Thursday, December 29, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Parents as Leaders

All the religious literatures explain that what the leaders of the society will do, the common man will follow. We are all leaders in our own spheres of life. Mother and father are the leaders of the family. Religious literatures explain that every leader should become a guru. A guru is one who simply preaches the message of God to others. Mother and father should become the guru of the family, they should bring their family together regularly to discuss the topics of God. Parents should train their children in the science of God so that children can understand who they are, what is their relationship with God, what is their relationship with material nature, what should be the duty of every human being, what are the qualities of soul and what should be the goal of their lives. If the children are trained in such an incredible way then these children will not only become the best of human beings but will also become the greatest welfare workers of all humanity.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Radhanath Swami on What is Dharma

Dharma means occupation. Dharma also means the intrinsic nature of a thing or a person. The intrinsic nature of sugar is that it is sweet. The intrinsic nature of chilli is to be hot. The intrinsic nature of water is liquidity. If you put it in an artificial circumstance, it can turn solid ice but as soon as it comes to a natural setting, it immediately melts into liquidity. So the intrinsic nature of every living being is to serve. You cannot live without serving. You are either serving your family, serving your boss, serving your country, serving the government or serving your mind or serving your senses. Everyone is serving. And sanatana means eternal. The eternal nature of every living being is to serve God because we are part and parcel of God. Some are serving His external energy or maya or illusion and some are serving His internal energy in love and devotion. But that is our constitutional nature, to serve God eternally. Those who follow the Vedic culture follow these principles of sanatana dharma.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Radhanath Swami on the Oceanic Happiness of the Soul

The soul in itself is like an ocean of bliss and happiness, an ocean of pleasure. In this world so many pleasures and pains come. Sometime pain, sometime pleasure, sometime honor, sometime dishonor, sometime happiness, sometime distress. These are like rivers entering into the ocean. Do the rivers disturb the ocean? During the dry season, the rivers don’t carry much water, but during the rainy season they pour in billions of liters of water into the ocean every second. But still the ocean is unaffected; it has such depth in itself, that the rivers are very small and insignificant in comparison. The Bhagavad Gita describes that the peace and happiness of a self-realized soul is like an ocean which is unaffected by the rivers of pains and pleasures of this world.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Transcendental Distress

Why would a devotee feel distress? He is transcendental to the modes of material nature. The impersonalist may want to be above all distress, but the higher platform is to be in distress out of mercy and compassion to others. That is more pleasing to God. It is a deeper form of ecstasy than merely experiencing peace because it is based on love, selfless love. There are so few devotees and there are so many billions of suffering, conditioned souls in the entire material creation. Individually cultivating pure love of God does not please the Lord as much as cultivating and distributing that love to others.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Helpless Chanting

The opulences of high birth, beauty, knowledge, fame and strength that are so dear to materialistic people, that they spend their whole life trying to achieve, are the greatest disqualifications for a devotee, because they make one proud or they make one complacent. And then even if he chants the holy names, it is not with sincere feelings. It will just be mechanical. God is the property of those who feel, "I have nothing but You, my Lord. There is nothing else that can protect me. The world is a dreary void without You, my Lord." That is the mood in which we should throw our hands up in surrender and chant the names of God.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Turning to God

The only solution to any real problem is to turn to God. Solutions bereft of God consciousness may provide for the immediate need but generally create a problem more complex than the original. Turning to God means taking shelter with a grateful heart. The tendency of this world is that to take shelter, something has to shake us up. Hence, the wise recommend that we undertake austerities beforehand, before any catastrophy strikes us. Austerity is required to show our sincerity, to control our mind and fix it on our purpose, to show God that we really want to take shelter of Him. Even then, God favors us only when there is devotion in whatever austerities we take up. Our approach when we turn to Him is what really matters.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Extinguishing the Forest Fire

This material world is like a blazing forest fire. When we talk about the material world as a blazing forest fire, it doesn't mean that the whole world is on fire. We talk about the fire within the heart. The fire for honor, the fire for sex life - that's the blazing fire. The spiritual master teaches us how to control the fire. The spiritual master comes with the rain of his instructions and the rain of the divine grace of God to put out these fires. It begins by learning how to lead our lives in a constructive, positive way. Putting off the fire means transforming it into pure spiritual energy by chanting the holy names of God.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Lust, Anger and Greed

Wrath is one of the great enemies that must be controlled somehow or the other. Lust is another great enemy and, when it is unfulfilled, it creates wrath. When there is wrath, there is offence, and when there is offence one falls down into material existence - lower and lower and lower. To control anger is very difficult. Greed for accumulating more and more worldly things, things which we do not really need, will also degrade us. These three - lust, anger and greed - are all interconnected. Just one of these gives rise to the others. These are the three gates that lead to hell. And any sane person must give them up because they lead to the degradation of the soul.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Holy Names of God

In the present age quarrel and hypocrisy are predominant. We always find unlimited reasons to disagree with others and unlimited reasons to have conflict with others. To get out of this miserable condition we need to develop transcendental love within our hearts for God and all living beings. The greatest benediction of the present age is that God has descended in His Holy names. If we sincerely chant the Holy names of the God and cultivate the devotional spirit of humility, forgiveness and service attitude then we can develop love for God and other living beings. Many great saints descended on the earth to teach us this higher principle of developing love for God by sincerely chanting the Holy names of the God. However, we cannot really chant the names of God from our hearts unless we have humility and genuine desire for a service attitude towards others.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Reciprocation with God

God descends in this world again and again in so many ways because He loves us and cares for us. He is inviting us to come back. But unfortunately we are not reciprocating with God’s love. We try to enjoy independently in this world by disobeying the laws of God. However, we need to understand that everything present in this world - every leaf, every tree, every human being, every animal, every insect, every star in the sky, etc, are God’s energies. We should also understand that God is our best well-wisher. So in every situation should serve Him as an opportunity for us to reciprocate with God’s love. If we develop such a loving relationship with God then this world will become like the spiritual world.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Academic Knowledge

The great tools that are taught in modern technological institutes are only as valuable as the ideals and intentions of a person's utilization of them. The most dangerous people in the world are not the uneducated peasants but the people who are highly educated, but having filthy, dirty hearts filled with envy, pride and hatred. They are the greatest dangers to the world. Academic knowledge is a facility, a tool. The more powerful the tool, the more it could either do benefit or harm depending on whose hand it is in. So the purpose of religious buildings is to educate people to be first-class human beings, people who can actually be examples of integrity and spiritual principles. When you go to that type of temple, church, mosque or gurudwara, where you actually get that higher consciousness, then life becomes very deep and substantial.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Supreme Welfare

Many of us are interested in welfare work. There are many types of welfare work or charity. Feeding the poor is a very noble effort. Clothing the poor, healing the sick - these are all very important and essential parts of civilized life. Humanity which is based on civilized thinking means that we must be compassionate - we should share what we have with the people who do not have. But the supreme welfare is to enlighten people's souls through the sound vibrations of the names and glories of God. Every living entity is the child of God. And therefore it is the prime duty of every human being to revive one’s eternal relationship with the Supreme. The greatest welfare service for the whole world is spreading the glories of the Lord through the process of hearing and chanting. This is the greatest charity - to heal a man’s soul so that he never has to take birth again in this world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Pursuing Real Knowledge

There is a saying, “physician heal thyself". Unless we enlighten our own souls, what can we do for others? This is a world where the blind are leading the blind. And what happens when the blind lead the blind? They all fall in a ditch together. We have many universities where the professors and students take very seriously a variety of subject matters but is there a single university that seriously teaches the goal of life, or who God is? And how we can remember Him at all times? How to find eternal peace that is dormant within us? Knowledge is power. And misdirected knowledge is the most powerful agent leading to destruction. But the knowledge which is directed to the pursuit of truth, that knowledge has the greatest power of healing, the greatest power to create peace, prosperity and enlightenment within society. So there is no need to disregard or to relinquish the types of education that we have today. But we must give an understanding of the truth, so we can perform our duty in pursuance of truth. And in this way we can actually help ourselves and help others.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Pessimism and Realism

Suppose a doctor tells a patient: “My dear Sir, you have cancer. And if you take the treatment right way, you can be saved from this disease. Otherwise you are going to suffer and die”. And after hearing this, suppose the patient says: “Why are you so pessimistic? Why are you criticizing me?” But this is not pessimistic. It’s realistic. The patient may be very happy and healthy now, but the cancer is there. The compassionate doctor is not concerned about the current state of health. His concern is for the future of the patient. After all, people smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. It feels good, so they do it. But what does the doctor tell them? “You may get lung cancer or you may get heart disease. Stop doing it.” Similarly, people are so intoxicated by the so called pleasures of life that they do not understand that birth, old age, disease, and death are imminent and are surely going to come upon them. That’s not pessimistic, it’s realistic.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Accomplishments and Character

It is the character that makes a person great, not his accomplishments. But in the present age, accomplished men and women are seen as great. A cultured society respects and honors accomplishments are if they are done properly, but what actually invokes the love and respect of the heart is the character of the person. A person's accomplishments induce respect and adoration from another person's mind; it doesn't go beyond that, but a person's character induces respect and love from other people's hearts. Character is the most important thing in a person’s life. We should try to accomplish the best we possibly can but not at the cost of our character. If we do so then everything becomes empty, spiritually, in the eyes of God.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Greatest Optimism

pessimistic? Let’s be realistic; this world is a pessimistic place. When an ostrich is chased by the tiger and he sees the tiger is about to devour him, he digs a hole in the ground and puts his head in it and closes his eyes, thinking that the tiger has gone. Is he safe? Isn’t it said that ignorance is bliss? Ignorance is very blissful, but knowledge in this world is very painful. Because knowledge makes us understand the predicament we are in. The ostrich is about to die whether he opens his eyes or not, whether he admits it or not. We are about to die, whether we admit it or not. We are about to grow old, whether we admit or not. That is not pessimistic, this is realistic. But to say there is nothing more than death is really pessimistic. God’s devotees are telling us an alternative. That there is eternal life. This is the greatest optimism.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Need for Saints

