Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Radhanath Swami on A Friend in Need

God is the supreme friend of all the living beings. He is the supreme friend because He never abandons us. The real quality of a friend is when we are most in need he will not abandon us. That’s when we really know who our friends are - when we are most in need. Most people only want us when we assist them in their sense gratification. At the time of death who is there to stand by our side? Not about standing by the side of our body, but standing by the side of our soul? We may have so many people standing around the bed crying, "Oh don’t leave us. We enjoy you too much, please don’t leave us." But how many of them are standing by the side of our soul to take our soul to a better place, to save our soul from a worse place? There is only one person who is our friend at the time of our death – that is God. So, He is the supreme friend and of course, any devotee who is acting as a representative of God in our life is also our real friend because he is representing our supreme friend. So as the supreme friend, as the most confidential and intimate friend of the soul of every living being, God reveals His mind in confidence to us in the revealed scriptures. And in our prayers we are meant to reveal our minds to Him in confidence with faith and trust. This loving exchange is meant to take place between the sincere devotee and God.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Radhanath Swami on Exemplary Leaders

What the great men do the common men follow. Therefore, the leaders on every level of society must set the proper example of God consciousness for others to follow. Whatever position of leadership one takes, one must set the example of how to perfect one's life. And who are the leaders? The guru a leader. If the guru is not setting proper example of how to perfect one's life, he has no business being a guru. The parents, the father and the mother, especially the father is a leader. If the father and mother are not living exemplary God consciousness lives by the authority of God, they have no right to be a father or mother; they’re cheaters. The king has no right to be a king; a politician has no right leading his people unless he is setting a perfect example of God conscious life for others to follow. This is the first responsibility each one of us has in our life - to set an example for those who are depending on us. This responsibility is more important than feeding the bellies of our dependents, because the animals are doing that too, even the demons are feeding the bellies, clothing and giving nice houses to their dependents. These things are required, that is surely a responsibility, but are secondary. The first responsibility is how we are setting an example for the world to be influenced by how we are guiding our dependents and our devotion to God.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Radhanath Swami on Correcting Our Own Faults

We should welcome whatever comes in our life with gratitude. We should see that everything is an opportunity for us to purify us consciousness. Especially the things that we like the least, especially the things that disturb our minds the most - these are the most special loving gifts of God. Because in the face of that experience, we have the greatest opportunity to become God conscious, if we simply remain fixed in our service in this condition of humility. We should always be looking for our own faults. We should never ever look for the faults in others. In looking for the faults in others, we simply become further incriminated in our false ego and whims. Thus we become further incriminated in forgetfulness of God. We should look for our own faults and see how God reveals to us our faults. He reveals to us our own lack of God consciousness, our own lack of humility, our own lack of faith. By His mercy then, we can take advantage of this glorious situation and pray to the Lord for help, pray to the spiritual master for strength, which is the only means of overcoming this attack in our life. And God helps those who help themselves.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Radhanath Swami on Getting Closer to God

We should not complain when things go wrong in our life. We should never blame this person or that person; we should see that everything is happening by the sweet will of the Lord to give us the perfect opportunity to get closer to Him. But it is the exact reverse with us. When everything is going our way - when we are in good health, when people are properly respecting us - we think, "Oh, yes God, You are very kind upon me". But a really intelligent person thinks, when he disrespected, misunderstood, when things have been taken away from him, when he is losing everything, has been battered and smashed and kicked by the modes of the material nature, that God is very nice. And that this is just the opportunity that I have been waiting for, to surrender. In that condition, the intelligent person takes the opportunity and increases his humble devotion to the Supreme Lord. And this is the qualification of a sincere devotee - one who, even in the most negative conditions of life, can see the divine merciful hand of God behind the whole scene. This is the very glorious lesson - to get an opportunity to get closer to God in trying situations - that is illustrated time and again by God through His devotees.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Radhanath Swami on An Offering Fit For God

