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Hypocrisy destroys faith
September 24, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

Richard From Kathmandu, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) arrived at Janakpur, known in the scriptures as Mithila, and its glories sung in the spiritual epic Ramayana. King Janak, in preparation for a religious rite, was ploughing the soil here when, out from the earth, the Goddess Sita appeared right under his plow. She became known as Janaki, the daughter of King Janak. Mithila was the first meeting place of Sita and Rama and the place where Rama broke the mighty bow of Shiva to win the hand of Sita in marriage.

One day in the courtyard of a temple, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) came upon a sadhu in his fifties sitting on a raised platform and graciously blessing hundreds of people who stood in line for his grace. Richard too approached him, and the sadhu was surprised to see him, and enquired from him as to who he was and why had he become a sadhu. Richard replied that he was from America and had come here in search of enlightenment. The elderly sadhu was furious and screamed that Richard (now Radhanath Swami) was a fool to have relinquished the wealth and comforts of America to become a beggar sadhu. Even as he was spewing anger tantrums at Richard, and declaring that there was no God, the elderly sadhu was simultaneously blessing the innocent people with an open palm. They didn’t understand English and Richard was shocked at the duplicity of this holy man. Richard wondered if this man wanted to enjoy material life, why didn’t he get a job and be honest rather than cheat the innocent by posing as a sadhu. Radhanath Swami writes in his memoir:

“There is always the real and the counterfeit. Hypocrisy in religion has crippled peoples’ faith throughout history. A holy person cannot always be recognized by external appearance. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that renunciation is not for a lazy man who does no work, but for one who works in a spirit of devotion. I thought of all the people I had been meeting who lived their lives working in the spirit of devotion and I prayed that I could be one of them. I remembered the words I had heard Srila Prabhupada speak in Bombay: “Better to be a sincere sweeper of the street than a charlatan meditator.”

Hypocrisy destroys our character. Radhanath Swami appeals to aspiring spiritualists that we may pose as a great person, but the substance of our character determines who we really are. We may fool the world with our external exploits, but God is seeing our motivations from within, and if these motivations are dubious we will ourselves feel emptiness in the heart. Radhanath Swami explains that a person of strong moral fibre will be happy within and will spread happiness wherever he goes and whomever he meets. He has no ulterior motive; his heart is transparent as a crystal clear lake.

Radhanath Swami warns that a sage can never be known by external appearance. One needn’t be wearing saffron garments and have a long beard or a shaven head. “A person’s quality of dependence on God, and his sincere service attitude determines his saintliness”, says Radhanath Swami.

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142 Comments


  1. Very important lesson in today’s age of hypocrisy.

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  2. Scary thought – we are so often posing as devotees even when we are struggling within. To think that hypocrisy destroys our remaining faith!!!

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  3. Prabhupada said on similar lines:
    A sincere sweeper on the road is far better than charlton meditator.

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  4. Thank you for this article. Radhanath Swami Maharaja always focusses on the essence. I really liked the point “A person’s quality of dependence on God, and his sincere service attitude determines his saintliness”

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  5. A sincere sweeper on the road is far better than charlatan meditator.

    I think that says it all. Thank you very much.

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  6. We may fool the world with our external exploits, but God is seeing our motivations from within, and if these motivations are dubious we will ourselves feel emptiness in the heart….
    JUST SUPERB!

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  7. Maharaj walks his talks. His instructions and behaviour are in complete harmony. SO many of us derive endless inspiration from his life.

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  8. Radhanath Swami always seems to have to take away something positive from all sorts of experiences and encounters that he had. Thank you.

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  9. Because of so called sadhus,full of hypocracy, so many people, especially youths are losing faith in the sanatan dharma

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  10. As Radhanah Swami rightly said hypocrisy destroys character and our heart becoms dry. We should always try to be as simple as simple at heart in dealings.

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

    This is such an wonderful narration of what our Internal self should be rather that our external appearance.

    Hare Krishna

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  12. “A person’s quality of dependence on God, and his sincere service attitude determines his saintliness”-wonderful definition of saintliness.

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  13. Thank you Radhanath Swami for telling us who a true sadhu is.

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  14. I am amazed at one thing. In this incident or many other similar ones, Richard’s(Radhanath Swami’s) experience of this so called Sadhu would have been discouraging to any one looking for truth, but we can see Radhanath Swami’s resolve and faith in the principles of spirituality. He did not discredit any path due to individual’s hypocrisy, although no doubt that hypocrisy has crippled people’s faith in religion and so, one has to be showing integrity in his walk and talk. Radhanath Swami is such a wonderful example, one whose externals and internals embody the principles of religion.

