In 1993, a nine year old reached a safe haven—the Lady Nothcote Hindu Orphanage. He was rescued from the perils of child labour by a compassionate monk, Bhagavan Das. The boy had lost his father, while his mother struggled to make ends meet in a remote Maharashtrian village….. I was that boy.
We kids were like small seeds buried in the dry sands of a cruel world. That orphanage groomed us into what we are now—beautiful blossoms that beautify that same world. And our chief gardener was Radhanath Swami.
An incident from those formative years I vividly remember. Every year, we kids at the orphanage were allowed to accompany Radhanath Swami and his congregation on their pilgrimage. One year, spontaneously my thoughts floated to my mother in the village. How I wished she too could join us. My little brain thought little of the financial requirements of a pilgrimage, and I walked straight to Radhanath Swami. “Can my mother join us too?” I spoke to him in Hindi. He nodded with a smile. Again, I had witnessed the affection of the heart transcended all language barriers between us.
Yes, that year my mother joined me on that pilgrimage.
Later, our caretaker monk disclosed to me what had transpired behind my back. Radhanath Swami had called for a meeting of the pilgrimage organizers just to arrange for the finances and every other need of my mother’s pilgrimage. Towards the end he had told a manager, “You should take care of Jyandev’s mother as if she were Mr. Hrishikesh Mafatlal’s mother.” Mr. Mafatlal is a well known Indian Industrialist.