Weeds in the Garden

tools_garden“If we remain faithful to the ideals we strive for, all the tests will only make us stronger.”- Radhanath Swami.

Once there was a beautiful garden. The gardeners would toil endlessly – planting, pruning, weeding – to make it fresh and blooming.

One day, the gardeners went to the head gardener and said, “All this work is very tiring. We want to offer special prayers and ask the demigod in charge of plant life for a boon.” Thus they invoked that demigod through prayers.

“What is it you wish?” asked the demigod. They said, “Oh lord! We are tired of all the work we have to do to make the garden beautiful. The worst is weeding. Please grant us that there will be no weeds in the garden.”

“So be it!” said the demigod.

That day onwards, no weeds grew in the garden. The gardeners were relaxed and at ease. Their work had reduced by half. Thus passed a few days. Slowly, the plants in the garden started wilting. They looked limp and listless. The gardeners became worried. Their garden was no longer beautiful. They invoked the demigod again and complained.”What has happened, lord? Why are our plants wilting? ”

The demigod said, “There cannot be a garden without weeds. You cannot tell the weeds not to grow. When they grow, you must remove them. That is how the soil gets turned and oxygenated. That’s how plants thrive.”

And that is how it is with the pinpricks of family life. They help us to grow and come closer to God, when done with the right consciousness. Any challenges and problems must be dealt with. We cannot wish them away.

The more weeding you do, the more beautiful your garden becomes. The more negativity you remove in married life, the more beautiful your relationship with your spouse becomes, and the more your family becomes united with God in the centre!



Kiran Learns his lesson

cold water (1)For a marriage to work in this world, it is very difficult. In fact, anything great is difficult; cheap things come easy. –Radhanath Swami

It happened during summer. Kiran was travelling by train, immersed in thought; lately, he and his wife weren’t getting along well.

It was hot and the train stopped at a small wayside station.

“Cold water. 50 paise a glass,” called out a young boy, vending water on the platform.

A merchant travelling in Kiran’s compartment stuck his head out and asked the boy , ” 50 paise is too much. Will you give for 30 paise?”

The boy looked briefly at the man and said “You are not thirsty at all. Had you been thirsty you would not have wasted time, haggling over the price.”

That day Kiran picked up a valuable lesson. If you want something badly enough, you must pay the price for it—not just in terms of money—you must be willing to work sincerely and put forth the effort. Only then can your desired goal be achieved. Now he knew what to do with his marital relationship. He had to work hard—invest his time, energy and love—for it to work well. It wasn’t going to come cheap.

Blog Relationships

Did he intend that?

Did he intend thatWhen I am hurt by my husband’s words, more often than not, I tend to blame him for being insensitive. As I am preoccupied with my own hurt , I leave no effort undone to make it very apparent that ‘he HURT me.’ If our conversation proceeds further and I see that he does not care to respond to my feelings and is more interested in defending his own stance, I’m more and more aggravated and I drive myself to feel more and more pained.

As I was contemplating on how I could resolve this situation occurring and recurring in the lives of many-a- well-meaning couples, I chanced upon the book ‘Difficult Conversations’ by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen. As I read the title of the third chapter, a new realization dawned upon me. It said ‘dont assume they meant it.’ The authors say that mostly ‘we assume what the other person’s intentions are, when in fact, we aren’t aware of it! Other people’s intentions exist only in their hearts or minds’.

Why then do we feel hurt when we don’t even know their intention? It is because of the impact of those words or action on us that we tend to assume their intentions as wrong. Eg: on a busy day, when someone makes us wait and he turns up late, we don’t think that ‘he could have run into someone more needy,’ but we think, ‘as usual, he’s taking me for granted.’

What’s ironic is that though we tend to attribute bad intentions to others, we’re more charitable towards ourselves eg: when your husband forgets to pay the electricity bill, he’s irresponsible, but when you forget to lock the main door, you’re overworked & stressed. Just see how we’re able to easily forgive ourselves or rationalize our intention because it is we who know our intentions the best. Similarly, when your husband criticizes your words, you feel he’s putting you down but when you offer him a suggestion, you’re trying to be helpful.

The reason why we can easily forgive ourselves too is because we know that we don’t intend to annoy, offend or hurt someone intentionally. We’re sometimes so caught up in our own act that we’re grossly unaware of the negative impact that our words or action has on someone else. What is most interesting, according to experts, is that it is a rare phenomena to have people with grossly bad intentions in our lives, rarer than we imagine!!

Doesn’t that bring some solace to you! It gives you a chance to look upon your family members as people who love you, who have the best interest for you or at least do not mean to hurt you intentionally. When our vision of people around us change, we start seeing them more positively, the impact of their words and actions on us too change for the better.

Going back to the question of resolving the situation of word/action-> hurt-> blame -> more hurt -> more blame, is to bring it to an objective platform. You bring the situation to an objective platform when you separate the hurt from the intention and then clarify intentions without judging them.

Examples of some clarifications when we react and judge are-

  • Why do you always belittle my efforts?
  • Aren’t you trying to manipulate me?
  • You say these words purposefully to hurt me!

How could we bring in more objectivity into the above 3 examples?

  1. When you say ‘I don’t think you will be able to do it…,’ I feel belittled. What do you actually mean when you say that?
  2. I feel I am being manipulated in the current situation. Can you let me know what you intended when you asked me to speak in favour of you.
  3. You said ‘why bother!’ When you use such words I get hurt. Please tell me what you intended?

