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From lust to love
October 11, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

At Mathura Gary and Richard (now Radhanath Swami) were hosted by a guru who had pleasing mannerisms and was refined and meticulous in his speech and movements. He offered Richard to share his own wooden bed for sleeping in the night. Richard felt it was an honour to sleep on the same level as the guru, but soon realized this guru was lusty. As the guru tried to grope Richard in his embrace, and started moving his hands in the private parts of Richard’s body, Richard shoved him away and jumped to his feet. Richard rushed outside and closely spied on the swami making sure he didn’t do this to Gary.

Later both Gary and Richard realized that once again their idealistic innocence was challenged by the real world.

What inspired me the most on reading this account was Radhanath Swami’s mood even as young Richard. He writes:

“…He was a scholar of scripture, the high priest of a temple, and the guru of many disciples who revered him. Yet he’d tried to exploit me to satisfy his own carnal desire. Real saintliness should be understood by a person’s behavior. Exerting one’s spiritual authority to exploit the innocent is a grave injustice. I prayed that this incident would not create doubt in my mind toward the sincere devotees.”

Radhanath Swami’s purity shines forth in this passage. Generally a normal person would be so outraged by acts of hypocrisy that it wouldn’t be surprising if he or she dismisses all gurus and all paths. However Radhanath Swami even as an inexperienced Richard prayed that the misdeeds of those in the guise of a saint but ravaged by lust, not disturb his faith in genuine gurus and sincere devotees of the Lord.

Lust has been the biggest stumbling block for many spiritual seekers. Even for those not interested in spiritual life, lust sucks the consciousness of millions searching for happiness. “Mistaking lust for love is the single greatest tragedy of the modern world”, says Radhanath Swami. Due to the influence of the movies most people think bodily contact and union is the essence of love. When we mistake ourselves to be physical bodies, whether male or female, we become lusty. Radhanath Swami explains that lust originates and perpetuates from the fundamental ignorance of who we actually are. When we indulge in lust, that overwhelming experience of subordination to the body for pleasure, seals our bodily misidentification. Lust creates within us a sense of incompleteness which we struggle to fulfil by exploiting another’s body for our pleasure.

Radhanath Swami is also quick to point out that love on the other hand is based on the true understanding of our spiritual identity. We are spirit souls, emanating from the complete whole. The self is complete in the natural, eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord. Radhanath Swami reminds us, “Unfortunately we have at the present moment forgotten this relationship with God. When we revive this divine relationship, the resulting love fills us with a sense of completeness.” A natural question that comes to one’s mind is does this completeness make us indifferent to all worldly relationships? “Not at all”, exclaims Radhanath Swami with the exuberance of a child, “if we reconnect with the Supreme Lord, then we form relationships with others, not to fill our completeness, but to share our completeness. That’s why the great saintly persons across the religious traditions were able to transform thousands of lives by radiating this spiritual love.”

Radhanath Swami speaks very fondly of his own guru who transformed thousands of drug-addicted hippies into ‘spiritually-satisfied “happies”. How? Because the hippies whose motto was to rebel against every authority found him(Radhanath Swami’s guru) to be a source of unconditional, divine love and so abided by his guidance to transform their lust into love.

How can we awaken this love for God? “All bonafide scriptures recommend chanting of God’s names”, says Radhanath Swami, whose formula is very simple, “If by chanting God’s names, we can shine with love, why should we choose to burn with lust?”

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147 Comments


  1. Not to generalize and label an entire school of thought or set of practitioners is a very difficult task which Radhanath Swami could do at such a young age. Also, I learnt a very interesting and distinguishing feature of lust which makes it not just different but completely opposite to love – it senses incompleteness within us and misguides us to seek for completeness by exploiting others. And love makes us share the completeness (on relating to God) with others.

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  2. Personal experience: it takes some spiritual practice to even begin to understand the difference between the two–lust and love.

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  3. Radhanath Swami makes a very compelling point about choosing love over lust.

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  4. “If by chanting God’s names, we can shine with love, why should we choose to burn with lust?”wonderful points by Maharaj.

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  5. Radhanath Swami has shown by own example, how love conquers the lust in other people’s heart.Its difficult pray for someone who has attempted to exploit you.

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  6. Radhanath Swami is teaching us that we should not fall pray to using our position for some selfish gains. Also specifically the mood of sadhu i.e a spiritual practitioner.

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  7. Wonderful points on transforming lust to love. Although faced with so many dubious spiritual practitioners, Radhanath Swami still prayed to be able to distinguish the sincere devotees from the dubious ones, and to not lose faith. Wonderful lesson.

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  8. hrishikesh mafatlal

    Here we find the root cause of all the problems in this world—-lust, and also the final solution—–chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord.

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  9. I came across a Hindi quote written on a truck,’Assi pratishat be-imaan, phirbhi mera Bharat mahan’,which means
    ‘80% people are untrustworthy, yet my India is great.’In spirituality also we come across many hoaxes, and we tend to
    generalise and conclude that practice of spirtuality itself is not good.Here Radhanath Swami is teaching us by his example that we must seek out those 20% sincere ones and try to perfect our life.Very good lesson.

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  10. Any one meeting Radhanath Swami comes to know that he is ‘shining with love’- a perfect self realized sage.

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  11. thank you for sharing this

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  12. sangharatna bhamare

    When will that day be mine when i will develop Love for god to the highest extent, which is the only solution for all the problems. Thank you maharaj for letting us know.

