Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

“The first year after Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the renounced order of life, all the devotees, headed by Śrī Advaita Prabhu, went to see the Lord at Jagannātha Purī. After attending the Ratha-yātrā ceremony at Jagannātha Purī, all the devotees remained there for four months, greatly enjoying the company of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by performing kīrtana [chanting and dancing].”[1]

So, from this we can see the yearly activities of the devotees. What was their yearly regime: four months they were staying with Mahaprabhu. Mostly they came fromBengalto Jagannatha Puri, which is quite a distance, so they could cover that distance by walking one month. One month walking, four months staying and one month back. That means fifty-fifty; half a year for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu directly, the other half of the year indirectly.

From this we can also understand how Rupa Goswami was distributing his wealth when he finished his worldly carrier – fifty-fifty again. Half he distributed for the bramins and the needy. The other half he cut into half again, and one quarter he gave to the family members and one quarter he preserved for emergency expenses. But he was a financial minister, so the wealth that he has accumulated was quite big. Still this half-half was practiced by him.

And as Shrila Prabhupada was a very determined follower of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Rupa Goswami, he also said: “If you want to donate – half-half. Half of your income should be dedicated to the mission.” Just imagine! It is quite demanding. And then I saw some articles written in vaishnava newspapers how this “fifty-fifty” should be understood. Because Shrila Prabhupada must have forgoten about the tax office, so maybe this half-half must be after the taxes are paid, not before. After paying your taxes you cut half, not before.

But should we be satisfied with only half dedication toKrishna? ActuallyKrishnais the greatest tax collector (бирник). Because you think that you can satisfy Him by little offering of milk and water and leaf and this and that. But then he says: “All else – to Me!” And sometimes we take it as a joke or in a jolly manner, but actually there is a very deep meaning behind. God cannot be satisfied with half solutions. And of course spiritual life is not a question of money or dedicating some leva to the service of God. Although in many places they try to equate making money and serving God. They make a business out of God. Wherever you see that – isolate yourself from such a practice.Templesshould not generate money. Because as soon as the temples start to become rich, people who are interested in making money will come. But if a temple is poor – it does not generate the money, but dissipates the money – if people will struggle for that temple, they are good guys. Because they are not running after finances, but they are ready to share the expenses.

And what was the reason for these devotees to come to Jagannatha Puri, this holy place? To see the dancing and the singing of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This was in the first year:

“At the time of departure, the Lord requested all the devotees, “Please come here every year to see the Ratha-yātrā festival of Lord Jagannātha’s journey to the Gundicā temple.” Gundica is the summer residence of Jagannath. “Following the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, all the devotees used to visit Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu every year. They would see the Gundicā festival at Jagannātha Purī and then return home after four months. For twenty consecutive years this meeting took place, and the situation became so intense that the Lord and the devotees could not be happy without meeting one another.”[2] So, twenty years! That means that ten years were fully dedicated to direct service. Just imagine how intensive practice is this – to meet every year for such a long time. Although we also try to come together practically every year for some greater occasions, but sometimes it is difficult to organize or to find the time.

Still, these four months are also part of the Indian culture. And also the Indian climate, because this is the four months of the rainy season, when practically you cannot do anything else – either it is too hot or it is too much raining. And that period – it is suggested that we should use for spiritual practices. Stay in one place, dedicate more time to spiritual activities and less to material ones. So practically they were using this for spiritual practices. This is a season or a period of the year to withdraw a little bit. But if you want to apply the Indian seasons to the other parts of the world, you know, this is during the summer; summer is not for stopping your activities, because people are very active at this time.

So, they were waiting to meet each other every year.

[1] “Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 1.46-47

[2] “Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 1.48-50

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