Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha



Who is this Krishna? Who are we? And why should I give anything to Him? Even the yoghurt He is snatching from the poor gopis. Why should I become like the gopis – robbed of my yoghurt?!

For that reason we have to examine the character of Krishna. And it is just like a vast ocean: surface is unlimited, the depth is incredible and the waves are very high. And it is inhabited by many, many wonderful animals. This ocean is not made by water and some pinch of salt just like the Black Sea, like the soup of existence – too much salt… But that other ocean consists of sweetness. Because the King of all action, knowledge and feelings is Love. Affection, Love reigns on the highest platform. And Krishna’s character is just like this ocean. He is very charming, very attractive and gives you the soothing feeling when you join.

So Krishna has unlimited characteristics. Can we imagine listing the characteristics of God Himself? It is impossible. Therefore many people say that He is indescribable. They try to describe Him like this – indescribable. Do you see the antagonism here? I give a name to the unnamed. Or I give one characteristic to such an energy, which has no characteristics. Better we get a positive understanding of the Supreme Lord. And the final characteristics of Krishna are very sweet.

The vaishnavas are very fond of numbers. So they have calculated, they have made a list of characteristics of Krishna. They have made a list of the innumerable characteristics of Krishna! Sixty four main characteristics are there in Krishna. There are fifty characteristics for humans; fifty- five for higher tattvas like Shiva; sixty for Narayana, Vishnu, Sadashiva; and there are some extras. The four extras belong only to Krishna. Exclusively! What are these four characteristics of Him? Can you help? He plays the flute, He is the best player. What else?

Yashoda: He has the full knowledge.

Tirtha Maharaj: Ah… This is very secondary. Krishna does not know many things. This feature, when He knows everything, this is not interesting for us. We are interested in the feature when He wants to know, when He is searching… So, what else is there?

Harilila: Maybe that He is the most attractive, because this is His name…

Tirtha Maharaj: Why? What is attracting? His beauty, yes! So, we have two features so far: His playing the flute and His beauty. What else? His devotees! He is just like a full moon, surrounded by millions of stars. And what else? His lilas, His pastimes. So these are the final features of Krishna – His beautiful devotees, His beautiful lilas, His beautiful flute and His ultimate beauty. And they resonate in somebody. Who is the ultimate partner of Krishna? Radhika; it was not a difficult question. But how Radharani is meeting, how She accepts these final qualities of Krishna?

First of all Krishna’s guna-madhurya. Guna-madhurya are the devotees around Him. And this guna-madhurya resonates in Radharani’s words. She is always glorifying Krishna’s devotees. And also She helps the devotees to come closer to the ultimate service.

The second feature of Krishna is lila-madhurya – these are His wonderful activities, the pastimes of Krishna. When He knows everything, He is not playing in Vrindavana. In Vrindavana He is a small boy. In Vrindavana He is a charming lover of the gopis. But such a person, who does not know the feelings of the gopis. And He is the best friend of the gopas; and many other roles He takes in order to satisfy His devotees. Therefore His pastimes are there – to satisfy the devotees. And Radha resonates with Her prana, with Her life energy. Therefore when Radhika sees Krishna, She is living, but when She does not see Krishna, Her prana is leaving. She becomes empty. Life energy leaves the body; lying dead on the bed – almost dead, fully. All the relatives come together: “Hey, this Krishna has finished with our lady. Such a cruel one! What can we do?! She is ready to die without Krishna.”

And what about you? “Thank you, I’m quite all right without this Krishna.” No, you should also be ready to die.

Then comes Krishna’s rupa-madhurya, His beautiful body, His ultimate beauty. How Radharani recognizes the ultimate beauty of Krishna? By the vision. Therefore these are the chakshus, the eyes of Radharani, that enjoy and recognize the beauty of Krishna. This is the perfection of vision – to see the beauty of Krishna.

And finally there is the venu-madhurya of Krishna – the flute nectar. And this enters Radhika’s heart through the ears. In this way Her senses and Her prana are engaged in Krishna: vision, listening ability, speaking ability – Her whole life is given to Him.

Sometimes people think: “Ah, these are beautiful stories, but this is myth or some kind of these fairy tale explanations of the Indians. It is very far from the Absolute Truth.” No! This is very close to the Absolute Truth! But we should understand that this is an artistic expression of the Absolute Truth. Just imagine, they have the conception of God, who is the ultimate beauty, who is the best flute player! The conception of bhakti about God is not a creator or punisher; ultimate beauty! Player of the flute! Young boy, who is playing on the grounds and who has many, many friends. He is never alone. Sometimes we might think: “Ah, God must be very lonely. Alone in His category.” The all-knowing God – maybe He is alone. But this Krishna – He is never alone!

So, why Krishna? This was the original question: why Krishna? For this reason. Because that conception of Godhead is so dynamic and so charming , that you cannot overpass it! Therefore – bhakti! Therefore devotion! Devotion is the highest principle of life, beyond exploitation and renunciation.

What else can I say? Not so much… Divine Love is the King of all emotions. And Mahaprabhu was the person to communicate this. Due to Him this beautiful conception of the Supreme is shining in a golden hue. Therefore this Hare Krishna maha-mantra is very precious. Because this is not a mechanical instrument to purify your existence; this is not a meditational formula to pacify your mind – no, this is an exclamation to the Supreme Lord. And not only to Him, but to Her also!

So, glorifying the names is a beautiful practice of spiritual life. And if you chant the holy names with devotion, then you can establish a contact with Brahman, the Supreme, because the holy name is shabda-brahman, God Himself, in voice. Beautiful!

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