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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. Divine love is fulfilling whereas bodily love is lust…this is so clear when explained by Maharaj. Just chanting the name of God can make us shine with love…this is so enlightening!
    Thank you Maharaj.

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  2. A very important lesson. thank you very much..

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  3. Such deep understanding cannot be learnt from the usual columns that appear in the common reading materials. Thank you very much Radhanath Swami

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  4. This is a very important lesson to learn. It is lust which is responsible for one’s fall down. Thank you Mharaj.

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  5. Thank you Radahnath Swami Maharaj for the great lesson on one of the most criticial issues one faces in spiritual life or otherwise.

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  6. M Pandu Rangayya Shetty

    Chanting of the holy names of God can change the heart of every person.Even lust is transformed in to love.Good explanation. All glories to Radhanath Swami.

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  7. Every incident described in Radhanatha Swami’s book teaches us a vital lesson.

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  8. People loose faith in religion because of these kind of fake sadhus.

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  9. “I prayed that this incident would not create doubt in my mind toward the sincere devotees.” This is the right stance that we all should cultivate to make real progress in the world today. Thank you Radhanath Swami.

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  10. Hare Krishna. Thank you

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

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  12. If it was anyone other than Radhanath Swami he might have left the country and become an atheist. If one is sincere then Krishna personally takes care and as Radhanath Swami says we can become sincere by seriosuly taking up to the chanting of the holy name.

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  13. Amazing truth whish we try to ignore….thank u so much radhanath swami

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  14. This experience of Radhanath Swami reminds us of , Arjun’s famous question to Lord Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. As to what is that thing, by which even though unwillingly a person is dragged to commit sinful activities? The answer from Lord Shri Krishna come forth as LUST only. The above experience epitomizes this phenomenon so aptly and Radhanath Swamis guidance as per the scriptures is like a shinning lamp which helps one to understand how to address these difficult issues entrapping one and all.

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  15. wonderful,thank you

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  16. chanting of the holy names is the only way to awaken that love thanks to Radhanath swami we are able to understand and practice this in our lives

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  17. Thanks Maharaj

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  18. Lust creates a sense of incompleteness – what an insight! And love creates a sense of completeness. The choice is easy, isn’t it? At least theoretically!

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  19. Thank you very much for sharing such a wonderful article. It is really pathetic situation when we identify ourselves with body.
    By chanting Holy Names of Lord, one can come out of this bodily conception and come to the level of soul.

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  20. Radhanath swami maharaj always has blessed all of us with his wonderful teachings.

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  21. Radhanath Swami’s stand or prayer of not judging every devotee based on his encounter in this one incident is very much appreciated.

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  22. Arjun K Ramachandra

    How clear it is! Radhanath Swami leaves no stone unturned in pointing out the difference between love and lust!Love leaves us with a feeling of completeness and satisfaction while lust burns us to ashes!

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  23. Let us all follow Radhanath Swami’ example and move from lust toward love for all.

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  24. jai maharaj! feel so protected under ur shelter.

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  25. Thank you Radhanath Swami for such a high example – how we should be careful with lust & at the same time not judge people based on one example.

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  26. A nice experience is shared with us by Radhanath Swami.Despite of all odds he never lost faith in God and real Guru and because of such a strong faith Radhanath Swami could meet Srila Prabhupad.Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  27. what is most amazing , as pointed out by the author ,is Radhanath Swami Maharaj did not loose his faith despite being very new at that time. He believed that there are genuine saintly persons even though there might be many fake persons .

    “Mistaking lust for love is the single greatest tragedy of the modern world”
    this is also a great statement.

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  28. Thank You GuruMaharaj, Your book and every word has been very enlightening every time I read anything and any page from it.

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  29. This incident also brings forth that Richard (Radhanath Swami) was not really much intersted in talking about others faults and was also tolerant. The very way he explains the incident shows that he didn’t go around accusing the pseudo guru.

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  30. Thanks for sharing, plz keep posting such wonderful blogs.

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  31. This is the true nature of the world without KC…

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  32. Maharaj always view things from positive point of view and this incident shows this.. thanks for sharing.. JAI !!!

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  33. Radhanath Swami convinces us thoroughly of the hopelessness of lust and the great importance of love, which can be awakened by chanting of God’s holy names.

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  34. Maharajah ponited out so clearly
    “Mistaking lust for love is the single greatest tragedy of the modern world”.
    Love is for God only and that can be attained in this age by
    the simple process of chanting the Holy Name of the Lord.

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  35. Lust degrades our consciousness whereas true love(spiritual love for God) nourishes our consciousness & our very existence.

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  36. Radhanath Swami Maharaj has pointed out the difference between lust & love!

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  37. Radhanath Swami’s inner consciousness and understanding even as a spiritual seeker is so deep and clear – much better than so many so called sadhus and saints.

    On our own when we look how we and this world is affected by lust – there seems to be no hopes.

    However there are the miracle makers like Radhanath Swami and his guru Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami who have done this impossible feat day-in day-out!

    Why not be part of the miracle? Rid ourselves of lust and experience true love?

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  38. Thank you Radhanath Swami for explaining this difference between lust and love. As Radhanath Swami concludes, chanting of holy names of Lord awakens our innate selfless love.

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  39. thank you maharaj for this wonderful insight

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  40. It is true that because of some cheaters who pose themselves as saints, people in general have lost their faith in genuine saints in particular & spirituality in general

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  41. amazing story with so much to learn from

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  42. Thank you Radhanath Swami from your example teaching us how the lust is very dangerous for us.

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  43. wonderful…

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  44. This world is full of cheaters, but there still are some genuine people. We should pray to the Lord that we are guided to the genuine people and protected from the fake.

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  45. thank you mahraj ,for really telling from your heart that by chanting holy name of God we can transform our lust into love.

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  46. 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. — LOVE YOU FOR THIS ATTITUDE

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  47. I am touched by the sincerity of Radhanath Swami , inspite of being cheated he was not swayed from his search for true path .

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