Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Yamuna: Maharaj, I was attending a philosophy lecture and the lecturer mentioned that in Puranas there are mentioned like twenty-eight Vyasas, Vyasadevas. And I wanted to ask is it really like this, because in this way he was actually objecting the single one, the personality. He was saying that he is a collective image. Of course I have no problem to accept that God has given His inspiration to multiple persons to comply that job, but what is the vaishnava vision? Do we accept the multiplicity of Vyasadeva? Or we rather stick to one person. And then, if it is one person how there are mentioned twenty-eight Vyasas in Puranas, if it is true?

Tirtha Maharaj: It is a question of angle of vision. From one angle you see yin and yang, from the other you see the person behind. I haven’t studied all the Puranas, because it is practically impossible, twelve lifetimes would not be enough; we should take the essence. Because the scriptures of Hinduism are so widespread, that you can find support for any idea in the shastras: that Brahma is the Supreme, Shiva is the Supreme, Vishnu is the Supreme, Krishna is the Supreme, Brahman is Supreme, Ganesh is Supreme, Lakshmi is Supreme – so many different supremes are there. Multiplicity of Supreme! Vaishnava is Supreme… No end of who is supreme.

But you see this last version? Vaishnava is the Supreme! This is our version. Why? Because Krishna is the Supreme, but karshna is even greater. Karshna means what or who belongs to Krishna. So this is the ultimate level of divinity.

But to return to the question of Vyasa: Vyasa, this name, is not a personal name, this is a general function. Just like the Brahma, the creator, creating power. It is not a name, but it is the title. In divine hierarchy, during all the periods of Manu, I think some twelve different functions are distributed: who is the sun-god, who is Indra, who is the yaksha, who is the rakshasa, who are the gandharvas – all these different positions are fulfilled by different personalities.

So what is the meaning of the name Vyasa? Compiler – who divides, arranges the Vedas. So this is a divine function: somebody has to take care of the teachings, somebody has to take care of the Vedas, distributing the knowledge. And from time to time different personalities get the license to do the service. For this time the Vyasa is Krishna Dvaipayana. Dvaipayana means who was born on an island – “dvipa”, coming from “dvipa”. So this specific person who is fulfilling the task of Vyasa in this age is Krishna Dvaipayana. He is the entitled, so to say literary incarnation of God, Krishna. And therefore he is not only a historical person, but he is a mythical person also. Because a historical person takes birth and dies. A mythical person is beyond those limits.

And for the higher ones it is not a problem to attend a lecture here and to attend another ashram there at the same time. For them to multiply themselves is not a problem. So even this one person, Vyasa, is able, if it is necessary, to multiply himself.

But actually this is the scientific versions and explanations. For example they say that “Mahabharata”is a product of some, let’s say, eight hundred years. But in this way it is very easy to destroy the faith of people. At the same time we should put our faith into the truth, not into some stories. How the cranes fly? Check it! You don’t have to believe me.

But this is a very difficult and very deep question what you have mentioned. Because if you analyze, you will kill the cat.

Yamuna: But if we don’t analyze, they call us stupid and blind.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes. But we have some solutions. Because beyond the historical and factual truth there is an inner and mythical truth. And there is no ultimate opposition between the two. These are functioning in different dimensions. And from a higher dimension, from a higher point of view you can see what is on the lower platform, but from the lower you will never understand the higher.

The same problem was with Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He said: “If I want to satisfy the sadhus and say that the stories are coming from thousands and millions of years before, then the scientists will ridicule me, because they will say: “Ah, this is only two thousand years old.” But if I want to satisfy the scientists, then the sadhus will curse me. So what to do?” Therefore he came out with his own timing of Indian prehistory, which tries to combine the different visions and comes to a common platform, acceptable from both sides. Of course that was his idea to harmonize the traditional and the scientific versions.

But the parampara system helps us in this respect. Whatever is practiced and supported by our teachers, we can follow that. And you can check the results in your own private life.


(to be continued)

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