There’s a need for accountants, there’s a need for lawyers, there’s a need for doctors, there’s a need for housewives and fathers, there’s a need for teachers, there’s a need for policemen, there’s a need for soldiers, there’s a need for farmers, there’s a need for architects, there’s a need for all the various occupations. There’s also a need for saints, somewhere. The purpose of saints is to teach society how to utilize their talents, their gifts and their particular positions in such a way that they will be liberated rather than entangled, and that they can do great benefit for the world rather than just add to the karma of the world.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Higher Principle

Spirituality teaches us to focus on the higher principles. The higher principle is to consider another person’s suffering as our sufferings and another person’s happiness as our happiness. The principle of real compassion is to serve others without selfish motives. It should be without any ego because where there is selfish egoistic motivation, ‘I’ becomes the center of the universe, and we develop a mindset where we think what pleases me is good and what does not please me is not good. But the problem with that situation is there will be many conditions which are beyond our control. We can neither control people nor could we control destiny, nor can we control the weather or the economy because we have very little control in this world. But if there is no selfishness then our relationships with others will be very strong and nothing would break the inner joy and the happiness of our relationships. Once we harmonize our differences on a higher principle based on the principle of love and compassion then there will be no conflict and we will always experience inner bliss and ecstasy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Wake Up to Eternal Glory

Sanatan Dharma is the message taught in the Vedas. The Vedas do not teach Hinduism, the Vedas teach Sanatan Dharma. Hinduism is basically the modern understanding of Sanatan Dharma. But Sanatan Dharma means to understand that you are eternal and that your essential constitutional position is that you are a servant of God. To engage in His loving service, to love Him - that is Sanatan Dharma. Every religion is teaching essentially Sanatan Dharma. We can capture that realization within our heart, within our life, and then we will be peaceful. Not only will we be peaceful in this age of chaos, we will not even see chaos. We will only see how we are a humble servant to help every living being come out of this illusion of chaos. That is the greatest goal of life - to wakeup out of this dream of chaos and understand our eternal glory and the eternal glory of God.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Nourishment for the Soul

If we don’t eat nourishing foods properly, then we will be weak. Now what happens if someone is starving? How much could he actually work? Similarly, spiritually too, we need food. Otherwise we may have big bodies, and we may have acute intelligence to do business, but spiritually we are just feeble weaklings. That’s what most big people are today. Nature, with one finger, just pushes them and they give in to greed, envy, lust and their selfish passions and motivations. They are just spiritual weaklings. They are starving. And the saintly person pities such an ignorant fool although the world is bowing at their feet deeming them great. So we need food to have strength and that strength will give us the proper perception. And what is the food we need? Offering prayers, chanting God’s names, hearing the truth, associating with saintly persons, doing proper worship with the proper state of consciousness. All these spiritual practices are like food. They give us strength by which we can maintain our spiritual, moral and ethical integrity under all circumstances and be fixed in our goal. And anyone can do that. We just have to stop making excuses that we can’t do it. If you don’t eat and you are weak, then eat. That’s what religion is about actually, the process of purifying our perceptions, the process of purifying our hearts, so that we can do our work with the integrity that will bring us spiritually upward rather than downward.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Perception

One person is walking and sees a flower but that person is so passionate about going to the cinema, that he walks past the flower and doesn’t even see it. Another person is saying, “So what, it is just a flower.” He doesn’t see anything in a flower; “I want an I-Pod to listen to music”. A botanist is looking at the flower and starts digging into his books to know its Latin name or its origin. A person who loves a woman is seeing the flower and is saying, “Oh, how nice this will look in the hair of my girlfriend.” And a nature lover is saying, “Oh, what a nice flower.” Do any two people see the flower with the same perception? No. Because our consciousness, our motivations in life, are like spectacles or glasses and they all have different colours. If you have green coloured glasses, you see the whole world greenish. If you have yellow coloured glasses, the whole world is yellowish. If you have pink-coloured glasses, the whole world is pinkish. The whole idea is to have clear glasses, to actually see things as they are. For that we must purify our consciousness.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Seeing God's Love Always

When we know God, we understand that He is perfect and complete and everything emanating from Him is perfect and complete. It may appear inconceivable and impossible to imagine how things in this world are going on perfectly. But the only imperfection is our vision. Our spiritual vision is clouded by the cataract of ignorance. But understanding and pursuing the truth, we can remove that cataract and see how everything within our environment is perfect, how everything is the loving grace of God. This is not simply an intellectual understanding, but we can experience it from the core of our heart - God’s expression of love in every condition of life. This is real peace. And it is not intangible, it is not something impossible. It is as close to us as our own soul. We are running in every other direction to find pleasure and peace. We simply have to redirect our priorities in life towards our soul and towards our service of God.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Living a Fearless Life

To see every living being with equal vision is only possible when we understand who we are. We need to understand that we are part of God and every living being is a part of God. We cannot love God without loving every living being who are His children, who are His parts and who are so dear to Him. We should see God within the heart of every living entity and we should love every living being. Where there is spiritual love there cannot be any fear. Fear is due to lack of substance within our own hearts and our mind; it is because of lack of satisfaction and lack of love. When we understand the principle of love on the basis of the soul then we understand our relationship with God and we understand that our relationship with other souls is forever. With such profound knowledge we start living a fearless life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Authorized Post Box

The deity is like a post box when the spiritual master personally authorizes and calls God to come into that particular form. It is like an authorized post box. Whatever you offer to the deity is accepted by God. But if you just construct your own box, keep it somewhere and drop a letter in it, that does not mean that the mail man will deliver the letter to the addressee. There are so many boxes but unless a post box is authorized by the government and by the postal department, it may look very nice but the effect is not there, the message is not delivered. So, similarly idol worship means to construct or manufacture a post box on our own without any sanction by the spiritual master, the saints and the scriptures, and without proper deity worship. What is made according to the scriptures is the authorized post box. Whatever you offer is accepted by God directly.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Transforming Perceptions

The home is meant to be an ashram - a place to cultivate spiritual purification. It’s a place to cultivate love of God so when we hear about the Lord, when we read the holy scriptures, when we chant the holy names of the Lord, when we associate with spiritually minded people - all these transform our perception. We begin to see everything in terms of our spiritual reality. Even as business people, we may be doing exactly the same thing as some other business person who is motivated by greed, but with a different vision because of how we have cultivated our heart.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Importance of Knowledge

Knowledge is of great importance. If correct knowledge is applied to utilize the world’s resources properly then the whole world can be served. But if we use the same resources without proper knowledge then it would create disaster. For example, it took tremendous amount of knowledge to create atomic energy. The atomic energy can be good or it can be absolutely destructive, depending on whether we are applying proper knowledge or not. It depends on our conceptions and our consciousness. Knowledge brings love and compassion, and real love and real compassion brings real harmony to all living beings. The path of devotion teaches us the simple principle that we are all individual divine eternal units who are eternally connected to the Supreme Absolute Truth. And we are all meant to serve the Absolute Truth with proper knowledge, and in doing so, we serve each other. This creates real harmony.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Defining Our Ideals

We all have to define in our own life what our ideals are. If we are cheating and lying for selfish motives then we are going to suffer the negative reactions. Is that what we want? But if we are trying to be honest and we are trying to do our work because it is our duty to our family and to our society, but we have to do certain things just because it has to be done with ethics, with morality, with integrity, then it’s different. So once again, what is your ideal? What is your motivation?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Real Fulfillment

In this world, we are like strangers in a foreign land. We always think ourselves to be someone who we are not. We think that we are this body. We think that we are this mind. The body and mind are subjected to unlimited reversals, and ultimately the body gets old and it dies, but the soul is eternal, the soul in its own nature is sat-cit-ananda i.e. eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. So going back home to our real origin and uncovering the secrets of our true selves is the only way to overcome the miseries and needless worries of this world. When we go back to our original home then we find real fulfillment.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Purpose of a Temple

God is one, no doubt. There is only one God. An enlightened person will see God in a mosque or a church or a synagogue or in a gurdwara or in a temple. But how to actually come to that state of consciousness? It is not just a feeling; it’s reality. For that purpose, temples are not just places where you give donations, see the deities and say a prayer. Temples have always been established by saintly persons as spiritual, educational institutions. It is pious to go to a temple and give a donation and walk away. This is nice, but you will not get enlightened by that. Great souls built those places so that people could come and actually learn the science, the philosophy and the culture of purifying their lives, living with morality, integrity and learn how to love God. That’s all-important. When we go to the temple, we shouldn’t go to just see. We should go to be seen, that I may live my intentions, my humility, my begging for forgiveness, my begging for mercy, my sincerity, in such a way that God will be pleased to see me. That should be the proper attitude, and for that there has to be education, there has to be training.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Karma-free Living

Our motivation should always be to be the best we could be. For example, in business we may have to try to defeat competition, but it should not be done in a malicious way. If we are actually trying to destroy other peoples’ lives, we are going to get all the karma for that -100%. But if we are trying to do better than others, and if we try to do it in an honest way with integrity, there would be some karma. And if we give some of the profits for spiritual and charitable purposes, then that karma can also be removed. But if we are doing things in a malicious way, then even if we give it for spiritual or charitable purposes, the karma will be on us. However if we are trying to do things with proper integrity, proper honor, and if we give the results in a charitable spirit for a spiritual cause, and at the same time, we are purifying our own hearts by chanting God’s name for spiritual purification, then we can rise above those minimal karmic reactions. And they will not seriously affect our lives.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Radhanath Swami on God or Humanity?

