September 2021
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, Sofia)
(continues from the previous Friday)
Question of Paramananda: In one of the chapters of the Golden Staircase there was a quote by Jiva Goswami that we should first listen and cultivate that sound. What’s exactly our role in cultivation of the sound? Isn’t it the opposite – that the sound cultivates us?
Swami Tirtha: Very nice point. That will also happen. Because actually the holy name will purify the heart, right. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ[1] – we polish, we clean the mirror of our heart by chanting the holy names. And if we do it properly, it will have a good effect on our mirror. Harinam could purify you without doing anything, no doubt, but nevertheless our contribution must be there. So, cultivating the holy name will reveal God to you. 
And in a more concrete sense what is cultivation? If our master tells us: “Do like this!” we should do like that. You remember the story, once a devotee was chanting in the company of Shrila Prabhupada, Bhaktivedanta Swami. And, you know, when you are in the presence of your spiritual master, you try to do it very humbly. Then Prabhupada said: “What is it”? The disciple was telling: “It’s the holy name”. “Louder!” Then he started a little louder: “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna…” Again Prabhupada said: “No, this is not good. Do it more properly!” Finally our friend took all the courage and started with eagerness: “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!” Then Prabhupada again made a remark: “Why do you disturb me?” So, cultivation means we have to be clever how to cultivate the holy name. If we invite the holy name – this is our cultivation; the holy name will come and purify you – and this is His cultivation.
Question of Mahabhava: If we feel especially attracted to a particular form of Krishna, is it a consequence of our true identity or it’s a whim of mind? In my case I don’t know why, but I have a very special attraction towards Lord Nityananda and Lord Balaram. 
Swami Tirtha: Maybe you are a guru fanatic. Well, all the different features of Krishna do represent something, there is a meaning behind. We know that Balaram and Nityananda Prabhu are the representatives of guru-tattva, guru feature of Krishna. Other aspects also have some special qualities. Like in one way we can say that the highest and most intimate type of worship is Gopinath worship. Because then we see Krishna as the Lord of the gopis and this is the most essential rasa. Yet, there are those who for example worship Varaha incarnation – this is a little unusual form of God, not many people will understand and be a fan of Varaha. But the local devotees will be very much fascinated, because all the divine inspiration will come to them through that form, through that aspect. 
Once we visited Ayodhya, this is the place of Ramachandra. There everything speaks about Rama: Rama-Hanuman temples, Sita-Rama, Lakshman. Everything is Rama, Rama, Rama. Yet, they have a Vishnu temple also in Ayodhya with a little deity – nice black Vishnu deity with four hands. So, when we were searching for that temple, the local devotees said: “Ah, you are searching for the black Rama!” Because for them everything is Rama, nothing else. ‘Four-handed Vishnu? No, forget it! This is our black Rama!’ 
So, if we develop certain affection to any aspect of our Lord, He will give us everything through that channel. In a general sense we cannot say that a Rama-bhakta is of a lower type than a Krishna-bhakta. Generally we cannot say that. If we somehow have an inspiration and inner call like this, then we can cultivate that feeling. So, this is very nice. Because it is also said that for whatever reason one starts and approaches Krishna, He can respond accordingly. If I want to see His carrying potency, His carrying power like Shri Guru, then by this He can respond to us. If I want to see Him as the ultimate attractive power of this Universe, Madana Mohana is there, etc., etc. According to the desire and the approach of the devotees, He can manifest Himself. Therefore He shows so many faces and so many aspects in Vrindavana for example – so that devotees, visitors and pilgrims could find one temple: “Yes! Here! Here, it is the most essential for me!” 
And you know, different people have different preferences. Most of the Indians’ preference goes to Banke Bihari Krishna. They consider this murti so beautiful, that if you see Him for a long time, you will faint. Therefore the pujaris have a very safe security system. They have a curtain in front of the altar, so they show Banke Bihari and before you faint, they close it again. Banke Bihari Lala ki jay!
So, different devotees have different preferences, different moods, different attractions, but Krishna can reveal Himself, Krishna can show His face.
1. Shri Shikshashtakam 1


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