Radhanath Swami narrates one of his experiences with Bhakti Tirtha Swami

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Published on Sep 25, 2014 by RNS Video

Radhanath Swami narrates one of his experiences with Bhakti Tirtha Swami

“It was about 10 years ago. I was with one of my very dearest friends and god-brothers. His name was Bhakti Tirtha Swami….”- Radhanath Swami

He was an African-American who was born in the ghettos of Cleveland, at a time in the 1950s and 60s when if you were born in the ghettos it was ninety five percent chance that you would live and die in the poverty of the ghetto. The constitution spoke of civil rights. But the country did not offer civil rights to minorities. He was incredible, so positive; he never lost hope. He had such faith in God and such a will to do good for others, that without even asking he got a full scholarship to Princeton University. He graduated…. he was the leader of the civil rights movement in Princeton in 1960s; that was Martin Luther King’s movement. But he (Bhakti Tirtha Swami) had a spiritual calling, and eventually he became a swami with the same guru as me, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. He wrote many books; he would give spiritual guidance to people like Nelson Mandela, Mohammad Ali, and Alice Coltrane.

He called me to his bedside, because he was suffering from Melanoma Cancer. I would like to tell you one story, one that is etched so deep forever in my heart. His health was going through so many ups and downs, but his consciousness was always so humble, so transcendental, so full of compassion – and detachment. This is an irresistible combination – detachment and compassion. Sometimes to be detached, we are not compassionate: we don’t care – ‘it  is not about me…nothing, no one’

“Sometimes detachment creates aloofness. But when there is deep detachment from one’s own ego, from one’s own selfishness, it is harmonized with profound compassion – real care for others, real willingness to make sacrifice for the welfare of others. That’s a combination that can transform people’s hearts.” – Radhanath Swami

So one day he was in so much pain that his whole body was trembling. They sat him on a chair, because he was paralysed from the waist down, and one of his legs was amputated. He was sitting in a chair, and I was speaking to him. We would spend hours and hours just talking about spiritual subjects. But as I was speaking, I could see he could not focus on what I was saying. So I began to chant this Mahamantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare; Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. As I was chanting, he held my hand, and suddenly the most blissful smile manifested on his face. His teeth practically went to his ears; that is how he was smiling. His eyes – I never saw him cry when he was in pain – his eyes were pouring tears of joy. Then he was shaking his head, and he told me, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Same pain was there; the body was still trembling. I said, “What do u mean?”

“It doesn’t get any better than this. I would not trade my position for anything or anyone else in this world, because I am tasting the sweetness of Krishna’s names.” Then he looked at me; his eyes were glistening with light. He said, “I am feeling Krishna’s love. I know where I am going, and I am ready to go. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Radhanath Swami

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  • Gopinath Chandra

    Boosts faith in the holy names! Sanatana Goswami explains that there is no greater proof than that obtained through personal experience of the principles mentioned in the scriptures. Seeing the shining example of Bhakti Tirtha Swami, one understands that it is indeed possible to experience the nectar of the holy names. And Radhanath Swami Maharaj’s explanation is so lively!

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  • biswajit

    holy name can only deliver us

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    • Piyush Singh

      True… and can deliver the whole material world.

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  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Amazing story! Just goes to show the consciousness of exalted devotees who have given their lives to preach to the world at large with compassion and dedication! We should learn and become enthused to follow in their footsteps by hearing about such great devotees.

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  • Nitai Prasad Das

    Bhakti tirtha swami’s glorious life of complete dedication in the mission of his spiritual master and his exemplary departure in the association of his dear friends personifies all that a spiritual practitioner aspires and strives for.

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    • Piyush Singh

      Very well said, his life was really exemplary.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Well said! We are very fortunate to have these great saints giving shelter to the whole world without any discrimination. Let’s pray that we always get that.

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  • Pankaj

    HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami ki Jai !!!

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  • Vinay Malani

    HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami was such a legendary & inspirational personality in ISKCON. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for sharing your wonderful experiences with him.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes very true! Saints like him appear in this world to usher the whole world to love and serve God and His children.

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  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    We should strive to develop this type of consciousness. We can learn and get inspired by great devotees like him.

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  • Vishwanath

    HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami ki Jai !!!

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  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    So inspiring to hear about such great devotees!

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Very true! These things give lot of inspiration to make progress in ones spiritual life.

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  • amit

    HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaja ki Jay.

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  • Piyush Singh

    Such a touching reciprocation between two loving God Brothers. This gives us a first hand experience of the divinity of the Holy name and also the presence of a blissful Spiritual World.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Very true! This is what is called real friendship which is beyond things of this material world. A devotee can be a real friend because he knows how other living beings are connected with the Lord.

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  • Sumit Sharma

    Wonderful!

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  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    H.H. Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaj ki Jay. Very nicely explained.

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  • Y Raja Shekar

    To be detached and yet be compassionate. Very unique and rare combination. As Radhanath Swami says, this combination is possible to be exhibited only by exalted pure devotees only.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Very true! When I heard this comment from Radhanath Swami Maharaj, I was amazed by this profound statement. Only a pure devotee can be selfless always thinking about the welfare of others.

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  • Keshav Kishor Das

    Heart touching presentation ! Must watch.

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  • Satish Rane

    H H Bhakti Tirth swami maharaja faith in the holy name of Lord Sri krishna has reminded the Prabhupada songs on Jaladutta. Prabhupada said that he has faith in Holy Name. Thank you maharaj for expressing the quality of H H Bhakti Tirth swami maharaja in this class.

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    • Piyush Singh

      So well said.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Very true Satishji! HH Bhakti Tirth Swami Maharaj has inspired the whole world by happily accepting whatever came in his life with full faith in the Lord and His Holynames. Only a pure devotee can do this.

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  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Wonderful video. Thank you very much.

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  • Amala Bhakti Rani

    Beautiful video … it’s so inspiring to hear about such great souls

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  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much for such a nice video.

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  • Sumit Sharma

    Very nice video on Radhanath Swami Maharaj. It’s very heartening to see how two pure devotees reciprocate with each other. It was humility only that Radhanath Swami Maharaj fulfilled the last desire of Bhakti Theerth Swami Maharaj. That’s called real friendship. Friendship in this material world is just based on how we can exploit each other for our selfish motives. However, pure souls are real friends of everyone.

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