Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

Radhanath Swami speaks of ‘small people’ making a big difference

By on April 14, 2015 in Insights with 150 Comments

radhanath swami on We make a differenceQuestion to Radhanath Swami: There is a lot of inequality and injustice in the world. Some people want to change this, but they feel that one individual is so small and the impact that one individual can bring to the world is so small. Thinking like this they end up doing nothing. So from your perspective, what should be the right attitude or mentality for those people who really want to help to make a change to these inequalities and injustices?

Radhanath Swami Answers: In the world we live, we are almost indoctrinated to value quantity over quality: ‘How big? How much? But the heart values quality, not necessarily quantity.

In the Ramayan, one of the great scriptures of India, there is the story of a bridge being built across the Indian Ocean. To build the bridge, Hanuman – who was an extremely powerful incredible warrior and who had such deep love for Lord Ram – he was bringing gigantic rocks from the mountains that weighed tons. His beloved Lord Ram, who was walking behind him, happened to see Hanuman stop because there was a little squirrel. The squirrel jumped in the water, rolled around in sand and shook his body to make the little grains of sand go on the bridge. Hanuman didn’t want to step on the squirrel; so he told the squirrel, “Please move”. And Ram said, “That squirrel is doing as much as you. As you’re doing your capacity to help, that little squirrel was doing his capacity. For me it’s equal. I don’t see the results. I see the intent.”

Results aren’t really important. What’s important is our purpose, our cause. Even if we could just do a little something for just a few people, in God’s eyes that is a gigantic accomplishment. Every single one of us can make an incredibly beautiful difference in the world we live and that’s what gives life meaning. If we think, “I’m so small. I can’t make a difference,” then we won’t make a difference. But if we can even help one person in our life, that is a tremendous accomplishment, greater than winning the World Cup or being a world champion. The quality is really important and we could all make a difference, big or small.

Even when you consider big changes in terms of quantity, many of the greatest things that happened in the world began really small. There’s a house in South Mumbai, India. I go there sometimes to give talks. It’s a very old house; it’s a beautiful mansion. There is a living room in this house, and the living room is preserved exactly as it was in the 1940s; the same carpet, the same sofas, the same chairs, the same coverings on the sofas and chairs. That is the place where Mahatma Gandhi, Sardarji Patel, Nehru and a few others, about five of them, would meet to discuss about liberating India from the British rule. None of them had any money, none of them had armies. It was just a few people with common thoughts, and that is where they decided to establish this cause called ‘Quit India’.

In those days there was a saying, ‘The sun never sets in the British Empire’. The United Kingdom ruled over India for almost 2 centuries, and a few people just discussed among themselves – ‘let’s get the British out’ – and they did it! That is where it began. As soon as they started spreading the word, they were put in jail. But they didn’t give up. So, many of the greatest things that have happened in world history started with little people.

Thomas Edison, all of his experiments were failing in the beginning. A journalist asked him, “You failed in this experiment 800 times. Don’t you get discouraged?” He said, “No. Every time I fail I get encouraged, because now I know 800 ways it doesn’t work. I’m closer to figuring out how it does work.” He was just sitting in his laboratory, but he had a purpose and he believed in it. And we now see how it has affected the planet. So, big things often start with little people in little ways.

When we see so much terrorism, so much hatred, so much greed, so many earthquakes and volcanoes and droughts, and so many problems in the world, sometimes we think, “What am I gonna do?” We can do something incredible and unbelievable, just by making that inner connection and making the right choices to make a positive difference. When a few of us come together to share that – like they did in that big house I was telling you about – wonderful things can happen. Failing in life is when we don’t see that potential. Real success in life is not the quantity, but what we live for.

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  • Vinay Malani

    Very informative points made by HH Radhanath Swami.

  • Rajesh

    The answer is great. It cleared all my doubt

  • vidya karekar

    HH Radhanath Swami has explained so clearly all the doubts that tends to come into every ones mind whenever one feels like helping in changing the face of wrong doings

    • Margarita Jones

      well said, answer to this question makes me feel satisfied. I have been taking part in many social events and activities but it seems that there is no end to it. But now when I understand that quality is more important, I am feel great happiness in going the same activity but with higher quality. I liked the line – Real success in life is not the quantity, but what we live for.

  • biswajit

    Such a real true wisdom from HH Radhanath Swami.

  • Tejas Patole

    Real success in life is not the quantity, but what we live for.

