Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(continues from the previous issue)


Damodar: The fourth question is even deeper. What is the difference betweenKrishna bhakti and guru bhakti?

Tirtha Maharaj: Krishna bhakti for most of the people is theory. Guru bhakti can be a practical experience. I’ll give you one story; tell me where is the mistake. Let us say, there is one very nice devotee. He is doing his sadhana very nicely: every morning waking up on time, chanting the rounds, then going to job, and in the evenings again doing some spiritual meditation, reading the shastras. So this is the story; where is the mistake?

Answers: Where are the devotees? Where is the guru?

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes, something like this. We can follow all the details and all the rules and all the regulations to the best of our abilities. But if we are not working and living for the satisfaction of somebody – be it a brother, a sister, your guru or any authority, anyone – if you are not living for their satisfaction, you will not feel the rasa. Because this practical service will bring the inner satisfaction. If we live, if we love, if we work for someone – then is very obvious! Otherwise it is theoretical – you are just scratching the surface, but you will never get the essence. Because the essence is not mental; this is not intellectual, this is heart! If you accept guru from the mind, you will have big problems. Because sooner or later your idea will change and he will not meet your standards. But if we accept guru from the heart then this connection is progressive. It is said: those who do not love but use and reject they do not know anything about love. But those who accept guru from the heart, those who love guru from the heart they simply love him – no explanation! Can you explain why you love someone? It is beyond explanation. Until you can say why you love, you do not really love.

So what is the difference betweenKrishnabhakti and guru bhakti? They say that through guru bhakti we can understand what isKrishnabhakti. Take it as a training.

But you know, these guys are all playing very good the chess. Usually guru is also a good player. BecauseKrishnais a good player, Mahaprabhu is a good player; guru is also a good player. But at the end he will say: “It is your choice! As you like.” And if you are clever, then you will say: “Yes, Gurudev! This is the way that I wanted.” If you have lost, at least you show a good face.

We can say, if guru bhakti is so painful… no, if guru bhakti is so beautiful, we can imagine how beautiful isKrishnabhakti. What to speak of Radha dasyam?!

Very nice questions! Actually these questions are impossible to answer. Because they are the topic of our life. They are the objects of our search.

Question of Yashoda: Do Krishna bhakti exists at all, as we know that Radha is offering all the service toKrishna, so we want to become servants of Radharani… Who is servingKrishna then? Nobody can go toKrishna and say: “I am Your servant.”

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, some can do that. But is not this question a little theoretical? Krishna bhakti?! Yes, Krishna bhakti exists. But exists only up to a certain limit. Shrila Shridhara Maharaj explains that in your progressive path to Krishna’s service finally you meet Him and you ask: “Ah my Lord, I am Your servant, how can I serve You?” Just imagine this moment. Ultimate darshan with God! Finally you can talk face to face. You ask: “I am here, how am I to serve You?” He says: “I do not know! I do not know anything about My service. In My service there is an authority and this is My beloved Shrimati Radharani. So, if you want to serve Me, please, go to Her, join Her campaign.”

This isKrishnabhakti – if we join the other camp.

Question of Yamuna: One of our acharyas has said that Vrindavana is for the fools. The real worshippers go to Kurukshetra. If you can tell us what is the meaning? Because we always speak that Vrindavana is the place of rasa. And as you said some consider “Gita” superficial and Kurukshetra is the place for battle, not a place for rasa.

Tirtha Maharaj: Why Kurukshetra is mentioned in this respect? Actually this is repeated in Rupa Goswami’s “Lalita Madhava” and “Vidagdha Madhava” dramas that Radharani is praying when They meet again at Kurukshetra after such long time of separation: “This is the same full moon night, this is the same soft breeze, this is the same Krishna and this is the same me, but still we cannot run and meet… Because this is not Vrindavana, but this is Kurukshetra, where we have different rasa, different mood.” Therefore we consider Kurukshetra from this point of view the ultimate unfulfillment of desire. Everything is there, but it cannot be fulfilled. That is a very intensive moment. More intensive than such an opportunity where there is a chance for real meeting. Therefore we consider the meeting of Radha andKrishna at Kurukshetra very high.

Yamuna: If you allow me a second question, is it wrong if one worships Kurukshetra and considers it the highest place of worship because there Radharani rejected Krishna and defended Her rasa? She refused to go with Him in Mathura in order to keep Her rasa; She said: “No, I am in Vrindavana, You come there.” Is it a wrong mentality?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, as I told you,Krishna is a grandmaster of chess, international. Why? He was playing the tricks with Arjuna. But you can say: easy with guys; difficult with ladies. He knows very well how to defeat Shrimati Radharani. So what was His approach? He started to play the humble guy. He said: “Ah, I had offended you. I have to take excuse by touching your lotus feet.” ThenKrishna is ready to bow down at Shrimati Radharani. But She was a good partner. At this moment She did not say: “Finally You admit your mistakes.” She said: “What?! You want to touch my feet?! No, it is impossible, I want to touch Your feet.” In this way very divine competition started.

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