Austerity of Monkhood

During a discourse, Radhanath Swami was relating the story of a saint who gave benedictions to a prince, a butcher and a monk. I sat in the front row of the audience, listening.

The prince indulged in sinful ways of enjoyment, maddened by wealth. If he were to die, only the karma of suffering awaited him. So the saint blessed the prince, “May you live forever.”

The butcher lived a miserable life of killing innocent animals, and even after death miserable karma awaited him. So the saint blessed the butcher, “May you neither live nor die.”

And what about the monk?

At this juncture, Radhanath Swami glanced at me. “Monk’s life is full of austerity. Take him for an example.” He was referring to me!

“He is a graduate from IIT, which is considered at par with Ivy League schools. And yet, here in this ashram he sleeps on the floor and has a little closet to keep his belongings.”

He went on for another few minutes—which seemed a few hours to me—describing what I did and what an exemplary monk I was J. An audience of 2000 sat in rapt attention.

“Monk’s life is a pious life, so his next life will be glorious.  His present life, nonetheless, is filled with austerity,” he concluded.

Now getting back to the benediction story, he said, “So the saint blessed that the monk die.” No sooner did he speak that, he turned to me again with an apologetic expression. “I don’t want you to die. I am just continuing with the story.”

It had all happened spontaneously. He had showered his appreciation and affection, but the ending was a bit sour. He thought my feelings were hurt, though that wasn’t the case.

In my years of association with Radhanath Swami, time and again I have observed how sensitive and careful he is in making sure he doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.

The next evening, I met Radhanath Swami in the ashram corridors. He called me closer and embraced me affectionately, an affection I will never forget. “May you live a long life as a monk,” he blessed me.

With an affectionate spiritual father like him, the austerity of monkhood seems insignificant. So, who wants to die?

S Bhat

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61 replies on “Austerity of Monkhood”

yes! This is the amazing quality of Radhanath swami. Deliver a spiritual message with intense depth and at same time be extremely sensitive to others feelings on an individual level

IF one is tru vaishanav by heart, he is very careful to deal with others. We are reading so many books an artifically doiung so many sevaas but I can conclude for myself that my heart is as hard as stone.
Many devotees have put forward numerous incidences that Radhanath Maharaj is very careful in dealings and always soft at heart. This shows how deep the Krishna consciousness is in his heart

Thank you for sharing this very wonderful story. Radhanath Swami is always sensitive to everyone’s feelings.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful article. HHRNSM is so caring about feelings of others, Haribol!

My Lord! Monks of Radhanath Swami may be wanting to live forever under the loving care of Radhanath swami

Very touching story of Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Thank you very much for sharing it!

Radhanath Swami is very caring and loving as seen in this article. I’m sure the monks of Radhagopinath Temple look up to him as a loving father.

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