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One man’s food is another’s poison
April 18, 2011  |  radhanath-swami

On entering India, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) travelled from Firozpur to old Delhi. He unwittingly succumbed to a bhang drink, an intoxicating beverage. Still reeling under its effect, Richard realized a snake charmer had wrapped a monstrous twelve feet long and three inches thick serpent around his hips. The serpent’s face was only inches from Richard’s and he could practically feel and smell its breath. Richard’s heart pounded and his limbs trembled as the snake tightened its grip. The snake charmer demanded money and Richard didn’t have any. Richard desperately prayed and felt inner peace. Finally a sympathetic man bargained with the snake charmer and got Richard released.

This was a culture shock for Richard. Never before had he seen such a spectacle as he witnessed in India. Never before had he seen monkeys frolicking freely. The teeming crowd of millions was a never before witnessed sight for Richard. Curious to experience the food and customs of India, he unknowingly ate a red-hot chilli pepper; this was the first one Richard had ever seen or tasted. The other Indians however ate as if it was a red candy; they had no expression on their faces. Richard realized ‘one man’s food is another man’s poison.’ Radhanath Swami writes that the world is so relative; what is enjoyed by one person creates suffering for another.

Radhanath Swami has beautifully elucidated the relative nature of this world in his teachings. He offers an interesting analysis. For example if you ask a dentist, “How’s business” and he replies, “Fantastic”, what do you conclude? His prosperity is dependent on other’s dental problems. The dental problem is then called as a relative problem of this world because it isn’t a problem for all. For the dentist, dental problems in society are a blessing in disguise. Are rains problem or a boon? For an umbrella seller, rains are a benediction and he wishes it rains the whole year. A vegetable producer or a farmer could be miserable if the rains shower the whole year; his produce is then negatively affected. What about corruption, over population, unemployment and a plethora of other issues plaguing the Nation? Are they real problems affecting all or are they relative problems.

 

Radhanath Swami once spoke about an interview he read of a multi-millionaire industrialist from Mumbai who was asked what his heart’s deepest desire was. He wished to go to a remote village in the Northern India and relax amidst Nature and a life of minimum necessities. Radhanath Swami then asked us, “If you ask a simple villager living there what his heart-felt desire was what would be his reply?” Radhanath Swami himself answered, “I reasonably assume he would wish to make it big in Mumbai. Both men would seek to trade places for the grass is greener on the other side!!”

 

That’s material world for you, says Radhanath Swami. On hearing Radhanath Swami’s explanation I recall an anecdote I read in school of Emperor Darius, the king of Persia. Once, he summoned the Greeks who happened to be present at his court, and asked them what they would take to eat the dead bodies of their fathers. They replied that they would not do it for any money in the world. Later, in the presence of the Greeks, and through an interpreter, so that they could understand what was said, he asked some members of the tribe called Callatiae, who do in fact eat their parents’ dead bodies, what they would take to burn them. They uttered a cry of horror and forbade him to mention such a dreadful thing. That’s how cultures could be different!

 

 

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111 Comments


  1. The world is so cruel even to sincere souls. But the sincere souls never give up. Radhanath Swami is the example.

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  2. Thanks very much for the nice intruction

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  3. The grass is greener on the other side – Radhanath Swami’s statement reflects strongly upon the fact that in this material world, no one is truly satisfied.

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  4. its really a relative world

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  5. Dr. Vivekanand Shanbhag

    Radhanath Swami’s views are great. thanks for sharing

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  6. Shyam Bihari Das

    Each of us have our inherent nature, and we like or dislike based on our nature. You can bring a horse to a pond but you cannot force him to drink water. This nature defines us and HH Radhanath Maharaj has so nicely explained the paradox between natures. Thank you.

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  7. Jitendra Pardeshi

    Material world as seen and analysed by the great soul. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

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  8. Radhanath Swami explains the relative nature of this material world so that we can sincerely desire & work for attaining absolute world.

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  9. Radhanath Swamis experiences draw our attention to the fact of the dualities of life itself.

