Radhanath Swami is expert in learning from all. At Kandahar, Radhanath Swami learnt patience from a mongoose; from the hashish addicts, temperance; and from a blind boy, spiritual joy.
Radhanath Swami’s ability to observe the world and learn lessons is very inspiring. This reveals how thoughtful he is and also we get a glimpse of his open mindedness in allowing God to reveal His blessings through different experiences in this world.
He learns and teaches us the example of ocean; if we are full and deep within like the ocean, none of the external forces can disturb us. Radhanath Swami implores us to carefully see the wisdom in water. He says the food grains are born of rain. No rain, no food. No rain, no fortune. Similarly the Holy Name is like water. “Hearing and chanting the glories of Lord are the water that nourishes the dried up heart and allows the seed of love to grow,” reveals Radhanath Swami.
Radhanath Swami also compares modern sophistication that leaves out God to be the trap of a spider. “it’s like a fly that is caught in a spider’s web. Somehow or the other it is entangled, but out of ignorance it thinks that it can get itself out of that situation. The more it moves around to free itself, the more it becomes entangled in the web. The enthusiastic fly moves around, struggling hard to free itself. But after some time we don’t even see the fly; all we see is a little web ball that’s just moving around. The fly is now totally bound and covered.”
Radhanath Swami elaborates on this example by saying that human life is meant for self-realization, not for entangling ourselves like that fly in the spider’s web. The only way a fly can get out is, if somebody comes and takes it off. And for those entangled in ignorance, that help comes from the saintly people.
Radhanath Swami also quotes his spiritual teacher who learnt from a serpent that it is harmless compared to the selfish and envious human being. Radhanath Swami reveals that a serpent bites only if it is threatened and the most it can do is kill only one person at a time. This reaction of the serpent is not out of envy but out of self-protection. It wants to either protect itself or its offspring. “Human beings on the other hand”, says Radhanath Swami, “are building bombs where they can kill millions of people at a time for no reason except to protect their false egos. So who is more dangerous?” questions Radhanath Swami.
Radhanath Swami says human life is a rare opportunity to learn from this world. We shouldn’t be simply thinking of eating, sleeping, sex life or defending ourselves, but rather seek to answer questions to the life’s deepest mysteries. Radhanath Swami reveals interesting examples from nature on living long lives. He points out that there are trees that live for thousands of years; in the Calcutta botanical garden there is a tree that is said to be five thousand years old and in California there are redwood trees, some are said to be seven thousand years old. There are also tortoises and parrots that live over a hundred years old. “The special facility of human life is in its quality, because the human life provides the opportunity to question our existence. There is no other species that has that power to ask who am I? What is the purpose of life? Where am I coming from? Where am I going? Who is God? What is my relationship with God? Why is there suffering? Is there something beyond? All the lower species, be they plants, trees, fish, insects, reptiles, birds, beasts they are simply trying to enjoy the momentary senses , and also trying to create some arrangement for their sustenance.”
This for sure is a hard hitting lesson, and I am reminded of a scriptural statement that says a true saint is expert in cutting the knots of material illusion. Radhanath Swami’s razor sharp intelligence and clarity exposes the hollowness of a life centered on materialistic goals. However he does it through such amazing examples from nature.