Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01. 2011, Sofia)

Question of Krishna Priya: What is the meaning, the significance of the spiritual name? And the second question is that we are adding ‘das’ or ‘dasi’ – does it mean that there is a particular service, related to the name?

Swami Tirtha: When a baby is born, he or she must be given a name. I don’t know how it is here, but in Hungary they have to do it immediately. New life – new name. But this is true the other way round: new name – new life. So if you receive your spiritual name, that means you are born again. This is a new start for a new life. So far I was living for myself, now I start to live for others. Before I was a materialist number one, now I should become a devotee number one – well, number two, because I’m humble.

A name is provided on two principles to the disciple. Either he or she has some qualities, which are reflected in the name; or this is like a program for this lifetime, like a goal to be achieved. For example, if somebody’s name is, let’s say, Paramananda – there might be two reasons why he has got this name. May be his nature is that he is supremely happy; or this is the goal that he should achieve.

Or we could pick any other name. For example Gurudev’s sannyas name was Abhay, Fearless. And he was world-famous for being a fearless preacher. So I think in his case his name described some of his qualities. In this way the name is either describing your qualities, or giving you a program for this lifetime.

But what happens if your name is, let’s say, Krishna? In India many times you can see “Krishna tyres”, “Krishna computers” or this and that. So what happens if your name is Krishna? Then if we don’t specify, the devotees might mistaken the big Krishna for you, the small one. And then when they bring the big plate with offerings, instead of going to the altar, may be they will come to you: “Krishna, here is my food offering to You!” Therefore we should specify: Krishna das. And the other one is Shri Krishna, the Dark Lord.

It happened once. Once there was a man, for a first time entering the temple somewhere in the West. Everything was new for him. All of a sudden he saw that a big plate, full of interesting foodstuffs was being carried. He asked: “What is this?” And the devotees said: “This is for the Deities!” So our friend asked: “When I will become a Deity?!”

Therefore if we specify a little bit more – das or dasi – then we can understand that we are servants of the Supreme. Or if our name is Paramananda, then may be we are not on the supreme blissful platform yet, but we are servants of that ideal. That means, we are ready to dedicate, we are ready to identify with this ideal of topmost supreme bliss.

(to be continued)


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