Radhanath Swami explains owing to ignorance, one does not know that this material world is a miserable place where there are dangers at every step. Out of ignorance only, less intelligent persons try to adjust to the situation by fruitive activities, thinking that the resultant actions will make them happy. They do not know that no kind of material body anywhere within the universe can give life without miseries. The miseries of life, namely birth, death, old age and diseases, are present everywhere within the material world. But one who understands his real constitutional position as the eternal servitor of the Lord, and thus knows the position of the Personality of Godhead, engages himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Consequently he becomes qualified to enter into the Vaikuëöha planets, where there is neither material, miserable life nor the influence of time and death. To know one’s constitutional position means to know also the sublime position of the Lord. One who wrongly thinks that the living entity’s position and the Lord’s position are on the same level is to be understood to be in darkness and therefore unable to engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord. He becomes a lord himself and thus paves the way for the repetition of birth and death. But one who, understanding that his position is to serve, transfers himself to the service of the Lord, at once becomes eligible for Vaikuëöhaloka. Service for the cause of the Lord is called karma-yoga or buddhi-yoga, or in plain words, devotional service to the Lord.

Radhanath Swami explains 3 Types of Karma


In this material world, there are three types of activities. one is called karma. Karma means acting according to the rules and regulations of the scriptures. By acting in a pious way we get good karmic results. I will give a very simple lecture. If you act good, you get good results. That is called karma. The second is called vikarma. This means when we act sinfully. When we cause harm to others the law of nature is that pain will come to us.

And the other type of activity is called akarma. That means those activities that are beyond the reactions of the laws of nature. When we act in devotion to the supreme Lord there is no material reaction. Because such activities, bhakti are the natural activities of the soul. The soul is spiritual,it is eternal, of knowledge and full or bliss. But this material body is asat, achit, and nirananda – it is temporary, full of ignorance and subject to so many sufferings.


Our natural condition is serving god – Radhanath Swami


So karma and vikarma activities are meant for the body. We rejoice when we receive something very pleasant and we suffer when we receive something unpleasant. But these dualities are inseparable from one another. And therefore people can find no real happiness through these bodies. Within the body is the soul who is the person that gives consciousness to this body. The soul is seeking everlasting happiness. That happiness naturally comes about when we are in our natural condition of serving God. Service to God is the service which is our real, natural condition as spirit souls. And the whole civilisation has been arranged by Lord Krishna so that everyone can develop their natural spiritual qualities. In fact every stage of our life is meant only for that purpose.


Different Samskaras

Within the Vedas and within the culture and tradition within this great land of India at various important stages of our life there are some samskaras to be performed. At every major transition a human being is meant to perform these samskaras. The beginning, at the time of conception the Vedas teach us, that is the time when the presence of the spirit soul enters into the womb of the mother. In the world today, in the governments, amongst politicians, and social welfare people – they are having so many debates and arguments of when life actually begins. But the Vedas tell us that at the very moment of conception the life begins to develop in the womb of the mother. And therefore the garbhadan samskara is meant to create an atmosphere where both the husband and the wife are both absorbed in Krishna at the time of conception. And that will attract a very saintly personality to enter into the womb of the mother.

If our consciousness is very materially trying to enjoy then we will attract a very degraded soul in to the womb of the mother. Of course the soul can never be degraded but the soul is covered by various types of karmas from previous births and therefore it is in a degraded situation. And at the time of the birth there is another samskara – Cutting the umbilical cord between the mother and the child. And then when the child first takes grains, begins to eat, outside of the milk of the mother that is another samskaras. And when the child first begins education and begins to write with pencil or chalk, that is another samskara.  And there are some places, where there are big festivals for each of these samskaras. Because there is a major step forward in a child’s life. And it is an entrance into another realm of serving God.

The samskaras are meant to invoke the mercy and the blessings of the Lord on that person in entering into another phase of devotion. Of course these days because it is4 Kali Yuga the sacred samskaras which are meant to impress in a person’s life the necessity of devotion and sacrifice to God and service to God have become just social events. And this is very unfortunate. They are times of celebration but we celebrate for a very serious purpose. They are celebrating that this child is getting the mercy and the blessing of so many Brahmans and Vaishnavas and the saintly persons on this day to enter into the next phase of one’s life.


The real significance of the Samskara of Marriage


And then there is the samskara of marriage. Because marriage is a very sacred vow that is taken between a man and a woman. It is vow taken before God for the purpose of service to God. Because man and woman are not meant to enjoy one another. Animal civilisation is meant to enjoy one another. Therefore animals have no samskaras because what they do is not a sacrifice or devotion to God. It is simply for enjoyment. There is no marriage between two rats. There is no marriage between two dogs, or two hogs or two mosquitoes because their purpose is simply – that there is an urge and they are enjoy.And they find a beautiful partner to enjoy with. And then they have children. And then they raise their children to enjoy. And when their children get old enough they also find a partner and enjoy. And in this way the population of rats, dogs, hogs and mosquitoes increases day by day throughout the world.