  • Jaydeep

    Article is full of positive vibrations ! Thanks for sharing !

    • Gopinath Chandra

      What’s most wonderful is the way Radhanath Swami covers all perspectives. He encourages everybody who tries; and that includes those who make it big, those who make it small, and those who don’t make it at all. The Lord sees the intent, not the external accomplishments.

      • Anand Patil

        so very true. In the material world, especially the business world where rat race is the name of the game, everyone is after results, outcomes. What matters there is outcomes, no matter how you do it, what your intent is, what ways you use or do it. But the Lord is really concerned about our intent and not the outcome. Such a refreshing change from the materialistic ways of things. THank you HH Radhanath Swami.

        • Piyush Singh

          So true.

  • Rahul Gupta

    And those who know Radhanath Swami – isn’t it relevant in his own life? He started on the path to God in a humble way, almost with nothing. And now, he’s created a revolution in the lives of thousands and perhaps millions of misdirected and lost souls, just as his spiritual master His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada did.

  • Prahalad

    What a classic way of making everyone understand that they can do something constructive for others. Sometime we just want to big or nothing. Beautiful analysis given by Radhanath Swami.

  • amit

    Whether big or small what is really important is our purpose, our cause.Thank you for making us reliaze this.

  • Nagabhushan C

    It is really so inspiring to the heart to hear how the Lord values each and everyone’s service, however insignificant it is. Also it is very true as Maharaj mentions here, if we can act on the circle of our influence initially and grow slowly, one day we will be able to influence the whole world…

    • Jeff Williams

      very true. the point which I liked to most was – big things often start with little people in little ways. we just need to start somewhere and help will come on the way. great reading.

    • Anand Patil

      very true, thanks.

  • arjun ramachandra

    yes, quality is more important than quantity.

  • Teju

    Whatever activities intention is more important than other things. if our motives are pure then we can accomplish higher goals. The example of squirrel given by His Holiness from great epic ‘Ramayana’ is very appropriate. Thank you very H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj for inspiring message.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice lecture. Thank you very much for sharing the same.

  • Piyush Singh

    True. Everyone have a chance to try up to their capacity and the Lord will be pleased. As HH Radhanath Swami states here… We can do something incredible and unbelievable, just by making that inner connection and making the right choices to make a positive difference.

  • brajswaminidd

    So true. As it is said in an Hindi saying,” Little drops of water makes an ocean.”

  • Vinay Malani

    The incident involving Hanumanji & the squirrel during the building of the Ram setu conclusively proves the point that HH Radhanath Swami is trying to make – “Results aren’t really important. What’s important is our purpose, our cause.”

    • Piyush Singh

      Yes.. the purpose and the intent is the right focus.

  • Prahalad

    As the pure bhakti definition defines, Krishna sees the intent & not the work in itself, beautifully described by Radhanath Swami.

  • Kishore

    Very Practical and motivating indeed!!!

  • Donna King

    I was literally just Googling to know if my small efforts can make any difference to the whole world, trying to find an answer and glad I stumbled upon this one !!! Thanks.

    • Sanjiv

      I guess, this is the way a sincere person is guided in life

  • Y Raja Shekar

    Excellent qualitative insights from Radhanath Swami. Everyone is part of God and potentially can attract the attention of Lord with our sincerity and purity of heart.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice. Very true. Thank you very much for sharing.

  • Rishikumardas

    Nice explaination

  • Raju K Mewada

    Wonderful explanation and inspiring talk. If we have complete faith in the Lord than Lord will definitely provides intelligence to select the correct path. We can’t judge the task performed based on current situations. Some times we feel that we are not doing any significant but probably that is what Lord must have desired for us to do. Let us try to live according to the will of the God and follow his plan in our daily life.

    • Piyush Singh

      What a holistic understanding and explanation. Thank you very much.

  • Naveen Kandakatla

    Radhanath Swami is really great in inspiring people to bring about positive change in themselves and in the world around. And here in this answer we see that change can be brought about by anyone – no matter how insignificant – as long as one is sincere and genuine in their efforts.

    • Piyush Singh

      Very true, Radhanath Swami is really like that.

    • Piyush Singh

      Yea… no sincere efforts are lost in the eyes of Lord. This is so hope giving and a good inspiration for us to cultivate sincerity.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Wonderful message from HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice lecture by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Thank you very much.

