Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question: What is more easy for the soul – to try to know one particular name of God and be connected with it or to try to know all the names and all the aspects?

Tirtha Maharaj: It depends on the level of the practitioner. Because there are people of general faith and there are affiliated, connected to one aspect. And for the one party it is very difficult to understand the other party. The general believers will say: “Ah, you are sectarians, because you are fanatic of Rama, or fanatic of Krishna.” But to give a material example: if you love your wife, are you sectarian? You are connected to one lady and not to all the ladies generally – is that sectarian? I think this is not sectarian, this is based on love, affection. In the same way, we can be connected to divinity generally, and specifically also.

Your question is what is easier? Well, I cannot say what is easier, there are these two aspects. One tries to understand divinity in a general way, others try to affiliate themselves to one particular aspect. It is discussed in the “Vedanta Sutra”. Baladeva Vidyabhushana says that those who are affiliated, focused – they are a little better. Why better? Of course it does not mean that the others are wrong, but why better – because they achieve more intensive feelings. This is the measure – how much intensity you can get, you can achieve.

Otherwise Shrila Prabhupada says in the Seventh Canto of the “Bhagavatam” that from among the different aspects of the Supreme, Krishna, a devotee should choose a particular form, which is most attractive to him, be it Nrisingha, or Rama, or Krishna – whatever. And then this specific worship will establish a very personal, very deep connection between the devotee and the Lord.

So, I think, a synthesis is best – if we have a broad vision, general understanding and a deep-rooted specific attachment. Then you can achieve the fruit of both. This is my conviction, because generally these days they want to teach us to move only on the surface, not entering deep into anything. Just collect the information – this is the information age. Yet what is necessary is transformation. But transformation is impossible without going deep. Without deep roots you cannot grow. So therefore instead of simply being horizontal, we have to be vertical also. Dive deep into reality. And if you go only superficially, then you will not reach deep. If you only dig, then you become fanatic. Therefore I am sure that synthesis is the answer of today’s problems.

Question of Dani: Gurudev, what do the shastras say about our personality? It is sure that we have some personality and that we are unique, but is there any constant personality in us?

Tirtha Maharaj: In a way of understanding – yes. The same spark is transmitted from lifetime to lifetime. Other schools and other philosophies explain it in a different way, but my understanding is like this, that the same spiritual spark, jivatman, the atman of the jiva, is sat-chit-ananda. Sat, eternal. It’s an eternal spark.

Dani: Yes, eternal in sense that it lasts forever, but is it eternal in sense that it is constant, unchanging?

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes, because it is part of perfection.

Dani: But in one lecture you said that God is changing, expanding.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes, that is the divine dynamics. In that sense your dynamism is that you can come closer and closer and closer to the essence. As you are part of perfection, as atman, that is particle from the absolute platform, you do not have to change. But it might be progressive. Eternity is not a limitation. It’s alive.

Dani: So the spirit sparks are constant and outer body is changing and also mentality is changing.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes, but also some part of your mentality is transferred from one birth to another. Body is all the time changing, mentality is slowly-slowly changing. But you carry these impressions. Just like a CD – you can add some information, you can delete, but the CD is the same, so to say, the hardware is the same.

This is a question of philosophy. But the problem – if there is any problem – is that some schools say that personality is a material limitation over Brahman, so therefore it does not really exist. I say that personality is our nature, we cannot be substituted one for the other. For me this is the beauty of life – that eternal principle which is unique, and one and only, and still active. I can very difficultly agree, practically I disagree with those explanations that say there is no individual existence. There are some explanations that say there is nothing. And that is too much for me. It’s absurd for me.

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