November 2022


Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 So far we discussed that Krishna is our friend; now let’s discuss if we are His friends. The friends of Krishna are in different categories, in different groups. Some are like intimate servants. They are always very obediently and very faithfully following all the rules. And they have strong hope and conviction in finally reaching the transcendental platform. They are considered the intimate, reliable friends.

It’s difficult to judge which group is higher, so to say, but let’s go step by step. This first group feels a little subordinate – they are trying to achieve something. The next group – they serve and associate with Krishna in the mood of equal relationship. They have this natural trust: ‘We are equal’. And they have absolutely no problem to associate in a very open and very free mood with Krishna, because they have dedicated their friendship, their possessions and even themselves to Him. So there are no any other considerations. This is the basis of the free flow of their exchange.

And finally there are some friends of the Supreme who try to behave as well-wishers. They try to help others to understand that there are different relationships with the Supreme, they try to propagate the teachings. Therefore it is very nice and instructive what was the signature of Shrila Prabhupada. He always wrote: “Your ever well-wisher Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami”. Your ever well-wisher. This is like a superior friend for us, disciples or followers.

In Krishna’s relationship there are the gopas of the same age. They have very strong faith and trust in Krishna and they feel that Krishna will protect them. Separation from Krishna for this class is very painful. And again this is mutual – Krishna is also crying after them.

Beyond these equal in age friends of Krishna there are those who are a little older than Him. They are called well-wisher friends. And if you are a senior friend, then what is your relationship to your junior friend? You want to take care, right? It’s the same here: they don’t expect from Krishna that He will take care of them, but they are ready to take care of Him.

There are the sakha friends who serve Krishna with very simple services, like dear friends as the cowherd boys. Then there are the more intimate servants – priya-sakhas. And finally the very intimate servants who share their secrets. So: simple services – ‘we are running up and down together’. A little more intimate – ‘where we embrace, where we share’. And the most intimate – ‘when I can invite you for some secret service, like messengers’.

We can conclude that the relationship between Krishna and the cowherd boys is a very specific type of devotional ecstasy, which is very-very similar to the loving type of ecstasy. And there is a chance that these feelings will enhance more and more.

So, we were discussing friendship as a spiritual practice – friendship as a human relationship and friendship as a divine spiritual relationship. If we have a well-wisher friend, maybe he can help in difficult moments. Therefore on the very practical human platform if you have a trustworthy friend with the devotees, whom you can really share your trouble, irrespective of any forms, regulations and rules, sometimes this is very much necessary. If you are washed away by the waves of maya and instead of following nicely the spiritual practice, you start to cultivate illusion, and then after some time an old devotional friend comes to you, embraces you and say: “Hey Prabhu, hey Mata, come to your senses!” he can save you. This is a well-wisher friend. And if you want to enjoy such a position that somebody saves you, try to act in a similar manner – you also try to save others.

And finally let me tell you three more things. Friendship is a totality of love, it’s total love. So if you think of divine or spiritual friendship – this should be the standard.

As we are searching for this, let me mention a very beautiful expression: “I was searching for my progress and I had found my happiness. I was searching for friends and I had found my family. I was searching for God and I had found His love.”

And the ultimate motto of spiritual friendship is: “If you come with me, I will go with you.”

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