Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Bhagaha: I was thinking to ask if Krishna knows from the beginning what will be our choice in the future?

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes.

Bhagaha: So He knows if we are going to surrender or not?

Tirtha Maharaj: Not only knows, because knowing is very medium level. He is waiting for your surrender. Krishna is not a conscious God, He is an emotional God. He is crying after you! If Krishna would be only theoretical or conscious God, chit, He would say: “According to your choice; if you don’t want, you don’t come. I give you the freedom not to come.” But Krishna is not like this! He says: “Please, come, I am suffering without you!” Can you resist that on the basis of your free will? We cannot! We come running and sell our soul: “Here it is, take!” So what is attractive power of Krishna? This is the emotions. He is not without emotions: “Well, if you want to suffer, then do it!” Usually we, human beings, are crying for God. But from rasa literature we can understand that Krishna is crying for the living entities. This is the special, the unique quality of Bhakti – that we are running after Krishna and Krishna is running after us. Everybody is losing his or her own free will. How many times Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu say: “I am not free, I am your servant, you just tell Me what to do, I will do.” Krishna says in the “Gita”: “I am not independent, I am dependent on My servants.” Mahaprabhu says: “Please, let Me go, give me permission to start because I am not independent.” So this is the beauty of emotional contact – that we lose our false independence. And happily we get rid of that! “Yes! I belong to You!”

So I think free will is not only a theoretical question. Free choice or free will is also to be sacrificed to Krishna. Krishna is fully free. He is absolutely free to do anything that He likes. And jiva or the spiritual soul is just like very small, tiny Krishna. Like father, like son; He has freedom, you have also freedom. But His freedom is unlimited and absolute and our freedom is limited and more or less illusory. And in the final sense illusory, because Krishna is waiting for you. He does not want to let you take the bad experience.

The starting point for jiva is the tatastha-shakti. This is a neutral position; nothing is manifest there, only some basic level of existence. We exist, nothing else. But from that neutral position there is a kind of energy that kicks you out – to break this neutral position, to start the movement, to start life, in order to get the best experience. Jivas can start in two directions. Some of them are directly invited into the concrete spiritual realm. Others are hurled down, kicked out into the material sphere. We could say that this is cruel. But it is not, it is for our benefit. And it is said that actually Radharani stops the neutral position and kicks you out in order to make this round trip in the material sphere and come back quickly. So kicking out from the neutral existential position is a big dose of mercy. Although we have to take so much bitter experience here in the material realm, this is still according to the divine mercy. “Comeback to Me! Realize yourself that you don’t belong here, you belong to Me!” And Krishna will take away all false conceptions. He wants you, He does not want your free choice.

So from this point of view I consider free will to be very illusory. Do you agree, to some extent? This is a very good question, very good topic to meditate. But actually the whole Vedic, the whole Indian vision is that everybody will achieve liberation. So nobody is excluded from salvation. That is very generous philosophy. By taking the bad experience we only make a tour; but immediately if you want, you can get the chance.

So, we should use our free will to serve the Lord and to satisfy the devotees and to embrace rasa.

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