Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 6.09.2015 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

Kripadham: This is the first time when I dare to share something about Shrila Prabhupada, although I never met him. And although we appreciate him in a different way, not like in ISKCON where he is on a big pedestal, I have noticed that somehow each and every devotee has some connection with him and many are having dreams about him. He appears in their dreams as chaitya-guru who guides them. In my life he appeared like this two times. The first time was before I met the devotees. I was dreaming a very strong, wild kirtan with many devotees and in the center was Shrila Prabhupada. I woke at 4 o’clock whole wet and I thought that this was some nightmare. I am sharing this because sometimes the things we think nightmares are the most beautiful things we’ve ever experienced.

The second time was in a period when chanting was not my priority, but I wanted to improve this and then Swami Prabhupad appeared in my dream. Sometimes in a dream it happens that you appear in one place with many, many spiritually elevated persons and you don’t know how you can be there among them. They are discussing their things and there was Swami Prabhupada, but not in his body, in another body with black hair. Yet inside you know that this is him. It happens. And he was telling me why I should chant, how I should chant and very enthusiastically showing me how to chant. Then I awoke and I was chanting very nicely in the morning, and this was my association with Shrila Prabupada. I wanted to ask if you, Gurudev, have some vision why Shrila Prabhupada appears in dreams.

Swami Tirtha: I will tell you. Because if your direct spiritual master is very weak and very insignificant, then the great-grandfather will come and correct all the mistakes. Now this is not only a show of humility, but it’s really like this; in case I commit some mistakes, my superiors will come and help you. Why? Because the institution is with you. Not only me personally. I’m your servant, this is my identity. I’m your servant. But as a servant I can commit some mistakes, I can do some harm. I am limited, but they are not. This is the parampara system. Therefore we worship this principle, because it’s never mistaken. Never!

Question of Damodar: I would like to ask something. One of the mantras to Shrila Prabhupada is: namas te saraswate deve/ gaura-vani-pracarine/ nirvishesha-shunyavadi/ pashchatya-desha-tarine. In this mantra it is said that Shrila Prabhupada is opposing the shunyavadi teachings. Yet these schools are always existing and I cannot understand whether Shrila Prabhupada is fighting against these schools, or against this philosophy?

Swami Tirtha: Very nice topic. What is the sannyas name of Shrila Prabhupada? Actually his sannyas name is Swami. So, if you want to call him, he is Swami Swami. Like Swami Tirtha, he is Swami Swami, because his sannyas name is Swami, Bhaktivedanta Swami. And then what is the middle part of his name? Bhakti signifies the school, so he belongs to the school of divine love. And the middle part is in his case Bhaktivedanta – it’s always of three syllables – vedanta in this case. When he arrived in America, he wrote a poem and he said in this poem: “Oh, my dear Lord, my name is Bhaktivedanta, but I have neither bhakti, love, nor vedanta, knowledge. Yet I am deeply convinced that the holy name can make the miracles.”

So, he is vedanta, he is very much in possession of the divine knowledge. We don’t accept his humble opinion about himself. And therefore he usually presented very strongly the personal concept of worship of God, opposing impersonal concept. Basically I think that his deep conviction was that this loving personal approach to Krishna is more satisfying for the soul and for God; therefore he was against the impersonal conception.

Once with his devotees he discussed these topics; he discussed them many times, but there was one occasion, when he told the disciples to have the books of Shankara in their devotional libraries. They were surprised: “The books of Shankara! The main leader of Mayavada school?” Then Prabhupada said: “Well, Shankara is 99% right. He is a great philosopher of India and he has some place. But these nonsense nowadays followers – their preaching is incorrect!” So, he appreciated the sadhu, even with a different opinion like Shankara. Therefore he gave some commentaries to Shankara’s verses. But he was very much against the distortion that happens nowadays in the name of Shankara. And basically I think he was not fighting against something, but he was fighting for something. This is a much better approach.

Sometimes we think that he demanded so much from his devotees. This is true in one sense, but at the same time he was very open-minded. His preaching was very open. When people asked him: “Well, if I want to join you, shall I give up my religion?” He said: “No. It’s not necessary”. “Shall I give up my job?” He said: “No. It’s not necessary.” “Shall I leave my family?” “No. It’s not necessary”. “Shall I shave up?” “It’s not necessary” Why? Because the real connection is beyond these formalities. And his idea was: if you meet a Christian, help that person to become a better Christian; if you meet a Muslim, help him to become a better Muslim. And of course help yourself to become a better devotee. This is the goal that we have to fight for. We all improve in our respective stages of life conditions.


(to be continued)


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