Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question of somebody: What is the meaning that God has so many different names?

Tirtha Maharaj: He is unlimited and His names describe His different aspects and His different qualities. So this is a chance for us to have a better understanding, a more precise description, so to say. And actually the different names are according to the intensity of the emotional contact. Tell me some names of God.

Somebody: Actually I wanted to expand the question. You worship Krishna.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes.

Somebody: I know that there is a Supreme Lord, then there is Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva. Then there is Lord Rama. And Lord Krishna. Is it an inner preference to chose whom you worship? I cannot understand the difference between Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. There is a difference, but why you worship Krishna and not Rama? And why not Vishnu directly?

Tirtha Maharaj: Thank you, now I understand your question better. But here also we have to say that the names are going according to the aspect, to the rasa, to the connection. I would not say that there is a Supreme principle and then that unnamed and unknown Supreme is manifest in different faces. But my version is that this ultimate supreme personality is Krishna. So we can say that He is the king of this divine kingdom, He is the supreme king, like emperor and the many other personalities of this divine hierarchy are subordinate to Him. And as the king by his power pervades the whole kingdom, in the same way this divine energy like light, beauty, security, life principle pervades this whole universe. This is quite impersonal, just like the power of the king is pervading the whole kingdom, but you cannot touch the power, yet you can touch the king. Still, both are necessary – without a king there is no kingdom, there is no power. And without the power is there a king? Impossible, one goes with the other. This divine power and the person are two sides of the same coin – divinity.

So this is one part of the question. And the other is why Krishna, why Rama, why Vishnu – what is the difference, what is the similarity. God is unlimited, right? I think we agree on that point. Nevertheless the great authorities describe His sixty-four excellences, sixty-four qualities. If we want to model the unlimited, then we model it in sixty-four ways. From these sixty-four excellences, the human soul might have maximum fifty. This is the limit of jiva-tattva; jiva is the spirit soul. So, we can have certain portion of the divine qualities, like we are eternal, we are knowledgeable, we are originally happy – and many others, fifty in total. That means some 76 – 78% similarity between the small little soul and the Supreme Soul. So I can say that semi-gods or three quarters gods are sitting here in this room. Because you possess the same qualities as spirit souls.

But I think we agree that we didn’t put the planets on their orbs and the sun does not depend on us. So we are very insignificant compared to the greatness of the Supreme. And even these fifty qualities we can have only in part, not in complete. There is only one jiva, who can possess these fifty qualities in complete and this is Brahma, the first created being. He is like a universal engineer. He receives the power of creation from Krishna. Shiva is another category. If Brahma is for creation, Shiva is for destruction. The name Brahma comes from “bhri”- this is “life”, “to grow”. Therefore he is the creative principle, the secondary creator of the world. The name Shiva means “auspicious”, “blessing”. How is it that destruction of the material universe is connected to blessings? Yes, if somebody destroys the jail, then he is a liberator, this is a blessing to all! So, Shiva possesses more qualities, fifty-five. He is not a normal human soul, but he has something more. Therefore many people think that Shiva is the Supreme, because “he is much higher than me, he is superior to me – he is Supreme!” But if we examine further this scale, we understand that Narayan or Vishnu has got even five qualities more than Shiva. So, Vishnu has sixty qualities. And not only possesses them, but possesses in a beautiful, enchanting form! Not in a destructive way, not in a fearful way, but in a marvelous way. And Vishnu is the maintainer of life, protector of life. Brahma is like secondary creator, Shiva like destroyer, and Vishnu takes the most difficult part – He maintains something.

To destroy something is very easy, right? Gurudev is building a mission, I join and just destroy everything. It is very easy! To create something is very difficult. For example, to start a business in crisis period – it needs a lot of energy, a lot of input, right? But to maintain something – this is the real duty; this is the most, most, most difficult. Just like to destroy your spiritual practice, to give up your good practice – it is very easy. To start to become a devotee – it takes a lot of energy. But to maintain your spiritual fire – this is the real secret.

Therefore we worship Vishnu, generally – because He is the protector God. He will help us to maintain the fire of spiritual enthusiasm. And we can agree that these sixty qualities – like a model of unlimited expanse of divinity – it’s all encompassing, it’s complete. But Krishna has something to say more. He has got four extra qualities. And these four qualities are very special. What are these?


(to be continued)

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