Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Question of Kripadham: Why in “Bhagavad-gita” Shrila Prabhupada translates buddhi-yoga as „devotional service”? If you can comment on this.

Tirtha Maharaj: Because bhakti should be performed with buddhi. Devotion should be a clever devotion. Why? Because in the “Vedanta-sutra” it is suggested that first the practitioners should become wise. Then they should become innocent like a child. First become rishi-muni, and then become a child. What does it mean? It means: first obtain buddhi-yoga, obtain the connection of intellect. In other places Krishna says in “Bhagavad-gita”: “Use all your intelligence in connection with Me.”[1] But then we should understand, that this is not the intellect that will help us to be connected back to divinity, but this is a different type of yoga – this is yoga of dedication, yoga of emotions. And that is best practiced by the children. Sometimes they are dedicated so much to playing their games, that they forget to eat or to sleep or to go back home, because they have given themselves. And they are very pure in the heart, in the intention – no complicated mind. Therefore first become a wise person and then become an innocent child. This is the way back home back to Godhead.

Therefore buddhi-yoga should be pure devotional service. This is a prerequisite for this innocent stage. What is the definition of wisdom?

Somebody: When thoughts are put into action.

Tirtha Maharaj: Ah! Very close to the essence!

Yamuna: What about the quality of your thoughts?

Tirtha Maharaj: Anyway, irrespective of the quality, that is intelligence if you can achieve your goals. But I also heard another definition of wisdom and this is “the practical ability to love.” Do you accept that? Which is very much similar to what you have quoted, but maybe put in this devotional, bhakti concept. So wisdom is not the labyrinth of the complicated brain, but some heat, some light, emanating from a divine source that comforts us. This is wisdom. This wisdom that I am talking about is not a human achievement, but this is a divine blessing. Maybe our wisdom heroes are very simple minds from the material point of view. But we should be able to perceive the essential quality. Spiritual intelligence is a divine quality of the soul. Because this is not the knowledge of much information, but this is the vision of the truth, of the essence. Which is another definition for wisdom. Therefore we pray to divine wisdom to descend on us.

[1] “Bhagavad-gita” 12.8

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