Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01. 2011, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Question of Lila Avatar: Can I add something to the question of Krishna Priya concerning the spiritual name? Observing the birth-given names and the spiritual names – we can see that very often, if not always, one or two letters in the beginning of the names are the same. What is the meaning of this?

Swami Tirtha: Usually the acharyas do like that. Why? Because we identify with our names, name is something very close to us. Even the civil name, the family name gives us a program, and for the previous ten, twenty, thirty, fifty years we identified with that program. It’s not necessary to discard everything from our previous life, but we have to enhance that. What you have – add more, and in this way it will be more divine, it will be closer to the divine service.

So names help us to find our ways. If we don’t know what is what – what object is named with what name – then we are lost. So how important it is to have names!

Once we had a name-giving ceremony for a family. They had six children and each and every child was born on a different continent. I see you like the idea! These were older children – not babies, but children of few years. After the ceremony one of the boys came to me and he said: “Now my old name is lost? It’s not there anymore?” He was quite frightened. Then I understood that this was his identity. My name is me in one sense. So definitely I said: “No, no, no! It’s there with you! But you just add some sunshine to your name!” – I think his spiritual name was Bright Light or Sunshine, something like this.

So the name is very important for us. Therefore, as we are identifying with our names, usually our teachers respect the name that was given to us and enhance it, give something more to it.

Question of Manjari: And in cases when the new name is very different from the previous name, does it mean that we discard the past and start anew?

Swami Tirtha: Anyway we have to start anew. Whatever mistakes we had done, or whatever shortcomings we have, we have to get rid of them. The identification with this, so to say, new name helps us to enter this new role, this new phase of life. And as I told you, it’s the quality or the program, the goal – so it’s not necessarily the sounds and the letters.

For example, once there was a young man visiting our program. This was a public lecture; he just took the karatals and started to play perfectly, though it was the first occasion ever for him! I thought: ‘That’s quite interesting!’ And I said: “Oh, very nice! Why don’t you come to the ashram next time?” He said: “All right, I can come!” So the next week he came. He introduced himself and he said: “My name is Boga.” This was his family name. Immediately just like a thunderbolt struck me and I felt: ‘Oh, from bhoga we have to make prasadam’. From bhoga, which is non-offered food, you can make Prasad, holy food – by offering. So I felt: ‘Oh, from this boy we have to make Prasadam!’ And so it happened. So sometimes even in the civil name Krishna gives a hint.

Manjari: And what is his name?

Swami Tirtha: Jagannath Prasad.


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