Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Question of Dani:
I want to ask if we like souls, have the faith and the love inside us, but they are covered, or we receive them from somewhere?

Tirtha Maharaj: It’s a good question. We have to examine where these, so to say, objects exists. Whether inside, or outside? Do we possess it originally or receive it from someone?

Well, some think that love – and, of course, I am always talking about divine love, the spiritual love, the function of the soul – so some think that this is inside of them. Others think that this is only outside of them. The third group says this is inside and outside. We can say that the soul in its original, pure form, possesses practically this capacity – loving, affectionate capacity, aura, energy. This is like inner capacity of love, inside, immanent capacity of the soul. But if we observe that the whole universe is an act of love from God, then we can see that love is outside also. Actually we are swimming in ocean of love.

Therefore it is said in the bhakti process that ashraya and vishaya is very important. Vishaya means the object. Bhakti has an object that we do not only visualize, but we embrace. It is not enough only to visualize the lotus feet of Krishna, we have to capture these. Now you might think that these are poetic words. But if I say: is it enough to visualize the soup? You will immediately understand that this is not enough. You have to do something about it: cut the vegetables, heat the fire, put all the ingredients, offer and eat. In the same way, simply visualizing the object of our dedication is not enough; we have to do it.

Krishna is the object of service, He is the object of approach, the object of love, He is the goal. And who has this capacity to love? This is the jiva. So jiva is the ashraya-tattva of bhakti. That means: bhakti, loving service, takes shelter of the jiva, who is trying to serve Krishna. Ashraya means “shelter”. So, in that sense we can say that love is inside the jiva. This is the capacity of the jiva to approach the Supreme. And then, if the process is pure enough, the magic starts to happen. Because then the serving mood of the jiva attracts the attention of Krishna. For example, if you chant very nicely, very softly, deeply from your heart, then He will hear! “Someone is calling Me! Where is he?” We have to capture His attention. And then Krishna starts to forget about His position of being an object of love and He wants to be the subject of love, the shelter of love.

And actually this was happening in the case of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As we know, there were some main objectives why He appeared like a devotee – because He was very curious to understand what the devotees appreciate in Him. And also He wanted to taste the nectar of dedication. Therefore He came as a devotee. And just imagine, if God is ready to become a servant – Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came as a devotee, Krishna started to be the chariot driver of Arjuna, Lord Jesus went on the cross as a sacrifice for you –if God, divine personalities are ready to accept your position as a human being, as a servant, then this is a very glorious position to be a devotee. Be proud to be a servant!

Then these ashraya-vishaya roles are exchanged. Then God starts to be a practitioner and the devotee, pure devotee, starts to be the object of worship of the Supreme.

God is omnipotent, right? Do you agree? Yes, yes, we agree. But is it possible for Him to serve a pure devotee? Whether He is able to exercise His service attitude to a fully renounced and dedicated pure devotee? We can say no. Because, as we had seen, the devotees kidnapped Mahaprabhu, His plan was broken. So the devotee principle is stronger thant the divine, God principle. In the same way God’s omnipotence is curbed by the willpower of the pure devotees. Because they are not ready to accept any service from the Supreme. Then, in such a moment you can see Krishna perplexed. “What am I to do?! This guy does not take anything from Me! I try to give him all mercy, all blessings and he is only chanting this “Hare Krishna”! What am I to do?!” God is perplexed.

But then the solution comes – the simple devotee, who may be not pure hundred percent yet, but he is dedicated to the pure devotees. And he can cook the soup for him. Or he can clean the pots, or he can sometimes wash the dhoti. Then Krishna is very satisfied. Then His attention is focused on this new devotee: “He can do what I cannot! He can serve My pure devotees, what I cannot do, because they are not ready to accept My service. So I give all My blessings to this neophyte! Because he can do what I cannot.”

Therefore we should always feel like neophytes. Because Krishna likes the neophytes. This is the mood that we should preserve. And, nevertheless, cook the soup.

If we mention only ashraya-tattva, vishaya-tattva, everything is so dry, theoretical. But when we understand what it is and then we put it into practice, nectar will come. In the hope that this nectar is showered over you, we stop the discussion now.

Leave a Reply