Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Question of Manjari: You said that God is good. Is creation complete without badness, with only goodness? Is perfection boring?

Tirtha Maharaj: Good and bad – this is a kind of opinion, consent, public opinion. We agree under certain points: this we consider good and that we consider bad. From an ultimate point of view, from ontological and philosophical point of view there is no good and no bad. Because everything has its certain part and role in this whole universal existence to play. We can say that something is favorable for our spiritual progress and something is unfavorable. But even if something is unfavorable, this is not bad. So if we analyze deep enough we should come to the conclusion that there is no good and there is no bad.

Still it does not mean that there is no light and there is no darkness. Because this world is a world of dualities. And that means that something is “good” and other things are “bad”.

Actually this is a very big question of theology: if God is the ultimate creator, the ultimate source, how bad things appear, how the devil appears, for example? God is good. Still sometimes His energies function in such a way that produce the image of bad on the screen of mind of people. For example, to kill – this is not good. It is not nice, right? Still sometimes you get a war medal for killing more people. So on the material platform even these ultimate questions are sometimes very difficult to decide – whether this is good or bad.

The golden rule is: do not give others what you do not expect for yourself. Or in a positive way: do for others what you expect for yourself. And even if divine energy functions in an unusual way this is not bad, because this serves a good purpose.

There is one story about this. One carpenter was living in a village. He had got a nice family, he had got a nice household, everything was nice. So people said: “Ah, you are so fortunate! You have this nice setup, you have a grown-up son, everything is so nice.” He said: “Well, who knows what is good, what is bad?!” Next morning his horse was lost. The horse somehow escaped from the barn and disappeared. So all the villagers would say: “Ah, you are so unfortunate! You have lost your horse; how will you work, how will you survive?!” He said: “Who can decide what is good, what is bad?!” So, next morning the horse was back – with ten other wild horses. Because meanwhile he was explaining: “Here my master will give you food.” So all the other horses were just coming, joining. Everybody in the village said: “Wow! Such a fortune is coming to you! Yesterday you had just one horse, now you have eleven horses – great!” He said: “Well, who knows what is good, what is bad, who can judge?!” So, the wild horses should be tamed, right? The next morning the son – twenty years old, bright, strong son – started to ride one wild horse. Everybody said: “You are so fortunate, you have your son, he will treat the horses very nice.” But what happened? The wild horse would throw off the bright son. And he broke his hand. So everybody said: “Ah, such a misfortunate situation! Your son has broken his hand.” The father said: “Who knows, who can judge what is good and what is bad…” The next morning the army officer was coming to the village and he said: “Now we have declared war to the neighboring state, so I have to take all the young men, twenty years old. Come, join the army!” Our friend was coming: one hand is broken, one leg is broken, the head is also in bandages. They said: “Ah, we cannot take you! You just stay here.” Again the villagers would say: “Ah, such a fortune is coming to you! You did not lose your son.”

So, who can judge what is good and what is bad? We should come to such a platform, to such an understanding, where we can really see how the things happening in our life will promote our spiritual progress. As soon as you have come to that platform “bad” ceases to exist. As soon as we see the hidden essence, your world will be very boring – only good.

Manjari: Can there be only good, without bad?

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes. Although sometimes the opposite helps to appreciate the real thing. I heard that some of you were attending the cooking course of Jugala Kishora Prabhu. I think he had told you already how to make good khalva, right? Is that true? Yes. Did he give all the ingredients? So butter, semolina, sugar and water – this is the basics, right? You know, good cooks always tell the basic ingredients, but some they reserve. So you try at home and it never comes like he is doing! But anyway, the secret ingredient of khalva as a sweet – this is the salt. A pinch of salt. Or a drop of bitterness. But do not put that into your khalva.

So, sometimes the opposites help to appreciate the real taste. Or as Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says – and this is a smashing message – opposition enhances the beauty. But start with saying “yes”. Do not start with opposing.

Yes, perfection is boring – it is obvious, I think it is obvious.

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