default image for post
Seeing beyond the superficial layer of faults
July 19, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

One day Richard stumbled upon a leper colony. Dozens of them surrounded Richard, pressing their deformed bodies against his, and demanded charity. Their rotting flesh was oozing blood and the stench was unbearable. Richard was angry and disgusted, but simultaneously felt compassion for them, understanding that their misery justified the behavior. After twenty minutes he was spared, and then he saw an old leper woman, in whom Richard could perceive a deep longing to give motherly love. He placed his head under her palm and received her blessings. Her face lit with joy on seeing Richard and he lost all fear of contamination by seeing her affection. Richard felt the previous suffering at the hands of so many lepers was a small price to pay for this unforgettable blessing. Richard pondered that although the woman was plagued with a despicable disease, beneath the surface she was a beautiful soul who only wanted to love and be loved. Later gazing down the rushing current of Ganges, Richard reflected,

“Today the river is exposing how we have the tendency to judge others by their surface appearance, and to find only their negative qualities. But if we search beneath the surface we discover that a myriad of strains mix together to create a particular person’s nature. The faults we perceive are likely to be the effect of circumstances, the psychological response to trauma, abuse, rejection, heartbreak, insecurity, pain, confusion, or disease. I thought of the people who had nearly killed me in Istanbul, the racists that hated the Blacks during the civil rights movement, the people who had mistreated me because of my long hair, and even myself, how I had judged the generation I’d rebelled against, thinking older Americans wrong to be so concerned with money and security when, in fact, they had lived through the Great Depression, a hardship I couldn’t fathom. If we understand the underlying cause of what we think of as bad in someone, instead of being hateful, we will be compassionate. For is not every soul inherently good? A saintly person will hate the disease but love the diseased.”

To see those who are evil and externally wicked as victims of their circumstances requires spiritual vision. Richard got this realization on seeing this old woman, and he could then see even his potential killers at Istanbul as victims, rather than being inherently bad. On the contrary he now began to see them as potentially good souls, servants of God.

Radhanath Swami loves to narrate the story of Lord Nityananda, the incarnation of God who appeared five hundred years ago. He was compassion personified, and in his desire to serve and love all, he approached two of the greatest ruffians of the time, Jagai and Madhai. Both were brothers and together performed the most abominable activities; they burnt houses, indiscriminately killed men, and raped women. Everyone in the State feared these evil brothers, as they were the law unto themselves. Nityananda felt compassion, and despite the warnings of everyone, approached the brothers and pleaded with them to to give up their despicable activities and chant the Holy names of God. In their drunken condition, they attacked Nityananda, but the Lord’s persistent appeals, touched their hearts, and they reformed. They went on to become the most saintly devotees in Bengal, India, of that time.

Our daily interactions may not be with such hardened criminals; rather it could be with loving and saintly people, sincerely endeavoring in their spiritual practices. However the tendency to find faults is so deep rooted, that we often can’t appreciate those we are living with, despite them being decorated with many saintly qualities. Our narrow view of life and standards of behavior blinds us to others’ good qualities. Radhanath Swami tirelessly trains his students to see people for their primary quality-each one is a servant and lover of God. All other qualities, behavior and lack of virtues are secondary, and they shall develop over a period of time. He appeals to all to abandon seeing others from our individual frames of reference, but rather see each person as how God would see them- with love and compassion.

Related Posts:



135 Comments


  1. I think that is the secret of loving everyone on the higher principle ‘If we understand the underlying cause of what we think of as bad in someone, instead of being hateful, we will be compassionate. For is not every soul inherently good?’ as quoted by Radhanath Swami.
    Such profound realizations of Radhanath Swami at the age of 20 and living by these principles is the sign of a very elevated and genuine saint.

    View Comment
  2. Trying to see beneath the surface and seeing the behaviour of any individual as a result of various interactions/scars of past, makes it so easy to forgive and not hold any hard feelings towards anyone. Thank you Radhanath Maharaj for such a beautiful thought and concept. Thank you!!

    View Comment
  3. Advaitachandra Das

    We are so eager to judge others on the basis of some superficial interaction…In one of Radhanath Swami’s lectures, he had said that if you judge others, then Krishna will judge you and when He judges you , you cannot escape.

