When the clock struck nine, my duties at school called me—but I ignored. Held captive by Radhanath Swami’s oratory, I couldn’t move from where I sat. As the audience that numbered in thousands drank- in every word he spoke, Radhanath Swami launched into a call for revolution. With a voice pitched high in compassion, he declared, “We must perform our duty selflessly, as a sacrifice, in divine consciousness and in devotion to God for the betterment of humanity.” Hearing that, my conscience whispered, “Continuing to hear this class, despite the call for a sacred duty; isn’t that selfish?” Yes, perhaps it was. I quietly walked out of the lecture hall to attend to my duties.
I worked as a construction engineer for the upcoming school building of the Gopal’s Garden High School. Housed in rented apartments for years, the school was now shifting to this new structure. Being a project inspired by Radhanath Swami, the school aimed to provide quality education with utmost focus on building the character of its students; and that made every service connected to this project sacred—including mine.
The students eagerly awaited the completion of the structure, and so did Radhanath Swami. Construction went full speed, demanding my presence on the site from early morning to late night. I worked even on weekends. Every morning I visited Radhagopinath temple, but came to the site much before the morning class at the temple even began. On weekends however, since Radhanath Swami gave the morning class, I yearned to attend it. But midway through the discourse, guilt of insincerity would push me out of the lecture hall.
One day Radhanath Swami visited our site. Flanked by trustees of the project, he surveyed the building. Towards the end—to everyone’s surprise, including mine—he broke out of the elites and walked towards me. Did he know me?
“So, do you work here?” he asked.
“Do you work on weekends too?”
“Yes, I have to.”
“You will have to come here early everyday, except on weekends when I give classes.”
I felt a tingle climb up my spine. How did he know my heart?!!! I was just one amongst thousands that attended his classes, and yet he knew of the ambivalence I was thrown into every weekend.
Apart from the mysticism that hovers about this episode, I was deeply touched by the humaneness of Radhanath Swami’s personality. For him, people are way above projects. Our project was on a deadline, but he ignored it to make my weekends happy.