Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(continues from the previous Friday)


So, “Shivananda Sena said: “Today You have accepted me as Your servant and have properly punished me for my offense. My dear Lord, Your chastising me is Your causeless mercy. Who within the three worlds can understand Your real character? The dust of Your lotus feet is not attainable even by Lord Brahma, yet Your lotus feet have touched my wretched body. Today my birth, my family and my activities have all become successful. Today I have achieved the fulfillment of religious principles, economic development, satisfaction of the senses and ultimately devotional service to Lord Krishna.” When Lord Nityananda heard this, He was very happy. He rose and embraced Shivananda Sena in great love. Being very much pleased by Nityananda Prabhu’s behavior, Shivananda Sena began to arrange residential quarters for all the vaishnavas, headed by Advaita Acarya. One of Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s characteristics is His contradictory nature. When He becomes angry and kicks someone, it is actually for his benefit.”[1]

So, I think, again this part of the story is enough for today. Because this is a topic for discussion and meditation. Many times we are obsessed to analyze the behavior of others, although our first business is to analyze ourselves or our behavior. If somebody acts in a very unusual way, it is his business. Your business is what reaction, what feedback you give. Because in one way, up to a certain limit, we should see that whatever happens to us, these are the fruits of our previous actions. Even if you feel a little misused. But of course if it goes beyond a limit, then you should use your brain whether it is beneficial for you to tolerate that, or it is beneficial for the other to dominate in such a way. And if after due consideration you come to the conclusion that ‘maybe not’, then stop this practice.

There are different ways to stop a bad practice. Let’s say someone is torturing you, how can you stop him? You come boxing and you knock him out? It sounds a little violent. The other solution is that you run away. Well, it is not brave enough. If there is a fight, you have basically two parts of your body that you can use – your legs and your hands. The hands we use for fighting, and the legs we use for running. So, if a kshatriya uses his legs instead of his arms, then he is a coward, but if a brahmin uses his arms instead of his legs, he is stupid. It’s approved for a brahmin to run away, no problem for him, but for a kshatriya it’s not nice if he renounces the job. Just like in the case of Arjuna – Arjuna was a fighter, he had to fight for the divine cause. He was not allowed to run away. But actually he was not fighting against the others, but he was fighting for some higher goal. This should be the principle – we are not fighting with someone, we are not fighting against something, but fighting for something. So, the dilemma of Arjuna was resolved in such a way that “You don’t have to fight against them, but do what I tell you; fight for something, fight for the truth”.

But there are other ways also to resolve a conflict, it’s not only fighting, or running away. For example, you can start glorifying the other person, who is attacking you. If somebody is attacking you with harsh words, you can say: ‘Oh, prabhu, your expressions are like flower offering at the lotus feet of our Lord. Today by your blessings I can achieve perfection.’ And if this guy is just a little bit a vaishnava, he will immediately come to his senses. ‘You are so great, you are so nice, you are so well behaved.’ If you get this message, you have to act accordingly. But if it doesn’t work, then you can use a second method – to divert his attention: ‘All right, prabhudji, let’s take some prasadam.’ Usually it works. Because especially husbands – this is a little piece of advice for the wives – when he comes back home and the prasadam is not ready, don’t start with the bills! First prasadam, then the bad news! Then he can tolerate, otherwise he is like a raging bull. So, divert the attention, this is the second method. The third – if you start to bribe him. That means you give something much better, then he is stopping the fighting. And only the fourth way is to use violence – to strike back. So, to resolve any conflicts, these are the ways. Start to glorify, try to convince, bribe, divert the attention; and ultimately if there is no other solution, then you can strike back.

From this you can see that this training process is going on for a millennium. This human form of life means that there is action-reaction, there is fight, there are conflicts. So, if you have conflicts in your life, there is nothing new under the sun. But if you can give adequate answer – this is something new. Therefore we read the stories of the ancient times – how people behaved before, because it helps us to behave nicely today. If you take only the cursing and the kicking side from this story, for example, then you misread the story. Your business is not to kick the others – in your family, in your ashram, in your sanga – but to serve them, to tolerate the shortcomings and to help the beauty of each and every devotee to be manifested fully. Because dedication is very precious and in the light of devotion, dedication, even the mistakes are turned in a magic way into ornaments. This is what I have learned from my master. And although I could not put it into practice, still I have to deliver this message to you.


[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya lila, 12.26-33

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