Radhanath Swami: When we put God in the centre of our lives then the problems of material existence are no longer relevant. The deeper we go into our connection with the Lord the more we experience a fulfillment, the fulfillment of the soul which is transcendental to all of the temporary situations of this world. That enough spiritual fulfillment is real wealth. We have just seen this beautiful drama of the life of Sri Tukaramji, now for an ordinary person that one particular scene which seen very extreme and fanatical.


Radhanath Swami on Story of Tukaram Maharaj

The king Chatrapati Shivaji sent beautiful silks and jewels in appreciation for Tukaram Maharaj and his family. Tukaram Maharaj very respectfully with honor and gratitude to the king sent all the silks and jewels back to him. Even his family at that moment had a hard time understanding what he was doing. But he was making a statement for the whole world for all time to come. What is real wealth? Not land and nice cars or jewels, not high positions of powers, real wealth is the awakening of the love from our hearts. And the expression of that wealth is the desire to serve. Tukaram sent all the jewels back and then rendered service; he said “if the king really wants to please me, let him purify his heart and chant the holy name, give him this message from me”. This is the universal principle of all true spiritual paths.


Anarthas – deep rooted in our hearts

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu prayed to Lord Krsna: na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
  “I do not want any amount of wealth. I do not want to enjoy the objects of the senses. I do not fame or prestige or scholarship. I do not even want Mukti, liberation from sufferings. I only desire whatever birth you want to send me in my Lord, let me serve you unconditionally. Throughout history wise people will give up everything in the world for the cherished wealth of offering service to the Lord and to others. All the problems of the world originate in our desire to possess, to greed and the ego. But this Kama, this lust, this Krodha – anger and this Lobha – greed and this Matsara – envy very difficult to overcome. It is deeply rooted within the heart. We have been feeding these negative propensities for many, many births. There is only one cure to appreciate the greatness of service. Great sages like Tukaram Maharaj taught us this spirit of service when harmonized with the chanting of God’s Holy names can awaken the unlimited fulfillment of love of God and love for others.


Tukaram’s story continued

And Shivaji Maharaj came to Tukaram when he got this instruction and realized “you have real wealth I have nothing, give me what you have, give me this Prema Bhakti, this love for God”.  He is just a simple Gruhasta living in poverty chanting God’s names and the great king is coming and begging from him.


Radhanath Swami on Pastime of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with King Pratap Rudra

In Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Lila there is a similar pastime. It is a very important aspect of the Lila of the Rathyatra. There was a King name Pratapa Rudra, he was touched by the mercy of the Lord, he was longing to have a personal Darshan of Lord Caitanya. But because Lord Caitanya was in the ashram of a Sanyasi he would not meet a king. Mahaprabhu said: “For me in a Sanyas order to mix intimately with the king is worse than drinking poison”. But then the day of Rathyatra came. King Pratapa Rudra previous to this day, he decided he would give up his kingdom and become a beggar if that’s what it was required to get the mercy of the Lord. But the devotees told the King “no you should perform your duty as the king but because of your devotion you will certainly attract the mercy of Krsna”. On the day of Ratyratra King Pratapa Rudra came before the chariot of Jagannath and all of the devotees with a broom in his hand. And he accepted the simple service of a street sweeper.


Lord sees what is in the heart

Srila Prabhupad extracts from the scriptures the sacred message that the Supreme Lord does not just see what we do but from within the heart he sees the intention of why we do it. īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāḿ hṛd-deśe ‘rjuna tiṣṭhati

bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā – Lord is seated within the heart of every living being, he is the witness. King Pratapa Rudra was not sweeping the street to get votes nor was he sweeping the street to get his picture in the newspaper. He wasn’t doing it so that people would honor him as a very humble king. He was doing it because in his heart of heart he actually identified himself as a menial servant of the Lord, the saints and all the people. When the Lord saw that his heart softened and he decided at that moment: “I will give the king my complete mercy”.   And in doing so he showed the world the path of perfection.


