Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


“Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu received all the vaishnavas, just as He had in previous years. The women, however, saw the Lord from a distance. The Lord again arranged for residential quarters of all the devotees and thereafter called them to partake the remnants of food offered to Lord Jagannatha. Shivananda Sena introduced his three sons to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Because they were his sons, the Lord showed the boys great mercy. Lord Chaitanya asked the youngest son’s name and Shivananda Sena informed the Lord that his name was Paramananda dasa. Once before when Shivananda Sena had visited Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at His residence the Lord had told him: “When this son is born, give him the name Puri dasa.” The son was in the womb of Shivananda’s wife, and when Shivananda returned home the son was born. The child was named Paramananda dasa in accordance with the Lord’s order and the Lord jokingly called him Puri dasa. When Shivananda Sena introduced the child to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the Lord put His toe in the child’s mouth.”[1]

That is quite an unusual communication. But you know the kids… Many times the kids know which part of the body to catch. If they are hungry, they know which part of the body of the mother to catch, and when they are hungry for spiritual benefit, they also know where to search foot dust.

“No one can cross over the ocean of Shivananda Sena’s good fortune, for the Lord considered Shivananda’s whole family His own. The Lord ate lunch in the company of all the devotees and after washing His hands and mouth He gave orders to Govinda: “As long as Shivananda Sena’s wife and children stay in Jagannath Puri”, He said “They must be given the remnants of My food.” There was a resident of Nadia (this is a part of Bengal) named Parameshvara who was a confectioner living near the home of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When the Lord was a boy He visited the house of Parameshvara again and again. The confectioner would supply the Lord with milk and sweetmeats and the Lord would eat them. Parameshvara had been affectionate toward the Lord since his childhood and he was one of those who came that year to see the Lord at Jagannath Puri. When he offered his obeisances to the Lord, he said: “I am that same Parameshvara.” Upon seeing him the Lord asked questions with great affection. He said: “Parameshvara, may you be blessed! It is very good that you have come here.” Parameshvara then informed the Lord, “Mukundara Mata has also come.” Hearing the name of Mukundara Mata, Lord Caitanya hesitated, but because of affection for Paramesvara, He did not say anything.”[2]

Why? It is said in the purport that a sannyasi is restricted from even hearing the woman’s name and Mahaprabhu conducted himself very strictly in His vow. And Parameshvara informed the Lord that his wife, Mukundara Mata, has also come with him. So, Mahaprabhu hesitated for a while but, as He was very affectionate to Parameshvara, He didn’t make any notes.

“An intimate relationship sometimes makes a person overstep formal etiquette. Thus Parameshvara actually pleased the Lord in His heart by his simple and affectionate behavior.”[3]

The other extreme of this situation is that familiarity breeds contempt. So, this is the nice version of the same, when an intimate connection makes you disobey the rules; and the other extreme is when too much closeness causes this: familiarity breeds contempt, disregard.

Did I tell you the story when Gurudev was playing chess with His disciple? Once he was playing chess with one of his favorite disciples. And it’s so happened that the disciple won. It’s quite an uneasy situation if you win against your master. But still, it happened. And Gurudev made only one small little remark, he said: “Don’t forget from whom you have learned how to play chess!”

And you see, this is a classical situation, it could have happened thousands of years before. Because in certain cases a disciple looks like better than the master – for example more successful, more famous, more powerful, with more achievements. The old acharya is sitting in a small hut, doing nothing, only chanting his japa and meditating on the Divine Couple, while the very active preacher disciples they go and conquer the whole world. Still, they should be informed: “Don’t forget from whom you have learned!” So, this is a beautiful classical situation and it is obvious that Gurudev was using practically all moments or events to instruct. Sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly; sometimes positively, other times, so to say “negatively”, but always very intensely achieving results. Sometimes very intensely.

[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya-lila, 12.42-50

[2] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya-lila, 12.51-59

[3] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya-lila, 12. 60

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