Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


There are many different ways and paths to approach God. We practice the Bhakti path; this is the devotional path, where you can try to establish a very personal, intimate and loving connection with God. We follow the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who appeared about 520 years ago. So, in order to glorify this beautiful approach to the Supreme, we shall read from His life.

Two stalwart devotees of Lord Chaitanya are talking as we are joining the story. They were discussing who is more unqualified in the service. Usually when people come together on certain subject, they talk about how much they are qualified to do the job. But these saintly people are really humble. They compete in being useless in the divine service. One says: “I am sick, therefore I am not fit for the service.” The other says: “No, you are very appropriate for service, I am more fallen.” Finally they came to the conclusion: “Both of us are blessed!”

“Sanātana Gosvāmī replied, “O Haridāsa Thakura (these are the two personalities), who is equal to you? You are one of the associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Therefore you are the most fortunate. The mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, for which He has descended as an incarnation, is to spread the importance of chanting the holy name of the Lord. Now instead of personally doing so, He is spreading it through you.”[1]

This is a very important message here. Time changes in great circles and these great circles are called yugas – like many hundreds and thousands of years. Quite long periods. But these specific periods they do have special means, by which people can come closer to God. What do you think, in what type of age we live now? Is it a good age or not so good? Good? Very good, finally a satisfied person! But actually we are living in the Iron Age. Iron Аge of quarrels and misunderstandings. It is happening all the time. The first period was the Golden Age and in the Golden Age the most appropriate method to approach God was meditation. People like the word “meditation” these days also, but it is very difficult for them to sit in one place for ten minutes, right? For meditation you have to absorb your mind, to control your body in fixed position for half a day. So, later on, when people became less and less qualified for doing this difficult method, they got a second method – that was the sacrifices. Like great ritual offerings to God, so complicated, that in the early 80’s some western scientists decided to trace and take part in а Vedic ceremony. This was five or seven days long ceremony, just imagine, there were hundreds of people taking part. Just to give some idea how complicated this system is: in this ceremony they built a fire altar from bricks, this is a five layered fire altar, huge, bigger than this room. And all the different bricks have a specific name. And they have to be put in a specific order, every layer in a different order, of course. And on certain levels, between certain bricks you must insert some little pebbles. So it is a very complicated system. There is no handbook for this, but the local brahmins in small villages in South India know everything by heart. And, for example, every day all the participants must have brand new clothes. Hundreds of kgs. of rice and gold and this and that should be offered in this sacrifice – very complicated. So it is not very practical these days. Therefore in the Third Age ritual temple worship was recommended. But even that became very difficult and complicated for humans, therefore now, for this age, for the present age, the worship of God through the holy names is recommended.

[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya-lila 4.99-100

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