Radhanath Swami on the momentum of habits

Radhanath Swami habits momentum

“Thirty-three years ago, I first came to India. I was about 19 years old. I am just now remembering my first day in this great country.” – Radhanath Swami

In the evening, I was walking down the street in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk area; and one very polite gentleman approached me on the street and asked me, “Where are you from? Why have you come to India? What is your educational qualification?” And then he asked me, “Have you had any food?” So, he brought me to a restaurant. As we were waiting, he ordered for me because I did not know anything about India.

Just a few feet away from me on the road – it was an open restaurant – there was a mother cow and her baby calf. I had never been so close to a cow in my whole life, because in the United States of America, the closest a normal person comes to a cow is seeing them in the pasture grazing, some distance away, while you are driving down the highway.

This cow was so beautiful. Her eyes were shining, so big, like lotus petals! So graceful! And her little calf was one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen in my life. So innocent! So life-loving! The calf was playing and the mother was so very carefully and lovingly taking care of her little calf: feeding her milk, licking her. It was really a relationship of love.

I was thinking that this love between the mother cow and her little calf was as intimate and as real as any relationship between a human mother and her baby, may be not with the same intellectual capacity. But from the heart that mother would do anything to protect and satisfy her calf, and that calf was completely dependent on the shelter of the mother.

I was really enjoying this wonderful experience. The food came and I was still looking at the calf and the cow. My host asked me, “Would you like to know what all these preparations are?” I said, “Yes”. He said, “This is bread. We call it roti. And this is sabji, vegetable. And this is soup, dal. And this is rice, and what is on the rice is meat.” For the first time in my life I made the connection – to eat this meat means a cow like this – that loves her life and who loves her children – is killed. I was shocked! I was twenty years old.

I never made the connection before. I began to cry. I couldn’t eat. My host looked at me, like I was crazy. He said, “What’s wrong?” I was speechless. I began to reflect – this is the power of habit.

“Good people, caring people, are indulging in activities that is causing blood-shed, killing, and pain to innocent, life-loving animals, who are people also. Why? Because of habit!” – Radhanath Swami

Years later when I came back to America, I was explaining to people, my relatives, my friends, “Don’t you see the connection?” They could see the connection, they could understand it.

It is just common sense. You love your dog as much or more than your other family members; if a dog of an American dies, or a cat, they weep and cry for days in separation, because a person that they love is dead. Can’t you see that the cow and that calf is a mother and a child, who love their life and love their family as much as you and me? They could understand. It is a common sense. But due to habit, it just would not sink in. They have been conditioned from birth to this eating meat.

“Srila Prabhupada said that one must be clean in heart and habit, in order to understand spiritual truth. Man is a creature of habit and we can change our habits with practice.” – Radhanath Swami


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  • Sanjiv

    Subtler the habit, more challenging it is to give it up. The subtlest is the false ego that is habituated to be the Lord. This habit needs to be replaced with the habit of serving the Lord, his devotees and others as a well wisher

    • Sumit Sharma

      Great points! Though it is difficult to give up bad habits, by determination and positive association, we can work upon them to turn them to good habits.

  • Sanjiv

    We can get rid of old habits by replacing them withe new ones. Wonderful article

  • Sanjiv

    Most of us are not even conscious of the harm that we do to others because of te abits that we have formed. We can be set free only if we can attract the mercy of the Lord so that the guides us to make the right choices

    • Anand Patil

      Very true.

  • Satish Rane

    Thank you maharaj.

  • Mangesh

    very nice explanation,thanks HH Radhanath Swami for sharing

  • Balaram Acharya Das

    Wonderful explanation. Thank you HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj Ji.

  • Sanjiv

    Good poeple end up doing wrong due to the influence of habits.

  • Vilas Bhujbal

    Maharaj is treating that cow and calf as a people who are killed by people (human being). In fact in Sanskrit Prajaa means people which is also called as the subject of the king which includes living nonliving , Human,Animals etc.,of which King was supposed to be care taker.Such King used to be called Rajarishi. Amazingly Radhanath Swami is carrying the same vedic vision.

  • Pankaj

    Man is a creature of habits & we can change our habits with practice.

  • Rohit Potdar

    Thank you maharaj for explaining about habit

  • Sumit Sharma

    Thanks for sharing it!

  • NSP

    Wonderful article that so nicely explains!

  • Navin Poojary

    Our actions and association build our consciousness and which develop gradually into habits and become our character . Once we develop bad habits it is very difficult to over come them

    • Seeker

      that’s very discouraging when u say ‘very difficult’. Pessimistic. There must be a way out, I guess.