When people hear about serving God, sometimes they ask that if we serve God, what about serving humanity? Actually, by serving God, we will serve humanity utmost. Because we will see God in everyone’s heart. We will not envy anyone. We will love everyone. We will feel for every living being, whatever their caste, whatever their nationality, whatever their religion, whatever their species of life. We will see a beloved brother in the heart of every living being. That is compassion. We find in this world that the people who reach out on all levels, even at the most physical levels, to help others, are generally the people who have faith on love for God.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Truth for the Truth Seekers

The culture of India is most famous throughout the world for the saintly persons who have been born in India. This is the glory of India - the saints. People do not come to India for economic purposes. Millions of Indians go to the west because they want money, but westerners come to India because they want to meet the sadhus (saintly persons). They want spiritual knowledge. Our spiritual knowledge depends on how much we are willing to humble ourselves and hear from saintly persons, because with our own senses we never understand the truth. We must read the scriptures regularly, and we must read them under the guidance of self-realized souls. This process is an austerity and sacrifice. By regularly hearing the message of God from the scriptures and by regularly serving those persons who are living those teachings and by regularly hearing from them, all the impurities in our heart are eradicated. And then, truth shines like the sun and the moon within our own heart.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Peace Formula

What is peace formula? It is simply to understand that the Absolute Truth is the proprietor of everything, the Absolute Truth is the enjoyer of everything, and the Absolute truth is the best well-wishing friend of all living beings. If we simply understand and accept this, we will have peace. The greatest problem in this world is lack of peace. We can’t artificially have peace treaties. Real peace has to be based on truth. A person who is connected to the soul, and connected to God, always finds peace, fulfillment and love.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Selfless Service

True love is always selfless. If we have selfish motivations then it is not really love on the spiritual platform. It is simply self-centered love. What goes in the name of love in this world is mutual – if you give me pleasure, I’ll give you pleasure. If we do not give each other the proper pleasure then divorce results. In America, 70% of marriages end in divorces. And India is catching up, because that spirit of selfless service, that tradition, is being replaced. Tradition, in any culture based on spirituality, is responsibility for selfless service for those whom one is responsible for.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Creating Real Harmony

We can understand that ultimately everything is coming from consciousness. It is the basis of everything that exists. God is the ultimate source of consciousness, and for us living entities, our basis is our consciousness. Consciousness is the symptom of the presence of the soul. If we forget our own soul and we think that we are just matter, then ultimately nothing matters. It only matters according to our particular preference. There is no absolute standard of what’s right, what’s wrong and what’s meaningful then. But if we are actually conscious of who we are, what is our relationship with God, what is our relationship with the environment, what is our relationship with every living being, only then we can actually start to create real harmony, because it is based on the truth.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Temple of Our Hearts

We should make our heart a temple. God already resides there. We should just realize and accept it. If we make our heart a temple, we will actually experience God. The difference is really the association. A temple is just a building. But what is happening in the building? The place where people are actually in selfless spirit of compassion and love and are truly worshipping the Lord and surrendering their hearts to the Lord, that is the place where we will actually have the most enlightening experience.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Radhanath Swami on A Moment's Association

We can really serve the society best if we understand the truth. Through countless ages, the same process of understanding the truth has been given: to hear from those who know the truth. Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that if you want to know the truth you have to approach a guru (spiritual master), enquire from him submissively, and render service to him. The self realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth. This principle is not something restricted to the Hindu tradition. The Vedas say that if you study the scriptures without understanding it through the guidance of one who knows the truth, a guru, you can never understand the essence of your own religion. In the Bible Jesus Christ said: those who have ears to hear, you hear from me. The only reason the Christians could understand the truth was because they heard from Lord Jesus, who is the guru. Mohammad spoke the truth as well. So in every religion, the only means of understanding what is truth is by a person speaking it to other persons. Therefore it is said that there is no more precious gift that God gives than the association of a saintly person. Because a moment’s association of the saintly person can open the door to liberation.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Material Treasures and Spiritual Wealth

To the degree a devotee understands that spirituality is significant and of value in his life, he is willing to give up his attachments to the material world. He becomes an instrument of the Lord's desire to show the world the value and the priority of spiritual life. This is the universal principle of every religion. In the Jewish scripture, the dearest thing to Abraham in his life was his son Isaac. When God told him to sacrifice Isaac, there was nothing worse for him, but he was willing to do it if that was the will of God. When he was about to commit the act, God said, “You passed the test". Similarly, Lord Jesus said that if you love anyone more than you love God, you are not really a devotee of God. The treasures of this world, he said, will be eaten by moths, corroded by rust and stolen by thieves. Make your treasure in the Kingdom of God because there it will be permanent. There are no moths, rust or thieves in the spiritual world.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Spiritual Depth

During the monsoon rains, a puddle of water gets bigger and bigger and bigger. During the dry season, the puddle of water dries to nothing. It is very much affected by the rains. But the ocean, whether it is the dry season or the monsoon rains, it remains the same. What is the difference? The puddle has no depth. Therefore it is completely affected by the environment, by the circumstances. But the ocean has depth. On the surface, the ocean is affected by the monsoons, but deep down, it’s not affected at all. It neither grows bigger nor smaller.

So on the surface, we have to deal with the things of this world, but if we don’t have much spiritual depth, it can either elate us or devastate us, with anxiety, misery, and worry. But a person who finds the spiritual depth, who uncovers the truth within, deals with the things only on its surface but deep down he is not affected at all. Nothing can change him because he has spiritual depth.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Greatest Act of Compassion

The greatest act of compassion a person can do in this world is to be a good example for others to follow. Be an example of humility, selfless dedication, self-control, devotion and integrity. Integrity means to be honest, to be truthful and to make great sacrifices whoever we are for the welfare of others. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, teaches that everyone can do that and in doing that we can actually express our intent to love God. Simply by that intent, the Lord reciprocates and gradually awakens that love within our heart.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Why We Worry

Why do people worry? There are numberless reasons within the world that we live. We may be worried about our health, about our wealth, about our loved ones, or our friends. We may be worried about our yesterday, today, or tomorrow. We may be worried about the environment, the situation in the world in politics. The nature of this world is birth, old age, disease, and death. The nature of this world is – everything is always changing, and essentially the biggest problem is – we want to control our environment.

And eternal reality is – you and me, we are not the controllers, things can go their own way. We can try our best; to some degree we have influence.

But ultimately things are out of our control. So, to the degree we are attached to anything or anyone on this worldly platform there would be worries. Attachment brings worry.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Learning Gratitude

Why does God put obstacles in the devotees' lives even when they want to do the right things? If something great comes easily, we do not really appreciate its value. If the value of something is very high, how we have to struggle to get it. When we really work for something and it comes, we can never forget it’s value and we are grateful for it. When obstacles come and we turn to God, we cry for God's help, and then we can actually fulfill our mission, we learn gratitude. After this prayer we know for sure what is within us. We prayed for power, the power came and we did it. Therefore we do not take credit. If you take credit, you cannot be grateful. Because you think, look what I did, it’s mine, it is because of me. There is not much gratitude there.

If you are really in need and somebody gives you something unconditionally, you are grateful. If you sell something, you have a fare price, you are not very grateful for the person who buys it. But if you really need something and you do not have anything and a person gives it to you out of love, you are really grateful.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Seeing Through the Eyes of Scriptures

What we may witness in the world, we must learn to process that information through the knowledge we have read in the holy scriptures and the knowledge we have heard from the great saintly people. Therefore, any national or international events that occur, anything that happens in the lives of those around us, and anything that happens in our own lives, we try to interpret them in such a way that it gives us real understanding and realizations. And that will help us in coming closer to God. This is how we should always be absorbed and this absorption brings real fulfillment and excitement to life.

So it is said that a learned person does not see through his/her eyes but sees with his/her ears.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Food for the Spiritual Weaklings

Just like we need food for the body, we need food for the soul, so that we can be spiritually strong. And what is that food? Hearing and chanting God's names in the association of saintly people. It gives us food, it gives us strength in which we can maintain our spiritual, moral and ethical integrity under all circumstances and we are fixed in our goal. Otherwise we will just be big, powerful people externally, but empty inside. We will give in to greed, envy, lust and our selfish passion and motivations at the smallest instance. We will be spiritual weaklings. We will starve ourselves of the essence. And the saintly person will pity such an ignorant fool although the world is bowing at their feet as being great.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Uniting for a Higher Principle

It is very important to unite for a higher principle. It’s a great challenge because it’s the age where the predominating influence is quarrel and hypocrisy. We see these two qualities so widespread everywhere and the tendency to quarrel over insignificant issues. The nature of the mind is to make insignificant things seems so important. Things that are practically meaningless we interpret it as very meaningful. Fights, arguments, divorce and wars are based over trifling things that are interpreted to be so important. As long as we don’t focus our consciousness on higher principles, they are important, at least they seems to be important. If there is a little hill in front of your house and that’s all you have ever seen, it seems gigantic. But if you look at the Himalayan mountains, then that little hill is insignificant because you have seen something greater. God is great, devotion is great and if we have some connection to that, some experience with that, then these little things lose their significance.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The "I" Society

Today’s world is the ‘I’ society. Everyone is thinking about "me". But there’s a problem. We don’t know who we are. It’s alright if we’re really thinking about ‘I’, but who am I? If we are thinking this false ego is ‘I’ then it creates discontent ultimately. There’s so much potential conflict with almost anybody: brothers fighting, husbands and wives fighting, nations fighting. But I am the eternal soul, there’s nothing to fight about. If we are the eternal soul then there is love in our heart, and where there’s love, the greatest pleasure is selfless service. A selfish person eats and is happy. A selfless person finds more happiness in feeding others. A father has some love for the child, has some affection for the child. What brings the father more happiness – doing something for the child or doing something for himself? If there’s affection, obviously he would be more happy doing something for the child, even if he has to suffer doing it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Science: Good or Bad

The problem is not science, but ignorance. When we create great sciences on the foundation of ignorance then it causes lots of problems, lots of pollution and lots of disruptions. Science has created so many things, but what has it done to the environment? That’s one of the biggest conflicts in the world today. There are ecological conflicts. The oceans are becoming polluted.

