Radhanath Swami’s relationship with the Hare Krishna yoga dates back to one winter evening in January 1971, on the banks of river Ganges at Rishikesh, India. Sitting in solitude on a rock in Ganges, young Richard (Radhanath Swami’s earlier name) was absorbed in meditation. He had been fasting for over a month, (subsisting on one carrot a day) and sat on the rock in silence from sunrise to sunset. On this late afternoon Richard heard a song ascending from the depths of Mother Ganges’ heart.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
The song seemed to reverberate throughout the river valley. What was this song and what it meant was to remain a mystery to Richard until he met his guru a couple months later.
In March 1971, at Cross Maidan, an expansive park at downtown Bombay, Richard heard Srila Prabhupada (who was to later be his guru) sing the same song. Later, to the assembled 25,000 crowd at the giant pandal tent, Srila Prabhupada explained the meaning of the Hare Krishna song. Nineteen year old Richard was amazed to hear Srila Prabhupada explain that the Hare Krishna song is the great chanting for deliverance. He described the meaning of the words ‘Hare’, ‘Krishna’ and ‘Rama’. ‘Hare’ is an invocation for Radha, the divine energy or the feminine counterpart of the Lord. ‘Krishna’ is the name of God and means all attractive. ‘Rama’ also refers to God and means the awarder of unlimited happiness to one who offers his love to God. Srila Prabhupada also explained that while we are chanting this Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, we are praying to the Lord to eternally engage us in His loving service.
Seven months later, Richard realized that Srila Prabhupada was his guru and he whole heartedly accepted him as his spiritual teacher. Few years later he was initiated into the sannyasa order (the order for celibate monks in Vedic tradition) and received the name Radhanath Swami.
The Hare Krishna yoga has since been Radhanath Swami’s life and soul. On every occasion, he sings the chant in different pleasing melodies, and induces all his students and fans to chant with great feeling and love.
Radhanath Swami also vibrates the Hare Krishna maha mantra softly on his beads. This is an exclusive prayer session of the chanter with God. Radhanath Swami performs both these types of meditations with great enthusiasm and devotional fervour.
Radhanath Swami’s four decades of study and practise of the Hare Krishna yoga has given him rich realizations, which he shares candidly with those eager to hear. Rather than achieve technical mastery on the practise of Hare Krishna meditation, his emphasis has always been on developing the proper mood for practising this yoga. The internal mood of being eager to serve is more effective in pleasing the Lord and attracting His grace than being an expert in the practise of chanting Hare Krishna.
Radhanath Swami often addresses the struggles of a sincere spiritualist who due to an erroneous practise may find the chanting hackneyed or wearisome. How can one make the Hare Krishna meditation an exciting practise? Radhanath Swami recommends as the first step, regular or daily practise of chanting. He compares this with a medical treatment; regular and repeated intake of medicines is the first mandatory need for one who desires to be cured of a disease. Similarly the nectarine medicine of the holy names of God has to be ingested daily, as a rule. Along with medicines, one has to be careful of the diet. Likewise along with essential chanting, a spiritual practitioner lives his or her life centred on sacred principles; humility, tolerance and forgiveness. Radhanath Swami’s formula is to integrate the Hare Krishna meditation with the overall acceptance of spiritual culture- a life centred on integrity and servitude.
Radhanath Swami assures all practitioners of the Hare Krishna yoga that a sincere practise of the process will certainly help us discover our spiritual essence, and our loving relationship with God.