  • Jason Garcia

    I am impressed by the whole answer. The most striking point I felt was where Lord says that “For me its equal.” From point of view of Lord, all living beings are equal. Its just that the people around make such groups and discriminate between people. We should start seeing every living being with respect and honor for what they are and not what we want them to be.

    • Piyush Singh

      Everyone is best at one’s place. such a impressive perspective.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Very true! The result is not important, the intent is!

  • Rajeshlk

    Perfect examples to bring out the point, to try to attempt to do something even if it is small, then to sit back and just give justification. Thank you for posting.

    • Jasson Thompson

      these examples show the depth of knowledge that he has. Its amazing to know the lessons from these historical stories.

  • biswajit

    Very inspiring

  • Prahalad

    That is why the Lord is known as bhavagrahi janardan. Nice narration by Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • Rishikumardas

    The important point of capacity of an individual was nicely explained by maharaj

  • Vishwanath

    Nicely explained by maharaj

  • NSP

    wonderful answer by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj!

  • biswajit

    Very wonderful answer and very deep.

  • Prahalad

    Hearing Ramayan Katha from Radhanath Swami is ecstatic.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Wonderful answer by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • Sujit Jadhav

    Very Hope giving answer. Also i would like to apply how to see things in this world positively.

  • Sujit Jadhav

    Also i liked the point that real success in life is not the quantity but quality.

  • thank you very much for giving a very wonderful clear cut understanding that who a single individual is also very important and can do a lot …,,Hare krishna

  • Swapnil Gaonkar

    too good. Excellent answer by Radhanath Swami

    • william miller

      amazing indeed…. British empire history is worth studying. It was the largest empire at that point of time. But there were oppositions from different parts of the world. The example mentioned here of Indian Independence is studied in different universities too. Great example to understand an amazing issue.

      • Jeff Smith

        well said Mr william.. if few people are determined and come together for a common cause then there can be a big change. everything starts small in this world

  • Nandita

    Very inspiring words by Lord Rama

    I don’t see the results. I see the intent.”

  • Pravin

    our purpose, cause , intent is more important than result… this is required in our society today.

  • nitin patil

    Hope giving answer, Thank you Radhanath Swami

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice answer by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Thank you very much.

  • dewanand

    such a deeper understanding with citing so many examples. specially I loved the example of Thomas Edison.
    even if we are doing little things with right intention it is big in the eyes of god.

    • Jeff Smith

      Completely agree with you Mr Dewanand, Radhanath Swami has made a nice point here about our analogy towards any work…
      We should not look to how much work is there instead we should do it with our heart…that what please the lord…

  • Sanjiv

    We all have different capabilities but by our intent to serve the Lord we can make a great difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us

  • Rajeev

    It cleared all the clutter I had in mind about doing something good in society. Thank you very much Swami ji for giving shape to our thoughts in most constructive ways.

  • Donna Nelson

    Wow…such inspiring article. While performing every action,Our intentions are more important than external acquisition.

    • Piyush Singh

      Yea… really awesome… Anyone can make a difference.

    • Pradeep Kumar

      Very true, intent is very important.

    • Y Raja Shekar

      Ya!!! I too got inspired by the article, especially the squirrel example. Keep good intentions and just work without thinking of results.

  • Arun Pagare

    Amazing article….really practical.

  • biswajit

    inspiring article

  • Donald Green

    how often are we become quantity centered in our life but herein we are stark awoken to the reality that the heart yearns for quality the affection and this needs to be fixed soon.

  • Donald Green

    Amazing article which talks about Quality of intent is more important than the quantity. Thank you

  • Kevin White

    I liked the example of squirrel. How a small animal can make his little contribution in a huge project like that…amazing !!!!

    • Piyush Singh

      Yea.. that’s really thought provoking that how we should try to value each and every contribution.

  • Donald Green

    Failing in life is when we don’t see that potential. Real success in life is not the quantity, but what we live for. wonderful quotes most of the times it often happened to us because we try to compare with other , but if we dont compare and do what we can to best of our capacity then we also can make difference..

  • Rajendra Patel

    very deep & wonderfull answer

  • Vikas Rana

    Maharaj has wonderfully explained the need.of quality over quantity. Krishna sees our effort not the results of our effort.

  • Charles Taylor

    For a person to be genuinely positive he need to have faith on something beyond himself. To see that which is invisible, is called as faith. And that faith is the key to success and positive outlook towards life.

