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Caught by the net of illusion
August 18, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

From Bombay Richard travelled a few hours east to Ganesh Puri to the ashram of Nityananda Baba, whose sacred tomb or Samadhi attracted lot of visitors. Here he felt spiritual vibrations more than real life. He was surprised to see the followers of the Baba chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, the one Mother Ganges had revealed to him and which Srila Prabhupada had sung in Bombay.

He also visited Goa and at the Calangute Beach, he saw the same old scene that he had left behind in Europe; open consumption of drugs, intimate interactions between men and women, and rock and roll blaring. Uninterested, Richard walked through the sand and caught himself mentally criticizing the men and women. He prayed to be free from fault finding, but it was hard. On another day he saw a fish flapping desperately in the sand and Richard resolved to return him to his home in the sea. But each time the fish kept getting washed to the shore. Finally he held the fish in his cupped palms, tread into the ocean up to his neck and hurled him as far as he could. Then the fish was safe. Later he saw fishermen with their nets; the net was filled with hundreds of such little fish flapping for life and doomed to the frying pan. Richard soberly thought

“We are all like fish that have separated from the sea of divine consciousness. For a person to be happy outside his or her natural relation with God is like a fish trying to enjoy life outside of the water, on the dry sand. Holy people go to great extremes to help even one person to return to his or her natural spiritual consciousness, to the sea of true joy. But the net of maya, or illusion, snatches away the minds of the masses, diverting us from our true self-interest.”

Radhanath Swami implores practicing spiritualists to be careful of the temptations offered by the forces of illusion, maya, that threaten to distract a person from spiritual consciousness. He says, “A spiritualist hears two voices; God whispers in one ear and maya whispers in the other. Spiritual life throws up a choice of whose voice we prefer to hear.” Radhanath Swami defines maya as ‘that which is not’. In other words when we see things separately from their connection with God, we are trapped by the power of illusion.

When does maya act upon a soul? Radhanath Swami explains that we are all originally residents of the spiritual world. Just like, salt is by definition salty; sugar-sweet; water-liquid, similarly the living entity is naturally a servant of God, and experiences the bliss of complete freedom in rendering service to God in the spiritual world. Instead when we exercise our free will to attempt to be a master in this temporary material world, and enjoy independent of God, maya imprisons the soul in a material body. In the human body, the entrapped soul is blessed with the ability to break free from the shackles of material consciousness, and reestablish his or her loving relationship with God. Unfortunately however, most humans use their advanced mental faculties to only further the bodily comforts, and thereby ensure prolonged imprisonment in this world. Despite all attempts to squeeze out happiness from these perishable bodies, ironically, the soul- the prisoner in this material body- only experiences constant frustrations, and a deep sense of voidness.

A spiritualist therefore abandons material enjoyment preferring to choose a path of prayer and service. As Radhanath Swami aptly presents, “Essentially the living entity within material existence has two choices; to be a puppet of maya on the strings of material energy or to be a puppet of God on the strings of His love, and compassion.” Maya’s puppet experiences only frustrations, while God’s puppet experiences supreme bliss. To seek enjoyment is a natural propensity of all; a spiritualist chooses the right method to obtain it.

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81 Comments


  1. Radhanath Swami’s words are filled with spiritual realizations! Thankyou for posting!

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  2. Radhanath Swamis explanation of how one can be happy is very nicely explained here.

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  3. Aekta Brahmbhatt

    Radhanath Swami emphasises on the real path of a spiritualist and how its important to beware of Maya.

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  4. How true- God whispers in one ear and Maya in the other. Somehow we choose to hear and follow Maya and get fooled again and again and remain unhappy. I pray for strength to get free from the strings of Maya and become a puppet of God.

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  5. Radhanath Swami also many times mentioned about the good and the bad dog within us. If we feed the bad dog, then problems are ahead for sure. But feeding the good dog is the goal of a spiritualist!

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  6. Manish Raikundalia

    Nicely described. Thanks you Maharaj.

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  7. Eternal True nature of the Spirit Soul is explained here by Maharaj. One cannot expect peace without being reinstated in his true nature, like the fish example Maharaj gave.

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  8. M. Pandurangayya Shetty

    Excellent explanation.Radhanath Swami wants all of us to become spiritualists. Choose the right path to get the love of God. all glories to Radhanath Swami

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  9. Radhanath Swami is convincing us to listen to God’s words rather than Maya’s dictations so as to lead a more peaceful life. Thank you Maharaj.

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  10. Very instructive.. Thank you Radhanath Swami:)

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  11. Thanks Maharaj in helping us becoming a puppet in the hands of God and enjoy bliss rather then become puppet in the hands of Maya. This cannot be acheived without your guidance. Maharaj Ki jai!

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  12. Sanjiv Chandnani

    this is such a crystal clear explanation of cause of suffering and solution to suffering. THank you Maharaj

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  13. Sanjiv Chandnani

    Thank you for such a beautiful explanation

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  14. Radhanath Swami is one of those spiritualist who has made the wise choice. Through his discourses he is also training his students on the same grounds. Thank you.

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  15. Wonderful article by Radhanath Swami

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  16. Thank you Radhanath swami maharaj for this nice piece of advice.

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  17. To distinguish between which voice is that of God and which one is that of ‘Maya’, we need the help of a spiritual Master like Maharaj.

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  19. Nice to be visiting your blog again, it has been months for me. Well this article that i’ve been waited for so long. I need this article to complete my assignment in the college, and it has same topic with your article. Thanks, great share.

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  20. nice article… would be back for more… keep it up!!!

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  21. Manish Raikundalia

    Thank you Maharaj to you and your disciples to help us realize true happiness.

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  22. One cannot expect peace without being reinstated in his true nature, like the fish example often quoted by H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

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  23. All Glories To.H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj

    What an wonderful Narration.

    Hare Krishna

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  24. Analogies make for enthralling reading. Surely Radhanath Swami is genius for presenting such endearing analogies to expound the highest truths!

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  25. Mitali kallianpur

    Thank you for sharing this article.

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  26. Thank you Radhanath Swami for bring out the reality and covincing us to be a puppet of God

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  27. THANK U FOR SHARING SWAMIJI

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  28. Kalpana Kulkarni

    “Essentially the living entity within material existence has two choices; to be a puppet of maya on the strings of material energy or to be a puppet of God on the strings of His love, and compassion.” it is up to us whom we choose!

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