default image for post
Saying ‘No’ to temptations
January 19, 2011  |  radhanath-swami

At a Cathedral in Florence, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) underwent a spiritual experience. As he prayed to God for direction, he felt his body trembling, cheeks quivering and felt an overall closeness to God. However this experience was not for free; Richard was to be later tested by an attractive proposal from a Swiss girl, Irene. Richard found her charming and wondered if he should choose to share love with her while going on a spiritual journey together. After deep contemplation and prayer he chose a life of exclusive dedication to God. Remembering the catholic saints, Tibetan Lamas and yogis of India who had relinquished worldly pleasures in their passion for enlightenment, Richard yearned to follow their footsteps. He knew this path would be difficult but prayed for strength as he tried to pursue his search for God.

The incident reveals to me that spiritual path is not easy; there will be constant tests and temptations. Although spiritual life can be practised with a companion, for one seeking exclusive dedication, a partner could be a distraction. Radhanath Swami at this stage chose to say ‘no’ to a tempting offer. Moreover this test came immediately after a spiritual experience while praying at the church. The incident is a reminder of how spiritual life is a life of tough choices; one has to pay the price of sacrifice, investing faith in the power of divine to guide us through these challenges.

Temptations that threaten to pull us away from our spiritual quest are not bad. Radhanath Swami says they are opportunities to help us come closer to God. However if we choose to say ‘no’ to God, these temptations can be overwhelming and corrupt our consciousness. Learning to say ‘yes’ to God and ‘no’ to distractions requires us to develop a meaningful relationship with God; a relationship of two-way communication, where we offer our hearts to God by our petitions and then hear Him as He directs us from within and without.

Radhanath Swami also reveals God’s plan in testing His dear devotees. God wants us to be purified of all contamination and be desirous of exclusive dedication to a spiritual cause. He wants to also strengthen our faith in him. Quoting his guru, Radhanath Swami offers another interesting reason why God tests his devotees. “God wants to glorify His devotees to the whole world”, says Radhanath Swami, “He wants us to see the calibre of His dear devotees who face hardships, and yet never give up their loyalty to God.” Radhanath Swami gives the analogy of an Indian home where the daughter-in law is new to the customs of her husband’s family. The mother-in-law sees minor mistakes in the cooking of the newly arrived bride. She knows if she corrects her, she would be nervous. Hence she chastises her own daughter about a mistake, within the earshot of the daughter-in-law. The daughter-in-law then gets the message and learns her lessons. Similarly, Radhanath Swami says God puts his own dear devotees in difficulties so that a neophyte can take inspiration and learn his own lessons in his spiritual quest.

We can also understand from this incident that God chose to test Radhanath Swami so that we can get inspiration to strengthen our own commitments in spiritual life.

Related Posts:


  1. Jagdish Majethiya

    Very Inspiring and thought provoking. Thanks a lot Maharaj for the wonderful instructions.

    View Comment
  2. our only hopes to build this kind of determination is association of holy saints like Radhanath Swami…

    View Comment
  3. Thank you for sharing this beautifully written article.

    View Comment
  4. what an artical very inspiring.

    View Comment
  5. very nice & helpful artical.

    View Comment

Leave a Reply