On the journey from material life to spiritual life, we should know that God will take us through various experiences. Sometimes He will drag us through mud, sometimes He will put us on a golden chariot. To qualify us to become His eternal associate, we have to be perfectly purified to be offered to God by our spiritual master. Just like when we offer food to the Lord, we only offer the best food, similarly the spiritual master is very apt to make each devotee an offering to God. But God is so kind that He helps spiritual master to make us into a worthy offering. And how does He do that? Just like when crude rice comes out of the field, there is a big shell around it - nobody can eat it except the animals. So they take the rice and they beat it many times. Then the husk is broken and the rice can be offered to the Lord. So we have this husk of ahankara or false ego that is covering our divine quality. The spiritual master is like the farmer who just puts all the rice on the ground. And then God takes it from there - to run us over by the cars, horses, cows and trucks of material difficulties till finally when the last trace of this husk of false ego is completely separated from our existence. Then at that time we can be presented at the altars in the temple of God for Him to taste the sweetness of our qualities of devotion. This is what we have to go through, if we are to be eligible to be offered to the Lord. We should accept all experiences in life; this is the perfect opportunity to help us to advance in God Consciousness. If we always see everything in this way, there will be no impediments to our spiritual progress.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Radhanath Swami on The Final Exam

If one truly wants to understand how to live, how to perfect life, one must follow in the footsteps of the great souls. The great souls teach us how to live through their every word and act. But they are also teaching us how to die. People are very anxious, especially in today’s society, to learn how to live very nicely. People are very anxious to accumulate wealth, prestige, power, and luxuries so they could live nicely. But they do not understand that more important in this world than learning how to live nicely, is learning how to die nicely. Because death is the final exam. What is the use of going through all the types of education, all the classes and seminars, and reading all the books, but failing the final exam? One has to start all over again. Everything we do 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. We are all in school, whatever our age. The purpose of this course of human form of life is to graduate. Graduate means we no longer have to go to school - graduate out from this material conception of life and return to the spiritual world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Radhanath Swami on The Manual for Life

Scriptures are the guides of how to live in this world perfectly. They are enunciated by the creator. If we want to learn how to utilize a machine properly, especially if the machine is quite complex, we must learn from the manufacturer. If we buy a highly sophisticated computer system, the manufacturer does not give it to us in a box and say, now you figure out how to use it. Will any one buy such a computer? There is a very sophisticated detailed owner’s manual that is included. Any expensive piece of machinery we buy, on the front page of the owner’s manual, it will say do not even attempt to use it without thoroughly reading this manual. So the scripture is the word of God. The Lord Himself is the only one qualified to install religion within this world. And the saintly person is one whose every word act is an illustration of the conclusion of this scripture. The qualification of a saintly person has nothing to do with performing magical tricks or juggling words. The real sadhu is one who simply, humbly, repeats the word of God without change and lives accordingly.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Radhanath Swami on Enthusiasm and Patience

There are two essential principles that compose the quality of a surrendered soul - enthusiasm and patience. If we simply have enthusiasm but no patience, then our work will be very hard and we will almost certainly give up because of not getting results. "Lord, I am praying every day, I am living regulatedly, I have renounced so many things of this world, I am working so hard, and still I am not getting what I want. I have done so much for You, what You have given me in return? I resign. What kind of God are You? You are not a good gentleman. You are not a good businessman. I’ll go somewhere else. I’ll enjoy." That’s what happens to our enthusiasm, if we do not have patience. Now, what happens if we have patience without enthusiasm? Then we just wait, wait, wait, and wait. Just like a man who says, "Well, I am very patient to get my PhD, but I am not going to go to college, I am not going to study. I would just wait." So one must have enthusiasm and patience.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Radhanath Swami on Living By Religious Principles

We should live by the philosophy of the religious literatures. First we should hear about the message of God from authoritative sources in the association of saintly people and then we must put what we hear into action. We should also learn to dedicate ourselves in the service of the Lord completely. We should dovetail our lives in such a way that regular religious discussions become an important part of our lives. A life based on religious principles will not only transform our own self but will also help in reconstructing our society in such a way that it will give positive benefits to the citizens of the entire world.