Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Let’s take one example of God’s protection. Tomorrow is the appearance day of Nrisimhadev, He is like a protector avatar of devotees and He appeared in a very special form – as half lion and half man. You might say: ‘Oh, this is very extraordinary! This is overlapping of species, like a divine genetic manipulation.’ But there was a good reason why He appeared like this. To put the story very short, there was one great demon who practiced some penance, some tapasya. His name was Hiranyakashipu and the name means “gold and soft bed”. So these were his two engagements – collecting wealth and enjoying women. This is demoniac nature – collecting much wealth and enjoying women. Yet because he was not satisfied with these two, he started to make some tapasya. It’s very strange that such a powerful person, ready to enjoy the facilities of life, starts to do penance. But something was missing for him and this was the power, the victory over death – this is what he wanted to escape. Therefore he started to make a penance. His penance was a yoga posture standing on one leg with raised hands to the sky. We have so many yoga instructors. For how long can you do this? Two days, three days?

Lilavatar: Two minutes, four minutes…

Swami Tirtha: He was doing that posture for such a long time that the white ants started to build a castle over his body. And his flesh was eaten up from the bones – he had only the skeleton. Still, he was able to circulate his vital air, prana, in his skeleton. So, yoga has some prospects, right? And by this penance he achieved such power that his beloved demigod Brahma appeared to him. Due to this penance practically the order of the universe was broken – he generated very high power. So, Brahma appeared and he said: “I am so satisfied with your penance. What do you want? I am ready to give you any blessings.” Then our skeleton said: “Can you give me immortality?” Because Brahma came with a pitcher full of nectar. Brahma said: “Sorry this is beyond my powers. I cannot give this to you. Ask another boon”. But this is demoniac mentality – if you cannot get them in one shot, then you try to technically catch your ideals. He said: “Can you give me that no human being would kill me?” “Yes, I can give it to you, no problem.” “And that no demigod should kill me?” “Yes, I can give this to you.” “And I should be protected while I am on the earth or while I am in the air so that nobody could kill me?“ ”Oh, that is easy. I can give this to you.” “And no weapon should harm me?” “I can give it to you!” It was a long list with requirements and Brahma always accepted and gave the boons. Finally a few drops of nectar were sprinkled over the skeleton and then a handsome, young, powerful guy emerged from this termite house. And he started to rule over the whole universe.

Where is the protection of God here? Not yet manifesting, but our friend, as a nice family man, had a son. And as a demoniac father he wanted to make a nice demon from his son. Like father like son. So, he put his dear son into a demon school; he had two instructors and many friends. But you know, there was a little disturbance there, because while this son was in the womb of his mother, Naradha Muni was discussing with her the principles of devotional life. And it touched so much the heart of this small little embryo, this Prahlada that already in the womb of his mother he started to be a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Just imagine what a failure! You do the best of you to make a nice demoniac son and he turns to be a bhakta! Therefore the father put him into school: “All right, by birth he is little distorted, but maybe we can rectify him in the school.” But what happened in the demon school? He started to preach to his classmates. And the father, as a good father, was always checking: “What’s happening in the school, my dear son?” And as he was very dissatisfied with the son, he tried in different ways to instruct him. Sometimes hurling him down from the top of a hill, other time dropping him into the hole of snakes, cooking him in oil, throwing him in front of wild elephants. So, in different ways he started to instruct the son to be a nice demon, but nothing helped. Because the boy was always praying to this Vishnu! And doesn’t matter how many snakes were there, how hot the oil was, he was protected. So, finally one day the father asked: “Oh, my dear son, very nice that you are back from school, what have you learned?” And the son said: “I’ve learned something very precious – that Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” You know, the father, as demoniac power dominating the whole world, was a natural born enemy of Vishnu. He was enraged: “What? Again this Vishnu! Where is your God, I don’t believe in Him!” And the son said: “He is present everywhere!” “Is He present in this column also?” – asked the father. And the boy said: “Yes, of course, He is there in the column also!” “Then I will destroy it!” said the father and took his sword to bring down the column. This was the moment when Nrisimhadeva appeared in this divine lion form. And what happened? He was roaring and showing and all of a sudden took the father, Hiranyakashipu, in His lap, started to disassemble the person and finished it very quickly. In this way His anger was pacified a little bit and then He established the son as the inheritor of the power.

Why did it happen like this? Because Hiranyakashipu had blessings of Brahma: he will not die on the earth, he will not die in the sky; no humans, no animals, no demigods can kill him; and no weapon can hurt him. Therefore Lord Vishnu appeared in such a very special form: He was half lion, half man – neither an animal, nor a human. And He took Hiranyakashipu in the lap – he was not on the earth and not in the sky, but in the lap. And with the nails He opened up the person – and this was not an ordinary weapon, only the nails of a lion. So, however Hiranyakashipu tried to avoid this danger, he could not escape divine providence. And the small boy, who was tortured by the father almost to death, was all the time protected by the Lord and finally, when he was in utter danger, he was again protected.


(to be continued)


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