December 2021
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2013, evening, Sofia)


Question of Yashoda: You mentioned in some previous lectures the one-pointed devotion? If you could elaborate more on this type of devotion?

Swami Tirtha: One-pointed attention… Once there was a discussion between saintly personalities. The question was: “How many Gods are there?” And the answer was: “33,306”. “All right, but how many Gods are there?” “Thirty-three”. “But how many Gods are there?” Then it was said: “All right, three”. “But how many Gods are there?” “Two”. “Thank you, but how many Gods are there?” So, what do you think, what was the next answer? “One and a half”. “Thank you, but how many Gods are there?” And then it came to one.

What is this? Maybe the scientists are correct – this Hinduism is a polytheistic mess? It’s not, because soon it turns out that the 33,306 – these are only the emanations of the 33 main divine personalities – the different aspects of the Sun god, different aspects of the Moon god, adityas and this, and that – they are the 33 main personalities. Indra is mentioned in this list, Prajapati is mentioned in this list… And if you focus your attention, finally you will find the ultimate source, the ultimate personality.

I think you are interested in this one and a half God. This was God Supreme plus the life energy, prana – this is the half. Because this is so important that it is worth to be worshipped. So, life is a worshipable object! This is our one and a half God.

But for us who is the One? Ishvara parama Krishna – this Supreme controller is Krishna. Ishvarah paramah krishnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahaha – His body is eternal, fully cognizant and blissful. Anadir adir govindaha sarva-karana-karanam[1] before anybody else there is Govinda. He is the first of the first, the ultimate cause of all causes.

So, if we preach generally, we should say that Krishna is the ultimate. Do you want to hear some other opinions? Shall we enter a little deeper into this? Otherwise we can stop. So, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati – who was a sinha-guru, fighting all the misconceptions like a lion – once in one of his articles said: “Oh, this whole religious world is obsessed by this monotheism. They think that there is only one Supreme Lord. But that’s a major mistake. They are two. We are dualists. There is a predominant aspect of the Supreme and a predominated aspect of the Supreme”. Who is the predominant aspect of the Supreme? This is Govinda, Krishna. Who is the predominated aspect of the Supreme? Radha!

You might think that this is the end: Radhe-Shyam, Radha-Krishna. Once there was a very famous maharaja in India, and he visited Radha Kunda. And he circumvallated the Radha Kunda by dandavats. You know how it works: you stand, you bow down fully with your body, then you stand up again, you leap forward to the place where you reached before with your fingers and then again you bow down – this is the way how you go around the Radha Kunda. So, the devotees said: “Oh, this person has such a huge dedication to Krishna that he performs this dandavat parikram”. While Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati said: “We have a different concept. We don’t have respect for Krishna. We pay respect to Krishna only because He is dear to Radharani. We pay all respect to Radharani. And Krishna is included in the picture because He is dear to Her!” But of course generally we don’t speak about that.

So, thinking that religion is the worship of 33,306 different demigods; polytheistic system or monotheistic system, or a dualist system… no, reduce! Only one! As there is only one personality mentioned most of the times in the maha-mantra. The great saints say that ultimately there is only one power. Therefore we have to be one-pointed in our worship.

And many times we discussed that some of the devotees are focused on the dark Lord, our Krishna; other devotees are focused on the bright Goddess, Shrimati Radharani. And those who cannot decide, they can choose the Golden Avatar, because in His personality they both are combined.

[1] Sri Brahma-samhita 5.1


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