Whoever meets Radhanath Swami is inspired by his unassuming nature and natural unwillingness to take credit for the works he inspires—developing communities, massive food distribution to indigent children, missionary hospitals, eco friendly farms, schools, ashrams and emergency relief programs. As naturally as he avoids taking any credit for himself, he gives all credit to his guru Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Take for example the case of a missionary hospital in Mumbai, an outcome of his farsighted vision. In 1987, when I completed my graduation in Medicine (MBBS), a nursing home newly purchased for me by my loving father promised me a lucrative career. Earlier, during my final year of graduation, I, along with some friends—Dhaval, Ajay, Vivek, Bimal and a few others, popularly called the ‘spiritual medicos’— had idolized a life consecrated to social service, and would frequently organize free medical camps in the nearby villages. I had gained plenty of on-field experience in the process, and that could now be handy to dive plump into private medical practice in a new nursing home. It was a time when opportunities like these, for flourishing careers, were luring everyone in ‘spiritual medicos’, threatening to end the camaraderie we felt in selflessly serving society. We found ourselves at the crossroads of indecision: should we continue to walk together on our idolized path, or should we now resort to our own individual paths, pursuing our ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunities’? Befuddled, I one day approached Radhanath Swami. His saffron garments emanating a lambent glow under the morning sun, he sat cross-legged on a bench in the courtyard. As I disclosed my mind, kneeling in front, he mulled over every word I spoke. Then, as the birds warbled in the sky above, having found a direction to fly, Radhanath Swami gave me a direction to fly my life…“In my opinion, all of you will have flourishing careers if you individually take to private practices. But if all of you choose to stay together, you will do something which will be remembered in history.”After eleven long years, in 1998, the truth in those statements unfolded in the form of a missionary hospital in Meera Road, Mumbai. And guess what? Radhanath Swami named the hospital after his beloved guru, and called it Bhaktivedanta Hospital.
On the day of the hospital’s inauguration, we took Radhanath Swami on a tour through the new building. Midway along a corridor, Radhanath Swami asked in an irritating tone, “What’s that going on?” He was referring to the kirtan that played in the background. To create a spiritual ambience in the hospital, we had put up speakers in different locations—wards, offices, labs, and practically everywhere—and these speakers played devotional music all through the day. Now, what disturbed Radhanath Swami was, those speakers were transmitting recordings of kirtans sung by him. “When you have dedicated this hospital to His Divine Grace Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, it should be only kirtans sung by Prabhupada that should be played on these speakers,” he said firmly. Again, it was his natural humility!
–Dr. Girish Rathod (One of the pioneers of Bhaktivedanta Hospital)