This year we are celebrating 70th Vyasa Puja of HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Maharaj has been playing a very significant role in sharing the teachings of Vedic literatures all the over the planet.
He lives for Krishna and loves to give Krishna to others. He follows the teaching of Srila Prabhupada, his spiritual master, as it is and never compromises with any principles. And like Srila Prabhupada he has deep compassion for all the living beings.
It is because of his selfless love and genuine desire that he has been able to transform the lives of thousands of people all over the world.
He not just preaches by his words, but he also preaches by his actions.
We can learn so many lessons from Maharaj’s life. Here I am sharing some of the incidents from his life which is so inspiring.
Maharaj wins the heart of a person who disliked him
Once Maharaj was invited to speak in a temple program. Many well-wishers and donors were invited for the program. Maharaj took one bhajan of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and started giving class based on its teachings. He said that how people have so much greed for material wealth. How people work like donkey hoping that they can enjoy the world.
One of the donors who was attending the program got upset. He left the class immediately in an angry mood. He did not hear the complete lecture. The organizers of the program came to know about it.
After the class, devotees informed Maharaj what happened. Maharaj smiled. He jokingly said, “I thought everyone likes my class. But here is someone who did not like my class. Give me his phone number, I will speak to him.” Maharaj called up the person. The donor was surprised. He had never expected a call from Maharaj.
Maharaj Seeks Forgiveness
Maharaj sought forgiveness from him for hurting his feelings. Maharaj then said that whatever I spoke were not my words. But were the words of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a great Vaisnava saint and scholar. I was just repeating his teachings. Maharaj started speaking about the glories of Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
He informed the donor as how Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a judicial magistrate. He was an expert in his profession that everyone respected him. He wrote many books which are appreciated by many intellectuals. Along with that Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a great devotee of Krishna and played a pivotal role in spreading the teachings of Lord Chaitanya.
Maharaj again sought forgiveness from him. The call ended!
Maharaj inspires the donor to chant the names of Krishna
The donor immediately rushed to the temple to meet Maharaj. But Maharaj had left the city for another program. The donor requested the devotees in the temple to inform him when Maharaj returns. So, when Maharaj returned back to the city the devotees informed the donor. He immediately came to the temple.
Maharaj was sitting in temple hall and chanting. Devotees told him to go and meet Maharaj. He went and begged forgiveness from Maharaj for his attitude and for misunderstanding his lecture.
He said, “Please give me some punishment. I want to do atonement.”
Maharaj smiled and said, “For that you should chant one round of Hare Krishna Mahamantra.”
He immediately agreed. Devotees gave him beads and he chanted one round. After chanting he informed Maharaj that he completed his one round. Maharaj then said that you should daily chant one round of maha-mantra. He agreed.
From that day onwards, he chanted daily. And slowly from one round he came to sixteen rounds. He later took initiation from Maharaj and became Maharaj’s disciple.
Maharaj won the heart of the person who had initially disliked him by his exemplary behavior.
Maharaj by his humility, gentleness and politeness won his heart. Most of us would have criticized him or would have ignored him. And he would never returned back to Iskcon. He would have never become a devotee. But because of Maharaj’s compassion he became a devotee.
Through this example Maharaj is teaching us what should be the proper behavior of a devotee of Krishna.
He has the quality of a Uttama Adhikari
Maharaj never sees bad in others & never criticizes others
In Nectar Of Instruction, Text 5, Srila Rupa Goswami explains that a pure devotee of Krishna is always engaged in undeviated devotional service and his heart is completely devoid of propensity to criticize others.
This quality we see in Maharaj. Maharaj never sees bad in others. He always sees good in others. And Maharaj extends himself to a great extent to give Krishna to others.
He is very personal in his dealings. He always respects others’ feelings and sentiments. He is our best well-wisher.
Maharaj preaches by his actions
He preaches by his words and also by his actions. What attracts people is not philosophy but the conduct of a person. We may recite all the 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita. We may expertly explain the meaning of these verses. We may sing nice kirtans. All these things will enthrall people, no doubt. But it may not transform them.
But our one act of kindness, one word of love will completely change the heart of a person. This quality we see in Maharaj. It is because of Maharaj’s loving and caring attitude that he has been able to preach to thousands of people all over the world.
His humility and simplicity and desire to serve selflessly attracts the hearts of so many people. This is the reason why thousands of people love Maharaj so much.
Maharaj knows the language of the heart.
In his Journey Home book Maharaj writes about the interaction which he had with many wonderful people. And many times, those with whom Maharaj met did not know English and as far as I know Maharaj does not speak Hindi. I have never heard him speaking in Hindi or any other Indian languages. But Maharaj was able to communicate with all.
Language has never been a barrier for Maharaj to establish relationship with others!
Maharaj has very intimate friends in Vrindavan. He has lived in Vrindavan. He loves the Vrajvasis and they love him. But most of the Vrajvasis with whom Maharaj has good relationship do not know English. And Maharaj do not know the language of the Vraja.
