We must learn to deal with the obstacles by Radhanath Swami


Radhanath Swami explains everything in this world is temporary, it is always changing, it is always moving, it has no permanence. We keep our consciousness fixed in the permanent. And we deal with this ever changing temporary world, according to the time, the circumstance, in such a way that we can do the best service for Krishna. It is so wonderful. And so many obstacles will come on the path because this is the material world. Material world means obstacles. Material world means duality. If you do not want dualities and obstacles, then you have to go back to Godhead. Because whether you are devotee, whether you are not a devotee, there will be obstacles in this world, especially in the age of kaliyuga. Quarrel, hypocrisy, so much. What to do? Go back to Godhead. But to go back to Godhead, you have to deal with all the obstacles. So actually you have no choice. You have to deal with it. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he explained that there will never be a time when obstacles will not come before us.


Radhanath Swami on Obstacles in the life Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

They even came before him at Advaita acharyas house. He wanted to go, Sachimata  told Him, that do not go to Vrindavan, because Vrindavan is very far. I will never hear Your past times. I will never see You. Krishna of Vrindavan is living in Jagannath and Puri. Please go there. Then I will hear Your past times. Devotees are always going back and forth from Navadwipa to Puri Dham. So Lord Chaitanya, even though His heart desire was to go to Vrindavan. His stronger desire was to please His pure devotees. This is the Lord. After He took initiation in Gaya from  Srila Ishwara Puri, he just began running to Vrindavan. Now I have received Hare Krishna Mahamantra, now I have received Vaishnava diksha. Now I will go to Vrindavan. As he was in the ecstasy of Mahabhava running to Vraja Bhumi. And then that celestial voice came from the sky and said My Lord you have descended into this world to propagate the Harinama Sankirtana movement and Navadwipais the place you should begin the sankirtana movement. You should not go to Vrindavana now. You can go some other time. Now go to Navadwipa . So he said yes. That is correct. And he didn’t go to Vrindavan. Why? Because His compassion upon all following souls. He wanted to give us the Hare Krishna mantra.


Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare

Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare


He desisted in His own life from going to Vrindavan, just to give compassion to others, to preach and      He began the Sankirtana movement in Navadwipa  Dham and he induced everyone to chant Hare Krishna. Except there were certain pundits and very puffed up people who were always criticizing and, blaspheming and saying  so many lies against the Lord and His devotees. Srivas Thakur’s house was a temple and there was always wonderful-wonderful kirtan and the innocent people, they were always anxious to somehow purify themselves, so that they could go in and see the beautiful dancing of the Lord. But the envious people they were terrible, they were making up so many lies. Chaitanya Bhagvat, Chaitanya Charitamrita describes in so many places, so many terrible things they were concocting. That these so called Vaishnavas what are they doing in that temple? You know what they said? They said, they are kidnapping young women, they are having tantric sex with them, they are drinking all kinds of liquors, taking all kinds of intoxications, listening to all kinds of perverted songs. In this way they are simply corrupt, they are sinful, they are rascal, they are rogues and they are trying to present themselves as great Vaishnavas. We know what to do with them. We should destroy them. We should tie them by the hands and the feet and through all these devotees in the Ganges. We should take the whole house of Shrivas and throw it in the Ganges. And this was always happening. Sometimes they were saying, these people they are just so materialistic. They are hungry so they are chanting the names of God and they are begging just to exploit people and take their money in the name of being saintly people. And what they do at night? Simply the most illicit, terrible things. These rumors were rampant against Lord Chaitanya and all of His devotees in the beautiful temple of Srivas Thakura. So, if they will speak against the Lord, they will speak against the Lords devotees. It is not something that happens five hundred years ago. It is the nature of material existence. But Lord Chaitanya didn’t care. He just went on chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, and ultimately the truth was revealed. But he was so compassionate, that He took sannyas just to reach out to these crazy people. And there were the Brahmans, the Brahmans they were so proud of their high position, they were criticizing Lord Chaitanya and his devotees in so many ways, so why are you chanting loudly the holy name? This is not bonafide.


