1. On Religion & Spirituality

    Question: How would you define the difference between a religion and spirituality? Radhanath Swami: If we try to understand the true meaning of religion, we will find that there is no difference. But if we view the way religion is often followed in the world today, there is a big difference. The word religion comes from the Greek word religio, which means ‘to bind back’ or ‘to reconnect’— to reconnect our hearts, our consciousness, with God. The word yoga means exactly the same—to reunite the atma with the Paramatma, to reconnect...
  2. Wearing the Talisman of Humility & Tolerance

    Just as we protect ourselves from unseasonal rains and earthquakes by building good, strong shelters, similarly we need to systematically cultivate the divine qualities that give us protection during the storms of strife and doubts. We build a safe haven before the storm; we cultivate humility and tolerance to face the negative stimulants. Srila Prabhupada often said, “One’s greatness is estimated by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situations.” In an age when relationships are strained over minor misunderstandings and we dispute over trifles, how can we cultivate tolerance? While in...
  3. On Desire

    The whole reason why there is suffering in this world is selfishness. We are so much concerned with ‘me’ or ‘mine.’ It is the anchor that keeps us in this world birth after birth. Even if we are chanting the holy name and reading the Bhagavatam we may still have materialistic desires. Why? Does the process work? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja was asked the same question. He told the story of the marriage party. A newly married couple had to take an overnight boat ride and it was already dark. The...
  4. Understanding Meditation

    There are different forms of meditation in every religious tradition and practically in every denomination of each religious tradition. In order for any of them to be effective, what is most important is our sincerity and the willingness to really absorb ourselves in that particular process. Some meditate on a silent mantra, some on a particular form, some on a particular prayer, some on a virtue, some on the breath, some on the different sensations of the body and some on the name of God, which is considered very divine and holy. All these meditations...
  5. The Use & Misuse of Religion

    Question: Religion is the source of so much strife in our world, perhaps because of the fact that it is misused. I would like to get your perspective on that. Radhanath Swami: My guru Srila Prabhupada said, “Philosophy without good character is practically useless.” The whole purpose of religion is to help us in transcending the arrogant ego. The ego creates such a void in the heart. If we have a full heart we don’t crave to feel superior to anybody. One who really considers oneself the servant of everyone...