Science should be built upon the foundation of knowledge and truth. Then all our science could have very wonderful effects. Science is a neutral thing; it is neither good nor bad. Science is as good as the scientists who are using it. It can be used to enlighten the world or can be used to degrade and pollute the world. Whether it is going to have a positive effect or negative effect depends on the consciousness of the person who is using it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Suffering for Self Realization

It is natural that we do not seek miseries and calamities but they come of their own accord. The nature of maya is that which is not. What you think you’re going to get is just the opposite of what you actually get. There are many examples. Man and woman fall in love and then how much they torture each other! Then they want children and how much misery the child gives them! India fought so hard for independence and what kind of mess has been created ever since! It’s like that. So what we’re hoping for, maya will not give us that. That is the law of nature. So this age of quarrel and hypocrisy is very favorable because sufferings are everywhere. We can really use our good intelligence and turn to God with our heart.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Cause for Lamentation

As the embodied soul passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly accepts another body at the time of death. It is simply another change. There are so many changes in life, and death is one of the inevitable changes. The Vedic scriptures explain that death is not to be lamented because the soul never dies. It is the bodily conception of life that is the source of all misery and suffering. The problem is not birth, old age, disease or death. The problem is that we are identifying ourselves with the body that is going through these changes. We cannot avoid it. We can at the most postpone it for a few years. Therefore Vedic scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and the other great scriptures of the world teach us how to become free form the cycle of birth and death.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Radhanath Swami on God is with us at Every Moment

When we’re making a garland, when we’re reading scriptures, when we’re chanting, when we’re cleaning the temple or whatever service we’re doing - management or book distribution or taking care of our child or our parents or studying in school with a spiritual purpose, we should have such faith that Krishna is accepting my service at every moment. Whatever service we may be doing, it’s important that we have complete faith that here and now, at this very moment, He is present. Present in my heart, present in between every atom, present in the effulgence of Brahman, present in the moon and in the sun. Krishna is watching, hearing, responding, accepting my efforts and if I’m doing it properly, Krishna at this very moment is pleased with me. That is bhakti, not that “I’ll please Krishna tomorrow, today there are some other things I have to deal within my mind”. Tomorrow never comes in that sense.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Foundation of Faith

A devotee has complete faith; he does not offer a prayer with a thought that “Maybe the Lord will come, I hope He comes, I hope He hears me, I hope He exists”. None of us should chant with that frame of mind. It is a very dangerous situation. While chanting the Holy Names, we may be thinking “I hope God exists, I really need Him and I hope He hears me and I hope He reciprocates". In other words, we are practicing devotional service, but we don’t have complete faith, very deep and strong faith. The preliminary requirement for love of God awakening within our hearts is to have a very strong foundation of faith in whatever we do.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Working for Higher Principles

We have to be very enthusiastic and eager to accomplish wonderful things for God. But we shouldn’t be greedy to accomplish things if it is undermining the higher principle. That is, we should always work with a focus on the higher principles, and our work must always be harmonized with this higher principle of what will please God.

We will know what really pleases God when we are not selfish, when we don’t have ulterior motives, when we are actually in the spirit of servant of the servant of the servant, and when we are really happy to see others getting blessings and even doing better than us. This pleases God and that’s when real spiritual empowerment comes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Radhanath Swami on What is Truth?

We may be very charitable and honest in our ordinary dealings. But everything is the property of God. If we don’t use things according to His will, we are thieves. Real truthfulness has to be based on the understanding of truth. The truth is that everything is the property of God. We are His parts, and our natural function is that we are His eternal servants. We are supposed to act in the capacity of being His eternal servants. To act on behalf of God in the service of others – that is truth.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Food for the Driver

We are all part and parcel of the Supreme. Like the sun in the sky has many names according to the language of the people, the Lord also has many names. The Absolute Truth, God, is all-attractive, therefore, He has the name Krishna. Krishna means all-attractive. The Supreme Lord or Krishna has a body that is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. He is the cause of all causes. So in the way the sun ray is related to the sun, we are qualitatively one with God. But quantitatively, always subordinate to the Supreme, as eternal servants. Therefore, the soul, the conscious force, the life within us, is sac-cid-ananda - eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. The soul must have bliss. It’s our nature. When we think we are this body, we will look for the bliss through the senses and through the mind. But really what gives bliss to the soul, to me? If the driver of an automobile drinks petrol, which is the nourishment for the automobile, he will not be satisfied. What is food for the driver? What is food for the soul?. It is love, the ultimate pleasure.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Uplifting Those We Love

We should do something very practical and very positive towards uplifting our own souls and uplifting the souls of others. God has given us the greatest process, the most wonderful way to express the highest form of our love for those who are with us and those who have departed. If we chant the holy name of the God with sincerity and great attention then we amass tremendous spiritual credit. We should pray to the Lord that, “My dear Lord! Let me chant Your holy name with all sincerity. Let me engage in Your loving service with all sincerity and let me dedicate the benefits of that devotional activity in uplifting those I love.” And if we are praying sincerely, we are chanting the God’s name sincerely and we are executing the devotional service sincerely then it is guaranteed that God will fulfill our desire.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Radhanath Swami on How We Can Be Truthful

What is truth? Simply not telling lies in our practical daily affairs is important. We should be honest and straight-forward in all of our dealings in this world as far as possible. That is called morality. But Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that the definition of truth is to know that all living beings are part of Him; they are in Him, and they are His. The truth is that we are all part of God, that everything is the property of God. Unless we know this truth, unless we understand this truth, how can we be truthful?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Renunciation Through Association

If going through troubles and miseries of having a child never deters a woman from giving birth to another child, then why is it difficult to see the hollowness of the philosophy that excessive enjoyment will lead to suffering, frustration and ultimately renunciation? Some people have this philosophy - just let the fire of lust burn uncontrolled and unabated. This way when one understands that nothing quite satisfies, then one realizes that everything leads to suffering. But somehow or the other it never happens; the fire just keeps burning and burning and burning, birth after birth after birth. The only means to actually get renounced is the association of great devotees of the Lord. Through the knowledge and through the mercy they give us, we can get renounced.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Radhanath Swami on duty versus hobby

The price of Krishna consciousness is sincerity. A sincere person does not consider difficult or easy. A sincere person considers whether it is right or wrong. When a mother is sleeping, in the middle of the night when the baby is crying is it easy for her to get up and take care of the baby? Is it easy? Very difficult! But does she do it…every mother who has some sincerity to become a mother, even if it is the most difficult thing in the world, she will get up and take care of the child. There is no consideration - easy or difficult. There is only one consideration - whether it is right or wrong.

Do you go to work every day? Do you love your work every day? Is there a day sometimes where you wake up and do not want to go to work? When people you have to deal with you don’t like even to see - your boss. Sometimes it is the last thing in the world that you want to face these people. Does that mean you do not go? Do you even consider you like it or don’t like it whether it is easy or difficult. You only consider one thing it is my duty, I must do it, It is correct.

For common matters for survival we constantly do things we don’t like to do because it is correct, it is the truth. In the spiritual realm, we are not following Guru’s order because we like it or we are not following guru’s order because it is easy. We are following guru’s order because it is truth and if it is truth we must do it. As long as you are thinking I like and I don’t like or it is easy or not easy that means we are not very sincere. Sincerity means is it correct or is it not, is it the truth or is it not. Is this my duty and responsibility as a human being to follow this instruction or is it not, if it is I do it under any mind or condition of mind or senses.

Spiritual life is a responsibility. It is not a hobby. Hobby, you do when you like. Responsibility, you do it no matter what. Do you pay your taxes? Do you like to pay your taxes? Why do you do it? Why don’t you tell your government that I don’t like this, I am not going to pay. It’s difficult to pay taxes, forget it I am never going to pay again. Why do you not tell them like that? Why you tell your guru that. You won’t tell the Government that. Because it is not your hobby to pay taxes but it is your duty. Spiritual life is not a hobby it is the sacred duty of the soul. The Government does not give a damn whether you like it or not. They don’t care if it is difficult or not. It is your responsibility as a citizen of this country that you must pay. So it is our sacred duty to God to surrender to Him and we surrender by following the orders of Gurudev. It is the only way. There is no other process of surrender.

It is the duty of every human being to surrender to the order of Guru. A sincere person who accepts his responsibility does not consider easy or difficult.