Radhanath Swami on Obstacles in life of Hari Das Thakur

One Brahmans said this to Hari Das Thakur, that you should chant silently in your mind. This loud chanting is irreligious. Hari Das Thakur began to explain from the shastra, how chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, Krishna’s name, loudly is one hundred times more powerful than chanting silently within one’s mind. And he explained why? When you chant silently with in your mind you become purified, but everyone else remains in ignorance. But when you chant very loudly-


Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare

Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare


then everyone who hears becomes purified. All the people, all the animals with four legs, all the reptiles and mosquitoes, insects, all the grass and the trees and the plants, everyone becomes delivered by hearing the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. And ultimately we make advancement by satisfying Krishna. And Krishna is most satisfied, when we have others become Krishna conscious. So for this reason the loud chanting is more powerful and more purifying then silent chanting because it pleases Krishna more. Because Krishna is more pleased when you help others become Krishna conscious, then when you simply try to do it yourself. In fact Prahalad Maharaja says in the Narada Purana, one hundred times more powerful is loud chanting, then silent because it is one hundred times more satisfying to Krishna. So in this way Hari Das Thakur told this Brahman and there were assembly of so many Brahman. He said this is the conclusion, that we should very loudly chant the holy names.


Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare

Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare


And this Brahman upon hearing it, he became so angry. He said what is this? Just see how kaliyuga has come. It appears that the very end portion of kaliyuga is already here. We have here a man less than a shudra, an untouchable explaining the Vedas, misinterpreting, concocting. This is a great offence. We cannot hear this. This is a great injustice and he began to blaspheme him and he said Hari Das Thakur you are a low class man, you have no right and you are taking the Vedas and you are misrepresenting and you are polluting society and if such loud chanting is more powerful then silent chanting as I am explaining, impossible. If what you are saying is wrong, I will cut of your nose. So Hari Das Thakur understood, nothing else to say to this man. He just smiled and just walked away. Chanting


Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare

Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare


Even the best preachers, sometimes if people don’t want to hear, they will not hear. Any ways after a few days this Brahman, he contracted smallpox and his nose fell off. So ultimately Krishna makes everyone accept the reaction of their particular words and activities. But the devotees, they try their best and they go on with their preaching. No problem.


