One day at Janakpur, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) met an elderly sadhu who while blessing innocent people with an open palm, simultaneously chastised Richard for having left behind the material comforts of America. Richard was shocked that as the innocent people didn’t understand English, this man was cheating them by blessing them while he himself desired material wellbeing. Although the man was dressed in the robes of a sadhu, he was denying the existence of God. Richard reflected over the dangers of duplicity and how it gives spiritual leaders and spiritual movements a bad name.
Radhanath Swami says the first qualification to practice spiritual life is simplicity. The Vedic scriptures define simplicity as the ability to lead a truthful life, free from any duplicity and hypocrisy. This truthfulness is so ingrained in a sincere person that he is willing to speak the truth even to an enemy. Radhanath Swami says if we can have this standard of simplicity and freedom from duplicity, only then can we chant the holy names of God purely. Radhanath Swami warns us from presenting a false picture of ourselves to others. “We can never cheat others because the Supreme Lord in the heart is always watching every thought, word and action of ours. He surely records our intent and rewards us accordingly.” Duplicity also poisons the heart and prevents us from thinking of the Supreme Lord. When we lead a simple life it becomes easy for us to not get entangled in unnecessary complications in life. This also saves time which can be well spent in service of the Lord and devotees.
Radhanath Swami also defines simplicity as the simple acceptance of the Lord’s order without unnecessarily complicating matters. Doubts on the instructions of God comes from a duplicitous mind
Radhanath Swami narrates the story told by his guru Srila Prabhupada on simplicity. A young boy approached the great sage Gautam Rsi, for spiritual initiation. The sage replied he initiates people who are of higher castes and birth and therefore he would initiate the boy only if he knew who his father was. The boy then went home to ask his mother. She said she didn’t know because she was a prostitute and had relationships with many men. Therefore it was difficult for her to ascertain as to who the father of her son was. The boy went back to the sage and repeated what he had heard from his mother as it is. Gautam Rishi was pleased and said since the boy spoke the truth without hesitation, he was most well qualified and was from the highest caste, irrespective of the apparently lower birth.
“Being truthful and free from duplicity means we should abandon materialistic ambitions and politics and the tendency to say and do anything to get what we want” says Radhanath Swami. “Duplicity means thinking ends justifies the means and through this philosophy we may conquer the world but can never please God or his representatives.”