    • Piyush Singh

      Beautiful and inspiring words. Thank you.

    • Vivek

      I also felt the same …

  • Vivek

    Touched with this statement,”When we see so much terrorism, so much hatred, so much greed, so many earthquakes and volcanoes and droughts, and so many problems in the world, sometimes we think, “What am I gonna do?” We can do something incredible and unbelievable, just by making that inner connection and making the right choices to make a positive difference.”

  • Jeewan

    Failing in life is when we don’t see that potential. Real success in life is not the quantity, but what we live for…very nice conclusion….thank you Maharaj…

  • khushal

    wonderful answer and deep insight by swamiji. indeed small people and small hings can make a big difference in life. He has so wonderfully with examples explained this point. thank you swamiji

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice answer by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Thank you very much.

  • Srivallabhi dd

    Maharaj explained how Lord Ram found no difference between Hanuman and little squirrel.Result is not important our purpose and cause.

    • Pradeep Kumar

      Yes very much true, intent is very much important in performing a service.

  • vidya karekar

    its wonderful how Lord Ram does not differentiates between the seva done by the squerril and Hanuman

  • biswajit

    very much important in performing a service

  • Y Raja Shekar

    Any activity can become big or small in the eyes of Lord depending on the pleasure He gets. We are all bound by His will and our desire to serve Him. Who can question Krishna’s will. He is svarat, supremely independent.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Amazing point Raja! Definition of good and bad depends on if something pleases the Lord or not.

  • Lalit

    Radhanath Swami explains that Consciousness ( Quality)is important than Activity ( Quantity)

  • Jeff Smith

    very nice.

  • George Martin

    very crucial info as a plethora and bizarre number of people expounding varied stuff around

    • Jeff Smith

      can u pls elaborate?

      • George Martin

        i meant so many people trying to propel so many varied philosophies at a time. some times they’re contradictory also to each other. thus to find out the real people out there is damn important

        • Jeff Smith

          ohk. thanks

  • Deepesh Saini

    when we do something of quality other people will naturally be attracted by that quality

  • biswajit

    wonderfully explained the need.of quality over quantity.

  • Prashant

    Even though beginning may be small…. but there is always good hope. Very wonderful explanation

  • Balkrishna

    HH Radhanath Swami provides a clear and unambiguous direction for the seekers

  • Kevin White

    i completely agree with radhanath swami… lord gives attention at our intention.. quantity of the task would be secondary for him..

  • Gupta Konagalla

    Very nice explanation…

  • Vidya Patham

    Thank you Radhanath Swami for your brilliant analysis on how even taking small steps makes a big difference!

  • George Martin

    to reach at the top floor we need steps which start from the ground floor…

    • Navin Poojary

      True George! As someone has rightly said “The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone”.It is how we endeavour in life in spite of adversities that we gradually begin to see Light at the Other end of the tunnel.Nice example given herein of Thomas Alva Edison

      • Y Raja Shekar

        Dear Navin, Radhanth Swami nicely answered to understand that even the small endeavors with good intention pay dividends. But I could not understand your point of view, :The past is a stepping stone, not a milestone” Can you throw some light into this hidden understanding?

        • Navin Poojary

          Hello Raja Shekar!Millstone refders to two circular stones used for grinding. It is also reffered to as heavy and inescapable responsibility.We often view obstacles as millstones hung around our necks ready to drown us. Lord’s view is that the obstacles are stepping stones of maturity and experience in life.They can only be stepping stones if they are met with Lord’s viewpoint.
          Stepping stones can include…Learning from the past and not regretting the past

          • Piyush Singh

            Exactly, I guess this basically means is to always look forward to the next steps (Milestone) and keep onlearning from the lessons of the past.

  • vidya karekar

    beautiful descripton

  • Gaurav Khutade

    Radhanath Swami Explanation Is absolutely Nice about lord Ramchandra
    thankful to swamiji for shearing such wounderful knowledge

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes indeed. His explanations are always a source of inspiration for me and others.

  • Jason Evans

    First ever read such a nice lesson from great history of Ram.

  • Anthony Davis

    Thank You. Very inspiring article.

  • biswajit

    Very inspiring article.

