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Swami Cidananda – an emblem of simplicity
July 13, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

Meditations on The Journey Home – Lesson from Chapter 2

Inspirations 
from 
‘The
 Journey 
Home ‐ 
Autobiography
 of 
an 
American
 Swami’

Richard now headed to Rishikesh, and at ‘The Divine Life Mission’ founded by Swami Sivananda, he met his successor, Swami Cidananda Saraswati. Swami Cidananda was from an incredibly wealthy family from South India, and around the age of twenty, heard a calling to serve God. He worked hard, serving lepers, building huts for them. He spoke to Richard on the urgent need to attain God realization, without which this rare human life is a waste. He also emphasised on the need to abandon selfishness, and work hard to remove the weeds of negativities from the heart. He stressed on achieving God realization through mantra japa, recitation of God’s holy names. One evening he described Richard’s travels in great detail, voicing Richard’s intimate thoughts. Richard was particularly awestruck to meet someone with such power, and yet remain so simple and kind.

It’s easy to be simple when we have nothing. When success and fame comes our way, the weeds of pride also creep in, and then to remain firmly footed on simplicity and strong moral and ethical character is a challenge. Swami Cidananda’s simplicity touched Richard’s heart, and he found the Swami to be extremely friendly, respectful and humble.

My first meeting with Radhanath Swami gave me the same feelings. Although thousands flock to hear him, and shower him with lot of respect, when I went to his room, I was pleasantly surprised to see him seated on the floor with a simple mat. The walls had simple mud plasters, and he didn’t even have an attached toilet. Twelve years later I see he continues to stay in the same simple set up. Many times his students insisted that they shift him to a better house, or get an air conditioner for his room. Radhanath Swami refused any of these facilities. His room is at the centre of the monks’ ashram, and the constant noise from the resident quarters of the hundred plus members’ of the ashram can be unsettling. Yet Radhanath Swami not only has no complaints, he is happy in this setup.

Radhanath Swami warns that unless we work hard and serve others, cultivating simplicity of thought and lifestyle, we can’t become dear to God. He emphasises humble menial service to be more pleasing to God than our lofty discourses, filled with pride. “Performing some menial service to men of God is of great spiritual value, much greater than just holding high ranking positions in society”, says Radhanath Swami. His definition of ‘simple’ is simple, yet profound: “Simple means what is inside is outside. We should not try to pretend to be something we are not. We should not act in such a way that people think we are very advanced.”

I find him similar to his description of Swami Cidananda in other ways too. He too had the comforts of a loving American family but left home at the age of nineteen, and heard a calling of God. For six years he lived as a monk in an austere monastery, on a secluded mountaintop that one had to plod a three mile muddy footpath through a forest to reach. The snow-blanketed winters were frigid there and he had no heat. To bathe, he used a rock to break a layer of ice, and then dipped in the icy water. His sanitation system was to climb down a hill with shovel in hand and bury his waste in the mud. He works tirelessly hard even today, at the age of sixty. Like Swami Cidananda, he too stresses on mantra japa, and daily chants a minimum of twenty-five thousand names of the Lord on his prayer beads.

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115 Comments


  1. By reading this book, one will come to know that how we can be become Simple and remain simple in each and every situation in their lives. It’s really difficult to follow it but not impossible.

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  2. For somebody like Radhanath Swami whose consciousness is deeply connected with Spirituality, they see the Lords hand in all aspects of life and hence remain a humble but very powerful instrument in hands of God.

    However the deep connectivity does not come free. Radhanath Swami’s life in every step is a miracle – how he sincerely struggled to find the way to God and how he practised at every moment – what he had learnt, never failing to any temptations

    Now he is not putting an Intellectual Property rights on it and charging royalty to teach others, but selfless shares the opportunity with everyone…

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  3. Radhanath Swami has an heart is so pure. Radhanath Swami is the one who is most successful in this world in achieving the real truth and yet he is so humble.

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  4. HARISH LINESWALA

    it’s easy to be simply sucessful but difficult to be sucessfully simple as portrayed by our beloved Gurudev.

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  5. Radhanath Swami Maharaj is the ambassador.

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  6. Radhanath Swami Maharaj is the ambassador of simplicity.

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  7. I pray to the Lord that I become simple as Radhanath swami wants us to be.

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  8. perfect definition of simplicity..

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  9. Hrishikesh Mafatlal

    Radhanath Swami and Swami Chidanand both have shown that deep determination to seek God can overcome even affluent up-bringings—-a very difficult feat indeed.

