On the evening of March 2nd, 2015, Radhanath Swami spoke at Sivananda Ashram, the International Headquarters of the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh. He was invited to speak by the President of the Society Param Pujya Swami Vimalananda Saraswati.
During the evening Satsanga Swami Vimalananda Saraswati introduced Radhanath Swami to an international gathering of 150 yogis and devotees; leaders of the society, including General Secretary Swami Padmanabhananda Saraswati, were present. “We met each other for the first time in the 1970s on a mountaintop monastery in the United States. There we chanted the holy names and danced together,” Swami Vimalananda Saraswati fondly recalled. He glorified Srila Prabhupada, the Founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, for spreading the glories of the Mahamantra all over the world. Speaking from his memories of ISKCON’s first chariot festival, where he had met Srila Prabhupada, Swamiji said, “In 1969, in San Francisco chariot festival, we all went and danced with Prabhupadaji. There were more than 5000 people there. It was a wonderful sight to see.” He then requested Radhanath Swami to speak on ‘Devotion and Glories of the Holy Names’.
Taking cue from Swamiji’s recollections of 1969 chariot festival, Radhanath Swami first spoke of Srila Prabhupada’s fondness for chariot festivals. As a child Srila Prabhupada would look through railway timetables to see which trains went to Jagannath Puri, where the internationally famous chariot festival has been held annually for thousands of years. Later Srila Prabhupada started the celebration of that same festival all over the world.
Radhanath Swami then spoke from the Chaitanya Charitamrita the story of Sukhlambar Brahmachari, and from the Srimad Bhagavatam the story of Sudama. “They had simple and humble devotion. So the Lord ‘stole’ their offering of chipped rice, even though they didn’t formally offer it.” Speaking of the glories of the holy names he said, “Hari kirtan is the sublime way of awakening our love for God and softening out hearts.”
Towards the end Radhanath Swami led everyone in kirtan.