Tirtha Swami talks and writes to leaders around the world on servant leadership (see Leadership for an Age of Higher Consciousness), and to individuals about the challenges that face us all in his Spiritual Warrior series of books. Bhakti Tirtha Swami loves us enough to share his most intimate and painful prayers and meditations to his spiritual master, teachers, and the common CREATOR of us all in his series of books called The Beggar.
The Beggar IV: Die Before Dying will take us on a spiritual journey into the heart of a man suddenly confronted by the mysteries of death. He does so with courage, compassion, and gratitude. Pouring from his heart is the message that successful life is not just in quantity of years, but in the substance of our wisdom, realizations, and love. Until we die to our selfish egotism, we cannot gain entrance into the abode of a true joyful life.
Bhakti Tirtha Swami has dedicated his life as a humble instrument of God's grace. His compassion for suffering humanity led him on a search for truth, which culminated in meeting his spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Over the years he has traveled the world extensióvely, taking incredible risks to share the gift of spiritual knowledge and love. He has penetrated the hearts of vast varieties of human beings, from tribal children in the jungles of Africa to the university professors of America. He inspires the hearts of forgotten destitutes dying in the ghettos as well as the most famous celebrities on earth. Presidents of nations, wealthy industrialists, abused children, and helpless widows have found hope and direction under the guidance of this selfless servant.
Bhakti Tirtha Swami has been a dearest friend to me for thirty-five years. I have witnessed his indomitable enthusiasm to inspire people's faith even in the face of indescribably complex circumstances. I have seen his heart weeping in compassion for the world's lost and suffering. His amazing creative genius has enthralled millions with timeless spiritual solutions to the problems of our contemporary world. Suddenly, at the age of 55 he was diagnosed with advanced melanoma cancer and given six months to live.
Stop—yes, kindly hold on. Please! You are about to enter into sacred space: Death—the transition from here to there.
“Philosophy means to keep death in front of your eyes,” said His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the author's spiritual master. Yes, death is not to be ignored. It can teach us important lessons for life, because death forces us to look for what is essential—something which still stands as important even before the scrutinizing eyes of the greatest of thinkers, who think everything to its final conclusion. Ultimately, death is always something very personal and private—like birth. Our own death will always be unique; different from everyone else's.
Bhakti Tirtha Swami has given us a unique gift, a gift which touches the heart: his own reflections about his own passing and how he prepares himself. It is a book relevant for all of us because we all will have to die. But, upon close reading you will soon discover that our author has “deceived” us. His book is really a book on living an empowered and empowering life, provided we take the implicit lessons to heart. “Die before dying” is a famous expression for the death of the false ego—a goal all spiritual traditions aim for.
Before our spiritual identity can emerge, our false sense of who we are has to die. This false ego is compared with a knot in the heart, which binds the eternal soul to an illusory life. And this knot has to be cut. Once one has done this, one can easily see past the greatest illusion and recognize that actually there is no death.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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