Discipleship Under Radhanath Swami

The need to accept discipleship of an enlightened guru is emphasized both by tradition and by the words of the scriptures. Yet, this step on the spiritual sojourn turns out to be a squirmy one for many. The difficulty arises due to ominous thoughts of loss of freedom. Haven’t you heard of grisly tales where disciples where punished by their masters for being disobedient?

Here I narrate my tale. Long time ago, I was afflicted by what I thought was bronchitis. My hacking cough pained me, but what pained me all the more was the thought that I caused disturbance to my monastery-mates at the Radhagopinath Ashram. None of them, in reality, expressed any sour feelings to me; on the other hand they were all very sympathetic and brought many doctors to help me out. Various medicines were tried, but all turned out to be vain.

They say, when everything fails, the guru gets on the case. Radhanath Swami arranged for my appointment with a top doctor of Mumbai. And alongside came Radhanath Swami’s stern order—that after the appointment with the doctor, I report to him the outcome of my medical examinations.

The medical report, when it came out, shocked me. I had Tuberculosis. My mind reeling with thoughts of months wasted on a hospital bed, I took the long bus ride back to the Ashram. In about an hour, I was standing dutifully before my guru, to give him the report.

“The report says I have…” I mumbled.

“Tuberculosis,” Radhanath Swami completed my sentence.

Mystified and mouth agape, my breath stopped.

“What is higher? The obedience of a disciple or the love of a guru?” he queried.

“The love of the guru,” I replied.

“My love for you couldn’t wait for your obedience. I rung up the clinic sometime ago and I already know your medical report,” Radhanath Swami said with an air of concern.

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