“It’s the same as yesterday,” Radhanath Swami mumbled, as his face contorted with discomfort. Nausea had been nagging his frail body for days, and the previous night he had called me up for medical advice. Now hearing that my advice was of no avail, I felt deflated. I excused myself and wandered into the cavernous prayer hall of Radha Gopinath temple, a few minutes walk from his room. It was a Sunday and the weekly Sunday program, a blend of bhakti songs and bhakti discourses was to begin there in an hour’s time.
Devotees thronged in with every passing minute and soon the place was abuzz with eager anticipation of Radhanath Swami’s arrival. He was scheduled to sing and discourse. I felt sorry for the crowd for I knew of the letdown to follow. In the condition he was in, Radhanath Swami couldn’t be blamed if he were not to come.
My jaw dropped open when I saw Radhanath Swami come and take the stage. Initially, his discourse came as an amplified whisper, the microphone serving as a support to his faint voice. But with passing minutes, his enthusiasm swelled and the whisper slowly turned into a thunderous outpour of devotional conviction. Towards the end of his two hour discourse, the microphone looked redundant. Radhanath Swami then went on to lead his group in Kirtan, devotional singing, for another half hour.
I sighed and shook my head in disbelief.
Later I approached Radhanath Swami. Seeing me in a daze, he first looked amused. Then he gravely revealed his heart, which served to explain why he had stretched himself despite his bad health. “Even if God wants this nausea to remain for my whole life, my service to him will not change.”
That evening, with Radhanath Swami’s resounding discourse still echoing in my mind, I returned home struggling to comprehend the extent to which the genuine desire to serve God and humanity had the power to overcome bodily limitations.
–Dr. Ajay Sankhe, Pediatrician