Radhanath Swami writes his realization that a guru or a spiritual master with the stick of knowledge cleans the dirty wax of egotism accumulated in the heart of the disciple. This wax of ego prevents us from clearly hearing God’s voice within. But the guru lovingly cleans us. Another lesson that young Richard learnt was just like the man demanded money to clean the other ear, similarly in spiritual life, we get a free sample of religious experiences. However for more we must a pay a price of sincerity and dedication.
Radhanath Swami explains that advancing in spiritual life is not a cheap thing. Therefore Krishna, God first gives us a ‘free sample’- initial ecstasies and joy in executing spiritual practises. Radhanath Swami compares God with an expert marketing manager. He reasons if you want to get people hooked on your product, you first give them a free sample. Then after the first dose of free samples, we have to pay for the product. Similarly happiness in spiritual practices is free in the initial days. However, to sustain and grow in our spiritual lives, we have to work hard and pay the price of sincerely endeavouring to clean our hearts from all the unwanted, dirty, egoistic tendencies. And this is quite an expensive affair. This only proves that connection to God requires hard work because the result of connection is supreme bliss. To get ordinary pleasures of this world we pay a price, many times exorbitant rates. Similarly to get spiritual pleasures, we should be willing to pay the price of giving our time and energy to God.
In one talk Radhanath Swami compares God to a drug pusher. A drug pusher may never charge you the first time. Once we are hooked, you have to pay. Similarly Krishna or God gives us the highest drug and intoxication and that is love of God. There is no intoxication that can come closer to the experience of loving God. But for the ecstasies and pleasures of God intoxication, we have to pull out the weeds of negativities from the heart. That may appear painful, but that is the price for genuine spiritual ecstasy.
At the beginning or the neophyte stage, Radhanath Swami says, we may not be able to see the weeds in our hearts. Through careful devotional service and practice of Bhakti yoga we get purified and begin to see the anarthas or unwanted things in our hearts. Then comes the time to pay the price for spiritual taste- are we willing to let go off our negativities or do we hold on to them as dear objects and possessions. To the extent we are honestly introspective and willing to pluck out the weeds of false pride, God gives us the strength to pull them out. Although plucking them out is a painful business, God Himself arranges these weeds to disappear and then He plants in the hearts, pure love. “We have to be willing to pay the price of having pure aspirations in spiritual life”, says Radhanath Swami, “then everything in spiritual life appears ecstatic and blissful.