Psychic bafflement was the state my mind was cast into on the evening of 31 January 2011.
First time, when I entered his room, Radhanath Swami’s demeanor effused weariness. A rocking chair held him in a sitting posture, still he seemed half asleep. A book held in his hand deserved a better grip, to avoid a fall.
I was aware of the long day of seva, selfless service, he had been through, but nonetheless felt my reason to disturb him good enough. After excusing myself, I proposed, “There’s a professor from Europe who is waiting at the reception. She is touched by your autobiography and wants to see you. Can I bring her in?”
“Anything specific for which she wants to see me?” Radhanath Swami drawled nonchalantly.
“Nothing specific, but…” I was speechless. My rationales were frail vis-à-vis his detachment from honor and recognition.
Radhanath Swami quickly offered a smile, not wanting to embarrass me.
“Just for five minutes please,” I quickly added. I had already promised the professor an audience.
“All right,” his desire to avoid me any disappointment shined in his eyes, through the thick cloud of fatigue.
Second time, when I entered Radhanath Swami’s room after ten minutes, the guest accompanied me. The scene that was to encounter me was jaw-dropping. Radhanath Swami sat erect at his low desk, the same book held firmly in his hand. Hearing our knock on the open door, he leaped up in excitement, as his bright face carried a brilliant, contagious smile. The twinkle in his eyes joined that smile to extend a heart-felt welcome to his guest. Was it the same Radhanath Swami I saw a few minutes ago?
They say a sincere intent touches the soul. The guest broke down upon receiving such hospitality from a revered author. As the two conversed, time flew. All the while, I strained to detect even a speck of weariness in Radhanath Swami’s demeanor, but it eluded my scrutiny. All his weariness had drowned beneath the tall waves of his desire to serve and please his guest, his desire to make her feel welcome and not a burden.