Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, August 2014, Ludashto)

Competition spirit is not good. Still you, as experienced spiritual practitioners, have some excuses to have some reason for spiritual competition. If we compete with ourselves, for example, how to overcome our shortcomings, if our real ego and our false ego are in competition – I think that competition is approved. 

But there are higher reasons for spiritual competition as well – to increase Krishna’s satisfaction. As we all know, there are varieties of feelings and approaches to Krishna. Especially in Vrindavana this is described in few archetypes. Like Mother Yashoda and Nanda Baba are the archetypes of the paternal, family relationship to Krishna. And maybe the most interesting and the most exciting archetypes are the gopis and gopas. The gopas have a kind of friendship with Krishna with a mixture of different rasas, different emotional feelings, as spices of life. And the gopis, the cowherd girls in Vrindavana, also have a variety of feelings, although generally their attachment is based on love. 

I’d like to invite you to an experience: just project yourself to Vrindavana. It’s not very difficult, as we are very close to the Vrindavana atmosphere right now. So much rain, cold, many devotees, etc. And Krishna is in the focus. So let’s enter that mood of search for Krishna! 

And what is the competition between the gopas and the gopis? They want to possess Krishna, they want Krishna to join their group. We all know that mantras work like charms. If you chant the name of someone, that person should come – to be in the focus. So, the gopis have such a chant and the gopas also have such a magic word. Now we enter Vrindavana. Radhe Krishna Radhe Shyam hey Govinda hey Gopal! The competition spirit appears in the hearts of the devotees. Now the gopis take the lead: Radhe Krishna Radhe Shyam! But the gopas will not let it happen! Hey Govinda hey Gopal! 

All the parties are searching, but not finding. Then what to do? The gopas are dissatisfied: maybe they have to search in the mood of the gopis? Now the gopas take the mood of the gopis. Radhe Krishna Radhe Shyam! And the gopis take the mood of the gopas: Hey Govinda hey Gopal! The gopas have taken some saris and the gopis have taken some sticks.

What is the special practice and contribution of bhakti as a process of divine service? This is chanting the holy names. In a hidden form it is available in many different religious processes, but it’s very explicit in our tradition. And as we tried to describe in this bhajan, words and names act like magic incantations. So, if by word we come in contact with divinity, that’s very powerful. 

We have understood that chanting the names of God is something very important. This is easy to accept. But there was one occasion when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not chanting the names of Krishna, but He was chanting in Navadvip “Gopi gopi!” Therefore He was criticized by the local community: “There is some benefit from chanting the names of God, but what is the benefit that you can derive by chanting this “gopi gopi”? What is this!” Yet fortunately by listening the advice of our teachers we understand what the importance of this type of chanting is. Because the qualities of the worshipable object are transferred to the worshiper.


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