A day with HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj at Iskcon New Town, Kolkata

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.30.34 says that a moment of association with a pure devotee is so valuable that it cannot be compared to anything in this entire material universe. It is more valuable than meeting a movie star, sports star, singers, politicians or any famous person in this world.

Just like the rays of the sun immediately dispels darkness similarly the pure devotees of the Lord by their grace dispels the darkness of ignorance from the hearts of the people.

So when I came to know that HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and a renowned sannyasi, is going to be in Iskcon New Town temple, Kolkata on 10th Feb, Monday, I kept aside all my important work and decided to be in the temple so that I get an opportunity to be with Maharaj. 

And I prayed to the Lord too because unless and until Lord’s mercy is there our plan will not work.

But Lord and Lord’s devotees are always compassionate towards all the unfortunate souls who are unfortunately struggling hard for survival in this world.

So finally, Lord permitted me, and I did not get occupied with any other emergencies and was able to come to the temple.

Maharaj was to come by noon, but I came much before that. Few working devotees had taken off from their work just to be with Maharaj.

When I came, I saw devotees working hard to clean the temple and the surrounding. Everyone was putting their best efforts to beautify the temple to please Maharaj.

Maharaj was in Kolkata for the last three days. He had given a class on the day of Nityananda Trayodasi, 7th Feb, and an evening class at Iskcon House, Gurusaday Road on 8th Feb.

The New Town temple visit was not a public program, so few devotees were there, so chances were high to be close with Maharaj.

It was a rare opportunity, and no one wanted to miss it.

As soon as devotees came to know that Maharaj is about to reach, they began kirtan. All were waiting eagerly.

And when Maharaj’s car came inside the temple complex Kirtan reached its crescendo.

Everyone was joyful. We all paid our respectful obeisances to him.

Maharaj had a big smile on his face. He was so happy to be with all of us. And we were so fortunate to be present there.

In Bhagavad Gita 2.54 Arjuna asks Krishna about the symptoms of a pure devotee. How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?

And Lord Krishna had given an opportunity to us to be with a pure devotee!

Maharaj speaks politely, humbly and softly. He is so busy but never in a hurry. He is calm and in complete control of himself. His activities are not mere rituals or done because of social obligation. Whatever he does, he puts his complete heart into it. He speaks from the depth of his heart. When he speaks, we feel he is speaking to each one of us.

He entered the temple hall and closely looked towards each corner of the temple. He admired the beautiful paintings hung on the walls which depict various pastimes of Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya.

He went to the beautiful picture of Srila Prabhupada and immediately folded his hands and paid his respectful obeisances to his spiritual master. Then he turned towards the altar where Sri Sri Radha Govinda and Sri Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra Devi is present. He paid obeisances to them.

He offered arati to the Lord while the melodious tune of Govindam Adi Purusam played.

He thanked a few devotees who had contributed a large amount of money for the construction of the new temple hall.

He then addressed all the assembled devotees. 

He asked each one of us to serve in the mood of the servant of the servant. 

Srila Prabhupada explains in one of his lectures, “You cannot seek favor of Bhagavān directly. That is another foolishness. You must go through the servant of Kṛṣṇa. Gopī-bhartur pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ. This is our process. We don’t approach Kṛṣṇa directly. We must begin our service to the Kṛṣṇa’s servant. And who is Kṛṣṇa’s servant? One who has become the servant of another Kṛṣṇa’s servant. This is called dāsa-dāsānudāsa. Nobody can be independently servant of Kṛṣṇa. That is another foolishness. Kṛṣṇa never accepts anyone’s service directly. No. That is not possible. You must come through the servant of the servant (CC Madhya 13.80).” Lecture on SB 7.9.42 — Mayapur, March 22, 1976

Maharaj always expects that each devotee develops a humble mood.  In almost all of his talks, he emphasizes that “we all should become humble than a blade of grass, tolerant than a tree, there should not be any hankering for prestige and we should always be ready to give all respects to others and expect none for us.”

This is the consciousness of the residents of the spiritual world. If we want to qualify ourselves to become part of the spiritual world then we must put in our best efforts to develop these attributes.

Maharaj wants to have a magnificent temple for the Lord in Kolkata, the birthplace of Srila Prabhupada.  When devotees showed to Maharaj the temple plan then he was so pleased and encouraged all to work hard together to build a beautiful temple to glorify the Supreme Lord Krishna and his dear devotee, Srila Prabhupada.

Maharaj wants that the devotee should do service in the right mood. There should not be any desire for power and position. And most importantly all devotees should have a wonderful relationship with each other and should always try to serve others selflessly. 

This is the consciousness of the residents of the spiritual world.

If we want to qualify ourselves to become part of the spiritual world then we have to give up the desire for name and fame. We have to give up arrogance. We have to give up personal motives.

If we fail to do so we will fail to go back to the abode of Krishna. And we will always remain frustrated in this world even though we may succeed in achieving name and fame, power and position.

And Maharaj very much wants us to be happy.

He wants that we should clean our hearts of all impurities. We should sin no more. We should always take shelter of the holy name of Krishna. And whatever we do we should do for the pleasure of Krishna and his devotees.

Maharaj stayed for two hours. He discussed the new temple project with the temple management devotees. He also had lunch. He has no special preference for food.

He takes anything which is offered to Krishna with love. 

HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj has thousands of disciples all over the world.  Tens of thousands of people look up to him for guidance.  But he lives a simple life. He always maintains a humble mood. 

He is teaching us by his immortal words and also by his personal example.

Before leaving he again encouraged all of us to practice devotional life sincerely. And then he left for Mayapur, the abode of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

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