Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

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

The complicated theological structures people will forget. But if we can perceive something of the spirit, if we can have a touch, a drop of devotional mood, we shall remember that forever. For example the taste. There was one celebration in 1984, October. One of my brothers prepared halva of such a nectarean taste – it’s still on my lips! Many years have passed – actually this happened in the last millennium, so we can say this is a thousand year long story – but nevertheless this taste is with me. What happened on the lectures – I don’t remember! Therefore we need this taste.

We discussed why God descends to this world. And we understood that there are some official reasons and there are some more personal reasons; to correct the mistakes of religious practices, or to save the faithful ones, or to fulfill the desires of great sages.

“Narada Muni was another cause of Krishna’s descent. Once during Narada’s travels he saw the two sons of Kuvera, Nalakuvera and Manigriva, playing with many heavenly apsara girls. The girls were naked like trees and stones, drinking wine and totally shameless. Yet when they saw Narada coming on the path, the girls became ashamed. They folded their hands, covered themselves with garments and prayed to Narada from far away. The two men on the other hand, completely mad and intoxicated by wine, began abusing both the girls and Narada. They called out: “Why has this old man come here and disturbed everything?”[1]

So, what happens here? A moment of pleasure. Young men, young women meeting and trying to enjoy life. But then comes Narada. Who is Narada? Narada is a very interesting person in our tradition. He is free to travel anywhere. He is the son of Brahma, the creator, and also he is like the apostle of bhakti. And whenever he appears things start to happen. He is like a person who catalyzes things to happen. Sometimes tells some advice here, a little news there – and then all of a sudden there’s a big explosion in the story.

“Narada was very merciful and thought: “There are the sons of my friend Kuvera.” Kuvera is the treasurer of the demigods – an influential person. And if you have an influential person as your father, you might try to enjoy life and the facilities of your father. “Kuvera was Narada’s friend and Shankara Shiva was also his friend. Narada had been on his way to meet Kuvera and when he saw his sons so degraded, he thought: ‘I should punish them – to correct them.’ He therefore cursed the sons: “You should become trees! You are behaving like trees and so you shall be trees!” And the young men immediately felt: ‘Ah! We are going to be trees next life!’ They fell flat at Narada’s lotus feet and he told them: “My word will come true. What I have foretold will prove not false. But you will become trees in Gokula, where Krishna will take birth and perform so many sweet pastimes. He will touch you and you will be liberated. Not only that, but you will attain bhakti and you will become His transcendental associates forever!” So, Krishna also came to fulfill this curse and blessing of Narada.”

We all know the story – they became the twin-trees in Vrindavana. When after His damodar-lila Krishna escaped from home, He helped to liberate these two trees. And from the trees when they fell, very bright young divine personalities appeared. So, their curse expired. This is also something very instructive: that if you receive a curse from a saint, it might turn into a blessing. Many times it happens that we think: ‘I have received a blessing’ and it turns out to be a curse. This is a world of illusion. We hope for something very good and we receive something frustrating. While the spiritual world functions on different principles – you receive something bitter and it turns out to be sweet. And it doesn’t work the other way round – if you receive something sweet, it will never turn stale.

Once I had a friend and he told me: “The nectar of the Holy Name turned bitter on my lips!” And I was so shocked to hear this that next time when I met a very good friend of Gurudev as a spiritual authority, I had to humbly ask: “May I have a question?” He said: “Yes, go ahead!” Then I told him the story; he looked at me very serene and said: “If that turned bitter, that was not the Holy Name.”

(to be continued)

[1] Readings from a book of Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj

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