-H.H.Radhanath Swami

Monday, June 6, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Donating to Spiritual Doctors

One may not be a doctor, but one may still give some donation to the medical hospital. The doctors there will utilize that donation for treating the patients. Similarly, through our words we should try to enlighten others. Through our acts, our example in life, we should try to enlighten others. And through our wealth we should keep contributing to those compassionate spiritual doctors who know how to really give the true welfare of enlightenment to others. This is the highest charity. This is the highest mercy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Bodily Attractions

What is physical attraction to the opposite sex? When we cut open the body, what is inside? Just mucuous, blood, stool, urine and pus. It is disgusting. All there is, is a terrible smelling substance. There is a little thin tiny layer of coating and we are mad for it and infatuated by it. It is just a matter of time that the skin is crinkled and wrinkled. What appears to be pretty now will soon become saggy and baggy in a few years. We all know this. But yet, the illusory energy of the Lord puts us - the pure eternal souls, part of God and full of bliss - in such an embarrassing situation of being attracted and attached to a lump of flesh. It is all a mental game that illusion plays on everyone. Even great ascetics undertaking severe austerities can get bewildered under the spell cast by the opposite sex unless they take to the shelter of the Lord.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Building Character

In matters of love, people don’t really love you for what you accomplish. People love you actually for your character. If you accomplish something then people might be impressed or people might be envious of your achievements but they will not love you. If you look among your friends then you will find that you are affectionate towards people because of their character, because of their goodness and not because of what they have accomplished. There are people who create unbelievable projects in this world for their prestige and money. God will not be impressed with that. His books are all about building our character, a devotional character because ultimately that’s what He sees. So the real disease is selfishness and the real cure is selfless service, and followers of the spiritual path have to take to heart this sacred principle of the holy scriptures.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Radhanath Swami on How to Die

If one truly wants to understand how to live a perfect life one must follow the footsteps of the great souls. The great souls, through every word and action, not only teach us how to live but also how to die. Is anyone in this world excluded from either of the two? Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita - for one who has been born, death is certain and for one who has died, birth is certain.

In colleges students attend classes, attend seminars and read several books but if they fail in their final exam they have to start all over again. They cannot graduate to the next level. Similarly, everything we do in life culminates in how we perform in the final exam, and how we perform in the final exam is dependent on how we prepare ourselves during the course. This human life is a course and we are all in a school. The purpose of this course is to learn – How do we graduate from this world. When we graduate, we no longer have to go back to the school. Similarly, when we graduate from this material conception of life, we will return to the spiritual world.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Right Situation

If God wants to protect us, no one can harm us, and if God wants to harm us, no one can protect us. Not a blade of grass moves without the sanction of the Lord. He is orchestrating every moment in such a way that is a favorable opportunity for all of us to make spiritual advancement and we must recognize that. In good or bad times, honor or dishonor, pleasure or pain, help or defeat, we should know that God is putting us in just the right situation to help us surrender to Him.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Spiritual Practice

We all have so many sinful desires within our hearts — lust, anger, envy, greed, pride, illusion, so many desires to want to enjoy the resources of material existence which are all meant for the pleasure of God, so much false ego, so much self-centered mental thinking. Saintly persons, on the other hand, always think of the welfare of others. They are only concerned with giving God's Holy Names to others regardless of how they are treated themselves. They don’t mind bodily discomforts, poverty or persecution; they only think about how to give love of God to others. But we, the conditioned souls, in every condition, think, “What’s good for me? I want to see something that gives pleasure to my eyes. I want to hear something that gives pleasure to my ears, my nose, my mouth, my flesh. And what about my false ego? I have to situate myself where I am properly respected.” Even when we are engaged in devotional service, these desires are often prominent. So somehow or other we have to churn our hearts to remove all of these sinful propensities. That is the process of regulative principles of devotional practice.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Why We Need Love

The basis of happiness is relationship. What makes relationships satisfying is love. People work for their children because they are looking for love. It is the most fundamental need of every living being. If you do not have love in your life, your life is superficial and quite meaningless. If you have love in your life, it really does not matter whether you have anything or not. If you have love then everything will be satisfied.

Happiness is something of the heart. But the real happiness is within, not without. We see some of the most successful people committing suicide. The most successful people are cruel, greedy and envious because they do not have love. Why is it that the fundamental need of every living being is to love and be loved? Why is everyone longing for that? Because it is our nature. The soul is part of God. Our original constitutional position is to love God and to be loved by God.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Spiritual Inheritance

Be an accountant, doctor, lawyer or anything, but don’t be motivated by greed, egoism, lust, envy, anger and pride. Be motivated by your own inherent nature, as an instrument of God’s compassion. Therefore in spiritual life, higher or lower is not how much you can accomplish; higher or lower is the purity of your motivation, the spirit of your compassion and love. That is what God sees from within our hearts. In this way, the path of devotional service is equally open for everyone and anyone without discrimination. It is our natural, spiritual inheritance to love God and experience the unlimited pleasure of that love and express that in everything we do.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Right to Live

According to the laws of karma, whatever we do must come back to us. If we cause harm to another human being, we will suffer that harm, we cannot escape that. factually, every living entity is a child of God. the Vedic literatures teach that even the most insignificant animals have the right to live in the pursuit of happiness, just as human beings do. By interfering with their pursuit of happiness or by causing them unnecessary pain, we become responsible and liable to accept the same reaction upon ourselves.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Radhanath Swami on A Building that Transforms Hearts

You will feel the same if you go into a restaurant or a church or a mosque or a temple, unless you have sincerity. It is the quality that is important. You have to actually be sincere. Otherwise, it is not just a question of what we feel. It’s a question of how it transforms your life. You could feel the same going into a cinema. It is not just a matter of feeling. It’s a question of how it is illuminating you and bringing you to higher states of consciousness and higher states of living. That is what is all-important. So wherever you actually find the association, the teachings and the inspiration that really purify your life and to live with integrity, in a spirit of service - that’s where you will find the deepest experience of God. It’s not just which building you go into.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Medicine for Good Health

Why are we chanting the name of God? What are its effects? Why do we absolutely need this medicine of the Holy Name? Because we are eternal. But we are now identifying ourselves with the body, and we are about to die. The disease is ignorance. Ignorance of the truth that we are part of God. Just like God is the supreme eternal, we are also eternal. Just as God is supremely full of knowledge, we are also full of knowledge. And just as God is the reservoir of all pleasure, it is our nature to be always blissful in every condition of life. That is our real nature. That is our healthy condition. So, to get back to our natural healthy condition, we have to take this medicine very seriously.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Reconditioning Our Habits

When you try to enjoy something, you’re taking shelter of that thing. In one sense, you want pleasure. You need pleasure because of an emptiness in your heart and this thing is providing pleasure so you are actually taking shelter of that thing. But you’re not just taking shelter of that thing, you’re taking shelter of material energy that is attracting you to that thing. Material modes of passion and ignorance are saying, “You’ll find pleasure here, you’ll find relief here” and when you go there looking for shelter, you become conditioned to that. Every time you go to some object for shelter or some manifestation of material energy, whatever it may be, you are creating that habit within. So when things get really bad, you are probably going to turn to those things because you are habitual.

Devotional service is about reconditioning our habits, learning to find pleasure in making God happy. Every time we seek shelter in devotional service, every time we seek our happiness in devotional service, and seek our refuge in devotional service, we’re conditioning ourselves in that way. It’s like the good dog and the bad dog. The more you feed the bad dog that's telling you to take shelter of material energy, the more it becomes a powerful calling within our heart and controls us. But every time we feed the divine nature - the calling towards bhakti - that voice, that tendency becomes stronger and stronger within us. So we should always sincerely try to cultivate love of God at each moment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Austerity and the Greatest Attainment

For anything valuable or great in this world we have to accept tribulation, pain, and inconvenience to take care of it or to attain it. But what’s the greatest attainment in life? What’s the most precious treasure in life? It’s the realization of one’s eternal soul. It’s the fulfillment of all one’s heart’s desires - to really awaken our eternal love of God. That is the purpose of religion. We are not talking about a sectarian idea, we are talking about loving God and loving all living beings who are part of Him. Why do we take achieving that love so cheaply? Why do we think it is difficult and therefore “I won’t do it”? Why do we say “I don’t have time”. For the most petty things in life, we are willing to endure pain. But when it comes to the greatest thing, we take it so cheaply. Austerity means to be willing to accept inconvenience and even pain, and to be ready to sacrifice for the purpose of purifying our consciousness in the service of God.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Radhanath Swami on the Jaws of a Crocodile

Different material situations are like different teeth of a crocodile. We should know that even if the things are good, we still need to be saved. It is not only when we are on the verge of death that we need to be rescued. We definitely need it then, but in good times also we need rescuing. We are taught to chant helplessly, even when it is nice weather and everyone is nice to us, even when things are flourishing around us. And we should know that even when things are really good, we are still in the jaws of the crocodile of illusion. As soon as we come into material existence, unless we are in pure devotional consciousness, transcendental to the bodily, mental and intellectual concept of life, we are in the jaws of the crocodile. Sometimes it squeezes in one way and sometimes it kind of releases us a little. But we are still under the jaws; we are still under control of material energy. Scriptures are filled with so many descriptions of the dangers of material existence. There is danger in every step. So we try to do our service and do the best we can whether it is good or bad because, whatever it is, we are still the jaws of that crocodile. The aim of life is not to have a few minutes more enjoyment while in the jaws of the crocodile. The aim of life is not to get someone to give us some pain killers so that it does not hurt so much while we are in the jaws of the crocodile. The aim of life is to get out of the jaws of the crocodile, whether in happiness or distress, in honor or dishonor, success or failure, pleasure or pain, health or disease, whether we are born or about to die. We are in the jaws of the crocodile. Whether we win or lose on this worldly platform, it’s all happening in these jaws. So every moment we must chant the Holy Names.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Ultimate Charity