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  10. Swami ji my heart meleted when I read the story on simplicity

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  11. physician assistant

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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  12. In our current worldly lifestyles simple life is most difficult to follow. But both Radhanath Swami and Swami Cidanand have inspired me to practise through their own example making simple life simple to live.

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  13. What I am missing in my I got after I read Radhanath Swamis Autobiography, that is simplicity.

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  14. Radhanath swami has a very simple life and loves to serve.
    So he is very dear to god and to all of us.

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  15. H.H.Radhanath Swami is a spiritual leader whose walk is his talk and whose talk is his walk

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  16. I have read the book & the journey of H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj is inspiring all of us. It is said in Sanskrit -“Prayatnanti Parameshwar”. All the hardships faced by him finally resulted in reaching to The God’s Own Country.

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  17. HH Radhanatha Swami Maharaj ki Jai

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  18. Radhanath swami is a humility personified

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  19. suresh kanakraj

    simple techniques to be simple is doings things in a truly natural way, that is radhanath swami,

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  20. the embassdor of simplicity

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  21. Radhanath Swami is abode of such qualities.

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  22. M. Pandurangayya Shetty

    Radhanath Swami is an exemplary for others. His each act is to please Krishna. His simple living is the symbol of surrender to Krishna. It is really a good inspiration.

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  23. Duruvan Kanniah

    Hare Krishna, I pray to cultivate simplicity and serve everyone with a true heart

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  24. All great souls like HH Radhanath swami natuarally are simple in all their delaings. Especially, HH Radhanath Swami shows us the way to lead a simple life by His own example.

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  25. Beautiful definition of Simple!

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  26. Radhanath Swami is very simple……he completely exemplifies Srila Prabhupad’s statement “Simple living & High thinking”

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  27. it was very interesting to read http://www.radhanath-swami.net
    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

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  28. the book ‘the journey home’ is really a heart transforming book

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  29. Radhanath swami epitomises the saying ‘Simple Living and High Thinking’. Thus it is narural that he has become very dear to everyone

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  30. if you like you can add our link in your site.
    Regards

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  31. He always gives teachings through his personal humble behavior.

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  32. Simple means what is inside is outside. We should not try to pretend to be something we are not.

    We should not act in such a way that people think we are very advanced.

    This is a very powerful statement and can come from the heart of a pure person only and Radhanth Swami is a live example of this.

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  33. Dattatraya Choudhari

    Radhanathswami Maharaj by his simplicity &humility always exibit real love for God &others.

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  34. Dattatraya Choudhari

    A simple heart is a pure place to the Lord to manifest.And a simple herted person only can understand others simplicity.In Journeny Home Radhanathswami emits the quality of simplicity by glorifying Ghanashambaba.

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  35. Very nice article.

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  36. All Glories To H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj

    What better example of Maharaj for exemplifying and then living in simplicity.

    Its a virtue that we may find difficult to practice, as we are endeavouring for more and more comfort in our life, but if determined we can also if not emulate, at least take to the practice of simplicity.

    Hare Krishna

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  37. “Simple means what is inside is outside”
    All glories to HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

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  38. Really Radhanath Swami Maharaj is so simple in his life, thank you very much for detailing out all these incidents from the life of Maharaj. I also liked the following lines:

    “Performing some menial service to men of God is of great spiritual value, much greater than just holding high ranking positions in society.”

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  39. Radhanath Swami’s own simplicity has made him appreciate Swami Chidanand’s simplicity.

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  40. I love your articles or blog posts on your blog but the Rss has a few XML errors that you really need to fix. Awesome blog nevertheless!

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  41. Radhanath Swami’s simplicity & humility are very endearing to everyone. It inspires others to change their ways for the better.

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  42. hey, nice blog…really like it and added to bookmarks. keep up with good work

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  43. Yeah, I noticed that too, great article

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  44. It remains one of life’s greatest mysteries why and how that works

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  45. prathamesh v avale

    the collection abt HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj is a great treasure for them who seek a path 2wrds self realization…thank u all very mch 4 making avail this precious jells 2 us…

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  46. very nice article, thanks for posting this, bhakti

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  47. very rightly said by HHRM and Swami Civananda that God’s realization is the need of the hour, and how one should involve himself in the benefit of others by doing service, haribol, rajesh karia

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  48. To be simple means to be same inside and outside. Great insight. It doesn’t necessarily mean having no means.

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  49. I feel you are too good to write Genius!Thanks for posting, maybe we can see more on this.

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