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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 is trying to throw stranded fishes like me back into the ocean of Krsna Consciousness.Thank you,Maharaj.

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  2. Wonderful insight! Radhanath Swami, while going out of the way to ensure that we return to our original state of consciousness he is doing all that is needed to help one endevoring to maintain his spiritual path against the onslaught of illusions/maya.

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  3. Jagdish Majethiya

    Nice article – Through Radhanath Swami Maharaj’s causeless mercy, many thousands are getting connected to the sea of divine consciousness.

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  4. Maharaj is a pure devotee of the Lord as he sees everything on the spiritual platform.

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  5. I liked this article very much .Thanks for posting this article .

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  6. Shoba Ramachandran

    “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.” – Saintly persons like Radhanath Swami instructs us in many different ways to inspire us to choose the voice of God. Thanks Maharaj.

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  7. Today in the world there is so much stress on the ability to choose. People want the ability to choose from a variety of software for their computers, a variety of vocations and so on. Human life is a life of choices. Yet we tend to forget that the most fundamental choice that we have to make is between truth and illusion. The choice is all ours. Thank you for writing this worderful article and inspiring me to choose the voice of God.

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  8. Radhanath Swami has taught an important lesson on what should be our choice in life. Thank you.

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  9. How true it is, Radhanath Swami is an amazing analyst I never could have thought about it untill I read this deep explanation. Amazing!

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  10. wonderful article,thank you

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  11. What a statement “To seek enjoyment is a natural propensity of all; a spiritualist chooses the right method to obtain it.
    ” Only realized soul can have such wisdom. Thank you swami ji for sharing your valuable realizations via your book “Journey Home”

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  12. The statement “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.” depicts the day to day situation of a person walking on spiritual path. Thank you so much Radhanath Swami ji for sharing such profound wisdom.

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  13. very nice article ..thanks a lot

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  14. Very nice article…..specially the incident of the fish is really very heart touching….I wonder who was guiding Radhanath Swami from within with such nice realisations…..definitely Krishna himself…..

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  15. when we see things separately from their connection with God, we are trapped by the power of illusion.
    So nice
    statement. Thank you for posting this article.

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  16. Radhanath Swami very nicely put the fact that one should take up spiritual life.

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  17. Mangesh Kulkarni

    What a graphic example! What a genuine compassion!

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  18. On reading this beautiful analogy, creative thought process and pure observation of His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj, it seems to me that we see the world as we are. While the net of illusion in the form of trying to squeeze out pleasures from the perishable body is extremely attractive, Radhanath Swami shows the way to go back to the ocean of pure consciousness – simply cling on to the strings of love. The characteristic of love is selflessness and sacrifice, and this is shown in the dealings of Radhanath Swami, for example, when he not only rejects the enticing hedonistic lifestyle, but also prays that he should come out of the weakness of fault finding.

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  19. Randhanath swami maharaj shows the way to go back to the ocean of pure consciousness. radhanath swami maharaj ki jaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.

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  20. thank you for the post,wonderful

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  21. Radhanath Swami maharaj’s Analogies are so perfect, since he is completely on spiritual platform he derive such a perfect analozy. He is such a personality who has capability to deliver suffering souls like me back to our natural state where the ocean of God’s grace exists.

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  22. I liked the following point from the deep meditations of Radhanath Swami Maharaj:

    “But the net of maya, or illusion, snatches away the minds of the masses, diverting us from our true self-interest.”

    This is very practically observable, whenever somebody wants to turn towards God, maya/illusion diverts us from self-interest.

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  23. I like the contrasts and the lessons Radhanath Swami Maharaj draws in his writing. On one hand, he tried to save a little fish by taking so much of trouble. But on the other hand, fisherman had caught hundreds of fish in his net… What a contrast between the agents of God and the agents of maya!

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  24. Very compassionate. We dont blink an eye when we see so many creatures being slaughtered. But his heart aches in pain at even a small insignificant fish is dying.

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  25. “The Journey Home” is full of revelations of the contemplations of an advanced spiritualist. How Radhanath Swami learnt from events in his life is fascinating. Please read “The Journey Home”.

