At one point I became the temple president in Vrindavan, which is quite a responsibility – big ashrams and so many things. I did that for a few years. At that time I was a grhasta, and then one day early in the morning someone knocked on my door. It was Radha Govinda Swami, and he would knock on my door and then as soon as I opened it – he would offer obesciences. So I too offered obesciences. Then he would just walk away. The next day the same thing happened. For one week he came to my door and offered obesciences, and at each time I said;
“ Maharaja please, Maharaja no…no..no… Maharaja what are you doing ? I’m just a grhasta and you are a Sannyasi – what are you doing?”
So after one week he said;
“No it is my duty. I must offer my obesciences. After all you are our father”.
I had never thought of that – that I was the father of all the devotees. I thought that I was the temple president and in charge here and responsible of the place. But then I was the father and it had never occurred in my brain – especially Radha Govinda Mahraja’s father. I had never thought of that! (laughter)….
He taught me something – since I must say that I started to think about it. That I have to be more like a father: Taking care, and being more kind: More loving and at the same time I must take charge and lead people in the right direction. So it gave me a sense of leadership – a sense of caring and not just being a good administrator.
So something changed. Instead of pulling out a manager’s pocket handbook – 37 tips for efficient management. Suddenly I had to be a father. So we are not accustomed to being merciful. We are not accustomed to be a vaisnavas – we don’t know what it means. We tend to become serious about our spiritual life because we want to get out of the material world, but we forget that a vaisnava is just an ocean of mercy and we maintain a certain amount of harshness. You know with our dealings, we are insensitive – we are still too self centered. Too self centered in our own experience: Our own need furthering our foreground and we just steam roll other people in human relationships.
This is the symptom of the mode of ignorance actually. This harshness – this insensitivity is due to the mode of ignorance of a vaisnava, because a vaisnava is accepting the wellbeing of others as much as his own! Therefore, a vaisnava is gentle – that means a vaisnava must be generous, and must not only think, “ What about myself, but what about the other person?” That we saw in the advanced devotees who really cared for others!
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Melbourne, October 2010)