Scene 1: Radhanath Swami returns to the banks, drenched in the icy cold waters of the Alaknanda River. But his clothes!!! They aren’t there, where he had left them. A pilgrim comes up and brags, that those clothes are now spotlessly clean. Gleefully he points in the direction where he spread out the clothes on a rock for drying.
The chilly winds are far from being co-operative. Under their sway the moist-clothes have frozen into a crisp icy-ware. Radhanath Swami puts them on, with no complaints.
The next day, we hear he is sick.
Scene 2: Outside Radhanath Swami’s guesthouse room in Badrinath, crowds impatiently clamor. His followers have gathered, and want to render some service to their Guru. One follower appears out of the blue and barges into the room. As others watch on, he quietly places his blanket upon Radhanath Swami whose form lies curled beneath a single blanket. With a content smile he walks out. The crowds disperse, only to reassemble after minutes. But now, each one is carrying a blanket.
In hushed voices, they communicate to form a single line that leads to Radhanath Swami’s room. Ceremoniously, each follower enters and drapes their Guru with a blanket, an offering of love. (Fortunately in 1990 when this incident occurred, only 50 odd of Radhanath Swami’s followers were on this pilgrimage with Radhanath Swami.)
Very soon, it’s a hillock of blankets over the bedstead, and buried beneath is Radhanath Swami. The followers wait outside, their chanting of mantras droning on. They await the recovery of their Guru. Hours pass by.
The hillock slightly trembles. The droning ebbs into an eerie silence. Everyone is transfixed in the sight of the shaking hillock. As some hundred eyes watch on, Radhanath Swami crawls out from beneath, sweltering.
“How’s your cold now?” a concerned voice inquires from Radhanath Swami.
“Cold?!!!!!……I had a stomach ache.”
–Vishakha Priya Devi