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  26. Sreyas means to accept things which are eternally beneficial and preyas means temporary.

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  27. we all must choose to be puppets of god and not of maya, very correctly explained by radhanath swami maharaj, thanks, rajesh

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  28. nice artcile, thanks for posting, bhakti

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  29. This really true. We get easily swayed away by maya and tend to enjoy things there by entangling ourselves more and more. But if one follows the divine instructions of Maharaj then we can at once overcome maya and becomes situated in the right conciousness. All glories to Maharaj for his enlightening words. Thanks for sharing.

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  30. Radhanath Swami so wonderfully explains that we cannot be happy without being in union with God, just as the fish cannot be happy if seperated from the waters.

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  31. Here Maharaj has conveyed the message that how the great souls representatives of God extended themselves to any extent to bring even one living entity back to the spiritual world to connect with the supreme consciousness, but because of ignorance the living entity do not see this sacrifice and thus does not reciprocate with them.

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  32. I will try to be God’s puppet.Thank you Radhanath Swami for your constant guidance

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  33. Hrishikesh Mafatlal

    How subtle is the force of Maya that we don’t even feel its net tightening around us! In fact, we feel comforted by it.

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  34. Yogita Jagannathan

    Thank you Radhanath Swami for explaining so lucidly about how maya works. Only when we hear such nectarean words our eyes open to what is reality.

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  35. Maya’s puppet experiences only frustrations, while God’s puppet experiences supreme bliss. WHAT A PERFECT UNDERSTANDING!

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  36. Maya has its own plans. We feel comfortable and attached by the material energy but when we loose those material we feel pain. We have been pained by maya but again maya in the form of forgetfulness captures us again and again.

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  37. Dr Yuvaraj J Bhosale

    maya imprisons the soul in a material body- What a nice statement by Radhanath Swami

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  38. Maharaj is realizing us that what is our true business in the material world ,whether remain in the hands of Maya Devi and see her cruelty or remain in the hands of god and become recipient of his love. Thank you Maharaj for your wonderful teachings and it is changing the hearts of million.Jai Gurudev!!!

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  39. Such wonderful realiations. Life is all about the choices one makes.

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  40. rambaboo maheshwari

    Nicely explained that we have two option, one 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, and God’s puppet experiences BLISS.

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  41. Radhanath Swami teaches through an amazing realization – fish out of water. All acquistions of this world still leaves us dissatisfied and hence we are constantly seeking peace/happiness/satisfaction through various means – we are like fish out of water.

    Connecting to our real self and to God is the only way out – to get back into the water. However we have to be very very careful to take guidance from experts like Radhanath Swami, so as to not get caught in the net of illusion.

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  42. 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.”

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  43. HH Radhanath Swami 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.”

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  44. Wonderful article. Maharaj see every activity in relation with Scriptures.

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  45. Radhanath Swami’s analogy of the fish & the net is simply brilliant. It encapsulates the concept of soul, maya & our relation to God in a very lucid manner. We are all lucky to be having Radhanath Swami in our midst who is busy catching the fishes(souls) and throwing ’em in their natural home, ocean(spiritual kingdom of God). If we are sincere in our desires, then with his blessings, we can easily escape the net of illusion or maya and go back home, back to Godhead.

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  46. We are all indeed living in an illusion that we can achieve lasting happiness by accumulating wealth & material comforts. Eternal bliss & happiness exists only in the spiritual realm. The material world is not our real home & is meant to be a place of suffering just as it is for a fish out of water. If we sincerely follow the instructions of saintly people like Radhanath Swami, then we still do have hope of returning back to the spiritual kingdom of God. Otherwise we will be lost in the cycle of repeated births & deaths as we have been since time immemorable.

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  47. Radhanath Maharaj very nicely explains the important concept that one can be either Krishna das or Maya das. We have to chosse between the two.

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  48. Appropriate analogy.

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  49. CS Sandeep Shinde

    Very nice article. Thank very much for sharing the same.

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  50. “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.” H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj’s words are so inspiring.

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