Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question of Kamen: I want to return to the topic of fear. When my children were born I started to look at myself and the other parents and I was terrified to understand that the only way to educate them was through fear, in any form. Is this some kind of positive quality of fear? Or is it just a mistake?

Tirtha Maharaj: Hm, very difficult question. Dani, do you have something to add?

Dani: I wanted to say that I do not agree that fear is the easiest or the only way to educate, but I thought that I did not have very heavy kids.

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, I also hope that fear and to frighten kids is not the only way to educate them. But if we need some guidance in education, then we can very safely turn to the shastras. For example, if we examine the childhood of Krishna. There you will find examples for very sweet encounters and chastisements also. So it is not that mother Yashoda was only treating Krishna always very nice. Right, sometimes she was running after Him with a stick. So don’t believe everything that this too much liberal new type of psychological educational system teaches you. “We should not chastise children because their small – or big! – false ego will be broken”- yes, this is the goal! We have to educate them what are the limits. So this is not only the tender type that we see in the shastras. But it is very much loving. So even if there is chastisement, there is love behind.

There is one like apostle of this new type of education, I don’t remember the name, it does not matter the name, and what happened to his son? He committed suicide. So this much about the liberal ideas of education. There must be some rules. Maybe I sound now ultra-orthodox, but I am, yes. And also I am morally conservative. And culturally classical. So these are the three principles: value – orthodox, moral – conservative and culture – classical.

So sometimes you can use the stick. But mother Yashoda had to work very hard to use the stick. All the hair was just running after her, half of the sari was lost meanwhile and she started to perspire because the small Krishna is very fast and she is slow. So if you want to chastise God, you have to work very hard. And this is not only your efforts, but His consent.

I don’t think that fear is the only way to instruct a child. As I don’t think that fear or to frighten a person – this is the only way to instruct a disciple. Because the duty of a father is very much like the duty of a guru. You have to achieve your goals against the unwillingness of your sons and disciples. Right, this is the duty of a guru and a father – very much the same. There is resistance in the son, there is a resistance in the disciple. They come with all the excuses why not. So, I think I fully understand what you mean. And I hope you also understand my point. Because you have only two children and I…

Therefore, I don’t know how do you feel, but I am not heavy. Am I heavy, Paramananda?

Paramananda (clearing his throat):…

Tirtha Maharaj: Thank you, that was a satisfying answer. Maybe sometimes you feel or you think that I am, but I have to tell you that I am a tamed version of myself. Even of myself, what to speak of Gurudev! But to use a loving method you need partners. Because if fear helps me to adjust to higher principles, then I try to behave in a better way. If I don’t feel smashed in front of my spiritual master every second visit, then I might take it very lightly. So I need partners.

Kamen: Maybe also time.

Tirtha Maharaj: Time is on my side.


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