Human population is also increasing day by day in the same way. Because people do not understand the meaning of the marriage samskara. athato brahma jigyasa.Human life is meant for self realization. It is not simply meant for sensual enjoyment. The marriage samskara is a sacred ceremony wherein the man and the woman come together and make a vow that they are not coming to enjoy one another. But they are coming to be enjoyed by God together. It is said that when two persons marry they become one person. That means they are completely united in the highest purpose of life which is devotion to God.

In every religious tradition throughout the world, this is the original intention of marriage. Whether it is held in the church, or in the mosque, or in the mandir, or in the synagogue it is meant to invoke the blessings of the Lord upon these two that they can enter into the loving service of the Lord together. And when the atmosphere becomes surcharged with this devotional spirit marriage becomes a beautiful offering to Lord Krishna.

It is completely favourable for spiritual advancement. When two people follow these principles together, there is no need to be brahmacharis of sadhus or sannyas, there are already sadhus in the grihastha asrama. And they can set the highest standards for others to follow. So this is what marriage means. We call for qualified Brahmans and qualified Vaishnavas to come to chant the names of the Lord to bestow their blessings so that the married couple could actually receive the sanction and the mercy of the Lord coming through these people to make their vows nicely and live a life of devotional service to the Lord.

There is no greater way to invoke the mercy of the Lord than inviting devotees to come together to chant the Holy Names.  Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And to give prasad to all these assembled devotees. And through this wonderful process, we can rejuvenate and awaken the real natural qualities of our eternal soul. So today we are very happy to be with all of you. Specially Vrshabhanu Prabhu. He is my editor.


The real meaning of love by Radhanath Swami


Because where most of the world is ritualistically having these big marriages with very little conception of the true spirit of devotion to God you have called so many devotees to come and have made this occasion supremely auspicious through the congregational chanting of the Lord’s name. And discussing the highest truths of Krishna’s teachings. This is a very, very wonderful example that we are praying that the world may follow. This is the real meaning of love. To bring a person closer to Krishna. To help to invoke the grace of God and His devotees upon our loved ones.


Ramanujacarya’s eagerness for receiving mantra – Radhanath Swami


There is a beautiful story. Actually this is the meaning of marriage. Kalavati and Vrshabhanu Prabhu; they are the topmost examples. They have come together to bestow the the most wonderful benediction upon all humanity by their exemplary devotional activities. Harbol.  Would you like to translate this. so Kalavati mataji wants me to tell you story of Ramanujacharya bestowing mercy on everyone. So Ramanujacarya, one of the great Vaishnavas, who was the founder of the Sri sampradaya in the modern age, and he was sent to a very, very great saintly person to a village which is now present in Tamil Nadu. And he was asked to take initiation into a very sacred mantra. But when he went the spiritual master told Ramanujacarya that this mantra is very, very pure, and it is very secret. And he was thinking there was no one on the earth qualified to receive this mantra. So he told Ramanujacarya that he would not give him the mantra. So Ramanujacarya was very sad. So he pleaded with him. So he said, “Not now.”

So Ramanujacarya was very depressed. He returned to his village. And again and again and again he came back and asked this great soul to give him and mantra. And again and again and again this great soul said, “Not now.” So one day Ramanujacarya was at a festival and this great soul also came to the festival. And then there was a procession with the murti of Lord Narayana. And at that time the pujari spoke very loudly, he said to the great spiritual master, “Lord is speaking through me. That you should give this mantra to Ramanujacarya. Because he was a completely pure devotee of the Lord and he is most qualified to receive it.”

But still he was hesitant. So devotees told him that Ramanujacarya is literally weeping and crying in despondency because feels that he is so offensive and so low and degraded and he is so offensive that he is not worthy of taking this mantra. So he called Ramanujacarya and he told him “the mantra is so pure and perfect that anyone who heard it would be liberated from all the miseries of the world and would attain pure devotion to Lord Narayana. Therefore you must never  in your life ever tell anyone this mantra.”


Radhanath Swami explains Ramanujacharya’s display of unlimited compassion


And so Ramanujacarya left his Guru’s ashrama. And he went and he started seeing all the people of the town. And he was thinking “these poor people; they are going to suffer birth and death. Again and again and again without devotion to Lord Narayana.” So he said to all the people he advertised throughout the town “you come to the mandir right away with everyone and I will give you the greatest treasure.” So everyone in this world is anxious for great treasures. So many people gathered. Ramanujacarya climbed to the top of the temple and he said “I will now give you the greatest of all treasures. I will give you the mantra by chanting which you will become free from all the sufferings of this world due to the attachments to this material body. And you will achieve the pure unalloyed joy of the soul and devotion to Krishna. Now everyone repeat after me.”