Radhanath Swami on Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu reveals to King

Now with your permission I will very briefly explain how this mercy unfolded gradually like petals of a lotus flower for this king. Lord Chaitanya arranged seven Kirtan parties, four in front of Jagannath’s chariot, and two on either side and one behind. Lord Caitanya is Jagannath himself dancing in front of Jagannath in a role of devotee. Because of the devotees love as they were chanting God’s name the Lord revealed himself to them. Certainly Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in all seven Kirtan groups simultaneously and each group was thinking, “He is only with us, he doesn’t go anywhere else”. No one could understand that he was actually with everyone. Only a few people who received the Lord’s very special mercy could understand that. Including the King Pratapa Rudra, he was struck with wonder. He could see with his own eyes seven Caitanya Mahaprabhus is dancing in different ways in seven different kirtan groups and he could see that everyone was thinking “he is only with me”. He could understand this because of his humility the accepting the simple role of a street sweeper the Lord gave him the mercy to know him as he is.


Comparison to the world today

Now to try to create a comparison to the world today I will try there are many religions in the world and God has revealed himself in these different religions in different times in different ways and each of these religions the propensity is to think “God is only with me, he is not with anyone else, he is with our group only”. But if one has a humble heart and a proper service attitude one receives the mercy of the Lord and one could appreciate that the Lord is appearing in all the great spiritual paths of the Lord. The problem that creates all these divisions is simply the false ego – ahankar. Where there is false ego, that simple humble service attitude is not there and one does not receive the mercy of Lord which is the essence of every great spiritual path, every religion. Because of his humble enthusiasm to serve everyone King Pratap Rudra was not only allowed to see that mystery but he could understand that here is Lord Jagannath on the chariot in the form of a murti watching himself Lord Jagannath in a human type form dancing in ecstasy in love and they were having an exchange. bhaktya tv ananyaya sakya aham evam-vidho ‘rjuna jnatum drashtum ca tattvena praveshtum ca parantapa Krsna tells in Gita: “Only by undivided devotion can one understand the mysteries of my appearance and activities”. For many, many hours the chariot of Jagannath of Subhadra, and Balaram were pulled through the streets of Puri. And all the while Lord Caitanya and his devotees were dancing and loudly crying holy names:

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Namnam akadi bahuda nija sarva shaktish. That the holy name of the Lord is a transcendental sound vibration, in fact Kali kale Nama rupe krishnavatar. The Supreme Lord incarnates in this Kali with all of his potencies in the Holy name. harer nama harer nama harer nama iva kevalam, kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha. That in this age of Kali the most powerful, the most accessible of all methods of Spiritual life is to chant the Holy names.   It is a very essence of all spiritual instructions. It is the medicine that can cure the disease of suffering and ignorance and awaken our healthy state. This body is a vehicle. This mind is a temporary material covering. It is the atma, the living force that is our true identity. At the time of death the body and everything there is material but no one’s home because the atma has departed. What is the quality of atma? This is the most important basic principle of knowledge who I am? Krsna tells in Gita: na jayate mriyate va kadacin nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah ajo nityah sasvato ‘yam purano na hanyate hanyamane sarire that for the soul there is neither birth nor death it is everlasting. It is Satchitananda – eternal, full of knowledge and bliss that’s who we are. But we have forgotten because we are so obsessed with trying to satisfy the demands of the body and mind. Mamaivam so jiva loka, jiva bhuta sanatana – Gita tell us that the spirit soul, the atma is part and parcel of the Supreme soul of Krsna. And therefore vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmane gavi hastini  suni caiva sva-pake ca panditah sama-darsinah one who realizes one’s true spiritual identity sees that every living being is part of God.