Can you see the difference of using our words carefully? How we speak to others evoke similar responses. We might think we’re simply expressing our hurt and might expect the other person to understand and probably apologize to us, but what we’re doing is to inadvertently put them on a defence. Any person will try to defend a false accusation. But when we separate our hurt from their intention and state our hurt and then objectively seek to know their real intention, we’re creating a healthy environment of discussion. Otherwise, if we mix up our hurt sentiments/feelings with their intention, we’re merely provoking them or maligning their character and your words will be farfetched from one who is looking for solace. Such conversations lead to no apology or understanding or a changed situation except a bigger misunderstanding.

Let’s learn how to separate our hurt from their intention in 3 easy steps-

  1. Note what the other person has said or done
  2. What was the impact of this on you
  3. Based on this impact, what assumptions are you making about the other person’s intentions

When we’re on the other side of receiving the blame, we can disarm an explosive situation by first listening to the other person’s feelings and later reflecting on your intention. Usually we fail to listen past the accusation. Accusations especially false ones, really tick us off but let us always remember that accusations about our bad intentions are always because of two reasons-

  1. We really had bad intention or some mixed intention (ulterior motive)
  2. The other person is hurt or frustrated

A constructive conversation when you receive blame is when you start by listening to and acknowledging the feelings and then return to the question of intentions. We can also take up this opportunity to purify our intentions.

Radhanath Swami emphasizes on purifying our intentions- ‘God sees not only our bodies, but he sees our desires, motivations, intentions, and he is only pleased when there is love. If we do not have love in our hearts, God sees, but he is not pleased to see us. Shelter comes when the Lord is pleased with our intention and spirit of service.’

When our intentions are pure, it reflects in our words and actions too!

– Mrs. Preethi Dhiman

…Read Articles in preethi’s Blog


Married Life

Audio On Married Life

I have never been married. As a Swami, I will never get married. So I don’t know so much about married life. But because so many married people come to me with their problems, I know too much about married life. Whenever people come to me it’s like they have such a unique secret problem that’s so much their own. But interestingly, almost everyone tells me the same thing…..

–Radhanath Swami


Domestic scandals

beggarEvery moment we have the free will to react to whatever comes upon us; and character is how we respond to every situation by feeding the goodness of our heart, the divinity within us, rather than the anger, envy and selfishness. –Radhanath Swami

“Bhikshaan Dehi” the voice cut through the haze of the afternoon sun. The housewife hurried out with a bowl of rice for the mendicant on her doorstep. As she offered, she asked him a question. “Why do I and my husband quarrel with each other?”

The mendicant raised his voice and said, “I have come for alms. Not to answer your silly questions”.

The housewife was taken aback. How rude this mendicant was! He was the receiver of alms and she was the giver. How dare he talk to her like that! “Arrogant and ungrateful you are. No manners, no consideration.” and thus she scolded and abused him.

When she was a bit quiet, the mendicant said, “My child, how angry you became when I raised voice and spoke to you! Indeed, it is anger alone which leads to quarrels. If you and your husband learn to control your anger, you can be sure, there will be lesser quarrels in your home.”





The Lion loses both

MoroselionIf only we can just appreciate what we have been given, God will reveal Himself to us.

– Radhanath Swami

It was a lovely day in the forest. Kaa Kaa was perched high on the branches of a wild fig tree. A deer quenched its thirst at a nearby waterhole and a rabbit slept peacefully at the foot of the tree. Life seemed good.

Just then a lion came upon and looked at the deer and thought, “Ah, a deer ! What luck ! I’d rather have deer than rabbit for supper.” With a roar and a leap, the lion took off after the deer. The deer panicked and ran for its life. The lion chased in hot pursuit and after several minutes realised that it was a fruitless chase. The deer was swifter and managed to give the lion the slip.

“Brother “, panted the lion. “The deer has escaped. Oh well, never mind. I can still go back to the rabbit.” But it was not the lion’s day.  The rabbit had woken up with the lion and deer commotion and had escaped to a safer location.

It was a hungry lion that went to bed that night. And it was a valuable lesson that Kaa Kaa learnt. That day he told his friends, “If you drop a smaller gain and run after a greater gain, you may end up losing both.”

In short, a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush.

Another lesson: Learn to appreciate your spouse. If you look for a better one, you might end up losing even this one.



The more he did…


boy doing worshipAusterity means putting aside our selfish ambitions for a higher purpose

– Radhanath Swami

A little boy was sitting and eating a mango. He loved mangoes and so was enjoying the sweet taste of the luscious fruit. Just then his mom came and reminded him that it was his turn of deity worship the next day. In their house it was rule, everyone had to do deity worship by turns and tomorrow was his turn.

“Oh no!” he thought to himself. He did not like to do deity worship. Sometimes he would try to get out of it. Sometimes he would just do the deity worship really quickly so it would be over as soon as possible.

That day he thought, “Oh well, it is my turn, then I have to do it.” The next morning when he started doing the worship, it did not seem so bad. “May be”, he thought to himself, “this could be fun”. But he soon forgot about it as there were so many other things to do.

The next time when it was his turn for worship, he did not mind. In fact he almost found himself looking forward to it. To his surprise he was enjoying it. Soon he started doing deity worship even when it was not his turn.

The more he liked, the more he wanted to do. And the more he did, the more he liked it. The more and more he did deity worship, the more and more he liked doing it. Until one day the liking became loving!

Let’s learn a lesson from this story: Marital relationships go deep when we treat our spouse as a sacred child of God who’s put under our care. To live with such a conception may be an austerity in the beginning, but if we try sincerely, soon we will like it, and our love will grow deep and real, beyond the superficial.