This happened years ago, when my daughter Vidhi was small. We were on our pilgrimage to Vrindavan with Radhanath Swami and thousands of devotees from Mumbai.
One day, as we circumambulated the Radha-Damodar temple in the seva-kunj area of Vrindavan, my daughter spotted a monkey who sat at the rear of the temple munching on his lunch; he looked cute and harmless until, Vidhi caressed his back. Suddenly, the monkey sprang on her. He dug his pointed teeth into her hands, ripped off a mouthful of flesh, and darted away—leaving behind a bloody trail. I rushed Vidhi to a doctor. After a stitch and a bandage, we decided to fly back to Mumbai the next day, for Vidhi needed to recuperate.
“If this is what happens on coming to a holy place, I will never come back again,” Vidhi said to me that evening, as she grimaced. Her tender faith was throttled. I fell short of words for a reply.
Next morning, before we left for Vrindavan, we encountered Radhanath Swami on the roadside. He already knew what had transpired. He looked towards Vidhi, who was visibly distraught. “Do you know why it happened? Because you are very sweet and your heart is as soft as butter. Even the monkeys cannot resist eating you.” A smile blossomed on Vidhi’s face, and she looked down shyly to hide it.
It was several weeks before that crevice in Vidhi’s hand filled-up, but it left behind a scar. I thought of going for a cosmetic surgery. Radhanath Swami, though, had a different opinion. He told Vidhi, “Don’t do it. This scar represents the mercy of the holy place which you can carry for the rest of your life.” Vidhi happily agreed and still is ornamented with those scars.
Yes, anything we undergo in a holy place, though apparently inauspicious, is the special grace of the Lord. This the scriptures say, and the holy men ascertain to be true. But Radhanath Swami had revealed it to Vidhi only when the time was ripe. In Vrindavan, when her hands burned in pain, that truth would have acted like salt and pepper on her sore. She needed something ‘sweet’, and Radhanath Swami had administered just that.
An expert guru is not just one who knows the truth, but one who knows how to administer it according to time place and circumstances.
– Mrs Kamal Arora