Radhanath Swami explains How obstacles are servants of the Lord

So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyas to try to get some respect, so these type of people will listen to them. And he went to Katwa and there He took the vows of a sannyasi and accepted the mantra from Shri Keshava Bharti Maharaja, and after that wonderful-wonderful yagya was performed. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began dancing in transcendental ecstasy and Keshava Bharti began dancing with him and their dandas went  flying around and they were just completely oblivious, their water pots went another direction and they were all chanting the holy names and all the devotees were just so blissful seeing Mahaprabhu and His sannyas guru dancing together. And then Lord Chaitanya said now I will go to Vrindavan. So He started going to Vrindavan. Just a thought of going to Vrindavana, He was in transcendental madness. But Nitya Nanda Prabhu, he understood the devotees in Navadwipa, they will die in separation of Lord Chaitanya, goes to Vrindavan. They already made up their mind to commit suicide in the Ganga in separation. And Nitya Nanda Prabhu knew the hearts, the heart of the Lord, that ultimately pleasing His devotee is His ultimate desire. So He convinced other people on the side of the road and cowherd boys, to give wrong directions to Lord Chaitanya. Here in Mumbai everyone gives wrong directions. Some months back we were   going to Radhakanta prabhu’s house in Borivali and nobody in the car knew where to go. Some vague ideas. There were some directions and we asked somebody on the road, you go this way. We start going this way and then we asked somebody else, which way, you go this way. So we thought three people all gave us the same direction and so we are thinking we are going the right way. Then the fourth person said the opposite direction. So we started going the opposite direction. We asked the next person, yes-yes go on like this. Then next person say yes-yes go on like this. We think we must be going on in the right direction. Then the next person says the opposite direction. Then we XXXX if anybody know where is the parampara. This is the problem. Everyone has their own ideas. Finally we realize we passed it twice. So wrong directions is part of life in Kaliyuga. So Nitya Nanda Prabhu told the cowherd boys to give wrong directions to Lord Chaitanya. Of course this is different wrong directions. This was authorized by Lord Nitya Nanda Prabhu, the original spiritual master and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to the Ganga. He met with Advaita acharya. He was brought to Advaita’s house. And then He was, to meet His mother Sachidevi. She saw Him with no beautiful hairs, shaved head, no beautiful jewellery and garlands and bright coloured clothes, but just saffron sannyas robes. It was very-very difficult. Everyone knows, what a mother goes through, when a son takes to the renounced order. It’s very painful. And Sachimata explained to Lord Chaitanya then, Jagannath is in Puri, go there. So Lord Chaitanya  decided I will not go to Vrindavana, I will go to Puri,  because this will make My devotee happy. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us, there is no higher religious principle than please His devotees. Nothing else. Even the desire to go back to Godhead is not a sacred to the Lord as pleasing His devotees. And He manifested this so many times in His own transcendental pastimes and example. So the devotee said to Lord Chaitanya, You should not go to Puri now, it’s very dangerous, there are fighting kings and dacoits and there are wars going on and the soldiers of these sides are so suspicious, that if anyone is caught, they are captured, imprisoned, tortured and killed. So you should wait until it become safe. There are too many obstacles. And Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, when will there ever be a time in this material world where there are no obstacles. There are always obstacles. So I will go now. And Advaita acharya, he was very ecstatic, when he heard this. He said Yes, You are the Supreme controller, what obstacle can stand on Your path? All obstacles are Your servants. And it is a fact. All obstacles are the servants of the Lord. They are actually there, in order to purify and to uplift the Lord and uplift the mission of the Lord. That is why obstacles come.


Real life example of Bhaktivedanta Manor’s obstacles by Radhanath Swami

We will give you an example, practical example. I just came yesterday from Bhakti Vedanta Manor in London, England. Very-very special place. It was one of Srila Prabhupada’s most favourite temples. He spent so many weeks and months at that holy place. And it’s a small community of a few acres and it became so popular, it became the biggest Hindu place of pilgrimage in all of England, and for Janmashtami and Ramnaumi, and these other festivals, tens and thousands of people will come to see the Deities, to take prasad, to hear kirtan, to see dramas, to have satsanga with Vaishnavas. It was wonderful. Very powerful preaching and we should know Prabhupada wonders. He said, you will know when your preaching is powerful when the demons try to destroy you. Because when you become a threat to maya, maya just doesn’t say dandavats prabhus, you are very good. She will fight. She will sent her representatives, to test what kind of devotion you have, but ultimately those tests are only to glorify the devotees, if they just remain with faith and persevere and fight as Krishna explains in Gita, fight for truth. If devotees are living purely and exemplary, then they have nothing to fear. Devotees are not living purely, they have everything to fear. That is all we have to know, that we are living by the truth and then we can just move forward without  any inhibition. So Bhakti Vedanta Manor, year after year was becoming so popular, so many people coming, that the government and the local people, they made so many complaints and they made an order to close it down, that no one can come there to do worship or puja ever again. That means finished. They said devotees can live there, but nobody can come to visit, nobody can come to worship, no guest. That means no preaching. Prabhupada’s temples are for preaching. They are not just for us to live and be happy, they should preach. Because to satisfy the Lord means to be compassionate to others. So what did the devotees do? Everything was against them. The central government, the federal government, every government said closed. So they just began to fight like the spharrow fighting against the ocean. They just did it and gradually more and more people got involved and people of the congregation who were basically just coming to visit every Sunday, they started coming to meetings, three four five times a week, starting to raise all kinds of funds for defenses and so many hundreds and hundreds of people were getting involved in the temple that never get involved before. And then certainly for the first time in history, all the Hindu organizations of all of England united to help, before that they were all like, don’t go to this place, come to my place. There was actually unity. Everyone was fighting together and there was national media and international media and this fight went on for one year and two year and three year and four year and five years and then there was an ultimate case and they  lost. Then they appealed and more time was going on and on and there was campaigns. They had tens and thousands of people in the streets having kirtan with picket signs, marching, so many demonstrations, protest, everything. Five years, six years, seven years, eight years, nine years, ten years they were battling and fighting and ultimately this year, Krishna, as He explains in Gita,

yatra yogesvarah krishno

yatra partho dhanurdharah

(B.G 18.78)


