Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

“Fully decorated as vaishnavas, Haridas and Premadas arrived at Pandit das Babaji’s ashram. Gopi-chandan[1] shone on their foreheads and three strands of tulasi[2] beads decorated their necks.”[3] These are the external symbols of a vaishnava. Many people judge according to the external symbols: “O, he has a tilak! Good!” Or: “He has some kanties[4] – he must be a vaishnava.” But you know, it is starting to become a fashion – to wear some kinds of kanties. Once I saw a person in the bus with nice three rows of tulasi on his neck. I thought: “O, he is a vaishnava!”, so I tried to come closer to him and enter into discussion. We started and finally I said: “Can you tell me something about your neck-beads?” And he said: “O yes! I got it from my girl-friend. Very nice, I like it so much!” So sometimes the external signs can cheat you. Somebody comes in a garb of a vaishnava – for example in sannyas[5] robes – but if he is giving nonsense, then you should take it or not? Do nоt judge according to the external. And do nоt think if you had put your kanties on your neck that you are accomplished. Do nоt think if you have got initiation that you are a finished devotee. This is only the beginning, when they accept you in the school. When you enter the university, it is not the final exam. When you enroll, it is not equal when they give you the diploma. Do not forget, initiation is only the beginning. It is not the end. Do not judge according to the external signs.


Of course, there are some major points that we should always follow. Like: “Their right hands constantly counted the holy names on japa-mala within their japa-bags… From their lips came the two names: “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna…”


Vaishnavas are naturally not inclined to argue. Take it into your hearts – that vaishnavas are by nature not inclined to argue. There are external signs and there are internal signs. External sign is wearing a tilak, having a kanti, having a japa in hand – these are external signs. Internal sign – you are not attached to fighting, naturally you are not inclined to argue. If somebody says: “You are a fool number one”, you say: “O, yes…” But if somebody says that your spiritual master is a fool number one, then you can fight. You have all the rights to fight – for him, not for yourself. Or if somebody says: “Yes, yes, I like you, but you know, these guys around you, these vaishnavas are not so nice. They are neophytes!” May be that is true; still if this is a kind of hidden or covered criticism, you should not listen to it. Because vaishnavas are there for two reasons. One is to serve them and the second is to glorify them. Krishna gives us vaishnavas in order to serve them and in order to glorify them. Not to fight with them, not to hate them – only for these reasons.


If you have the power to fight – then you can do it! But if you want to practice bhakti, this is not based on force or power. Sometimes still we have to argue, we have to fight. But do not fight for your own purposes or ideas, only fight for siddhanta[6], only fight for the sake of others.


There is a definite proof for the deterioration of Kali-yuga. Previously and even now in India if you are not religious – than this is a bad name. But here if you say: “I believe in God”, they say: “Such an outdated idea? You should update your version.” But all right, next time you say: “I worship Krishna!” They will shut the door and say: “This is a sect!” So people have no idea. But do not be afraid! Two thousand years ago they were killing the first Christians. They were putting them in front of lions and tigers. These times are gone. Now they only say: “Ah, you are a fool!” No problem, we take it. Yes, we are fools, we are mad after love of Krishna. So if somebody says: “I think you have some mental disturbance”, then you can say: “You have also noticed?! I also feel some high disturbance. And usually I go for treatment. And I meet many others, who have the same problem. We are very happy together. We sing and dance a lot. And jump high! And we laugh a lot… And you know, I have a doctor. But he has the same problem.”


Actually if you go to psychiatrist, I mean to a hospital, then it is very difficult to judge – who is the patient and who is the doctor. Why? Because all the troubles are just given to one person and burden him. Especially if some spiritual or mind troubles are given to a person, it will effect his mind. So if your doctor does not have a kind of technique for self-protection, or he has no source to take from, he only has to give, he will be exhausted, he will be overburdened. I know some psychiatrists – they have a very difficult life. Better become a vaishnava. Because we are also searching after divine madness. Divyon mada! Divyon mada is divine madness. When you lose your external consciousness. Only this “Krishna, Krishna!”



[1] Gopi-chandan tilak – sacred soil from Vrindavan


[2] Tulasi – sacred plant


[3] From “Prema-pradipa” by Bhaktivinoda Thakura


[4] Kanti (from “kanti-mala”) – tulasi-bead strand around the neck


[5] Sannyasi – a monk


[6] Siddhanta – the very gist of the teaching

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