Radhanath Swami on Principles of Idol Worship and Ahimsa

Some people they don’t have a clear understanding of the Supreme nature of the Lord. Some criticize the worship of the Archamurti saying it is idol worship. But this is a great science. The Vedic scriptures and millions of the greatest saints throughout history are worshipping the Lord in his beautiful form. Janmadsya yathah – everything is emanating from the Supreme. The material world is the manifestation of the external energy of the Supreme. Out of love, out of kindness the Lord appears in a particular form that we could learn to serve, to meditate on and to through love, he has that power how can we take it away from him. If God is unlimited can he not enter into a form that he creates to accept our love and devotion? This small mindedness is a very unfortunate condition. And the Lord is also within the heart of very living being. Whether one is a man or a woman, whether one is from any nationality, or any religion or any specie; small minded people criticize why Hindus worship cows. But understand the principle of this. That we should divinity within wherever there is a life, because wherever there is life there is a child of God. Then the cow is gentle like our mother giving us milk to nourish us and historically the bull has been ploughing our fields to nourish us with food. The idea of honoring the Cow is the principle of learning to honor every living being.

Ahimsa means not to hurt anyone unnecessarily. A saintly person is Paradukha dukhi, other people not only all classes of human but all species there happiness is my happiness and their distress is my distress. This is the quality of a saintly person. This is Sanatana Dharma the essence of all great religion and the way of awakening that natural quality within us to love God and manifest compassion towards all living beings is easily fulfilled through the chanting of God’s names. ceto darpana marjanam bhava maha davagni nirvapanam the chanting of the Lord’s names cleanses all of our selfish, ego and allows the true light of the love of the soul to shine toward God and all living beings. Paramvijayate Sri Krishna sankirtanam therefore it is the greatest benediction for all humanity.


Pastime of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued

So during Ratyatra everyone was chanting. And then they came to a place called a Balagandi where wonderful offerings of devotion in the form of Bhoga or food were being presented to Lord Jagannath. See how the Lord is so kind in this Vedic system of Sanatana Dharma we can cook for the Lord, we can sing for the Lord, we could serve the Lord personally. At that time Lord Caitanya went into a garden and laid down to rest as all the devotees who were chanting were laying under different trees. All of the devotees so much wanted King Pratapa Rudra to get the Lord’s mercy. They told the king “disguise yourself as a common Vaishnav beggar and go in and personally massage Lord Caitanya’s feet and sing him the songs of the Gopis to Krsna”. He took their blessings, went to the garden, bowed before the Lord and massaged his feet and leg and according to the guidance of the devotees he was singing the 31st chapter of the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam where the Gopis are offering prayers of love in separation to Krsna during the Rasa dance. It begins: Jayatithe dekam. Lord Caitanya was tasting the sweet nectar of these verses and he said to this person who he externally did not know who he was “go on reciting, go on reciting these verses”. Then he came to verse tavakatamritam taptajivanam the Gopis are praying: “My Lord your words, the sound vibrations of your words and to hear your glories and activities are like nectar that purifies our hearts and relieve us of all materialistic miseries. Anyone who hears the narration of your glories is most fortunate and whoever speaks your glories it is the most munificent, kindest welfare worker in all of the society”. Here in this Lord Caitanya said: “Say in again, say it again”. And the Lord himself along with King Pratapa Rudra kept reciting this verse. Then the Lord sat up looked at the king and cried out with great emotion: “Burida, burida, you are most munificent, you are so kind, you are bringing me such nectar” and then the Lord embraced the king. The Supreme Absolute Truth the Parambrahman bathed the king with the tears of his affection. Externally it appeared that the Lord did not know who this was. Within his heart the Lord knows everything. Finally the Lord Caitanya said to King Pratapa Rudra: “You have come to bring me the greatest wealth, you are showering me with nectar, I am so indebted to you, please tell me who are you?” very difficult. Because the Lord gave strict orders that “I will never come close to this king” and he was in disguise. If he said: “I am the king” that would have been very, very big risk. At the same time you cannot tell a lie to the Absolute truth because the Lord knows everything from within our heart. Pratapa Rudra spoke who he really felt he was. Would you like to hear his answer? King Pratapa Rudra’s answer to this question: “Who are you?” is the sum important essence of all human life. The king said: “I am your obedient servant, I am your obedient servant of the servant of your servants and my only aspiration in life is to be the servant of the servant of your servants”.


