Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Do not forget the example of Srila Rupa Goswami. He was on an absolutely realized platform. He had a little hut and he was studying, writing and chanting there. Not so much any other engagements – sometimes meeting with the devotees. And once a great fighter came to him who wanted to challenge him in philosophy.  This is the usual habit in tattva, in philosophical school, that people come together and debate on certain topics. And they challenge each other and they have to reply to the questions – like this. And finally who is running out of arguments he should surrender to the other, he should accept him as a spiritual master. So this fighter entered Vrindavan and was knocking on the door of Rupa Gswmai “I am here to challenge you!”. And Rupa Goswami said: “Good, put me on your list. You have defeated me.” He was not so stupid to enter a fight. If you are on a realized platform will you ever fight? Yes, sometimes. But only superficially, not in your heart. “Your mercy is coming to me. I am on your list. Take my scalp.” And the challenger was so satisfied. “This is the shastra guru of the sampradaya, the highest representative, and he doesn’t come to me. They are very weak.”

But then a neophyte one was also listening to the story. This was Jiva Goswami. He was the nephew of Rupa Goswami. You know different generation. Rupa Goswami was old guy who was chanting Hare Krishna, it was enough for him. But Jiva Goswami was energetic young lion. „What?! Somebody is criticizing the shastra guru of the sampradaya?! Who is by the way my uncle!” So he said immediately “Instead of him I will fight with you.” The young ones they have a hot head, ready to jump into occasions. And definitely Jiva Goswami defeated this guy, smashed him. Why? Because Jiva Goswami was practically the most massive, productive philosopher writing more than 400 000 verses on vaishnava philosophy. 400 000! “Gita” is 700. “Vedanta Sutra” is 555. “Bhagavatam” is 18 000. “Mahabharata” is 100 000 and he wrote 400 000 verses about philosophy. “Mahabharata” is 7 times greater than “Iliad” and “Odyssey” together. So from this you can understand the proportions of the works of Jiva Goswami. Of course he could not tolerate someone to challenge his master and senior. Do you like this story? Usually we like this story. But then some criticism attacked Jiva Goswami: “You think that you are cleverer than your master? This is offensive. If he says: “No, take my name and put it in your list,” you should leave it like that. Whatever is given by Rupa Goswami you should accept.” It is difficult for the young lions to accept.

But in order to protect our masters like Jiva Goswami and Rupa Goswami we have to be smart enough how to apply the rules and regulations on the practical situations. So therefore we have to learn very attentively. And this is not only lexical knowledge, collecting the facts or information, but this is trying to catch the mood because after certain limit this is not a question of information, but this is a question of mood. How we come together in service. What is the special taste that brings us together in devotional service.

Kripadham: What happened at the end with the story of Rupa and Jiva Goswami?

Tirtha Maharaj: This was the end. So the other guy surrendered of course. He admitted being defeated.

Yamuna: Did he surrender himself to Jiva or Rupa Goswami?

Tirtha Maharaj: Just imagine yourself in this situation.

Yamuna: As in the role of the defeated one?

Tirtha Maharaj: You can imagine yourself as Rupa Goswami also, but he kept silent. If we imagine ourselves in the role of the challenger, try to enter Vrindavan, irrespective of your bad mentality – that you come with a challenging mentality – you are there. You get your lesson. First you think that you can overcome Rupa Goswami and then you are smashed by the neophyte Jiva Goswami. So your false egotism is just broken into pieces. Then you come to some higher understanding and immediately the natural born devotee is manifested in your heart and you say: ”Oh Jiva Goswami Prabhupada, I was so offensive, please correct my mistakes, koro he uttama, make me the best devotee. I want to surrender to your lotus feet.” May be with this role we can identify ourselves with. But try to identify yourselves with Jiva Goswami. Very sharp, very bright but at the same time a real devotee on the highest platform. He was protecting the dignity of the line, the dignity of his uncle, giving a lecture to an offender in such a pure way, that he comes to a higher understanding. “And he wants to surrender to me?! No, no, no – it’s impossible, I cannot take it. Go to him, to my uncle!”

So if we learn this mood, Vrindavan mood, it is impossible to commit mistakes because then you do not think you are the savior of the whole world. You do not think: “Oh, I am Jiva Goswami, the protector of the line, so everyone should follow and surrender to me.“ Not like that.

Vrindavan is a very special place. Physically you can enter the bhajan kutir and the samadhi mandir of Rupa Goswami – it is there, available. This is at the back yard of Radha Damodar temple. But this is only a physical visit if you are not on that platform. As a tourist you can check the attractive points, tourist attractions in Vrindavan, but this is not the real thing. Because we should go to the place of Rupa Goswami with tears in our eyes.

And I have a friend – he visited the bhajana kutir. These little huts are standing opposite each other at the back yard. So when my friend wanted to offer dandavats to Rupa Goswami, the main teacher of the line, he said: “Well, I don’t want to go to the place where he is buried. I want to go to the place where he is still meditating.” So he decided to offer his dandavat pranams and prayers at the bhajana kutir. And while he was offering the dandavats he said: “Please, Rupa Goswami, you are such a great teacher, such a great master for the whole line. Give me your blessings so I can also understand a little, tiny little thing in this beautiful bhakti message. “ And most probably this was a sincere prayer because he was still lying on the floor when the pujari from the bhajana kutir came and gave him a garland.

If this would happen to you, what would you think? Sincere prayers are heard. And in holy places the spiritual desires are fulfilled. In case you enter Vrindavan, even if you came with a challenging mood – take your lesson, practice sincere humility, and then some drops of mercy will come to you.


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