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  10. That reminds of one culture shock , which i received . It was when I came to know of one society wherein the host offers his wife for one night to guest he receives .This was really a shock to me then my whole way to look towards this world was put on trial. then eventually I come to know about absolute standard which is transcendental to this relative world. thank u swamiji for elaborating on this.

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  11. Deep realizations shared by His Holiness Radhanath Swami. Jai !!

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  12. rambaboo maheshwari

    MY REPEATED THANKS FOR THESE SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS.

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  13. Arjun K Ramachandra

    The grass is always greener on the other side – How true this statement is and how relative this world is! Thank you for sharing this enlightening article.

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  14. Very beautiful explanation of the concept through this experience of Radhanath Swami.

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  15. amazing tales. thank u.

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  16. Great to know! thanks you so much for sharing.

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  17. HH Radhanath Swami has shown immense tolerance levels in searching for the right path for perfection in life.

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  18. Thrilling story. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Simply wonderful.Thank you so much for sharing.

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  20. Radhanath Swami explains how this world is not a perfect place to live as the things in this world mean differently to different species. The only way to be happy is to transcend this material world and go back to the spiritual world where everything is absolute.

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  21. A very important fact of life. Thank you very much Radhanath Swami for bringing out this truth.

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  22. Thank you Radhanath Maharaj for explaining the relative nature of the material world & the e.g of Industrialist and the Villager.

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  23. Yes. This statement is true. One man’s food can be another man’s poison

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  24. Tallam Sita Ramaiah

    Distant hill looks smooth. The statement of H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaja’s statement reflects strongly on the fact that in this material world, no one is really happy.

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  25. Radhanath Swami performed so many austerity to search for the absolute truth, and we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to hear from him.

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  26. Nice examples exposing the relative world.

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  27. Great message from Radhanath Swami. This is the reality of this material world.

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  28. Thankyou Radhanath Swami to remind us time and again about the dualities of this world, so that we remain alert, that this material world is indeed a place of misery.

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  29. Thank you for sharing this part of the Journey Home book. Radhanath Swami has share so many of such enlightening episodes and we feel like reading the book over and over again.

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  30. Thank you Radhanath Swamiji for alerting us about this relative nature of the world.It will help us in dealings of this world.Thank you for haring with us.

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  31. Swamiji is revealing the bitter truth of this material world…..truly everyone thinks ‘Grass is greener on the other side’….

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  32. Grass is always green on the other side…

    Radhanath swami maharaj’s illustration of industrialist and the villager is very fitting here…

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  33. Quite right. We may feel happy about certain things which is hurting others in some way.

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  34. Shantipur Nath Das

    great article. thanx

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  35. Radhanath Swami’s teachings encompass the truths with wonderful analogies which help us to understand the matter quite easily.

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  36. Thanks for sharing this.

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  37. Contradictions of this world are very well illustrated by Radhanath Swami.

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  38. Maharaj has explained very wonderfully through his own example and through the illustrations of red chilly,dentist,farmer and industralist. Thank you Maharaj

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  39. The example of rich man from city & poorman from village is very astonishing……thanks for sharing your realisations swamiji…..

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  40. Thank you Maharajah for reminding us that it is relative world but because of our excessive greed to enjoy we forget to realize it.

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  41. One man’s meat is another man’s poison – I never understood this so clearly before I read this piece.

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  42. very nicely explain. thank you very much

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  43. Amongst all the relative differences of this material world, Radhanath Swami does a fabulous job in seeing the unifying hand of the will of the Lord.

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  44. Cruelty of the world is ever existing and most of time forces to
    innocent people. Radhanath Swami is such a great soul who didn’t give up and shows his tolerance to handle situation like this.

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  45. It is really true as Radhanath Swmi says that one man may find pleasure in the same activity as another man finds is repelling. The problems and nature of problems in this world are relative.

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  46. Grass is greener on the other side, as Radhanath Maharaj rightly points out. We should be satisfied with what Krishna has given us. I heard in Bhakti Rasamrita Swami’s lecture that if all the trees were pencils, water in oceans was ink and the sky was paper, and one had to write all the desires in one’s heart, all the trees would be gone, all the oceans would dry up and the sky would prove insufficient 🙂

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  47. Amazing article depicting true nature of material world.

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