The Festival of Inspiration is held in the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia during the delightful mid-spring season. Filled with inspiring lectures, seminars, workshops, entertainment, and dramas, it has become one of the most spiritually inspirational and motivational events of North America. For this year’s festival, I too had joined in.
Radhanath Swami was at the festival, as every year. I had been hearing a lot about him, but we had never met, though both of us are disciples of Srila Prabhupad, the founder of ISKCON.
The day he arrived, as we were crossing each other in the hallway of the guesthouse, he stopped. After studying my eyes, he declared, “Let me tell you the last time I saw you.” His eyeballs rolled up and his index finger shot up, as he strained his memory. Silent moments passed. I was gathering words to convey that it was unlikely that he had ever seen me before, when he interrupted my thoughts, “It was Pittsburg.” After a few seconds’ break he continued, “1972. You were on stage. You were putting up a drama before Srila Prabhupad at Syrian Mosque.” That was 38 years ago, and still he remembered me! My mouth dropped open, my eyes filled with tears, and my heart bustled with the joy of meeting an old friend; I suddenly felt so close to him. We embraced.
All I can say is Radhanath Swami is the personification of personalism. When he sees people, he sees amongst them—every individual person.
–Chandra Shekar Das