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  13. “Real saintliness should be understood by a person’s behavior” such a simple but powerful test to know who is who..

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  14. From ‘LUST to LOVE’ – In the word today Lust as transmigrated across boundaries of all kinds to such an extent that it manifest in unimaginable ways. The world is facing so much crisis due to this one aspect be it for power, fame, name, religion etc the list is endless. Amongst all these bitter realities the Lord always keeps the aspect of HOPE alive. Radhanath Swamis book ‘The Journey Home’ carries one through experiences and learning’s from which we can weigh the options to work out a positive outlook to life itself.

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  15. Radhanath Swamis book ‘The Journey Home’ carries one through experiences and learning’s from which we can weigh the options to work out a positive outlook to life itself.Thank you swamiji.

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  16. Such a clear distinction between Love and Lust. And the formula for migrating to Love is also clearly delinated. Thank you Radhanath Swami.

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  17. Many times people move away from religion seeing hypocrisy but Radhanath Swami is showing us that there are genuine gurus and devotees of the Lord whose association can change the lust in our heart to pure love.

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  18. Lust creates within us a sense of incompleteness which we struggle to fulfil by exploiting another’s body for our pleasure.
    love on the other hand is based on the true understanding of our spiritual identity.
    Now I understand the difference between LOVE and LUST

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  19. Misidentifying lust as love is the biggest problem in the modern world, and the source of all anxiety… Once again Radhanath Swami hits the nail at the spot.

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  20. Despite been exploited Radhanath swami did not get disturbed and maintained his faith in genuine gurus and sincere devotees.
    A very important aspect of Radhanath swami.

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  21. I liked this experiance of seeking sincere spiritualist than reject everyone all together .

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  22. This is why most of the times even Real Saints are also critisized ….

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  23. Very nicely explained the difference between Love & Lust through this meditation.

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  24. “If by chanting God’s names, we can shine with love, why should we choose to burn with lust?” Just amazing!

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  25. Love is like gold and lowly lead is lust

    Loving the supreme Lord is our duty first

    When Love of supreme father stirs in our breast

    Translate as sympathy to all creation, it must.

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  26. Wonderfully Radhanath Swami explains how love leads to completeness and this further completeness leads to compassion.

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  27. Thankyou Radhanath Swami for sharing this fact with us

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  28. vraja bihari dasa

    radhanath swami’s ability to pray and have clarity in the midst of such bizarre events shows the substance he is made of even as a teenager. great story!!

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  29. This article clearly shows HG Radhanath Swami’s genuine desire to seek a spiritual path at that young age. Even after having horrible experience with fake Guru, he prayed to not loose faith in sincere saints. JAI!

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  30. very nice expereince and realization, eye opener for devotees who come to a conclusion very instatntly based on some facts and expereinces in their respective lives, regards, bhakti

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  31. wonderful realization and expereince of HHRM in his practise of spiritual path and with great wisdom HHRM at a very young age was able to understand the right and the wrong and continue with his path practicising spirituality, amazing, regards, rajesh

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  32. Thanks a lot for sharing

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  33. From lust to love…beautiful!

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  34. This clearly shows the difference between lust and love.thanks for sharing.

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  35. Like His Guru, Radhanath Swami by His unmotivated and unconditional love transformed millions of lives and saved them from lusty desires of this world. Thank you Radhanath Swami for taking care of us.

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  36. Radhanath swami so wonderfully through his book explains the cause of the problem and the right solution to tackle it

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  37. This shows a very wonderful quality of Radhanath Swami. Even from negative incidents, he teaches how we should take lesson and go ahead on the true path.

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  38. thank you radhanath swami for this article, its really an eye opener, everything that glitters is not a diamond,

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  39. Lust to Love, Iron to Gold

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  40. Very nice explanation Radhanath Swami has given here. If we contemplate on this, we will surely feel a great satisfaction and would be able to cure the disease of getting lusty not only for the physical pleasure, but for the material hankerings which are deep rooted in the heart.

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  41. Nice article and liked the quote the most….”How can we awaken this love for God? “All bonafide scriptures recommend chanting of God’s names”, says Radhanath Swami, whose formula is very simple, “If by chanting God’s names, we can shine with love, why should we choose to burn with lust?”

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  42. A beautiful description of lust and love. Radhanath Swami Maharaj has given a sublime process of transforming lust to love through the chanting of the Holy Names of Lord.

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  43. Beautiful article.

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  44. This is a pretty sensitive topic that is misunderstood too. Radhanath Swami is an expert at understanding and sharing the difference between this iron and gold.

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  45. Radhanath Swami has so nicely explained the real cause of lust and the difference betwwn love and lust.

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  46. Radhanath Swami clearly depicts the differences between Lust and Love. Even though both seem to be very close to each other, but there is a gulf of gap between them as one is on the material platform and love is on the spiritual side. Thanks

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  47. Shikhar Maheshwari

    Really lust is so dangerous that it can manifest itself in many ways in this world in in various situation. But that doesn’t mean that the entire gamut of spiritual practitioners of a genuine spiritual path are wrong. But to really identify the right from wrong requires purity of heart which was exhibited by HH Radhanath Swami at a very young age when he was Richard Slavin. It is only through purity of heart that attracts the mercy of Lord to follow a path to reach him as God guided HH Radhanath Swami. This is a lesson for all of us how we must aspire for such purity of heart.

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  48. Radhanath Swami was just a realized person from such a young age.

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  49. Very nice explanation of subtle differences between love & lust/…….

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