By Bhaktin Jessica
When I was recently invited to attend a Vyasa Puja celebration for Radhanath Swami I had no hesitation in agreeing that I would make every attempt at going. Radhanath Swami has been a sure and steady source of inspiration for me spiritually and there have been countless moments while pursuing Krishna that, without him, I feel I would have succumbed to spiritual defeat, dragged down by maya’s dark nets.
I was looking forward to an afternoon of celebrating and expressing gratitude towards a spiritual teacher who I have come to hold very dear and seek to serve. I was not disappointed. Running throughout much of the afternoon were his lectures. It was especially sweet that one of the lectures played was the very first lecture I had ever heard from Radhanath Swami, “The Essence of Religions”. I remember listening to him speaking and thinking, “Wow, this teacher really “gets” it.” Everything he says in that lecture resonated so deeply and made so much sense. I hardly knew anything about bhakti yoga or Krishna consciousness at that point but I knew enough that I should explore his lectures more-and I did. I think I have listened to nearly every one of his that are on Youtube! I would encourage anyone who hasn’t listened to this particular lecture to do so.
I was told that offerings are given at Vyasa Puja celebrations-a prayer perhaps, or a letter or maybe a poem. I had never been to this sort of celebration before so I wasn’t sure quite what to say. I had written two poems in the past inspired by him so I thought I might bring them along and share them if there seemed to be enough time. I also wrote a short letter to him. I will post what I read below to conclude this post. Before I do, though, I would like to say that what I heard the other devotees share and read was very touching and beautiful. Their spirit towards devotion and humility certainly mirrored Radhanath Swami’s mood that exemplifies selflessness, humility and service. To hear how he has also touched their lives, guiding and inspiring them and to hear their devotion towards him was truly touching.
The afternoon concluded with wonderful prasadam cooked expertly. His cake was masterfully baked and decorated-the frosting elaborately adorned its most delicious interior.
I will now conclude with one of the poems I shared and my letter to Radhanath Swami. The other poem I shared I have already posted on this blog and you can read here if you like. I hope you enjoy them.
Jaya Radhanath Swami!
Dear Radhanath Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
I wish you the utmost joy and blessings on your Vyasa Puja. We have only briefly met once at my local temple where I felt so incredibly fortunate to hear you speak and sing His Holy Names and have you sign my copy of The Journey Home. Though having only met you once you have inspired me tremendously, being a sure and steady light for me on my spiritual journey for two years now.
For so many you embody the characteristics of spiritual perfection and are a true example of selflessness, compassion, humility and devotion towards Krishna and one’s guru maharaj. From the time you take to share your knowledge of Krishna with so many all over the world to the work you have done in starting the hospice with Giriraj Swami that promises to guide so many back Home during their most difficult last moments, and in so many other things, you are truly a blessing to this world. In dark times of doubt and uncertainty all that is needed for me is to see just a picture of you or hear one of your lectures and I find myself inwardly and outwardly smiling, filled with encouragement and a renewed sense of determination. When I turn towards your direction and guidance I begin to feel the dark tides of spiritual insecurity recede and the light and joy of devotion begin to rise once again in my heart.
I will always be forever thankful for your presence in my spiritual life. I seek someday to serve you more fully as one of your disciples.
May this auspicious day meet you with the love of all of those whose lives you have touched. You are a light to us all in this dark material world. Thank you.
From which grace emanates and mercy flows
depthless pools from which endless knowledge of the Divine pours out.
forever caught up in the thros of maya’s turbulent waves,
You are all I thirst for and I sense You through him.
I seek to lay down my will and attention and all that I have,
as an offering of love and devotion,
a gesture of surrender before him.
bringing light and life to darkened corners of so many hearts.