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Personal inconveniences for pleasing others
September 16, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

On his journey northeast to Nepal, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) arrived at Patna and met Narayan Prasad and his guru Rama Sevaka Swami. Rama Sevaka Swami was a practicing bhakti yogi and his devotion to Lord Rama moved Richard deeply. He learnt about the behavior of an honest and genuine holy man.

While staying at Rama Sevaka Swami’s temple, one evening a visiting sadhu offered to cook for all. He cooked kichari made with rice, mung, and some potatoes. With the first bite, Richard (now Radhanath Swami)’s mouth blazed, as the kichari was unbearably spicy. While eating the kichari, Richard was sweating profusely, and in the excruciating pain he hiccupped uncontrollably. The others however were enjoying it so much they never could have dreamt of Richard’s suffering. The cook insisted on serving seconds and then thirds. Richard’s attempt to block his plate failed, and the cook was very pleased with Richard’s honoring the food.

Ever since he was a child, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) had always felt bad when he caused other people sorrow. So intent was the cook on pleasing them that Richard didn’t have the heart to reveal the pain the cook was causing him. Richard had tears in his eyes caused by the kichari, but the cook thought Richard was crying in gratitude. Radhanath Swami narrates in his autobiography:

“Yes, I’m crying, and it may as well be in gratitude, as he believes. To please others is not always easy, but it is part of my deepest nature to wish to do so. Enduring the burning pain of that food was a small price to please this sadhu.”

Pleasing others is difficult. I may want to please someone by taking him out for a movie. However he may like a game of cricket instead. A critical aspect of pleasing others, I now learn from Radhanath Swami, is to understand what the other person wants. I can’t impose my liking or dislikes on another and expect him to like the same. We are all uniquely different. Each one of us has unique likes and dislikes. I grew up hating one vegetable preparation, karela, but my family loved it. I could never understand how they enjoyed it so much while they too were perplexed by my dislike for the prep. I now learn that an essential part of pleasing others is to be willing to give up our conceptions of likes and dislikes, and accept some inconveniences voluntarily.

I guess for a person to be a spiritual leader of the stature of Radhanath Swami, one has to really extend oneself to please others. I wonder how Richard who loved to live in solitude, now as Radhanath Swami manages a huge community of devotees and inspires them in their spiritual lives. He is constantly surrounded by people who approach him for advice and guidance. His interactions leave people happy and encouraged. But that must be quite a price to pay. His privacy and comforts are disturbed, as he has to always extend himself for others.  But the same mood that drove Richard is now inspiring Radhanath Swami- to serve others even if it means personal inconveniences.

Radhanath Swami’s account reminds me of an interesting experience I had in college. My two friends had a big argument and they swore never to talk to each other. Later they individually felt and confided to me in private that I should mediate and settle the dispute. I didn’t want to and was disgusted with the squabbles that they always had. Reluctantly, with great struggle I called for a meeting and I spent time trying to make each person appreciate the other. It took hours and in the end both of them were crying tears of gratitude to me, thanking me for resolving their misunderstanding. Now after reading Radhanath Swami’s autobiography I wonder if with great reluctance to please someone, I actually landed up pleasing them, how much more meaningful my life would be if I actually intend to please and serve others.

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127 Comments


  1. Haribol… Maharaj is so sensitive to others feelings. This is true nature of the advanced devotee of the Lord.

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  2. Real service is pleasing someone according to his/her desire, while going through some voluntarily inconveniences.Like Maharajah did, but most of the times we please people according to our desire.

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  3. Its really difficult to please somebody as per that persons desire. Radhanath Swami’s greatness is visible hear by his bahaviour.

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  4. What an attitude….

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  5. In this world full of selfish people, it is very diffcult to find selfless people like Radhanath Swami who consider others’ pleasures and pains more important than one’s own self.

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  6. Heart touching statement “essential part of pleasing others is to be willing to give up our conceptions of likes and dislikes, and accept some inconveniences voluntarily.” and we ca see the same in the life of Radhanath swami maharaj. Thanks for this valuable lesson.Please keep posting such inspiring blogs.

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  7. such a great learning, to extend ourselves to serve others, selflessly!
    thnks maharaj for teaching us!

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  8. Very nice article by Swamiji…….it is very very difficult to strive to please others in all situations like Radhanath Swami……he is a great example for everyone to follow…..

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  9. These are such beautiful and golden words we all should remember forever in our hearts to make others happy and there by please guru and Krishna. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful meditation.

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  10. Manish Raikundalia

    Simply amazing!!

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  11. This is probably the most difficult instruction from Maharaj. More difficult than abstinence and following the regulative principles. But, we should follow in Maharaj’s footsteps and make an attempt to reach out to people and things we dislike. Hari Bol!

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  12. Thank you Maharaj for your motive to serve others even if it means personal inconveniences.

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  13. The greatest joy is to see the joy of others. Thank you Maharaj

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  14. thank you for writing about this deeply meditative subject. it’s very timely for me.

