Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

Oh! My Toe!

By on September 13, 2010 in Nature with 124 Comments

Rich Man - What now cartroonQuestion to Radhanath Swami: Don’t material achievements assure success?

Radhanath Swami Answers: Suppose you achieve your goal, you achieve the position you are longing for, you achieve the popularity and prestige you always wanted, and you achieve wealth, house, car and children — everything perfectly the way you always wanted. Yet, even if one thing goes wrong in your life, you cannot enjoy any of what you have achieved. You simply suffer.  That is the nature of the world.  The reality is, at any given moment, whoever you are, whatever you have achieved, there are unlimited varieties of ways in which material nature can create something that goes wrong in your life and make you suffer.

Radhanath Swami quotes from Srimad Bhagatam: “This world is a place where there are dangers at every step.”

Radhanath Swami gives an example: Sometime ago I visited a very wealthy person in India.  His house was beautiful, made completely of pure white marble. The gate keepers were better dressed than most Presidents of nations. The big beautiful doors were of teakwood and bedecked with golden ornaments. The floors, the walls, and the ceilings were of marble with handmade engravings on them.  And in the hallways there were very beautifully carved statues from Italy, from Germany and from different parts of India.  There was so much furniture in the house and every piece was like a throne built for a king.

Oh My Toe

At the elevator, a beautifully dressed man pressed the button for me.  And when we got to the fifth floor, another doorkeeper opened the door and I went into this beautiful room with chandeliers and wonderful silken furniture.  There I found the owner of the house. And he was crying!  He was totally miserable because he had a boil on his foot.  He said, “This boil on my foot is so painful.  I have all these big doctors whom I am paying thousands of rupees, but they cannot make this boil go away.”  He said, “I cannot enjoy anything in my house because of this boil.  My mind is just completely occupied with the pain of this boil. At this point I will be willing to trade everything I have to take this boil off my foot.”

– Radhanath Swami


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  • Sharad

    very simply He explains that happiness due material success is temporary…

  • Gopasana

    Everyone is blindly after material achievements in this world. This answer from Radhanath Swami is surely an eye-opener for us.

  • Y.Raja Shekar

    As Radhanath swami nicely explained, we can not have any faith in this material world. Radhanath Swami would often quote Bhagavad Gita which stamps this world as full of miseries and temporary. Even if we have all the riches of this world, a small pric can make us most miserable person, if we don’t understand the nature of this world and try to know about the spiritual world hearing from great saints like Radhanath Swami.

  • Mukund

    really inspiring

  • Its wonderful despite relishing this simple pastime and understanding the message clearly we do not give hope of happiness in material world. Very sad.

  • rakshit shetty

    reminds me of one bramachari ‘s lecture he said in this material world if you have all problems you are miserable and if you have all happinees and one problem still you are miserable

  • hrishikesh mafatlal

    It’s very true that the more we have, the more intolerant we become to not having things our way, and we become totally miserable thinking of only the current problem facing us.

  • Radhanath SwamiMaharaj explains the most complex things in the most simple way!

  • So true. I have personally experienced. You cannot enjoy anything if we have even little pain in body. Life is designed to give suffering than pleasure. Radhanath Swami has captured the whole problem of life.

  • Ravi Garg

    Very nice reply from Swamiji…..I hope one day I will give up my fruitless material pursuits………..

  • Vaishali Kamat

    Radhanath Swami’s story clearly proves that the true happiness cannot be purchased by any amount of money.

  • Santosh Mamdyal

    Radhanath Swami has a very balanced approach to all aspects of life and it is this quality that makes him adorable.

  • Manish Raikundalia

    Simple yet so hard for most to understand.

  • Sujit Mehta

    Oh! I have made all arrangements that are going to keep me happy here in this place, I am trying to find a convict in jail who says these words. Such is our condition all are arrangements fail miserably when nature intervenes we have seen enough examples, tsunamis, cyclones, accidents etc, but we never learn. Radhanath Swami so compassionately explains this phenomenon.

  • Manish Advani

    This is true reality sometimes people feel we are scaring this but this is a fact. Not every Guru mentions it. Many try to give you solutions but Real Gurus like Radhanath Swami are like doctors who focus on identifying and giving the right solution to cure the disease.

  • seema

    No amount of material possessions can guarantee happiness.

  • Anupriya Dhotre

    Very true.Present society has set material possessions and facilities as the standard od success forgetting the real happiness within.Thank you Radhanath Swami for putting it so nicely.

  • Dr.Anjali S. Palav

    In simplified way Radhanath Swami maharaj is explaining difficult topic also.

  • saurabh

    thank you maharaj for sharing….