      • Kiran Shetty

        The same process when of acting and Association when diverted towards good things – it can invoke good Habits and Character. We should always search out for a positive alternative.

  • Piyush Singh

    Indeed by average common sense anyone can see the connection. It is sad that it has become a fashion thee days to be a non-vegetarian. May lord give these lost people some sense of mercy. Thank you for sharing this touching note.

    • Seeker

      But Vegitarians eat plants. Don’t they have feelings? Jagdish Chandra Bose proved they too have feelings. So fast! lol

      • Piyush Singh

        Good Question !!!

        We are not vegetarian or non-vegetarian, but we are Krishnatarian :). Please read more here, what HDG Srila Prabhupada spoke on this topic – http://www.harekrsna.de/fleisch/why-no-meat.htm

        Hope this helps.

        • Sumit Sharma

          Nice article by Srila Prabhupad! Thanks for sharing it Piyushji!

      • Vishnu Walse

        Yes you are right, but to sustain ourselves with minimum harm to others we can live in precsribed ways mentioned in scriptures.

  • brajswaminidd

    Nice article.

  • biswajit

    wonderful article

  • sneha

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article. Although the animals are not intellectuallyas advanced as humans, they do have the sane loving exchanges that we have with our loved ones. Guru Maharaj is so compassionate. HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj ki Jay!!

    • Seeker

      Is Radhanath Swami ur guru? How lucky! Tell me something abt him.

      • Sumit Sharma

        For knowing about Radhanath Swami Maharaj, you may want to read his auto-biography “The Journey Home”, where he has detailed about his journey from Chicago to India and his perceptions he made during this mysterious journey. This book is a bestseller. Not sure if you already got to know about him and/or read this book, since it’s been very long you asked for it above.

    • Ram Mohan Gupta

      True. Radhanath Swami is full of compassion.

  • Raju K Mewada

    Habit is a crucial part of human life. Like good habits can make someone’s life and bad habit can break someone’s life. Just with proper understanding from the common sense and from religious scripture, we can identify our bad habits. But to give up bad habit is not so easy. Continuous efforts and good association can help us to come out of bad habit and develop good habit. Even with simple example HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj has explained nicely. Thank you..

    • Ram Mohan Gupta

      True. Just by remembering different incidents of Radhanath Swami and acting on them, we become habituated to good habits.

  • Nandkishor Das

    eye opener-clean in heart and habit!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pradeep Iyer

    Radhanath Swami’s followers are doing a great service in protecting the cows. That’s amazing

    • Ram Mohan Gupta

      I too wish to do something to help cows live with peace and happiness. Radhanath Swami loves cows and all living forms.

  • biswajit

    Maharaj has nicely explained

  • Y Raja Shekar

    Yes. We all are responsible for being conditioned since so many lifetimes due to our inseparable habits. Radhanath Swami quoting Srila Prabhupada and calls for cleaning of our unwanted habits by practice. I really like this and until unless I individually bring about that change of habits in me, I can not expect others to change. Charity begins at home. I will try my best. Thank you for the nice article.

  • Shriniwas Misshra

    Swamiji, it is so touching to read about the relevance of connection i.e. Right connection. However, majority of the people tend to be self centered and justify themselves by connecting their acts/ habits to people who do similar acts. They deliberately avoid the Right Connection and quote scriptures, people, statistics etc. so as to perpetuate their habits even if it means to justify loving their own loved ones but be the cause of death of other living beings and depriving them from their loved ones.

  • brajswaminidd

    It is so surprising that it not always the nasty people who are causing so much pain and killing of animals but people as Radhanath swami says who couldn’t see the connection between these things!

    • Ram Mohan Gupta

      We often don’t realize that even good people can cause so much harm. Thanks Radhanath Swami for helping in making correct connections.

  • Gopinath Chandra

    Two days ego in the Delhi zoo, a boy fell into a tiger’s enclave. He was habituated to clicking selfies, and fell by mistake when he was trying to click one. Clicking selfies is the latest trending addiction, and now it is claiming lives. Beware!

    • Seeker

      Someone said the tiger was actually trying to take the man to safety. But her touch was too brutal for the lad. Bad luck.

  • vidya karekar

    Maharaj has nicely explained true ahimsa

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Even after understanding that we are eating another living being that is killed just for the pleasure of the taste buds, people are unable to let go of their habits due to deep conditioning. Wish everyone could feel so compassionate like Radhanath Swami towards other animals.