Pin-drop silence filled the Radhagopinath temple hall, except for the soft yet commanding voice of Giriraj Swami. He sat cross-legged on a slightly raised seat (Vyasasana) along with Radhanath Swami, who was to speak next. The audience, numbering two thousand, sat cross-legged on the floor in rapt attention. They faced the Vyasasana that occupied one corner of the rectangular hall, close to the holy altar. The gold-leafing that embellished the ornately carved altars and altar doors reflected the golden glow from the chandeliers. Thus an all-auspicious golden hue enveloped the divine gathering.
Inches away from the Vyasasana I sat, listening. Momentarily, when my eyes drifted away from the speaker, they met those of Radhanath Swami, and found them gazing down right at me! With a movement of his index finger Radhanath Swami gestured me to come closer—he had something to say. My heart started to beat conspicuously. A wave of tension passed through my spine: I had to absorb every bit of his whisper in the first go, for asking for any clarification would mean disturbing both the speaker and the audience.
My life air circling around my ear drums, I pushed my head close enough to be able to hear his whisper. “Very politely, tell that girl not to lean against the deity’s doors.” I had heard every word clear and distinct. In quick reflex I looked towards the altar and found a lady who stood leaning against the altar doors. Making my way through the crowd, I reached her, and in all politeness pleaded, “Please madam, don’t lean against the doors. Or else, you shall ruin the gold leafing on it.” She obliged, and only when I re-occupied my seat did the four thousand eyes in the hall cease to follow me.
Sitting there I mulled over the sacred lesson I had just learnt. Often times, people emphasize just the aspect of detachment in spiritual life. Ironically, spirituality is more about attachment than detachment. A spiritualist is only detached from his/her selfish happiness. But he/she is completely attached to facilitating the happiness of God, and the happiness of those connected to God—and that includes every living entity. A temple is God’s home, and everything in it is designed for His pleasure. And to safeguard what gives God pleasure, a devotee considers that his sacred mission.
But what really hit me was that I had witnessed Radhanath Swami accomplish his mission with no casualties. He had safeguarded the happiness of even that lady who was also a child of God. He had perfectly structured his whisper. If the words “Very Politely” had featured anywhere but in the beginning of that statement, I would have definitely missed its import, given that I was high-strung at that moment. And impoliteness would have cost the lady’s happiness, and that meant casualty!