So, it is surprising that how Maharaj has such a wonderful relationship with those fortunate residents of Vrindavan. Vrajavasis are simple hearted devotees of Krishna. They see Maharaj’s unconditional and unmotivated love for them.
Always eager to serve the Vrajvasis
Maharaj is always eager to serve the vrajvasis. Once one vrajvasi came to Radha Gopinath temple in Mumbai. Maharaj was so happy to see him. He made all the arrangements for his stay. He made sure that he gets proper prasadam. Then Maharaj went to his room.
Suddenly Maharaj got up at around 1 am in the night. He called for the devotee who was asked to take care of the Vrajvasi. The devotee was surprised. “What is so urgent, Maharaj?”
Maharaj said, “The room given to the Vrajvasi has western toilet and it will be difficult for him to use that toilet in the morning. Out of humility he won’t share his problem. He won’t be able to come for the morning program.”
He further said, “Make arrangement for him so that in the morning he is able to use Indian toilet. But it should be done in such a way that he is not disturbed now. When he gets up then someone should be there to guide him.” The arrangements were made accordingly.
This shows how Maharaj’s caring nature. He takes care of even the smallest need of a person.
Maharaj is a visionary
Maharaj has played a pivotal role in establishing the iconic Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai. HG Bisswaroop Prabhu, one of the founding members of the hospital, was once saying that as young doctors they all could have established their individual clinic or hospitals. And they could been successful too.
But Maharaj told them that if they work independently then they will get individual success but if they come together and do things together, they will create history.
Inspired by Maharaj, the young doctors decided to give up the lure of working in big hospitals or establishing their private practice. But they decided to come together and serve together for a higher cause. And today the hospital they established is one of the famous hospitals in Mumbai.
Bhaktivedanta hospital is not just a regular hospital where people get treatment for their physical illness. But it is a spiritual care center. People not just get medicine for their physical suffering but most importantly they get medicine of the holy names which can alleviate all the sufferings forever.
Patients and their family members are given spiritual education, they are inspired to chant the holy names of Krishna and everyone gets prasadam. The hospital staff members take deities of Lord Jagannath on a mobile cart to every patient in the evening so that they get blessings of the Lord. And it is not that only Hindu patients come to the hospital. Many non-Hindus come, and they appreciate the service there.
Preaching by the doctors of the hospital
Devotee doctors along with other members of the hospitals have preached to thousands of people who come to the hospital. It is said that every year around 365 people who visit the hospital become devotees who start chanting 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. So, every day one person becomes devotee and begins chanting 16 rounds of maha-mantra. An extraordinary achievement!
Once when I had gone to the hospital for a program then during a presentation the hospital authorities told us about incidents when patients have left their body in a devotional atmosphere.
A dying man is encouraged to chant the names of Krishna
One incident was of a man whom the doctors said had just few minutes left. His wife and doctors helped him to chant the holy names of Krishna at the last moment. They showed us a picture in which his wife was helping him to hold the chanting beads and was encouraging him to chant at the last moment o his life. This is the best way to serve the society.
Under the guidance of Maharaj, the doctors of Bhaktivedanta hospital serve the Vrajvasis free of cost. Free eye camps, free dental camps and other initiatives are taken by the doctors in the holy dham of Vrindavan.
Maharaj teaches us how to love and serve Krishna selflessly
Maharaj always emphasize that we should practice devotion to Krishna with utmost sincerity and without any ulterior motives. When I was getting initiation from Maharaj then during the initiation lecture, he said that as devotees we should always be away from any kind of politics.
“Do not get involved in any politics. Have no desire for name, fame, power and position. Your only desire should be to practice Krishna consciousness sincerely and serve all selflessly.”
This is the mood of Maharaj. And we all should try to imbibe this mood.
Maharaj is following the footsteps of Srila Prabhupada. Today he is one of the most prominent spiritual teachers. He is also the author of two best sellers – “The Journey Home” and “The Journey Within.”
If we want to transform our lives, then we should hear his lectures which is widely available on YouTube. If we want to know about Maharaj’s spiritual journey then we should read “The Journey Home”, his autobiography. This book has sold thousands of copies all over the world. It has been translated into many languages. It is New York Times best seller. Maharaj’s another book “The Journey Within” teaches us how to change our inner self and lead a Krishna conscious meaningful life.
This human life is extremely precious because it gives us an opportunity to free ourselves from all the sufferings. And most importantly provides an opportunity to return back to the kingdom of Krishna, Goloka Vrindavan.
If we remain under the shelter of HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj, follow his teachings sincerely our journey to the kingdom of Krishna will be smooth and pleasurable. In fact, every moment we will experience the presence of Krishna in our hearts.
On the auspicious occasion of Maharaj’s 70th Vyasa Puja, I pray at his lotus feet to shower his mercy upon me so that I continue chanting 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra sincerely and follow the four regulative principles of no meat eating, no gambling, no intoxication and no illicit sex. And I should engage every moment of my life in serving the mission of Lord Chaitanya and Srila Prabhupada without any selfish desire.