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  15. hrishikesh mafatlal

    Radhanath Swami is showing the way of selfless attitude. Thus it is no surprise that everyone wants to flock towards him.

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  16. Radhanath Swami Maharaj always insists on putting others before himself. He practices the words- Those who are last are first in eyes of God-from Bible.

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  17. Radhanath Swami has repeated this many times in his spiritual discourses that the Supreme Lord Krishna is pleased most when we try to please others at the cost of our own comforts & conveniences.

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  18. The greatness of Radhanath Swami is that he follows his heart in all situations. This requires great determination. We often hear that tiny voice of God telling us what to do and what not to do, but we succumb to our desires instead.

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  19. Maharaj always insists on being compassionate towards others feelings.This is one of the beautiful article which can not only improve our life but also get lots of good wishes from people around us.

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  20. wonderful,thank you

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  21. Love means service. Service means sacrifice.
    –Radhanath Swami.

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  22. To always be in a mood of pleasing others is very difficult. Its easy to be so once in a week, but to be so every moment, that takes great strength of character.

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  23. Thanks for sharing these meditations.
    Really it is very difficult to please others unless we are ready to forgo our own likes and dislikes. Radhanath Swami always meditates on how to please and help each person who comes in contact with him to advance in his spiritual path.

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  24. Radhanath Swami has himself undergone many discomforts & personal inconveniences for others’ pleasure. He is selflessly propagating the Holy Names of God in this mood of complete surrender to the Will of God.

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  25. one has to really extend oneself to please others and it is difficult . But when one associate with a person like Radhanath Swami who has dedicated his life for the benifit of others , this difficult service appears simple.

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  26. “Me first” intentionally or unintentionally though, this aspect of ourselves some how surfaces within us.At times we are so good in putting up an act it goes unnoticed. Radhanath Swami’s teachings help us to overcome this sort of mentality

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  27. This is real love

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  28. Maharaj is so sensitive, caring and understanding to the needs of others. Simply like a ghee lamp which is happy to burn for the illumination of others.

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  29. Maharaj has shown us the mood of pleasing others even if sometimes it provides some discomfort

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  30. This story reminds me that Radhanath Swami really steps down to our level and deals with us in a manner only to please us. He is a spiritual man and we are material men, still he takes the pains to please us.

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  31. Radhanth teasches us a very powerful lesson that pleasing someone means to do what the person likes not not what you like to do

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  32. I am reminded of the innumerable opportunities i had and missed in my life to please those around me. I can only pray that this incident inspires me to sacrifice more of my time and energy for others.

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  33. Radhanath Swami Maharaj has lived the whole life by extending himself so much. I also wish to imbibe his mood by trying my best to please others.

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  34. This beautiful description of the most valuable interactions between two human beings – that of love and sacrifice – reminds me about an observation on the roles in Ramayana – each person lives for the happiness of others and, in the satisfaction of striving for that, is oblivious to the inconveniences to his/her body and mind.

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  35. a genuine expression of compassion

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  36. Radhanath Swami teaches this constantly through his words and here we see through his example also – To be willing to sacrifice to make others happy

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  37. Rashanath Swami Maharaj knows how to please the Lord and how to please everyone to bring them closer to God.

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  38. This is real love.Thanks to Radhanath Swami

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  39. Sanjay Subramanian

    our instant reaction in the face of adversity is anger and then slowly – if at all – comes thoughtful action. It is wonderful to see Radhanath Swami show deep thought and love under all circumstances, whatever be the provocation

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  40. Thank you very much Maharaj for showing us the way of selfless attitude.

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  41. “Yes, I’m crying, and it may as well be in gratitude, as he believes. To please others is not always easy, but it is part of my deepest nature to wish to do so. Enduring the burning pain of that food was a small price to please this sadhu.”

    This is very special & rare quality to be found in a person. So this shows that even before Radhanath Swami Maharaj was such a selfless person.

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  42. To please others is not always easy, but it is part of my deepest nature to wish to do so.Really this is in built system in Radhanath Maharaj and he is the emblem of Humility.

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  43. I recently heard that a Rishi is
    1) One who is pained to see others in pain
    2) He knows what is true welfare of others
    3) He takes all pains & inconveniences for others

    Radhanath Swami perfectly fits into the definition of a Rishi.

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  44. Maharaj’s selfless attitute is truly amazing.. There is so much we can learn from him..

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  45. Mele Parambottil S

    H.H.Radhanath Swami’s life is all full of inspirations for the world.

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  46. Tallam Sita Ramaiah

    Genuine service is pleasing others according to his/her desire, while voluntarily accepting inconveniences. Maharajah did so. But most of the times, people try to serve according to their desire. H.H radhanath Swami Maharaj endured so many difficulties for this noble ideal.

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  47. Maharaj you have been practising this for years…please bless us that we can follow your mood of selfless service.

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  48. Thank you for sharing wonderful article.

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  49. To please others is not always easy, but it is part of my deepest nature to wish to do so – I aspire to realize this. Thank you maharaj for expressing your feelings so vivdly that we could take immense lessons from them.

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