Be servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord

Now herein Srila Prabhupad and Acharyas explain this is the king, his only aspiration is to be the servant of the servant of the servant therefore this is the highest aspiration any human being could have.

Dhruva Maharaj he was only five years old, he was heart broken by the neglect of this father and abusive step mother after severe Tapasya the Lord appeared to him and offered him anything in this creation. But Dhruva only asked for loving devotional service. And years later the Kuvera the treasurer of the Devatas offered anything to Dhruva and Dhruva only desired the one benediction to be the servant of the servant of the servant. Little Prahallad was offered any benediction by Narasinga Dev; he only asked to be the servant of the servant of the servant.


Radhanath Swami on Pastime of Banana leaf server Sridhar

This is all – the king wanted. Another associate of Lord Caitanya was banana leaf server named Sridhar. In a way very similar to Tukaram Maharaj, he was in total poverty but he was constantly chanting God’s names. When Lord Caitanya was little boy he disguised his true identity and would come and steal bananas from Sridhar everyday. And years later when the Lord revealed that he is the Supreme Krsna, he revealed his form of Krsna and Balaram to Sridhar and he said: “Now please Sridhar ask for any benediction, I will give anything”. Sridhar was living in a little straw hut with no furniture either he had one set of clothes that were torn in dozens of places and he was emaciated due to lack of food. Sridhar said: “I don’t want anything”. The Lord said: “I will give great wealth and property”. “I don’t want that”. “I will give you the 8 mystic siddhis that yogis spend life time to attain”. Sridhar said: “That will only be a disturbance I don’t want”. “I will give you liberation from all suffering – Mukti”. Sridhar said: “I have no concern about Mukti”. “I will give elevation to eternal world”. “I don’t want that either”. The Lord said: “I want to give you something for my happiness ask something, anything”. Sridhar said: “If it really makes you happy if that I ask something, I will ask for one thing. In any birth I may take, let this little boy Nimai always come to steal my bananas. Let this sight of Little Nimai coming to steal my bananas forever be within my heart. I only want to give; I only want to be the servant of the servant of your servants”. This is what we should value more than any other treasure. Because this is Prema Bhakti, this is what satisfies the innermost longing of the heart. For one who chants the Holy name with the spirit of servant of the servant Krsna reveals his unlimitedly beautiful, sweet form.

At that time Lord Caitanya was so pleased with King Pratapa Rudra that he revealed his divine form and opulences. And the king after taking leave of the Lord he came out of the Garden and went to every devotee and fell at their feet with great humility and thanked them with gratitude. It is a grateful heart that is receptive to receive the Lord’s mercy. Through this beautiful story Tukaram Maharaj revealed the essence of perfection. And through this Ratyatra pastime Lord Caitanya revealed that same essence of perfection. To strive to awaken that innate treasure of Prema or love from our heart through our service attitude and through the sincere crying out of the Holy names of Lord –

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

It is so simple. It is for everyone. It can unite us. Not on a political platform but on the platform of spiritual truth. And to distribute this charity his divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad traveled around the world over 12 times and established these Ratyatra celebration in every major city in the world. And today this wonderful festival it was not organized by any major temples it was actually everything was completely organized by a few young people. Well so many young people in Bombay are making social scenes in going to cinemas, doing so many activities trying to find enjoyment here these teenagers in their twenties they are organizing together beautiful festivals like this to bring tens and thousands of people together to chant the Holy names and the satisfaction and fulfillment they gain by serving, by serving God and serving humanity is something that is a great example to the whole world. Let us offer our gratitude to them by loudly chanting Hari Bol.

Thank you very much.

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.