It is the duty of the strong to protect the weak; that is civilized society. It is the duty of the wealthy to maintain those who have no wealth. We can make so many political arrangements by socialism, capitalism, and communism. But this will never work, it will never be successful. Because even in communist countries, where they are trying to give to all equally, everyone is still exploiting one another. Until there is purification of the heart, until a person lives by the spiritual principles, there is no question of real mercy within the society. And what is the ultimate charity? It is to give the most precious thing to another. To give that person what he needs most. Giving food is a very good charity, and so is giving free medical assistance. But again, that is still dealing with the symptoms of that person’s suffering. But to give a person knowledge of the eternal nature of the soul, the direction by which he can attain the destination of eternal life, that’s solving all his problems forever. Therefore the most intimate active charity or welfare is to enlightenment a person about his own spiritual heritage.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Longing for Happiness

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna tells in the Bhagavad Gita, “Do not be attached to the fruits of your work and do not be attached to not doing your duty” This is subtle and difficult for many to understand: how to perform one's duty and not be attached to the fruits of one's work? This is achieved by experiencing a higher taste. And what is that higher taste that everyone is looking for? The heart, the soul is longing for happiness. The Supreme Absolute Truth is the embodiment of all pleasure and every living being who is part and parcel of the Supreme Absolute Truth is, by nature, seeking pleasure.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Regular Dose of Medicine

In this age of chaos that we are living in, there is one great benediction. The remedy is to simply chant the name of God attentively and sincerely, regularly, taking it like medicine. We have the terminal disease which is called death. And the medicine to cure it is the name of God. Whichever name of God is authorized in a particular religion, just chant that name. It is the medicine to cure the disease of death. Unless we understand the gravity of the crisis that we are about to face, we will not take the medicine seriously. The duty of a doctor is to convince the patient about his dangerous predicament, otherwise the patient will just buy the medicine and not take it. But if the patient understands the gravity of the situation, he will not miss taking that medicine, not even once. So therefore the chanting of the name of God must not be done whimsically. It must be done regularly, with attention, with care, and with philosophical and logical understanding.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Love is Reciprocation

The most fundamental need of every living being is pleasure, and the essence of pleasure is to love and be loved. If you don’t have that then there is always an emptiness and an unfulfilled quest within the heart. You can’t love buildings or cars or money because there is no reciprocation. So love means reciprocation. The soul’s nature is to love God. Pure love of God is dormant within the heart of every living being. It’s our nature, it’s our essence but we’ve forgotten. We have been diverted, distracted.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Worthy of Truth

We find that the principle of austerity is common to every religion. The reasons for fasting may be different, but the purpose is the same - to show the Lord that we are willing to make some sacrifice to purify our heart for His sake. Austerity means to accept things favorable for the purification of our heart and to reject things unfavorable for the purification of our heart, whether we like it or not. If we are not willing to say no to the things we like, in the pursuance of truth, then we are not worthy of the truth. Human life is meant for sacrifice. The animals enjoy whatever their senses and mind tell them to. But human beings are meant to sacrifice for the higher cause. And the highest cause is devotion to god.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Radhanath Swami on How to Overcome Laziness

The Bhagavad-Gita does not teach that being spiritual means being lazy. In fact Krishna, in the Gita, tells the world that two of the greatest enemies for spiritual progress are egotism and lethargy, or laziness. We cannot be lazy; we must be dynamic. If you are a business person, or if you are a politician or you are a king or if you are a swami, or a brahmacari, a celibate monk, or if you are a doctor or if you are a lawyer, if you are a teacher or a student or a mother or a father, you don’t give up your duty, you don’t become lazy, but you’re motivated, you're more enthusiastic, with more dynamics because instead of being motivated by greed, you’re motivated by love and compassion.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Radhanath Swamy on Mirror of the Mind

The mind is like a mirror. It is meant to reflect the glory and effulgence of the soul and of God. If we put a mirror in the sun, the mirror reflects the light of the sun. But if that mirror is full of dust and dirt it cannot reflect anything. God is within our heart, but due to that dust and dirt based on material misconceptions, due to material attachments, it cannot reflect the glory of God within us. Nor can we even perceive our real self on the mirror of our mind. When we look at the mirror, we expect to see ourselves. But if the mirror is covered by dirt, all we see is dirt; we are completely obscured. So our mind has to be cleansed, and the process of cleansing the mind is chanting the name of God. The name of God is all pure, it’s non-different from God. In every religious scripture in the world, the chanting of the name of god is not only recommended, but demanded. When we cleanse the dust from the mirror of our mind then the true glory of the soul is revealed.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Radhanath Swamy on Spirituality Makes One More Productive

A mother will work twenty-four hour shifts for her little baby. How many men will work twenty-four hour shifts for their boss? Some may but they won’t be very happy about it. But a mother is on call twenty-four hours a day, not only on call but usually busy. And when babies cry mothers don't sleep for days, what to speak of cases where one has twins or triplets. The mother does not get paid anything, but she experiences full satisfaction because she is motivated by love and affection. So this is a nonsense theory that if I become spiritual, if I become dedicated to a spiritual path, then I will become unproductive. No, you become more productive but for the right cause, for the right ideal. Love is a more powerful force than greed or egoism. That is what spirituality is about. That is what the Bhagavad-Gita teaches.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Radhanatha Swami on Austerity - Doing the Right Thing

Austerity means to be willing to accept inconvenience for the purification of one’s heart and in the service of God and humanity. Unless one is willing to accept sacrifice or inconvenience, nothing great can be accomplished in life. Often, people take religion to be very cheap. When it comes to making money to provide for oneself and
family, one is willing to accept tremendous sacrifice, but when it comes to spiritual life, some people say that spiritual life is very difficult. But life very difficult anyway. The question we have to ask is not whether something is difficult or not but whether it’s right or not? If something is true, we should be willing to do anything and
give everything for that purpose.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Radhanatha Swami on Critical Faith

It is not about the future or the past. We should be convinced, “Yes, God is here and He’s accepting what we are doing". When we have that conviction we can put our complete heart into what we are doing. Because devotional service is about offering our love in whatever we do. How could we actually offer our love with substance if we are not convinced that God is right here at this moment watching and accepting? So this faith is very critical. Great saints say that we gain faith by associating with devotees and especially by hearing and chanting with them. And if we find that our faith is not so strong, we really, seriously need to develop it by associating with devotees who have faith, by serving people who have faith, by hearing from people who have faith, by practicing what’s favorable for developing that faith and avoiding those things that are unfavorable for cultivating that faith. Because at the time of greatest need we are going to call out for God with the faith that He hears us and that He is with us. Otherwise, what kind of calling out will that be? It will be an envelope with nothing inside or with an illegible message.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Real Question

Most of the terrorism in this world is in the name of religion. But it really has nothing do with religion. It’s only about sectarianism and ignorance. Real religion is universal. According to Srimad Bhagavatam, religion is based on four principles. These four principles are called the four pillars of religion. Austerity, cleanliness, mercy, and truthfulness. Whether we call ourselves a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Christian, or a Sheikh, that’s not so important. The real question, and the real message to answer the question, is how we are developing our love for God through the process of following these four principles.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Self Realization for the Uncertain World

This world is full of uncertainties and the fact is we can never change the condition of this world. We can make so many arrangements to change and adjust the environment. And we must as far as possible create an environment that is conducive to peace, prosperity, and happiness. But ultimately this environment is beyond our control. Therefore intelligent people, rather than simply trying to adjust the environment, try to adjust their own consciousness. The real solution is to change ourselves. We have to learn how to live harmoniously within this environment. And for this reason, throughout history, the process of self realization has been explained by great saintly persons, by great philosophers, by great persons of various religions.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Radhnath Swami on God sees the Intent

Some people ritualistically chant thousands of prayers every morning, as part of their routine of beginning their day. That’s very good. But the prayers are only the package by which we send a message to Krishna or to God according to our religion. Even if we have an envelope we may not have the right address on it. As we understand from disciplic succession, through the spiritual master, saints and scriptures putting the right address is still not what people are impressed with. When we send the letter, people open the envelope and throw it away. They are concerned only with what is inside. What is inside is our bhava, our feelings, our intent. God accepts the intent of a devotee, the intent of his actions and words. And the devotee has full faith that God will save him.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Beauty of Deity Worship

Sometimes people wonder, "Why are you worshiping God in wood or stone?" The reply is, "Is God not everywhere? Anyone who believes in God must accept God everywhere. He is in everything so is He not in this wood or stone?" But the difference is we are recognizing Him here, we are worshiping Him here, we are focusing our attention in Him here. It is explained in the scriptures that when an advanced devotee invokes the presence of the Lord in a form that is particularly designed as explained then out of causeless mercy and kindness the supreme God appears in that form to accept our love. If we approach the deity as stone, the deity appears to us as stone, if we approach the deity as God, the deity will reveal Himself as God; of course, at the beginning our vision is material so we cannot see the spiritual. It is for that reason that God allows us to keep our attention on Him on a material form that we can perceive.