  • KGdd

    Boy wasn’t I a fool to think otherwise… thank you Radhanath Swami for your lucid reasoning!!!

  • Vishnupriya

    Reminds me of one more profound statements by Maharaj – Expectation is the cause of misery!

  • Abhijit Toley

    Money doesnt guarantee happiness; good to have money, but we should not think it will also bring happiness.

  • Aman Jain

    Radhanath Swami is teaching so wonderfully that we should search for happiness within and not without.

  • Dr Shreyas Palav

    wonderful example to simplify spirituality & understand the underlying principle in essence….there r dangers at every step here !!!…be cautious…be alert..be focussed on krishna consciousness.

  • Sumit

    This is the real nature of this material world which Radhanath Swami also has mentioned. In material life, if we don’t achieve 100%, it’s incomplete, but spiritually if we have done only 1%, it has value and gives happiness more than the highest material happiness a person can have.

  • Vijay Mathias

    Material nature is such that when we are happy , misery just around the corner waiting to embrace us. Radhanath Swami gives a beautiful anecdote to illustrate this point.
    No matter how much material possessions we get we will be all the more miserable.

  • Manish Advani

    Thats the nature of this world you might achieve everything at the same time you will not be happy since the real satisfaction could be only achieved by realizing our constitutional position

  • Saveeta

    Radhanath swami has stated a True point.Material gains have only limited ways to maintain happiness. But spiritual gains give us eternal joy and bliss which is an experience in itself to be relished

  • Anil Timbe

    Radhanath swami has so beautifually explained how the things of this world will not make us happy in real sense because of the nature of the world.

  • N Swaminathan

    Like this saying which goes: money can buy medical sevice but not good health

  • Vinay Malani

    Radhanath Swami often reminds us in his spiritual discourses that material possessions alone cannot bring us lasting happiness. At best they can provide temporary joy & relief. Real happiness lies in service to God & His pure devotees.

  • Madhusudan

    Well, then there is no point longing for material success, logically speaking.
    Thanks for that. Great sigh of relief for me.

  • Darshan Mehta

    Thank you for sharing this bitter truth of life. History is filled with people who were very famous and rich at one time, but now no one even remembers them any more. Neither they were happy while living nor are they after having passed away.

  • Meera Sharma

    Maharajah is reminding us that material enjoyments so are flickering.
    “The reality is, at any given moment, whoever you are, whatever you have achieved, there are unlimited varieties of ways in which material nature can create something that goes wrong in your life and make you suffer.”

  • Davinder Kumar

    It is so beautiful how Radhanath swami paint a picture of this world which is full with things but everyone of these things is temporary.

  • mona

    Radhanath Swami would often quote from The Bhagavad Gita which says this world as full of miseries and temporary. Even if we have all the riches of this world, a small boil can also make us most miserable person.It is therefore so imp to take spiritual quidance from great souls like Maharaj. Thank u Maharaj.

  • Ravi

    The more material assets you have, the more you hanker for them……….real success is in acquiring spiritual assets……..

  • Radhanath Swami is teaching us that material possession cannot guarantee satisfaction and hapiness. One should look for other alternative than material means…………

  • Gautam

    Amazing how maharaj puts everything in the right perspective for us to aim for higher values in life.

  • umesh

    quite graphically Radhanath Swami Maharaj explains that even if one thing goes wrong when hundreds other are going right, that one thing makes one miserable.

  • Manish Advani

    Anything can happen at any moment we have to be prepared people think about millions of things but no one thinks that today it could turn out to be the last day in this world. This is so important and unfortunately neglected. We need more people who sincerely take the message of Radhanath Swami and save this world from the greatest disaster

  • Rajesh Lad

    So true !

  • Vaishali Kamat

    Radhanath Swami has nicely illustrated that this material world is a place of misery !!

  • Mukund Anand Das

    Yes, Material world is place with dangers at every step. Everyday we can see so many accidents and painful things. Wealth can make us to some extent, as HH Radhanath Swami says, and that too very superficial happiness.

  • Meera Sharma

    More success we have in material life, more we think of our-self as controller, then it becomes very difficult to tolerate inconveniences or failure. Human mind is such at that time we forget all the success we have, and our complete focus is how to get rid of one problem we are currently facing.
    Thank you Maharajah for guiding us in spiritual life.

  • Vinay Rachh

    very nice article

  • Dipti Gaikwad

    No matter how much we have, we always are hankering for more. Radhanath Swami personifies the peace attained by true renunciation.

  • Nancy

    So tipical… and still we think that we can squeeze some enjoyment 🙂

  • Aishwarya

    So simply Radhanath Swami explains this world is miserable.

