20 December 2010 to 1 January 2011. Radhanath Swami and some of his followers were on a pilgrimage to South India.
The management committee of the pilgrimage stood on ever-shifting sands. The decisions they took were in a constant state of flux, for the logistics of the tour were mind boggling. The pilgrimage involved feeding 5000 pilgrims thrice a day, arranging for their accommodations in remote locations were lodges were scarce, transporting them from one pilgrimage site to another, etc. And to enhance complications, uncertain weather conditions prevailed, with downpours at the least expected hour. Yet, everything transpired smoothly. Nothing less than a miracle, especially because it was all in India!
19 December 2010, Sunday. Managers crowded Radhanath Swami’s guest house room in Kanyakumari for last minute clarifications. While their expressions were strained, Radhanath Swami’s was relaxed, though he responded to the managerial queries with care and concern.
By the time the meeting dispersed, the day grew to twilight. Radhanath Swami turned to me, “Can I go for the holy bath at the sea?” In a flash, a scene appeared on the screen of my mind, a replay of what I had witnessed two days ago: Radhanath Swami standing shoulder high in the holy waters of the Payasvini River for over an hour, offering prayers. Payasvini flowed in quiet ambience untouched by tourism, about fifty miles from Kanyakumari. Now, how could Radhanath Swami take such a holy bath at the sea in Kanyakumari, that too on a Sunday evening when tourists occupied every inch of the sea’s shore and shallow waters? I had been to the shore a few hours ago, and had witnessed the crowds pouring in—first hand.
“I don’t think it is possible,” I muttered and then went on to explain why. Radhanath Swami turned to Sanath Kumar, a seasoned manager who had witnessed many pilgrimages led by Radhanath Swami. “It is possible,” Sanath Kumar spoke with a mysterious air of confidence. Radhanath Swami beamed, “He knows everything is possible.” Radhanath Swami and his entourage, I in it, then drove off to the sea.
As the sun dropped into the sea, it veiled the restless waters with a golden hue. The waves swayed and danced, as if to entice us—and only us—for practically no one was around! Where had everyone disappeared? Later I came to know that all the tourists had gone to another location that offered a better sight of the sun-set. But when we left the guest house, none of us had a clue that such a thing would happen. It was Radhanath Swami’s sheer confidence in the divine that had brought us here.
As Radhanath Swami took his holy bath, a re-enactment of the one at Payasvini, his words to Sanath Kumar rang out in my ears: He knows everything is possible.
It was just the beginning. In the next ten days, on several occasions I witnessed Radhanath Swami’s inconceivable confidence in the divine in action, as he took unbelievable decisions in management to make the pilgrimage a smooth and happy experience for all the pilgrims.
And on some occasions, to witness invisible powers leaving behind fingerprints—after making the impossible possible—was a visible reality for the managers.