Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 How to cultivate devotional friendship? For that we have to become a vaishnava. Otherwise how can we cultivate vaishnava friendship? And do you know who is a vaishnava? I’ll tell you a definition: “Vaishnava is such a person, in whom all the transcendental good qualities have already developed.” ‘Oh-oh! So far I thought that I’m also a vaishnava…’ Then what to do? But the next part is a little more easy, because “All the divine features of Krishna step by step are revealed, shown in the vaishnava. And this moral and inner spiritual development is due to his commitment and unbroken faith to the Supreme.”

So, there are different grades of vaishnavas. One is trying to achieve perfection and the other is the accomplished one who already has it. It doesn’t matter on this or on that platform – just go ahead. By this unbroken, relentless faith and commitment everything will come.

We cannot discus all the 26 different qualities of the vaishnava right now, but one is that he is friendly, he has this friendly disposition.

Friendship with God – how to do that, how does it happen? You know, it is said in the Upanishads that on the tree of the body, on the main branch – the heart – there are two birds sitting. One is the soul and the other is the Supersoul, the Paramatma. This is one way: when the soul turns attention to his friend, the Paramatma, then a change of direction in life will happen. So, God Supreme is your friend as Paramatma, always there with you. In that sense He is neutral with you – He lets you make all the nonsense, all the mistakes. When you are ready to express your willingness, then He will guide you also, but if you want, you can enjoy your freedom. In that sense He is neutral. But there is another friend of you. Beyond Paramatma there is Bhagavan. And Bhagavan is not a neutral friend. He is biased, He is in favor of His devotees. He likes everyone, but He likes the devotees more. To have such a well-wishing friend, who is not simply neutral, tolerating all your nonsense, but who is actively trying to help you – I think this is the upgrade of divine friendship.

And what about friendship as a devotional service? Friendship is called strong affection. So, friendship is not a weak affection. Therefore this is more than simple willingness to serve. This is one main primary rasa. The friendly disposition to God Supreme is the following: it’s a stabilized, permanent, established state in devotional service and due to the symptoms of ecstatic feelings and relationship to Him, this friendly disposition will reveal in a mature way.

What are the factors that will instigate this friendly disposition? Now try to think according to our human experience. What will enhance your friendship? The presence of your friend, right? It makes our feelings very strong. Sometimes of course separation will also enhance the feelings, but the personal presence will nourish your friendship. In case we don’t have this direct contact, there are a lot of different inspirations. In the case of Krishna, for example His name is also such a source of inspiration; His form, His paraphernalia. It is said: “The beautiful form of Krishna, His strong and stout body, the blessed signs on His body, His eloquence, the very wise teaching, His genius, His knowledge and His mercy, His chivalry, His behavior as a lover, His intellect and His forgiveness, His attractive power, His wealth, and ultimately His bliss, His happiness are the source of inspiration in friendship.”[1]

(to be continued)

[1] From “Nectar of Devotion”, chapter 41


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