One day walking along the beach at Goa, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) saw a small fish desperately flap in the sand. A wave had washed it ashore. Richard cast the fish back into the ocean but the next wave bought it back again. Finally Richard took the fish in the cup of his palm and hurled it deeper into the ocean. However later he saw fishermen return with their nets filled with hundreds of such tiny fishes. Richard realized that due to our desire to enjoy separately from God, we have been washed to the shore of the material world. And the net of illusion has caught us and has snatched our minds away from our true self-interest. When we try to enjoy separately from God, we are miserable like the fish on the shore.
Radhanath Swami says that material enjoyment only leads to suffering. To seek real happiness, we need to explore the world within. Unfortunately since we do not seek this happiness internally, we become lonely in this world. The more we enjoy our senses, the more we suffer and flap like the fish out of water. Radhanath Swami often explains that we are pure and eternal spiritual entities. True love and true peace is within our hearts and it can be awakened through spiritual practices. Radhanath Swami is emphatic that God consciousness is the original consciousness of all living beings. But we have forgotten. “If you have a disease and you forget you have the disease then the disease gets worse. We should recognize what our disease is and treat it. It will not go away through forgetfulness. Therefore we have to endeavor to seek the love of God which we have unfortunately forgotten.”
Radhanath Swami narrates the story of a famous, bestselling novel. A man was told that his father left as an inheritance a great treasure. The book describes how he travelled the entire world looking for that treasure. He died in the process, after a whole life of searching. They brought his dead body back to his home where he searched originally for, and while digging the grave in his own back yard, they found the treasure. Radhanath Swami draws spiritual parallels and says that this simple story is the story of our own lives. “We are trying to find the treasure of inner happiness; we want to share something wonderful with the world from that treasure, but that treasure is within our own hearts. If we do not find it there, we will find it nowhere else”, says Radhanath Swami.
Radhanath Swami expertly diagnoses the cause of our suffering and our refusal to seek this internal treasure. He says the treasure of our heart is presently covered by dirt. The dirt of ego, anger, greed, lust, envy, and illusion covers our consciousness. “The dirt of so many misconceptions and misdirection plague our hearts. If we simply clean this dirt from our through remembrance of God and by service, we will find the ultimate source of all our aspirations, love, peace, and truth”. The practical method that Radhanath Swami recommends to clean our hearts is the chanting of the names of God.