Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question of Neli: Who is the demon Kali and who are his devotees? Shrila Prabhupad says, I think in “Shrimad Bhagavatam” that this age is promised to the demon Kali.

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, this age is for destruction, this age is for victory of materialism, so this is not the age for spiritual practitioners, generally. This is the age of degradation and therefore it is called “The Iron Age”, the most difficult epoch. And the king of this age is Kali.

But I would not call Kali a bad figure, a negative figure. He is performing his duty quite well. And as he is a leader, he is a master, he has some servants also – they are called the kali-chelas, or the disciples of Kali. And as this is the age of hypocrisy also, these kali-chelas appear as saints, look like saints. So this is quite a difficult age – to find something pure, something true, or to maintain a spiritual standard, because everything is working against that. Illusion is providing so many offers, the easy recipes of happiness.

But nevertheless this age is very glorious. In the “Shrimad Bhagavatam” it is said that this age of Kali is a storehouse of evil. But this age has one advantage – that through chanting of the holy names you can achieve all perfection. And this is a special mercy in this difficult age. Before the spiritual processes were much more difficult; now it is very simple and easy. Because the more degraded the situation is, the higher the divine mercy. Because our God is compassionate, He wants to help the suffering living beings. Therefore He makes the path very simple, and we make the path very difficult.

So actually this is the glory of Kali Yuga. Are you satisfied?

Neli: I am not quite satisfied, because in reality I live here in this world and I want to know about its master. And I know about Krishna and Krishna-loka more than about my neighbors, for example.

Tirtha Maharaj: Good! That’s nice! This is illusion – that is reality! This will be gone! That will stay. That’s good, don’t worry. Because we are not servants of this king. We want to be the servants of the supreme king, who is the lord of Kali also. Kali is not an ultimate authority, he is a subordinate. He has surrendered to Parikshit, and Parikshit has surrendered to Lord Krishna. So search for the ultimate authority! There we have to go, there we have to put our efforts. If you go there, you will understand everything on the path also. If we stop with Kali, we shall not understand Krishna; yet if you understand Krishna, you will understand Kali also.

But I told you that this is the age of hypocrisy and this comes because the lord of this age is also a hypocrite – posing as a king, but destroying dharma, going against religion. Do you see the reflections and the extended hands of Kali all over? Everywhere! The temples are empty and the Sofia Mall is full. What is this? This is Kali Yuga. Everybody gives his worship, and energy, and money, and donations in stupid things. And the temples are empty… People neglect their own traditional religion. This is an open proof of Kali Yuga. So what to do? We know Kali Yuga by direct experience. But if you will know the meaning of this experience, then you will understand better. If you try to understand why the churches are empty, then you have to search for an answer. And if you study philosophy, you will understand why – because this is an age of irreligion.

And Kali has some places to live, he has a shelter. You remember the story: when Parikshit saw that Kali is destroying the bull of religion, dharma, he went there and tried to defeat him. But then Kali surrendered: “Don’t hurt me! You are greater, I submit to you! I accept you as my master. Give me a place to live!” Then Parikshit said: “My kingdom is so pure that it is very hard to find a place for you. But I will give you four places: where there is violence, where there is intoxication, where there is prostitution and where there is gambling. I give you these places to live. Plus one – where there is gold. So you can reside in these places.” Violence, intoxication, prostitution and gambling, plus wealth. These are the places where Kali can dwell. All around! Right, all around. So unfortunately we can see the headquarters and the embassies of Kali all over. Therefore we appreciate so much if we see a temple, if we see a vaishnava – because they are servants of the Supreme.

It is not enough to know, to realize that we are inside a maze, we have to find a way out.

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