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  15. very correctly explained by HHRM that one must be very sincere in their devotion to the lord and service attitude, haribol, rajesh karia

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  16. nice article, any aspiring devotee should not fall pray to any such sadhu with ulterior motives, as rightly said in the statement of HHRM that a “persons dependence on GOD and his service attitude defines his saintliness”, thank you Maharaj for your inspiring words, bhakti

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  17. A very lesson giving article for all of us.Thank you for sharing

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  18. only radhanath swami can inspire qualities which is free from hypocrisy in his devotees and followers since he sincerely and practically follows them in his life,

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  19. Kali yuga is the age of hypocrisy and religion being used by such people to exploit is most horrible. This breaks peoples faith and takes them away from God, away from the real goal of human life …

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  20. beautifully spoken! Thank you Radhanath Swamiji.

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  21. Radhanath Swami has hit the nail on the head — “Hypocrisy in religion has crippled peoples’ faith throughout history.” Truly this is one major factor that drives people away from religion.

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  22. The amazing qualities of a true saintly person are his humility and honesty. Radhanath Swami constantly yearns his students to develop these qualities irrespective of their external appearances.

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  23. In kali yuga we like to depend on anything or anyone, except God. We are ready to take shelter of bogus guru and sadhus, but who is true sadhu? Maharajah is instructing us “A person’s quality of dependence on God, and his sincere service attitude determines his saintliness”
    Thank you Maharajah

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  24. Amazing article by Maharaj.

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  25. This article gives a good insight on how to identify a true spiritualist.

    Radhanath Swami with his vast and deep experience in search of God has given a wonderful description to identify duplicitous spiritualists.

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  26. Radhanath Swami has experienced dealing with so many sadhus and swindlers. Now he shares all his experiences which are full of wisdom and deep realizations. Thank you!

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  27. I hope someday Radhanath Swami can teach this to the so called religious leaders of this world, so the crisis & wars can be avoided. One such controversial verdict is coming in few days & India will suffer for it too

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  28. Thank you Radhanath Swamiji

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  29. Sheetal Maheshwari

    Most of the people following religion do it for fruitive results or for liberation. Radhanth Swami has very nicely explained this hee.

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  30. thank u prabhupada for giving us such a dynamic guru.

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  31. A duplicitous behaviour is never accepted in any strata of society.As rightly mentioned by Radhanath SWami “A person’s quality of dependence on God, and his sincere service attitude determines his saintliness”

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  32. True!Hypocrisy would lead people to diminish their faith and gradually destroy any ability to nurture a favorable attitude.Thank you Radhanath Swami

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  33. Very nice article…….a person free who is from from hypocrisy will think, speak & act equally……

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  34. Age of quarrel and hypocrisy….Such teachings which open eyes and give immunity to indulge in such heinous acts…..

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  35. Thank you very much Maharaj for your warning that not to be hypocritical but to be in the mood of serving God sincerely

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  36. Radhanath swami’s experiences mentioned in ‘The Journey Home’ are invaluable lessons for us to learn.

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  37. Really wonderful experiences by Radhanath Swami

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  38. The last sentence is so amazing. Thank you Maharaj.

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  39. “A person’s quality of dependence on God, and his sincere service attitude determines his saintliness”, This meditation of Radhanath Swami is very much true. The service attitude with highest humility Radhanath Swami exhibits in all his dealings with every one is truly uncomparable.

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  40. Very powerful article. Thank you very much for sharing the same.

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  41. Oh! I am so clever, see no one knows what I am thinking, all just love and respect me and even bank on my advice. Hypocrisy thy name is ‘Survival’ that’s how most of us think and have conditioned ourselves. Radhanath Swami has addressed this drawback so effectively, the more I read his articles, the more they help to cleanse me.

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  42. It is true that if a sadhu himself practices what he preaches others, then he attracts the faith of the common people. Radhanath Swami is one such learned saint who not only possesses perfect Vedic wisdom & knowledge, but also incorporates the spiritual values of the Vaishnava philosophy in his day to day life & activities. Every breath of his life is devoted in the service of God. That is why he has been able to make a big impact in the lives & destiny of many who are spiritually inclined.

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  43. WONDERFUL. THANKS FOR SHARING

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  44. Hypocrite so-called holy men have spoiled the whole spiritual scene of the world. Intelligent people shirk away from spiritual life afraid of being cheated. There is a dire need in this world for transparent spiritualists. We should not lose faith if we come across cheaters; we should keep searching out for the genuine saints until we find them. I have surely found one, in Radhanath Swami.

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  45. These words of Radhanath Swami are so true. So many people have given up a religious path or the pursuit of spirituality, simply because thier faith has been completely shattered by such cheating sadhus as mentioned here.

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  46. Radhanath Swami Maharaj gives the way to recognize the true motives of a person!

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  47. “Better to be a sincere sweeper of the street than a charlatan meditator.”-Radhanath Swami.

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  48. There is always the real and the counterfeit. Hypocrisy in religion has crippled peoples’ faith throughout history. A holy person cannot always be recognized by external appearance—–THIS IS SO TRUE.I HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN AND SO MUCH TO PUT INTO PRACTICE.

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