  • ks Subramanian

    All glories to HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. It is indeed a revelation to know that after you have accomplished all that you set out to do, your life can still become miserable , if material nature decides so. A boil in the foot was enough to bring a high flyer to terra firma! Hari Bol!

  • Aarti

    Very insightful indeed. Radhanath Swami’s book The Journey Home is also full of such insightful stories from his personal life! Thank you for sharing this wealth of spiritual wisdom!

  • Arjun K Ramachandra

    Radhanath Swami makes the imperceptible perceptible! Most of us rush through life without even pausing to reflect on the harsh realities and miseries all around us. It is only saintly persons such as Radhanath Swami who can awaken us from our dreamy state and reinstate us in our true happy eternal position.

  • Thank you for sharing this wealth of spiritual wisdom!

  • Navin Poojary

    Radhanath Swami is right.In material world we will always be miserable no matter how much efforts we try to make to be succesful

  • Shraddha Jain

    Such a wonderful example given by Radhanath Swami. It makes us so easy to understand that real wealth comes from spirituality & not by material things.

  • Sanjiv Chandnani

    Srila Prabhupada also says: We feel that if we reach a particular condition, the mind with stop getting agitated but the material world is designed in such a way that mind is always subject to agitation

  • Rajendra

    material success cannot guaranty happiness

  • Naveen

    Nicely stated by Radhanath Swami, success/achievements/money/position does not give one happiness, realy happiness is not something external but is with in.

  • Vinay Rachh

    Amazing answer

  • This proves that even if we have everything in this world, one insignificant toe can crush all our so-called ‘happiness’ into complete distress.

  • suresh

    Maharaj explains with practical example surely convince everyone that material achievement will not give success.

  • Pankaj

    Thank you Radhanath swami for telling us the temporary nature of material achievements…

  • Ravi Garg

    Convincing reply by Swamiji……..thx

  • sunil jha

    Very true..Unless we keep Krishna in the center we cannot be happy in any stage. Reminds me of Lord Varahadev,, that if am not happy and satisfy now with what am holding , i cannot be happy with whateve addition may get..

  • Shra1wiz

    Yes, this is so true. Also, I learned from Radhanath Swami that material achievements can also make you addicted to them. If we are not careful, then this addiction could lead us to do anything to keep the achievements coming on and on.

  • Prasanna Kulkarni

    I feel this to be experienced by many many many people so that they can willingly approach KC and make their life meaningful.

  • N Swaminathan

    We always focus on what we don’t have

  • Gauri Advani

    Radhanath Swami always talks about how today could be your last day. There is danger at every step in this world so one needs to be fixed in devotional service else the human form of life will simply be a waste

  • Vishal Kaushal

    The above example given by Radhanath Swami goes to show how the world is predominantly a place of sufferings.

  • Ram Mahtani

    Material comforts are like the nirages in the desert. Thank you Maharaj for waking us up to this fact.

  • Vinay Rachh

    Very nice reply

  • karthik

    Thank you Maharaj for reminding us about the reality of this world.

  • Rani

    Material happiness is temporary…spiritual happiness is permanent. Thank you Maharaj for awakening us.

  • Tushar Gaikwad

    Wonderful answer by Radhanath swami

  • srikanth

    H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj ki jai

  • gauranga

    Maharaj explained most complex things in simple and practical way. Thank you so much Maharaj.

  • Servant

    His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj has beautifully explained the impermanence in this material world.

  • Kadamba kanana

    Very perfect and beautiful answer.Than you so much Maharaj.

  • Vinay Rachh

    Brilliant answer

  • Sundar

    Thank you very much Maharaj for explaining us nicely how even if we achieve whatever we wanted materially – name/fame, they don’t guarantee any happiness as even if there is one problem there is no happiness. And the fact is the material nature can throw at us problems in a multitude of ways.

  • anand


  • Gurrappanaidu

    This is very simple and profound. With this one example we can analyse how the material world is.

    Thanks you so much Maharaj.

  • Balaram Prasad

    This is reality of material nature as givem by Maharajji. Everything is so temporary in nature.

  • Madana Kishore Das

    So true.

  • Kadamba kanana

    Wonderful answer.Thank you so much Maharaj.

  • Manish Kumar

    True example of this world full of miseries and temporary. When a small boil can cause such misery then what about many more big miseries of life.

  • Swapnil Gaonkar

    Thank you Radhanath Swami for nicely explaining the temporary nature of this material world.

  • Nilesh

    Thank you very much for sharing such a wonderful experience.

  • Arabinda Sahoo

    We should try for Spiritual Success and try to please Krishna. As Srila Prabhupada says, all success is guaranteed.

    Thank you.