And then very loudly he said, “Om namo narayanaya.” And everyone – thousands and thousands of townspeople were chanting at the top of their voices. As Ramanujacarya was leading the kirtan, “Om namo narayanaya.” and then everyone was very happy, dancing in transcendental happiness. He told them “you should regularly keep this name of the Lord always in your heart.” When Ramanujacarya’s Guru heard the news that the secret mantra he was not allowed to tell anyone in his life he just told everyone in the town, he became very angry. So Ramanujacarya went to his Guru’s house and offered his dandavata pranama. And the Guru said, “How can you even stand before me? I do not want to even see your face because of the offence you have made by telling this mantra to others you will go to hell. Now get out of my sight.”


Ramanujacharya ready to even go to hell to free other people sufferings


Ramanujacarya was very humble. With great respect he said to this great spiritual master, “You have told me that anyone who hears this mantra will become free of all sufferings and go back to the spiritual world. Please forgive me. But I do not mind going to hell forever if all these people can be free from sufferings and go back to Krishna.” Guru Maharaj began to weep. He embraced Ramanujacarya with great love. He said, “my dear son, you are greater than me. Your compassion and your love for all living beings towards others in greater than mine. Now you are my guru and I am your disciple.”

Ramanujacarya with great humility and folded palms bowed down and said, “No Guru Maharaj, whatever I am doing is only by your mercy.” Sri Hari Nama sankirtan ki…jai.


In this age of Kali Yuga,


harer näma harer näma

harer nämaiva kevalam

kalau nästy eva nästy eva

nästy eva gatir anyathä


the only means by which we can be freed from the sufferings of this world  and awaken our original spiritual devotion to God, is through the congregational chanting of the Holy Names.

Now in the service of Kalavati devi and Vrshbhanu prabhu i will tell you a story which i have been instructed to tell. Another story about Ramanujacarya. One time there was a wonderful procession of celebration of the deity of the Lord in Srirangam and so many people were playing mridangas and kartals and horns and other instruments and everyone was chanting God’s Holy Names. And the deity was decorated so beautiful with wonderful palanquin, and pujaris were waving chamara fans and everyone was enjoying this wonderful festival.

Ramanujacarya and his disciples noticed that there was one man who did not even know that the deity was there, and he was right on the street.  He was with a very, very beautiful woman which was a prostitute woman. And he was standing over her with an umbrella to make sure that the sun does not make her hot and as he was holding the umbrella over her head, His eyes were fixed on her beautiful eyes. And he would not look anywhere else. And meanwhile people were chanting and dancing and doing all nice pujas and he was right in the middle of it, looking at this lady and holding the umbrella very carefully so the sun will not disturb her. So to behave like this in a public place is a very embarrassing situation. But he was not embarrassed. So Ramanujacarya was thinking “What kind of an unfortunate person this is. Everyone is looking at him doing like this.” So Ramanujacarya told one of his brahmacharis “call this man over here to talk to me.” So somehow or the other he caught his attention. “Come, Ramanujacarya the great acarya of Srirangam wants to talk to you.”


If we develop attraction for krishna the pleasures of this world become cheap by Radhanath Swami


So he came to Ramanujacarya and Ramanujacarya asked him, “why in the middle of this wonderful procession with thousands of people all around you, you are  looking at this lady?” he said, “because her eyes are lotus eyes, and they are so beautiful I have never seen anything in this entire world that can compare to her lotus eyes. I cannot take my attention or attraction away from those eyes. They have captured my heart, my mind and my senses.” And Ramanujacarya said, “If I show you something more beautiful than her eyes, will you look at them?” He said, “There can be nothing more beautiful than her eyes. But if you can show me, that will be very good.”

This man was a very big, strong man. His name was Dhanur Das. So Ramanujacarya says, “you come with me tomorrow” so he came to Ramanujacarya and he brought him into the Ranganatha temple. And he brought him before the Lord, and Ramanujacarya prayed to Lord Ranganatha, who is Krishna himself “please attract him. You are the all attractive one. Please attract this fallen soul’s heart.” When he saw the eyes of Lord Krishna in the form of this murti they were so beautiful and so attractive that he fell down and surrendered his life at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. He said, “I have now no other desire to be anything but to see the beauty of Ranganatha. And to serve you.”And he became a great Vaishnava. And then Ramanujacarya told him one day, “You bring this lady.” And upon seeing how this man was completely transformed and totally detached from her due to attraction for Krishna, she realised that there was nothing higher than Krishna. And she also surrendered to Krishna.

