This happened in the month of April 2005 on the day that Radhanath Swami was about to leave for his western preaching tour. Since he was scheduled to be away for at least 6 months , I put together a list of eight points concerning temple management that I needed Radhanath Swami to decide upon before he left. I then called up his secretary and told that I needed to meet Radhanath Swami, any time that was convenient for him, for half an hour. I did this in the morning, feeling pretty sure that at least some time during the entire day Radhanath Swami would give me some time.
The day dragged on. Radhanath Swami throughout the day was meeting devotees who wanted to say good bye to him and was happily spending time with all of them. I called up Radhanath Swami’s secretary in the evening, about an hour before Radhanath Swami’s scheduled departure to the airport, and inquired from him anxiously whether Radhanath Swami was finally free. The secretary told me that there were half a dozen devotees in his room and if I wanted I could come and wait outside the room.
This is what I did…I rushed to Radhanath Swami’s room and from the corner of his eye Radhanath Swami saw me and nodded, indicating I should wait. Finally, all the devotees left and there was just me and Radhanath Swami; and twenty minutes were left for Radhanath Swami to leave to the airport.
After prostrating myself I was about to begin, when Braj Bihari Prabhu from Vrindavan, who heads ISKCON Resolve, entered the room. Radhanath Swami immediately got up, welcomed him with a bear hug like a long lost friend, and both of them sat down and went on chatting—completely oblivious of me. I was frantically looking at the watch with every minute passing by, and was gently sweating. Radhanath Swami continued to talk to Braj Bihari Prabhu as if he had all the time in the world, inquiring about everything concerning Braj Bihari Prabhu’s family, services, etc., until finally Braj Bihari Prabhu seeing my restlessness, remarked, “You both must be having a lot of things to discuss about…sorry for barging in like this.” And then he was gone…Now, just ten minutes to go and eight points to discuss…I started blurting out and Radhanath Swami nonchalantly answered all my points.
Anyways, having got my answers, I paid my obeisance once again and prepared to leave. Just then Radhanath Swami said, “I am seeing Braj Bihari Prabhu after a very long time and he specifically came to say me goodbye. My spending time with him was more important then your managerial questions, which are important but not as important as spending time with him. Anyways, if you get stuck on any issue, send me a mail or call me up.”
I came out from the room thoroughly crushed and humbled. Radhanath Swami gave more time and importance to a devotee who had come from far to meet him than to a ‘big’ manager. I understood that human relationships were far more important for him than management was.
Krishnan Iyer, Finance Officer, Radha Gopinath Temple.