It was IIT Mumbai. Radhanath Swami had just delivered a spell bounding lecture to a group of young IITians. They now looked at him in indecision: were they really at the zenith of knowledge-acquisition, or were they merely like that infamous frog who thought of his puny well as the ‘be all & end all’ of existence? Radhanath Swami, through his stellar presentation, had very dexterously challenged their ‘froggish’ mentality with something so arcane, the awe-inspiring knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita. As some of these brainy IITians swarmed around him admiring his angelic demeanor, my chest swelled in pride. Standing next to him, I watched him hoisting within the hearts of these chaps the flag of the Supreme Lord’s mercy –fluttering its compassionate ripples.
Slowly, the just now formed fan club of Radhanath Swami dispersed for the free dinner arranged by the organizers. But a student in his late teens waited behind to have Radhanath Swami’s autograph on his recently purchased ‘Bhagavad Gita As it is.’ As he inched forward, I quickly pulled out my pen and handed it to Radhanath Swami.
As Radhanath Swami opened that divine scripture, his eyes searched for a suitable page to pen down his autograph. There it was; the first page of the book! As with all books, the first page was relatively empty with the title of the book written on top in bold, & way at the bottom were the credentials of the author. Obviously, anybody would have signed in the middle of that page.
But for Radhanath Swami, signing there meant a breach of etiquette: it would mean signing his autograph above the name of his Guru Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who was the author of that book. Hence he spontaneously chose to sign his autograph way below Srila Prabhupada’s name, where there was hardly any space to scribble a word. I was so moved, touched & impressed upon seeing Radhanath Swami’s extempore humility. Someone who was just a while ago so victorious over these astute & brainy IITians was not at all deterred from his vows of humility, even after such an alluring accomplishment. I guess this is the secret of his success: Determined to remain humble.
Sikshashtakam Das. Temple President, ISKCON Nasik.