People say that God is spirit so how can you see Him with material vision? The fact is, we cannot; therefore out of His mercy God appears in matter so that we can see Him, we can keep our attention on Him, we can dance before Him, we can repose our affection on Him, we can cook for Him, we can serve Him, we can do so many wonderful services twenty four hours a day. And most of us can come together to glorify Him. This is the beauty and sweetness of the worship of the deity of God.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Radhanath Swami on For the Pleasure of God

We are not speaking about the aspect of God regarding His wrath and punishment upon sinners. We are speaking about the essential glory of the Lord in the spiritual world as the all-attractive. When He enters our hearts, He steals our love by His unlimited beauty, sweetness, and His own love. That is the ultimate experience. But there is only one way to achieve that love and that is by the mercy of the Lord. That mercy comes in proportion to our service attitude, our desire to give to God and to give to others without selfishness, without egotism. When a devotee chants the names of the Lord, the aspiration should not be to simply accumulate wealth, to enjoy the pleasures of the senses, or to gain popularity and fame. It should simply be an offering of love for the pleasure of God.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Who is Dear to the Lord

Our elevation to spiritual world is not attained by our memory or mastery over various subjects. It is not attained by strict austerities or by giving grand donations. It is attained by the mercy of the Lord. When the Lord is pleased with us then He promotes us to His personal abode. When God brings us back to the spiritual world then He has to live with us for the rest of eternity. Do you think He just wants some egoistic person who is just chanting mantras a day to come back to Him, do you think He wants an egoistic person who is performing austerities such as not eating or not sleeping? No. He will only take back those people who are dear to Him. And who is most dear to Him? Those who are dear to His devotees. So the formula by which we can become intimately dear to the Lord is by assisting Him in giving His message to others and by making sacrifices to that purpose. But we cannot give something that we are not committed to ourselves, therefore we must follow our vows. How can we give the Holy Names to others unless we are addicted to the Holy Name ourselves? So we must cultivate deep attachment in chanting, deep attachment in hearing God's pastimes and God's messages, and to the degree we become deeply attached to these principles we will be empowered to give the mercy of parampara to the suffering souls of this world. That is our life. That is our purpose. That is what will make us dear to God.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Radhanath Swami on True Love

Even in this world real love is not selfish – it’s selfless, willing to make sacrifices for the beloved. That love actually satisfies the heart because there’s some reality to it. Why? Because that’s the nature of love in its perfect state - the soul’s love for the Absolute Truth, the supreme soul, or Krishna, the origin of love. Krishna is all-attractive. He is the source of all beauty, all knowledge, all strength, all wealth, all renunciation. Thus he is the ultimate object of everyone’s love. To surrender to Krishna is the expression of true love, it’s actually the source of the greatest shelter and the greatest happiness.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Love the Diseased, Hate the Disease

One who understands God sees every living being with equal vision, whether he be a man or woman, rich or poor, from any caste, from any community, from any religion, from any species of life. We see that these are all temporary designations that the soul is passing through. When we understand God within our own heart we can perceive God within the heart of every living being. And then we can hate the disease but spontaneously love the diseased. We can see every living being as our brother or sister on the spiritual platform. This is reality - the spiritual platform - to see everything in relation to Truth, in relation to the Supreme Lord. And this realization can be easily obtained through the same process that caused us to be conditioned to forget the Truth - our association. If we associate with people who say that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is revealed in the holy scriptures, who is loved by all the great saints and Holy people, who is within our hearts, in between every atom and that we can serve Him and love Him, then we naturally see Krishna everywhere.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Time the Terrorist

By nature, this material world is a place of chaos and misery, because here everything is temporary. By the force of time everything is in the process of destruction. Time is terrorizing everyone’s life. Very soon after we are born the heart starts beating. And every beat of the heart is like every tick of the clock. The power of time is swallowing the duration of our life. Even during the times of peace and freedom in a nation, everyone has to face the ultimate conclusion of life - old age, disease, and death. Krishna describes in the Gita: it’s due to the temporary nature of this world that there can be no real happiness, no real peace.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Auspiciousness in Suffering

From apparent inauspicious circumstances is born the most auspicious opportunity to devotional service. Because this world is a place where suffering is imminent, the Lord teaches us this lesson again and again.

The problems we face in life are the greatest opportunities for self realization. That is one of the reasons this age of quarrel and hypocrisy is the best time for God Consciousness. Actually in every age, the chanting of the holy name can awaken pure love of God. But the necessary qualification for achieving love of God through chanting of HIs holy names in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy is to attentively cry out the name like a child crying for his mother. If everything is very nice in our life we don’t cry out, we just chant ritualistically. However, because the modern age is so full of sufferings, it’s the best possible situation - it’s so natural in that condition to just helplessly cry out for the mercy of Lord by chanting His name.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Real Self Respect

Respect for the true self rather than the temporary false self is real self-respect. The real nature of the self is to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant. When we actually strive to live by this principle, that is real self-respect because that is respecting the nature of the self. That is respect to God, that is respect to all living beings. If you respect others, you get much greater satisfaction than trying to respect yourself. In respecting others, in giving to others, we receive the greatest benediction - that is love. So, real self-respect is not being selfish; real self-respect is to respect God within our heart, to respect our own real nature, and to respect all living being selflessly. And that may seem like a very impossible, theoretical idea, but it is natural for all of us. Just a little purification is required to realize it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Festivals Unite Us

When you water the root of the tree every part of the tree is nourished. So when our consciousness is connected to Krishna, when we see Krishna being bathed with flowers, to the degree our consciousness is like a branch connected to the tree, to the root of Krishna, to that degree we will derive the greatest ecstasy and pleasure seeing how Krishna is enjoying. And to the degree our consciousness is elsewhere, disconnected from the root, we don’t realize the ecstasy that is coming. So this is real pleasure, this is supreme pleasure - to give pleasure to Krishna, the reservoir of all pleasure. And this is real society when we all come together united for one purpose - to give pleasure to Krishna. How nicely Krishna has arranged so many magnificent, exciting and dynamic festivals all unique in their own way so that we can continuously come together to love Krishna, to serve Krishna, to chant His holy names.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Dirty Water

When water falls from the cloud, it’s pure and transparent. But when it comes to the ground, it becomes muddy. The dirt is not the water, it’s just mixed with the water and therefore the transparency of the water is lost. The name of God is pure. By associating with what is pure, we become purified. By developing a proper attitude we become purified, and our original nature can be realized. We are originally full of love and full of bliss. This is not just theory; it can be directly perceived and experienced by anyone and everyone. It has nothing to do with our social status, financial status, educational qualification, nationality, caste, or sex. All that’s required is sincerity and simplicity.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Getting out of Prison

Success in life has nothing to do with making a comfortable happy situation in this world. Success in life is getting out of this world. There are first class, second class, third class and fourth class cells within the prison. No doubt elevating yourself from a fourth class, dirty, filthy cell to a first class, nice, clean cell is improvement. But that is not the goal of life. With the same amount of energy that you’re using to buy the different prison officials to get an elevation in your cell status,
you can contact your lawyer and make a real solution to get out of prison. Similarly, people are very much eager to try to create a nice situation in a world of suffering, a place where death will be the final blow to diffuse all of their dreams. But if they invest the same energy with which they’re struggling and toiling to try to be happy in this world into God consciousness, they are making a permanent solution to their problems.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Cleaning the Mirror

The Lord’s name cleanses the mirror that is the heart. When a mirror is covered by dust, we don’t see ourself - that is what ahankara (false ego) is about. We look in the mirror, but if the mirror is covered with dirt, all we see is dirt. We identify ourselves and live according to that impression of ourselves. But if we cleanse the mirror and simply remove all of the external foreign contaminations, then we see ourselves as we are. This is the process of chanting God’s names. It simply brings our consciousness back to its original, natural state of being a loving servant of God.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Idol Worship

We find that in many religions of the world there is great aversion to this idea of worshiping of deity in the temple; they call it idol worship. Idol worship is one of two things - when one simply concocts one's own superstitious imaginary reasons for some form and concocts a method of worship, with no scientific scriptural guidelines; or, when one worships simply for material ambitions to be fulfilled. This is idol worship. In the western countries, 40 years ago, the general population was ignorant of Vedic principles and there was no conception of the beautiful scientific method of prana pratistha, of calling the Lord to accept our love and service in His holy form of the vigraha, the deity. Therefore the imaginary, speculative, superstitious process of idol worship was projected on the scientific process of deity worship. But that principle of focusing the mind on a form of God is always there and even the practitioners of religions which condemn so-called idol worship, are doing it themselves; they have to have a focus. For the Sikhs, their whole focus is their work; it is their worshipable deity - a form they can experience God in. The Muslims, where ever they are in the world, bow down towards Mecca; that is their deity, that is where they are reaching out for the essence of God. It is a physical place, a form. And the Christians, in every church, they stand before the crucifix, the cross, and they kiss it, they kneel down before it, they pray to it, they beg mercy from it. The Jews have their Torah which they keep on the altar and on certain days they decorate it with crowns and jewellery, and they kiss it, bow down before it and worship it. In this way every religion sees the great need to gather together around a form which they perceive as the essence of God. We find that every religion is doing it, every religion is performing deity worship. But in the Vedic religion it is a very scientific process which has been given by God Himself and which has been followed and amplified by all of great previous saints.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Service Attitude Reveals the Lord

We cannot understand God with our blunt contaminated mind and senses. Only when our consciousness is saturated with a serving attitude do our senses become purified. According to that service attitude the Lord reveals to us the truth. For example, when we chant the names of the Lord we can purify our entire consciousness simply by properly utilizing the facility of our tongue. When we chant the names of the Lord, we are invoking His divine presence. The Lord reveals Himself according to how we approach Him. So not only do we try to chant the names of the Lord, but we also try to chant in a service attitude that will please Him. It’s this service attitude that really attracts the Lord to actually reveal Himself through his Holy Names.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Success in Preaching

Who are any of us to preach to anyone? What is our right to take such a position to teach someone else about their real welfare? The only right we have is the power of the disciplic succession empowering us. We should never ever think that "I am a good preacher". Acharyas (saints who teach by personal example) don't think in that way! Following their example, we should pray to be a puppet controlled by the strings of spiritual master's and God's mercy. We should know that people understand our message and our words only if we are empowered. As preachers we cannot change people's hearts by our scholarship, by our charisma, by our beautiful features or by any other means; a real preacher is one who awakens the real inclination to love God in everybody, who awakens the soul. If we repeat the words of great souls, rather if we let the great souls speak through us and become instruments of their mercy, then we can actually succeed in the purpose of preaching.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Radhanath Swami on What is Love?

