Richard (now Radhanath Swami)’s most unforgettable experience at Dev Prayag was with Kailash Baba. An elderly ascetic, Kailash Baba showered Richard with fatherly affection and instructed him on how to survive as a wandering ascetic. Radhanath Swami writes that Kailash Baba was one of the kindest, gentlest men he has ever met. The Baba didn’t know English, yet both communicated the language of love. Every time he looked at Richard, Kailash Baba had affectionate tears in his eyes. Richard also learnt that Kailash Baba was several hundred years old and he possessed supernatural powers to heal the sick and perform extraordinary feats. But he vowed never to speak or show them off. Radhanath Swami says he has never forgotten the loving Kailash Baba.
I haven’t met Kailash Baba but can vouch for the love and affection of Radhanath Swami. His affection attracts the love of our hearts. Earlier I had a misconception that spirituality means one has to be tough and devoid of emotions. In Radhanath Swami’s association I realized spiritual life is full of rich emotions and feelings. These feelings Radhanath Swami has expressed not just to human beings, but even to insignificant animals.
Once, Radhanath Swami visited Nasik, a center close to Mumbai. He was impressed by the temple and also surprised to see that there were turtles in the beautiful fountain in the temple. However Radhanath Swami was worried that turtles are not like fishes; they cannot be in water all the time. They need a place to rest. Radhanath Swami insisted that the devotees make a small island in that pool so that the turtles can rest. “They shouldn’t be uncomfortable” said Radhanath Swami as he enquired the details about the turtles. The other members watching were amused that here is a person who is busy and sought after all over the world and involved in many projects; yet he was doing serious service for mere turtles. Before leaving Nasik, Radhanath Swami also told the President to inform him when something was done for the turtles.
Radhanath Swami’s exchanges with Kailash Baba are sweet to say the least. I wonder how two individuals who don’t share a language can speak to each other. I got a glimpse of it when I served some of Radhanath Swami’s guests who came from Vrindavan, a holy place of pilgrimage in the Northern India. Under Radhanath Swami’s leadership annual medical camps are held in these villages; the villagers thus have a loving relationship with Radhanath Swami. When one family from this village was at temple I served them and once arranged their meeting with Radhanath Swami. They spoke for a long time in their native language while I translated for Radhanath Swami. After I finished, the family and Radhanath Swami simply shared smiles and laughter. Then for a long time there was no talk but only smiles and laughter. I wondered what was happening but the family and Radhanath Swami seemed to be completely comfortable. Then they said something which I couldn’t understand. I told them to repeat because I needed to translate for Radhanath Swami. They said, “Not needed. He has understood.” I was shocked to see Radhanath Swami switch on the fans; they had apparently told him that the room was getting hot. Again they sat together smiling and laughing for what appeared hours. I finally asked the elderly family from Vrindavan, “How did he (Radhanath Swami) understand when you said a few things in Hindi when I myself was finding difficult to understand your dialect?” The elderly man replied, “Son, you won’t understand. Your guru, Radhanath Swami speaks the language of love, and love knows no barriers.”
Radhanath Swami’s exchanges with Kailash Baba are also in the language of love- richer than all the languages of the world put together!