  • vidya karekar

    just the desire of few got the British out of India , its said that just a few sincere people can change the face of the world !! Each person has this potency so why not dovetail it to KC

    • Sumit Sharma

      That’s very true! We have so many examples in history where simple people with humble heart started something and it became big. Srila Prabhupad started ISKCON at a very small level in USA and today we see it’s spread all over the world. This is just because of the purity that now people can get benefited.

  • amit

    thank you for sharing

  • Prahalad

    Inspiring narration by Radhanath Swami.

  • Prahalad

    Nice analogy given by Radhanath Swami

  • vidya karekar

    its quality and not quantity that counts!!

  • Singaraju Srinivas

    Radhanath Swami speaks from his heart with so much powerful realizations that touches our hearts. Such a simple answer with profound examples from scriptures gives us deep understanding of subject matter.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes! There is a real-story in ISKCON wherein a female member helped prove the authenticity of this great movement. She simply did book distribution by not asking any cost, but a volunteering donation and that’s what helped ISKCON to emerge as an authentic non-profit making organization.

  • George Martin

    Very true

  • Satish Rane

    wonderful … Results aren’t really important. What’s important is our purpose, our cause. .. Our sincere serious effort without personal uterior motive is important. Hare Krishna thank you maharaj

    • Piyush Singh

      Thanks for this conclusive comment.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Well said Satishji! Radhanath Swami Maharaj says something similar in another article “Krishna is Bhava Grahi”, which means He does not see what we “things” we offer to Him, but the consciousness and feels with which we offer them. Very powerful statement.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice.

  • Jason Evans

    Very right, the contribution to anything should be judged on the basis of capacity of the contributor

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes indeed!

  • Keshav Kishor Das

    This message is a true catalyst to boost my enthusiasm for devotional service…….!

    • Piyush Singh

      So true. Thanks.

    • Sumit Sharma

      For me too!

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much.

  • jennifer campbel

    Very true heart values quality and not quantity

  • vidya karekar

    the fourth vow we make during initiation is to serve in the mission of Srila Prabhupad in the mood of the servant of the servant of the servant.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Real success in life is not the quantity, but what we live for – very powerful lines which sums up the wonderful answer given by Radhanath Swami.

  • Satish Rane

    thank u maharaja … everyone has scope in devotional service … hare krishna.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    “We can do something incredible and unbelievable, just by making that inner connection and making the right choices to make a positive difference”. Such powerful and inspiring words. Even though we feel we are insignificant, we should do our bit. That may inspire others to join in as well.

    • Anand Patil

      Very true. Thanks.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes very true! We should inspire and encourage people in whatever little service they can do based on their faith and conviction. Enforcement is never an option in inspiring others. Therefore, while we should set higher bar for ourselves, we should be considerate for others, so that they can contribute beyond their capacity and that’s possible only when there is a positive inspiration.

  • satyam mishra

    valuing quality even though it is less gives a lot of hope to each and every individual in his capacity to serve Krishna and his devotees. Thank you so much Maharaj for this nice article

    • Sumit Sharma

      Wonderful perspective Satyamji! I particularly like the hope giving part in your comment. We all need encouragement and guidance to go beyond our capacity to serve the Lord and His devotees and hope giving instances like these are very much helpful there.

  • biswajit

    Thanks

  • Laxmikanth

    Its really a great understanding from Radhanth swami to know about importance about small people, unfortunately we give importance to quantity not on quality, Ghandiji was small little person who shook the British . Srila Prabhupada was just small old skinny person who started a world wide missinory moment

    • Piyush Singh

      Wonderful examples. Indeed, there are so many cases by where small things and persons made so much difference.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Wonderful point Laxmikanthji! Lord Krishna is “Bhava grahi”, which means He looks at the intention with which we surrender to Him. If our intentions are sincere, He accepts whatever little service we render to Him and His devotees.

  • Laxmikanth

    it is very much inspiring answer by radhanath swami , whatever our position may be socially, spiritually, materially etc still we have opportunity to do service as per our capacity , radhanath swami is encouraging every one in such a way every one feels inspired to do a little or big as per their capacity

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes indeed! We can do a lot by starting a little humble effort.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Amazing answer by Radhanath Swami Maharaj!!! There are so many stories about how few people came together and started something which effected whole world. Today, whatever new technologies are coming into picture to solving big problems started with small efforts. Air-plane was conceptualized by 2 brothers…

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Very true! Failure is when we do not try to do anything to solve the problem or make the right choice to make a difference. Real success lies not in quantity of life but quality of life and the ideals that we live for.

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