    View Comment
  4. We should take this lesson & string to our hearts.Before judging anyone , consider the circumstances that might have led that person to become what he is.Thank you Maharaj.

    View Comment
  5. The experiences Radhanath Maharaja has shared with us would be only a part of what all he has experienced. I have never come across a more fascinating personality.

    View Comment
  6. suresh kanakraj

    only soul like that of radhanath swami can bring about transformations is millions and millions of lives through his own practical lifestyle,

    View Comment
  7. M. Pandurangayya Shetty

    Radhanath Swami’s realizations are really inspiring me to become more compassionate to all needy and not to find faults.

    View Comment
  8. Very nicely explained and convincingly presented fact. Radhanath Swami again and again reminds me that we have to overcome this conditioning of judging others based on their external dressing/ activities etc. Familiarity with a person also leads to judging. Thus, Radhanath Swami explains that we should ALWAYS have an element of respect towards others.

    View Comment
  9. Sheetal Maheshwari

    Fault Finding is such a deep routed disease inviting immense negative vibrations. Radhanath swami’s endeavor to teach us overcome this through his personal example of seeing good in others is such an inspiration.

    View Comment
  10. It is a learning for us how we should deal with such situations in our life and feel grateful for eveything we receive. Thank you Radhanath Maharaja for this great lesson

    View Comment
  11. So much to ponder upon and learn from this article. You beautifully put together what Radhanath Swami wants to convey through this particular experience of hi; our tendency to find faults in others, never even bothering to think about the underliying causes and power of compassion.

    View Comment
  12. It is wonderfully stated by Radhanath Swami during his meditation in this article ‘If we understand the underlying cause of what we think of as bad in someone, instead of being hateful, we will be compassionate.’

    View Comment
  13. All GLories to H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj

    If only we were to TAKE EVERY ADVICE TO OUR HEART AND DILIGENTLY practice it, the world will one day truly become a wonderful place. Only a devotee can help other fellow humans to make this dream come true

    Hare Krishna!

    View Comment
  14. One should be elevated to see others with compassion and with love no matter how the other person is and Radhanath swami is a great soul.

    View Comment
  15. Wow, this is a great view Radhanath Swami is giving. Always I have been having filters which try to read only the bad or weakness in others. But Radhanath Swami is now showing that all this time, I was missing to see Krishna in them all and all this time I have been trying to find faults in Krishna Himself.

    View Comment
  16. Our tendency to judge others stems from seeing things from our viewpoint.But when we see things from God’s viewpoint , we will understand things in a better perspective.This is so beautifully evident in this story

    View Comment
  17. Radhanath swami is a true saint. All his actions bear witness to this. All glories to him.

    View Comment
  18. In this material body, we are all illusioned and superficial. But we dont see it. Only when we come in association with a saint like HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj, we see beyond our illusion and superficiality. We learn from Maharaj how to perceive all living entitites,as part and parcel of Krishna. Hari Bol!

    View Comment
  19. This is beautiful story and realization by Radhanath Swami. Unless one is very deeply situated in spiritual consciousness or atleast trying to have that, one cannot get such jewels of realization.

    View Comment
  20. Maharaj teaches us to broaden our narrow view of life and see the good in people.Thank you Maharaj.You are truly inspirational

    View Comment
  21. malathi santosh

    Radhanath Swami please bless so that I may cultivate at least a small percentage of the humble and compassionate mood you have!

    View Comment
  22. We need to constantly remind ourselves never to be judgemental.

    View Comment
  23. Thank you Maharaj for showing us the way to be tolerant and compassionate and our delaing sshould be on soul platform.

    View Comment
  24. Our narrow view of life and standards of behavior blinds us to others’ good qualities.Wonderful points by H H Radhanath Swami.

    View Comment
  25. Radhanath Swami teaches his disciples to be more humble than a straw in the street, to be more tolerant than a tree, and to give all respects to others and to expect none for oneself. Radhanath Swami is a living example of this!

    View Comment
  26. Humans have very bad tendency to judge people from their external bad behaviour, however if we start analysing a person with reasons,it would be easy for us to be compassionate for that person,and think positive.

