Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

What was your experience when you first heard Hare Krishna chanted?

By on July 8, 2016 in Insights with 35 Comments

Radhanath-Swami-at-GangaQuestion to Radhanath Swami: I was curious to know how your experience was like when you first heard the Hare Krishna mantra chanted by the Hare Krishna monks.

Radhanath Swami Answers: In the book The Journey Home I tell the story of how I first heard the Hare Krishna mantra. I didn’t hear it in the Hare Krishna movement. It was given to me in a way, by what I believe, was a profound grace. I was fasting and sitting on the bank of the Ganges in the Himalayas, in Rishikesh. After weeks of meditation I heard in the current of Mother Ganga this beautiful mantra being sung. And it really transformed my life although I didn’t know what it meant, although I didn’t know what Krishna, Rama, or Hare meant. I just heard this Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. It really moved me so deeply that I was meditating on that.

It was months and months later that I actually made the connection of what it meant. In Vrindavan I learnt who is Krishna, what is the origin of this mantra.

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  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Wonderful. Thank you very much.

  • Piyush Singh

    This is really incredible!!! This incident shows that HH Radhanath Swami is empowered by the divine arrangement of the supreme Lord. To hear a completely unknown mantra that too in the current of mother Ganga is really very exciting experience to have.

    • Gopinath Chandra

      Radhanath Swami Maharaj fasted for one month and gave away any traces of attachment, and then he got the mahamantra. And all of us have got the same mantra so easily. And because we have got it easily, we take it for granted.

      • Piyush Singh

        Unfortunately, what you said is true. We really take it for granted and this seems to be a serious roadblock in our spiritual advancement. But incidents like this strengthen our faith in the maha mantra and guidance by HH Radhanath Swami helps us to be more sincere in our efforts. So, fortunately we have some hope to some day understand its true value.

      • Sumit Sharma

        That’s very true. I believe this is what is the nature of this material world. If we get something easily, we start taking it cheaply. The same holds true when we visit a holy place alone or without the association of great souls. We start analyzing things in our own limited way. We need saints like Radhanath Swami to cure the disease of our heart to become purified.

        • Gopinath Chandra

          Yes, that’s why Srila Prabhupada said that if one thinks that one can make spiritual advancement without the association of devotees, that person is insane.

          • Sumit Sharma

            And that person might soon leave the devotional practices. Offenses pop up in the heart when we try to understand glories of these holy dhams in our own ways and that’s where problem starts.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Incredible. Thank you very much.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Very interesting answer by Radhanath Swami. It’s inspiring me to read The Journey Home book. It would be an exciting journey while reading this book. Pure souls like Radhanath Swami are very inspiring to the world as they also adorn themselves with the ornament of humility.

    • Piyush Singh

      So well said Sumit. I also was kind of forced to read this incident from The Journey Home book after reading this answer from HH Radhanath Swami. He really inspired us and many others to engage in different positive devotional activities.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Radhanath Swami is blessed the way he received the Mahamantra. It seems like a fairy tale. It only goes to show that the Supreme Lord Krsna had chosen him to be an instrument in spreading this Krsna Consciousness movement across the globe. Otherwise a foreigner lad with no inkling on who Krsna or Rama or Hare is, how would he get the Mahamantra? We are so lucky to have the opportunity to get this Mahamantra “free of cost” without performing any austerity or meditation. But we are not taking it seriously. We should realize our good fortune that we have been the recipients of the grace of the Lord and Vaishnavas and take our spiritual lives very seriously and chant with love and attention!

    • Sumit Sharma

      Great observation! In Radhanath Swami’s bestseller “The Journey Home”, we come across many such miracles. It is very clear to see how at every step, he was helped by the unknown hands of God since he was very sincere in his efforts to know the reality of this world and it’s purpose. God certainly helps sincere people.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Very nice comment Kalpana! We are very fortunate to be in an era where Saints like Radhanath Swami are present to guide and supervise us. Under his shelter, we can easily understand true meaning of devotional service and how to practice it in our busy life.

    • Gopinath Chandra

      And Radhanath Swami also trains us in how to chant the holy names. We can be benefitted by the mahamantra to the maximum extent when we practice humility and tolerance.

      • Sumit Sharma

        That’s correct. I have personally witnessed how deeply Radhanath Swami Maharaj chants the Holynames in early morning hours when I visited various yatra places.

  • Carl Farrel

    The best title is “The Journey Home” an awesome book. What does “The Journey Home” mean? Home is where you feel shelter. A place where you feel loved. A place where we can go even despite the hesitation, stress and tribulations of this world and find real comfort. That home is within the heart of every living being. If we cannot find in our heart, you cannot find the real home anywhere. Because it is within the heart that the eternal soul beyond our designations of this temporary world is united with the Supreme Soul. The true object of everyone’s love. There is our beauty and grace of God.

