Three weeks after I had joined the monastery in Mumbai, our group leader arranged a meeting of the newly joined monks with Radhanath Swami. We were over a dozen new members and were enthusiastic to serve. We had often heard Radhanath Swami emphasize that humility is most pleasing to God, and we should always render humble menial service. As the meeting progressed, Radhanath Swami enquired from us the nature of our services and the realizations that we had gathered over the past few weeks. One young monk enthusiastically spoke about his service to Radhanath Swami, “You’d be pleased to know that I am cleaning toilets daily for over two hours.” Radhanath Swami had in the past spoken at length about the humble services of Mother Teresa and St Francis, besides many other Vaishnava saints. The young monk obviously thought Radhanath Swami would be impressed by such services. However Radhanath Swami maintained a grave composure and shook us by the depth of his understanding. “One can even be proud of cleaning toilets”, said Radhanath Swami, “humility is not determined simply by the services we render but in what consciousness we perform them.” Later he also spoke on how one can get ‘proud’ of his humility. “This can happen”, said Radhanath Swami, “if we think that I am rendering the most menial service and therefore I am better than others.”
Radhanath Swami’s understanding of humility is profound. He is never impressed by the externals of spiritual life. Radhanath Swami holds humility as a sacred expression of the offering of our heart; it’s not simply a formality or a ritual. For Radhanath Swami, humility is the essence of bhakti; it’s also the substance he’s made of. I am grateful to the Lord that I often get to hear his classes, and thereby get a glimpse of his wonderful, devotional heart.
— Vraj Vihari