    View Comment
  27. This incident of Radhanath Swami’s interaction with the lepers reminds us of Mother Teresa. Indeed, Radhanath Swami is as saintly & compassionate as Mother Teresa. He is not influenced by the outwardly physical appearance of a person. He simply cares about the soul inside.

    View Comment
  28. This is one of best and touching part of The Journey Home Book….which I like the most….Most practical in the life of each and everyone of us….must ponder on…!!!

    View Comment
  29. Shikhar Maheshwari

    “The law of this world is ‘We get the qualities of whoever we associate with'” – HH Radhanath Swami

    View Comment
  30. krishnashakti dd

    Although the woman was plagued with a despicable disease, beneath the surface Radhanath Swami saw a beautiful soul who only wanted to love and be loved. Radhanath Maharaj is grateful, compassionate and takes things positively.He loves every living entity.

    View Comment
  31. Hrishikesh Mafatlal

    This is among the most difficult lessons of life—not to hate someone who tries to harm you but try to see the underlying cause for the person’s behaviour. Radhanath Swami is the first person I came across who simply lives this principle. That is why people who have barely known him, are eager to open up to him even more than to their own parents/spouse/children.

    View Comment
  32. There is so much we can learn from Radhanath Maharaj.
    Fault finding is a very big impediment for progressing in devotional life. A sincere sadhaka should make all possible efforts to avoid finding faults and make it a habit to find good in every person and every situation. Hari Hari.

    View Comment
  33. As Krishna Says in BG ‘Panditah sama darshinah’. This can be seen from this practical experience of a real sadhu. Thanks for sharing.

    View Comment
  34. It is so easy to find faults in others but so difficult to look beneath the surface to find the genuine soul that is awaiting to give and receive love.

    View Comment
  35. Hypocrisy and quarrelsome nature are the two most deadly disease of modern world. Now how to come over these bad qualities is nicely explained by Radhanath Swami. Loving other person by overseeing their minor faults will lead to disappearance of quarrelsome atmosphere and transform it in to very lovable interaction with each other.

    We should try to make a humble and sincere effort to adopt this quality as told by Radhanath Swami.

    View Comment
  36. “see each person as how God would see them- with love and compassion”
    Only a saint like Maharaj can think this.

    View Comment
  37. When Radhanath Swami looks at u, he looks right through all the superficial layers; into ur soul! and u feel completely exposed!

    View Comment
  38. Radhanath maharaj is doing real compassion on us by guiding us how to make people happy, as Lord nityananand prabhu made Jaghai -madhai

    View Comment
  39. Radhanath Swami has demonstrated that we need look below the surface and not judge them by mere externals. This article has changed my perception of how I view and judge people. It is difficult but worth trying to imbibe this value.

    View Comment
  40. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for giving us vision for seeing beyond the superfical layer of faults.

    View Comment
  41. He appeals to all to abandon seeing others from our individual frames of reference, but rather see each person as how God would see them- with love and compassion… Radhanath Swami, because of his deep connection with God, is able to see everyone in the same way as God would see them. To become God conscious, we need to be conscious of God and also to get conscious of God.

    View Comment
  42. Srinivas Acharya Das

    Trying to see beneath the external faults as the soul is eternally pure, requires deep realizations and thorough training. A Vaisnava is one who can look beyond the dualities of good and bad in other people and try to inspire them to serve Krishna.

    View Comment
  43. amazing narration. Radhanath swami’s experiences truly enriches our lives.

    View Comment
  44. Uday Krishnamurti Koppikar

    Hate the desease not the deseased-beautiful realisation of Radhanath Swami.Recently during my visit to Hrishikesh I happened to visit this lepor colony and could see behind the ugly desease they too have a beautiful heart.

    View Comment
  45. Shoba Fernandes

    Only a person like Radhanath Swami Maharaj whose heart is filled with love can share that love with others

    View Comment
  46. BALRAM DULAL DAS

    GREAT THOUGHTS

    View Comment
  47. ARJUN PRANA DAS

    WONDERFUL

    View Comment
  48. NITAIPADKAMAL DAS

    VERY TRUE

    View Comment
  49. ALL GLORIES TO GURU & GAURANGA

    View Comment
  50. Beautiful words.

    View Comment

Leave a Reply