    • Piyush Singh

      Amazing wisdom captured in this short comment of yours Karl. You have presented a wonderful perspective to understand that what the journey home really mean. Each living being needs to find own home within and perhaps that is why HH Radhanath Swami came up with his next book “The Journey Within”?

      • Gopinath Chandra

        Wow! That’s a profound realisation Piyush. Yes, if we can’t find home within we can’t find it anywhere else.

        • Piyush Singh

          Thank you for encouragement sir :).

          I just juggled few words around the two book names and this comment came on its own.

          • Anand Patil

            It perfectly fits in Piyush pr. That’s how the Lord sitting in the heart inspires sincere devotees to speak and write. 🙂 Thank you.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Nice point! It’s the ecology of the heart that needs sanctification and not only the body. If people’s hearts are sanctified, external pollution would automatically be removed.

  • Keith Swanson

    I read in one of ISKCON books that In this age which we are living in Kali Yuga, most powerful means for cleaning the mirror of the heart is the all purifying name of God by chanting the name of the lord it has the power to clean the mirror of the heart and brings our true eternal to shine awaken the eternal love within which is the source of peace and happiness.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Indeed. Lord Chaitanya mahaprabhu who (as per the scriptural proofs) is Lord Himself has given 8 verses and out of them one is about how to cleanse one’s heart (“cheto darpan marjinam”) and purify it.

  • Laxmikanth

    I have full faith in the words of Radhanath swami , but i wonder how can you hear a mantra in the Ganga, i dont understand this but that should be possible for only Radhanath swami , as such he had given up his harmonica to chant and celebrate this mantra .

    • Sumit Sharma

      You are right Laxmikanthji that in Kaliyuga it is very difficult to find a real saint like Radhanath Swami Maharaj. If we ponder on his whole journey from suburbs of Chicago to Himalayas and later Mumbai as a vaishnava, it becomes very easy to understand and believe that things that happened with him are super-natural. For example, his visit to Cross Maidan, Mumbai and there his first meeting with Srila Prabhupad (ie. founder acharya of ISKCON) and many others were so orchestrated that we are forced to believe that he is a blessed saint who was directly getting the inspiration from Lord. And it is not easy to attain that level which he attained. It requires lot of sacrifice both at the level of ones body and the mind. If we also sincerely pray to

      Lord and take shelter of His devotees, we can also feel hand of God in our life and decision.

      In nutshell, if we see his whole journey and sincerity, we can easily believe how he is a special soul being directed at each step by the Lord.

      • Y. Raja Shekar

        Nice thoughts Sumitji. The best way to realise our fortune is start counting our blessings. Blessings in the form of connection with great souls like Radhanath Swami. Like Radhanath Swami got the Maha mantra from mother ganges, we too got this from him out of this vast ocean of material nescience. It is miracle for me. I feel so fortunate so fortunate, out of so many millions of souls, I got the mercy of a pure devotee. The glories of great souls like Radhanath Swami, no one can summarise.

        • Sumit Sharma

          Very nice perspective Rajaji.the amount of blessings one gets under the shelter of saints like Radhanath Swami Maharaj is immense and there is no qualification required here. There is a very nice verse “Brahman bhramite kaun bhgyawan jeev, guru Krishna prasade paye bhakti lata beej”, which says that a very fortunate soul gets the seed of Bhakti by the mercy of a bona-fide spiritual master and the Lord. This opportunity is very rare and we should understand that the soul who gets this mercy is really very fortunate.

  • Umesh

    Thank you Radhanath swami for sharing the unique way of first encounter with Hare Krishna mantra.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes it’s really unique, and one should not imitate it. It’s the mercy of mother Ganges that she guided Radhanath Swami Maharaj in her sweet way by introducing him to the Mahamantra which is the real panacea in the current age.

  • Yamini Shinde

    great experience

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Only pure soul like H. H. Radhanath Swami Maharaj can hear Maha Mantra in the current of river Ganga.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes very true. It requires purity of the heart.

  • Laura Hutton

    The power of the holy name. Nothing else has this power to awaken the dormant ecstatic love of God from our very heart, to awaken the sleeping soul

    • Piyush Singh

      So true.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Very nice point Laura! And that’s the message Lord Chaitanya gave in His teachings. We are very fortunate that we have access to that message through great saints like Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Let’s take this message to the whole world and help this movement to spread the glories of the Holyname.

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