  • Ydas

    Radhanath Swami has given a very well thought reply, convincing that even the slightest of problem can cause terrible anxiety

  • H.H Radhanath Swami has nicely explained the nature of enjoyment in the material world what people generally seek. This is a lesson to turn towards Krishna for eternal bliss. Mharaj ki jai.

  • Manasa

    Material world is full of sufferings. The only way to come out of this is only by the mercy of Guru and Krishna

  • Das

    Real wealth is spiritual wealth. Material wealth is temporary. Hare Krishna !!

  • “I get what i want”, a hoarding advertisement for a brand of cigeratte.
    What reality is, we understand through this answer of Maharaj.

    Thank you maharaj.

  • rakesh

    Great Thought, even if we achieve most of the things in this material world still a small thing makes us deeply worried. Really this is world of miseries.
    Thank you to H.H Radhanath Swami

  • Shoba Ramachandran

    Truth put in simple words! Really, this is what we experience and see around us veryday. Yet, it doesn’t strike our heart, make a impact to change our perspective, turn towards Guru and God. Realized words of HH Radhanath Swami helps me. Thank you Maharaj for your compassion towards us, always working hard, explaining the urgent need – change of consciousness in simple way so that my insect brain could understand.

  • Ketan Pendse

    This is so true… the more we have the more we want and then the insecurity and resetleness of mind increases due to so much wealth… but wealth used in krishna’s service will give us lasting pleasure….

  • Deep Nishad

    True, Even if we get everything of the world we will not be satisfied.

  • One cannot enjoy anything if he have even little pain in the body. Life is designed to give suffering than pleasure. H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj has captured the essence and preaching for the benefit of humanity at large.

  • Pooja

    The more we are happy with material pleasures in life, the more we are getting entangled in the clutches of maya.. Thank for sharing this article.

  • Kathiresan

    Thank you very much Maharaj for explaining such complex topics in a very simple way for us to understand.

  • anjanadri

    Thanks to Radhanath swami for very kindly informing us all that material achievements are not everything in life, but only spiritual based life can give actual happiness.

  • Manish Advani

    Thank you Radhanath Swami

  • Dhruv

    Radhanath Swami often quotes Jesus Christ this world is a bridge don;t make house upon it cross over it.

  • Phani

    Maharaj is pointing here that this place is miserable and temporary. No one achieve real success, i.e real happiness to the soul unless we are Krishna Conscious.

  • Phani

    Wonderfully explained by Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Material success is temporary, where as Spiritual advancement is eternal.

  • Jay

    Nice story to illustrate this point

  • Swapnil Gaonkar

    Nice answer, Radhanath Swami. I agree with you. Unfortunately most of the people are running after temporary material success

  • Guru

    Wonderful explanation !

    All Glories to HH Radhanath swami Maharaj

  • Gaitonde, Gayatri

    There is no end to GREED.But unless we find TRUE LOVE ,this GREED disease will not go and we find that TRUE LOVE in you.

  • Amalagopi

    Thank you!

  • rakesh

    Vow this is how realized soul teaches biggest thing of life in simple way with deep impact. Thanks to H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj!

  • Pankaj

    Amazingly said,”The reality is, at any given moment, whoever you are, whatever you have achieved, there are unlimited varieties of ways in which material nature can create something that goes wrong in your life and make you suffer.”

    Thank you for this enlightenment!

  • Sunny

    Beautifully explained by Radhanath Swami. Usually we are so obssesed with acheiving certain goals in life, we forget the reality of this world…only to be very rudely awakened!

  • Chandrika

    What a contrast!

  • Vinay K

    Most Unfortunate state of his…I pray for god to take away his pain.
    Thank You Maharaj for enlightening us with this live example..

  • gopasana

    simply wonderful explanation!

  • Pranjal Dixit

    Whatever level of opulence we have in life, we may be allowed to enjoy due to the dualities of material nature.

    • Pranjal Dixit

      May not be allowed to enjoy due to dualities of material nature.

  • Satish Rane

    excellent answer by maharaj. hare krishna.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Amazing answer! it’s so true that we search for happiness in all things material. But such material opulences will never give us everlasting happiness. We have to search for that happiness deep inside us when we develop a loving relationship with the Lord.

  • Vinay Jain

    ‘…there are unlimited varieties of ways in which material nature can create something that goes wrong in your life and make you suffer’. Thank you Radhanath Swami for explaining this point with such a powerful real-life example!

  • anashree

    Very true. the pleasure/happiness derived from material things is temporary and doesn’t last long which makes one more miserable.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    True! The reality is we will never be happy with material wealth or success. The analogy of the rich man with a boil is a proof to that.