Ramanujacarya told them to get married. And this man and woman performed the samskara of marriage. But together they had no attraction in the world except serving Krishna in union with one another.  And they became very dear disciples of Ramanujacarya. He gave them so much attention and so much association and so much mercy. They lived in a nice house and they had a reasonable amount of wealth but they used everything for God’s seva.


Radhanath Swami explains do not go by externals


So the brahmacharis and the sadhus in Ramanujacarya ashrama were talking bad about Dhanur das and hi wife. They were saying “we have renounced home, we have renounced all the luxuries of life, we have renounced the association with women, and this Dhanur das has nice house, he has jewellery, he has a beautiful wife, he is a fallen soul.” And then they started criticising their own Gurudev. They were thinking, “We are so renounced and he is living in a house with a wife and all nice things. Why Gurudev gives him so much attention, even more than us?”

So Ramanujacarya wanted to enlighten them. Brahmacharis all lived together on the floor. And they washed their clothes by hand and hung it on ropes. So Ramanujacarya tore little pieces off their kopins. Kopin means a little piece of cloth. So the next morning when they woke up and took bath and went to get their kopins they saw pieces of cloth were torn from them. They all began to chastise each other. “Why did you tear my kopin?” “No, no you tore my kopin!” And everyone was suspicious and fighting. There was a huge commotion in the brahmachari ashrama. Everyone was fighting because their kopins had little torn pieces on it.  So they kept fighting and fighting about their kopins. And then Ramanujacarya said, “You know this Dhanur das, he is too much attached to wife and wealth.” and the brahmacharis said, “Yes, yes, correct. You understand, Guru Maharaj. Now you understand.”


Ramanujacharya teaches his disciples a good lesson


So he said “I want to give you all a lesson to show you what attachments he has. In the middle of the night I will call Dhanur das to come to see me. At that time you should go and steal the jewels of his wife’s body while she is sleeping. And we will see what kind of distress he is in.” so he called Dhanur Das and the wife was laying on her side, and brahmacharis very, very quietly came into the room, and very carefully they started taking all jewels from her. And then she started to move. So the brahmacharis ran away. So when they went back, they brought the jewels to Ramanujacarya. He said, “Now you go back, and you see when Dhanur Das meets his wife, you see how he reacts.” So the brahmacharis were looking through the window very secretly.


The surrender of dhanur dasa and his wife


And the wife told Dhanur Das, “Today I think that our Guru Maharaj must have had some difficulty. He does not have any money because his brahmacharis came today when I was sleeping and started taking the jewels off of me. So I was thinking that if our Guru Maharaj needs our jewels I should give all. so I tried to turn to the other so they could take all the other jewels. But unfortunately as I turned they ran away.”

So Dhanur Das became very angry with his wife. “We had the chance to give everything we had to our Guru Maharaj and because you turned in the wrong way, we lost that opportunity. “Everything we have is the property of Krishna. And everything we have we want to use it in Guru Seva. We are so unfortunate today, because of your not performing the proper action you have scared them away, and they did not take everything we had. That is our great misfortune.”

So the brahmacharis understood that Dhanur Das was a completely pure and selfless soul. And they returned to Ramanujacarya’s asrama and then explained what had happened. And Ramanujacarya told them “this morning when little pieces of cloth were taken from your kopins you were so upset that someone had disturbed your kopin. And yet Dhanur Das was praising you when you took all of his beautiful jewels. He wanted to give everything. Who was more detached?” And all the brahmacharis became very embarrassed. They understood why Dhanur Das was so dear to Ramanujacarya.  Because he was truly a surrendered soul. Completely attracted to Krishna. And even his wife was so pure and dedicated. So whether one is a grihasta or a Brahmachari, the important thing is that we learn how to become attracted to Krishna.


Make krishna center of your life by Radhanath Swami


Kalavati devi has requested me to tell this story to reveal to you how in the grihasta asrama, married life we can achieve the highest perfection, even greater than those of many sannyasis if we simply live in devotion to God. And that comes through association with devotees. Through making your house into a temple. Living very pure life, no illicit sex , no intoxication , no gambling , no meat eating. Following the proper guidance of the true spiritual master. And always chanting God’s name. By worshipping the deity, serving the devotees and chanting the name of God our heart becomes clean, and our attraction for Krishna becomes so wonderful that we lose all attraction for the sources of misery of this world. In this way we transcend the activities of karma, pious activities. We transcend vikarma or sinful activities. And we come to the true state of akarma, activities in devotion to God.

So we should centre our life around devotion to God by always keeping his name in our heart, in our mind, and always upon our lips. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. At this time Vrishabhanu Prabhu will teach you how Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught us the process of Hari Nama Sankirtan.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.