That journey will be forever etched in my memories. With Radhanath Swami sitting next to me, I wouldn’t be in a sweat even if that plane had flown forever.
At the Netaji Shubas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata, Radhanath Swami and I boarded our flight to Mumbai. This was in 2002 when I was sixty three, and yet I felt the excitement of a six year old boy, out on a trip, alone, with his favorite sports star. Radhanath† Swami occupied his seat, while I occupied the one next to his.
Time crawled, and I was conscious of every passing moment, not knowing what to expect at the moment next; everything around seemed to disappear, except for myself and the passenger next. As the plane lunged ahead on the runway and soared into the sky, Radhanath Swami turned to me and grinned. “Should we discuss some spiritual subjects?” I nodded in approval. “You should begin the discussion. Speak something,” he implored me. A story from the Caitanya Lila flashed by my memory, and I babbled that out—quickly: I was restless for what would come next—drops of spiritual nectar from him.
He began to speak from the Srimad Bhagavatam, an episode called ‘Brahma Vimohana Lila’. Every word that spewed out was soaked in the spiritual conviction of his heart. My mind slowly tuned-in to only visualize the episode he narrated and everything around—the plane, the crew, the passengers, and even I and Radhanath Swami—now seemed a distant reality. Time now flew faster than the Jet we were in. In the midst of that enthralling experience, I was interrupted by a thought—untimely, yet profound.
Radhanath Swami is discoursing to me with the same intensity and absorption as he discourses to a crowd of several thousands!
The plane unfortunately landed, and the world around jostled into my mind once again. But I still wonder what makes Radhanath Swami speak the way he speaks. From my observation on that flight, he definitely isn’t driven by the externals: the stature of his podium or the numerical strength of his audience.
Professor Bhaskar Hosangadi,
Retired Head of Bombay University for the department of Chemistry