Love is defined in the Caitanya Charitamrita (the most acclaimed biography of Lord Chaitanya). The affection in which we try to enjoy for ourselves is called kama or lust. It’s the material principle. It’s just like a blazing fire that can never be satisfied. As long as we keep feeding the fire of the burning desire for enjoyment by trying to enjoy for ourselves, the hungrier it grows. But, what is prema or love? It’s the complete giving of the heart for the pleasure of the object of our love. Even in this world, the most satisfying, loving relationships are not the romantic affairs that we see in the movies, because that kind of love or relationship does not last. The real pleasure of the heart comes through real love - through sacrifice and dedication.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Uniting Power of Deity Worship

You should worship God by decorating Him with flowers and let everyone see the beauty of God as He is decorated with wonderful flowers. We are all interested to see something beautiful - men want to see beautiful women, women want to see beautiful men, we want to decorate ourselves with so many wonderful ways so that people look at us, and in this way there is an endless competition of trying to be beautiful, trying to see something beautiful, and especially trying to possess that which is beautiful. But all of this material consciousness is transcended when we learn to appreciate the beauty of God. The beauty of God is not a beauty that we possess, it is a beauty that we serve.

Suppose I want to possess a beautiful car, or beautiful clothing, or beautiful jewelry. Now, when I come to the temple, God is mine, but God is also everyone else’s. When we come before God in the temple we think that God is mine personally - everyone is thinking like that. Does anyone think that way about your nice car? Does anyone think that way about your nice jewelry ? Does anyone think that way about your nice house furniture? In this way we keep thinking, "This is mine and this is not yours, this is yours and not mine." But God is everyone’s. In the temple who does not feel that God is their own? Everyone feels this way. They think, "This beautiful form, He is mine, I can come any time and see Him, serve Him, chant for Him, dance for Him, cook for Him, He is mine". But everyone is thinking that way. There is no competition. In this way the presence of God is uniting us all.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Radhanath Swami on To Love and Be Loved

The Srimad Bhagavatam (a Vedic Text) explains that the supreme occupation for all humanity is loving service to the Supreme. Such love must me unconditional and unmotivated to completely satisfy the self. Every living being is looking for, longing for, and searching for one thing in every aspect of their life - pleasure. There’s pleasure for the senses and there’s pleasure for the mind, but there’s only one thing that can give pleasure to the heart - the sitting place of the self or soul. And that one thing is love - to love and to be loved.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Forgetfulness

The definition of a Vaishnava (devotee) is para dukha dukhi, one who is concerned with the spiritual welfare of other living beings, who feels great pain seeing other people suffer. People suffer due to the varieties of reactions to acts of ignorance of their constitutional positions as eternal servitors of the Lord. Due to such ignorance a person repeatedly performs sinful acts even after atoning for the sins performed previously. The analogy of an elephant can be given here. An elephant goes to bath but due to his foolishness comes out and rolls again in the dust. Similarly, even if we atone for our sins, but if the seed of desire for sense gratification is still in the heart, then it is just a matter of time till it impels us again to engage in sinful activities.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Surrender in Love

Surrender, in the material sense, means to lose. For example, Mahatma Gandhi did his nonviolent protest and Subhash Chandra Bose very expertly balanced it by declaring violent war on the British - the British surrendered and said “you can make India your independent state.” But that is not what the British wanted; they lost. India won, Britain lost. Similarly, the allied forces headed by Russia and America won, whereas Germany and Japan lost and surrendered. So, the general notion is that to surrender means to lose; something very undesirable, by force. But in Sanskrit, the meaning of the word saranagati is something very different. Saranagati is the most positive expression of our gratitude and love. It’s the most joyful experience of the heart. There cannot be love without such surrender (saranagati). Love is not selfish. Love is selfless. Love is for the beloved.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Eternal Nature

Sanatana dharma means reality. That our eternal nature is to serve, to serve God. And in that service we realize love, God’s Love which is the essential aspiration of every living being to find the pleasure of perfect love. It’s why people murder, it’s why people rob and steal, it’s why people get drunk and intoxicated with drugs, it’s why people go to the race tracks and win or lose money, it’s why people go to the cinemas and watch television, it’s why people give charity to others, it’s why people are looking for a husband or a wife or a girlfriend or a boyfriend, it’s why people want children, it’s why people want relations. If you examine every motivation that every human being has is the desire for pleasure or the reaction to the frustration of not getting pleasure. It’s all connected simply to pleasure. And there’s only one pleasure that can satisfy the heart, that is the pleasure of love. If you have everything else but you don’t have people who love you and you don’t have people you love your life is miserable, it’s lonely, it’s empty. So this is reality and we all have that in common.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Shaved Head and Real Life

The devotees dress the way they do to help remind themselves of their true identity. It’s not that one has to do these external things, but those who do should be understood in proper context. For example, why do some devotees shave their heads? Shaving the head is symbolic. It represents death to the ego because beautiful hair is something that gives people beauty and prestige. In all great religions, whether Christian monks or Buddhist monks or Hindu monks or Vaishnava monks, to shave the head is an expression of the death to the ego so as to start one’s real life as a servant of God.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Death As Eternal Life

How we perceive even death itself is a matter of our realization. There is an example where a cat is compared to death. When a mouse is in the mouth of the cat, it sees the cat as death personified. It’s horrible, it’s fearful. But when a little kitten is in the mouth of mother cat, it sees the cat as the most protective loving mother. It’s the same cat. Perception changes according to the particular state of consciousness. So Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “I am death personified.” Ultimately through the power of time we all have to meet death, and Krishna says, "I am time personified." So if we are a devotee, we see the love, the grace and the beauty of God in life as well as in death.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Foundation of Real Knowledge

The very foundation of real knowledge is character, the qualities that we possess. And the foundational characteristics of a devotee are simplicity, humility, forgiveness, tolerance, and a very sincere eagerness to serve the Lord and the devotees, to serve the people in general, to serve all living beings, and to chant the holy names.

What is the use if we have so much knowledge but we cannot even cooperate with each other? Cooperation requires forgiveness, tolerance and respectfulness, but it pleases guru and God. Even though we may be possessing knowledge and may be performing austerities, but if we do not cooperate, it is very displeasing to guru and God. That actually undoes all the things we are trying to develop. From a spiritual perspective, God and guru don't care about our austerities and our knowledge, if we cannot cooperate with each other. The foundation of bhakti is good character. Philosophy has little or no value if it does not produce good character.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Reign in Hell or Serve in Heaven?

In the association of people who have faith, the natural faith which is within our heart awakens. Real faith is not something that is imposed upon us. Just like a seed, it’s awakened from within in the proper environment. A seed, if watered properly, grows into a beautiful flower. So, in order to have such strong faith that we are actually willing to take great apparent risks, sadhu sanga is most important. Sadhu sanga means association of devoted people. Without such association, the campaign of maya or illusion which is all around us directly or indirectly keeps telling us that it’s better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven; that it’s better to be the proprietor and enjoyer in this world of illusion than to be a servant in the ecstatic realm of dedication and devotion to the Lord.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Faith

No amount of study of scriptures, austerity or charity can help us know God. The only way is to follow the footsteps of saintly people. When we have faith in that, that faith shows us the way. But is faith unscientific? Science too is based on faith. Scientists have faith in other scientists. Faith is there in every moment of our life. Even when we breathe there is unconscious faith that by inhaling air we will get the oxygen required for nourishment. But to break the limitations of senses, mind, intelligence and ego, there has to be a different kind of faith - faith in the examples from the lives of great saints.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Practicing the Philosophy

Putting philosophy into practice, to the best of our abilities – that’s real spiritual life. Some people get so caught up in the mere intellectual aspect of philosophy that they don’t really take any of it seriously. They just want to know more and more, without applying any of it in their lives.

But even if we know only the few fundamental principles of spiritual life, and seriously apply them in our lives, follow them ardently, without hypocrisy or ulterior motives, we will attain spiritual perfection – of this there is no doubt.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Love the Center of Existence

Loving the centre of all existence, God, spontaneously enables us to love every living being because every living being is a part of God. When we realize the love for God that is within our own heart then we naturally see everyone as our kith and kin, being parts of God just as every ray emanating from the sun is a part of the sun. The inseparable part of God can be seen in every living being regardless of gender, nationality or caste. Once we understand our own relationship with God, we can see that every living being has similar relationships. This sense of commonality unifies us and there is love and compassion towards every one.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Radhanath Swami on We All Are Pure

Essentially, we are all pure. We are all eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. Because we are all parts of God. We simply need to recognize, realize, and experience this very essence of our being. Then we’ll find, in every situation of life, the unlimited pure ecstasy of love of God. This love is not sentimental bodily attraction, but the true pure eternal love of the soul towards God.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Secure Investments

Whatever efforts we make in this world will be evaporated by time. We make money, we lose money, we get fame, we lose fame. Whatever we get will be eventually lost. That is the power of time. But any advancement we make in Krishna consciousness - just sweeping the floor, just appreciating other devotees for what they have done, just putting a single flower on the string of a garland, or just chanting the holy name once sincerely - the benefit is never lost; it is forever. It is the only secure investment. We are told that our investments in the stock market, banks and various financial enterprises are secure, but it is all illusion because everything will be taken away at the time of death. Or many other situations may happen in between. It is for certain that we lose everything. There are only two things that are certain in this world, absolutely certain:
1. Anyone who is born will die, and
2. Any investment that we make in devotion is never ever lost.