That wherever there is Krishna and Arjuna, wherever they stay, there is the devotion according to Bhagvad Gita, there will be victory.


So this year the appeal was made and then another appeal was made and ultimately the government decided, that never again will there ever be the order to close this temple, it is open to the public forever. But what happened out of this? In order to get this to pass, they have to procure what was it about thirty acres more, fifty acres more of land, that’s a lot of land. A direct access road from the main highway to the temple, before cars had to go miles and miles, to this little tiny roads through villages, just to get there. So now Bhakti Vedanta Manor, through fighting, their property is about fifty times as big, they have made beautiful-beautiful road, that goes direct from the highway to the lotus feet of the Deities. They never would have had any of this if it wasn’t for these obstacles. They will still be in their same little plot of land chanting Hare Krishna. Now the access, the property, everything, it is multiply by anything, like anything, because the people were so fired up  to help, they raise so much money to buy all this land, just to make it happen. They would have never done this. Save and except by the help of Maya. Because maya made it difficult, devotees worked and now Bhakti Vedanta Manor is more prosperous, has more facility to preach, then it ever has had in history. Why? Because the great servants in the form of obstacles came to glorify their mission. Srila Prabhupada ki Jai.


Maintain your purity and Krishna will bless you

So in this way devotees, we know the future. We know that if we simply remain pure in our vows, if we remain faithful to our guru maharaja’s mission, then what ever comes before us, however it appears it is only meant to ultimately serve our mission. If it wasn’t for the conflict between the Kurus and the Pandavas, there would be no Bhagvat Gita. So this type of conflict is very nice. When I heard the news there was some conflict here. I was thinking that this temple has been so sweet with devotion. The mood of this temple has been beautiful kirtans in the mood of Chaitanya Charitamrita, beautiful Hari katha and Vaishnav sewa in the mood of Srimad Bhagvatam. But then I was thinking, Krishna wants us to live a little according to Bhagvad Gita also. So we will live according to Bhagvad Gita. The basics of Krishna consciousness. But the most important thing is we just have to remain pure. If we are pure and we are determined, Krishna will empower us to do anything. And this is the type of service that pleases Srila Prabhupada and pleases all the acharyas, to be willing to give our life and never give up the mission of compassion to other beings. Hari Das Thakur was lashed in twenty two market places because he would not give up his preaching. And he was blasphemed and so many lies against him, but he wouldn’t give up his preaching. And ultimately how he was glorified? How Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally protected him and personally empowered him? So to satisfy the great souls, is our life and soul and we should take every situations as an opportunity to satisfy the great souls. And in this way we can realize the transcendental message that has been passed down through parampara in the form of Srimad Bhagvatam, Bhagvad Gita and we can create a beautiful-beautiful facility for so many people to love Krishna. Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki Jai.


Question Answers


  1. Question to Radhanath Swami : The question is about the life of Srila Shukadeva Swami Maharaja. There are three stories which are mentioned, the first one is that he was in the womb of the mother and then he was not willing to come out, because he was thinking that he will fall into illusion, it’s better to be inside and then Vyas Dev recited the past times of Krishna and then he came out. Then after coming out it is also said that he went to the forest, Vyas Deva was chasing after him and he never came back but there was a illusory Shukadev who came back and got married and had a children. And there is another story which you told just now that he went to the forest and there was a wood cutter and he was reciting the Bhagvatam. How do you co-relate that they are simultaneously true?

