Radhanath Swami urges us to see beyond superficial designations

see within the heart

“Real self confidence in life is based on sincerity.” – Radhanath Swami

Lord Sri Krishna descended into this world as Lord Chaitanya about 500 years ago.

One day the devotees were performing an abhishekam for him in Srivas Angam in Navadvip Dham. All the great mahants and famous devotees, they were singing hymns, offering flowers and putting the abhishekam upon the Lord; they were in an exalted position, doing an exalted service. And there was a simple servant, a maidservant, and she was way in the background. Her name was Dukhi.  She was called ‘Dukhi’, which means a miserable person. She was called Dukhi because of her poverty, her lack of education, her very insignificant position of just being the maidservant of a maidservant. She was in the background, filling the pots with Ganga water and bringing them for the abhishekam. She wasn’t concerned with name or fame or recognition. She just wanted to honestly and sincerely assist others in their service to God, that’s all.  But the Lord recognized her. He looked at the back of the room and he began to glorify her.

“The Lord sees within the heart: What is our honesty? What is our ideal? What is our sincerity? What is our integrity?” – Radhanath Swami

And the Lord said, “The name Dukhi is not pleasing to my heart today. I give her the name ‘Sukhi’, which means the ‘happy one’.” Upon giving her the name Sukhi, he also gave her the ultimate perfection of life – pure unalloyed love. The manifestation of spiritual perfection was seen on every limb of her body, as heart was erupting with ecstatic spiritual emotions, not because of her social position, but because of her sincerity.

Radhanath Swami talks of ‘A very little old Bengali widow’

“Unfortunately, in today’s world, people are losing connection to what is actually substantial. We honour people because of what they have; we honour people because of what they could do; we honour people because of what status they may be in. But an actual cultured society honours people according to these qualities: how much does a person have compassion and integrity?” – Radhanath Swami

My guru Srila Prabhupada, he would tell us that when he was living in Vrindavan, there was this very little, old Bengali widow. Nobody knew about her. Nobody even knew where she lived. She just had the same set of old white cloth that she wore as a sari. And Srila Prabhupada – who was at that time living in the Radha Damodar temple – would see her every morning with a bucket of water, which she would fetch from the Yamuna and bring it for Krishna. And she would just leave it outside the temple doors; she honoured and respected everyone.

And here was Srila Prabhupada, a great scholar, a great saint, going around the world talking about her, because she had devotion, she had integrity, she had substance. When we honour integrity and selfless compassion, then we are becoming cultured.

– Radhanath Swami


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  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Very illustrative stories about Dukhi and the Bengali widow and what exactly is spiritual perfection. The Lord sees our innermost intentions and thoughts and is most pleased by our honesty, integrity and sincerity.

  • Sanjiv

    So important to implement in our lives the ideals given by the Lord and great souls. Unfortunately since we see through our egos we tend to miss out some key points even though they are spoken by great souls

    • Sumit Sharma

      Such a nice definition of integrity by Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Lord looks at our integrity as one of the most important qualities.

  • Amol Bhilare

    very inspiring article.

  • Satish Rane

    a lot to learn from this article. Thank you.

  • anashree

    Very inspiring article! Krishna doesn’t see what we offer; he sees the intent/purpose behind our offering. He sees the sincerity and the humility with which we perform our devotional service.

  • Singaraju Srinivas

    We are so much conditioned to see only externals even after knowing that we should see beyond superficial designations. That is why we should hear from self realized souls like Radhanath Swami again and again so that we get purified by hearing from them.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Very true! By hearing from these saints, we become stronger and stronger in our spiritual practices.

  • Piyush Singh

    This is why we must hear/read regularly from the enlightened souls like HH Radhanath Swami, who are empowered by the succession to guide us go deeper and see the substance and not just the externals. Thank you very much for sharing this wisdom.

    • NSP

      So true!

    • Anand Patil

      Very true.

  • Singaraju Srinivas

    Seeing beyond the superficial designations. Radhanath Swami explained in a simple way with pastimes of Lord Caitanya that will help us to understand the concept very easily. If we practice this regularly with sincerity that will help us to perform our devotional service to the satisfaction of vaushnavas and Guru.

    • Piyush Singh

      Yes Prabhu. Very true.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Jai gurudev!

  • Pradeep Iyer

    Good stuff a must read for all

  • datta

    Krishna states in Bhagvad Gita, yo me bhaktya pranashyati.. He accepts the love behind the offering. That’s why the Lord rejected Duryodhan’s opulent offerings and instead ate rukha saag at the house of Mahatma Vidur. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article

    • Sumit Sharma

      Well said. There is a saying “Lord does not see what you offer, but what you take back”.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    True! But today people are honoured only for their position, power and wealth. other attributes are practically ignored and people who really deserved to be honoured live lives of oblivion. Sad but true!

  • Swapnil Gaonkar

    After reading this article, it makes me introspect on how to develop devotion, integrity and substance. As Radhanath Swami has very nicely explained, its only these things will please the Lord, and not spiritual or material designations.

  • biswajit

    Krishna knows our heart

  • biswajit

    HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj Ki Jai

  • Srivallabhi dd

    All glories to Srila prabhupada and to Guru Maharaj.

  • Jay ! finally the Lord sees the intention not the designation !! so much of a relief , a very big assurance given by the Lord …. for sure i know that the Supreme Lord understands me and shall accommodate me in His heart even if the whole world might reject me …. all glories to our merciful Lord, Lord Krsna Lord Gauranga !!

  • Tallam Sita Ramaiah

    Krishna knows our heart. Nothing can be hidden from Him. Whatever we should offer, we should offer with our heart.

    • Gopinath Chandra

      And u r the perfect example of this!

  • Raju K Mewada

    Great teachings by simple examples of Dukhi and an old widow women. Radhanath Swami explain in very simple way that only sincerity and integrity for our dedication towards Lord’s will can help us to grow in our spiritual development.

    • Kiran Shetty

      Thats very true Raju Pr- that is what is glorious about the devotional way of life. As Krishna proclaims in Bhagawad Gita- that he accepts even a fruit, Flower or a leaf if its offered with Love and Devotion.

  • Gopinath Chandra

    The tendency is to go by the externals, even after years and years of sadhana – a sad reality 🙁