Ans. It is one story in various divisions. When we say that he heard Bhagvatam from his father, that is short cut. Ultimately it is, but it’s without the details in between. Because ninth canto of Bhagvat explains, that actually Vedavyasa brought Krishna from Dwarka, to ask Shukadeva to come out. Then he came out, but still he was in his transcendental condition of being aloof. And then he went to the forest and his father was trying to get him back and he manifested the illusory Shukadeva Goswami who got married and had children and descendants but the other XXXX think Vyas Dev who knows past, present and future XXXX that he was fooled by that. He understood what is this. He accepted the dynasty of people after him, but at the same time he sent his disciples to attract Shukadeva back. XXXX the atmaram verse. The great souls who are in this self satisfied condition of Brahman realization, even they are attracted to the hearing the names and glories and serving the Lord. So it is one story, but sometimes it is told in a brief way, sometimes it is told in a more detailed way. But there is no contradiction there. Like that.


  1. Question to Radhanath Swami:If one inadvently also hears blaspheming of Vaishnavas is implicated. There are so many innocent people who hear such blaspheming news which is not at all true. So do they have to face reaction and if so how it is without their desire?

Ans. Yes, that is why when a devotee is personally blasphemed, the devotee says yes, correct. If you only knew how worse I am then you would be acknowledge. Devotees do not defend themselves. But devotees will give their life’s to defend other Vaishnavas. What to speak of defend the integrity of the Lords mission, Lord Chaitanya’s mission, so yes people who hear are very-very seriously inflicted and contaminated. Therefore it is the duty of the devotees to create counter propaganda, so that people do not believe such things. It is actually an act not of defense but of compassion. We don’t want to defend ourselves, but if people have the wrong idea of Srila Prabhupada, they have the wrong idea of Bhakti Siddhanta, Lord Chaitanya, Radha and Gopinatha, people are thinking bad of them and what they are doing, then this is a terrible-terrible infliction in their life. They have to suffer very bad reactions. Those who propagated will suffer and those hear it will also suffer. So therefore to try to create a favorable impression, is actually an act of mercy and compassion, to protect such innocent souls from believing something and holding something in their heart. That is so unfortunate.


  1. Question to Radhanath Swami: Explain that when obstacles come for devotees, then devotees should try their best to fight against that obstacles. But sometimes it may happen that an obstacle comes before a devotee and he does not know up to what stage he should fight. He could be thinking it all Krishna’s arrangement and whatever Krishna wants is happening, so up to what point of time should he keep on fighting and finally surrender the face of obstacles?

Ans. We must discriminate between fighting for our own spiritual purification and for the mission of the Lord and fighting for our own domestic affairs in the name of Krishna consciousness. There is a difference. And in order to make the discrimination, we should follow the footsteps of Arjuna. He asked his guru Krishna, if we asked advanced devotees, then they will give us the understanding. The reason why the society of Vaishnavas is so important, is so that you never had such a question. What to do? How to do? We can ask and get direction. Those who have more maturity and realizations of how to serve Krishna, can impart to us a proper guidance by which we can fight for Krishna and live for Krishna.


  1. Question to Radhanath Swami: Maharaja you said that obstacles on the path of devotional service are finally meant for our spiritual advancement, but sometimes we have obstacles in our material life which are not directly connected to devotional service at least apparently. So are these obstacles also meant indirectly to bring about our spiritual advancement or how do we look at these obstacles. Do we look at them as karmic reaction or do we look all the obstacles in our life.

Ans. You should accept what is favorable for devotional service and reject what is unfavorable for devotional service. If we over endeavor for material things that is unfavorable for devotional service. We have to discriminate. Obstacles that are not directly involving our devotional service, the question is by fighting to overcome these obstacles, is it favorable for my devotional service or is it unfavorable? If it is favorable we should fight to death, if it’s not favorable we should just give it up. We should make no endeavor. So how it will help my service. And by enquiring we can understand these things very nicely. We should never be in a state of confusion. Things should always be clear to us.


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.