Richard (now Radhanath Swami) continued to be a wandering pilgrim; he wished to learn from many paths and teachers before he committed himself to one. He asked himself why he was leaving Maharshi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram. On three occasions Maharshi Mahesh yogi had appeared in Richard’s dream and Richard had enlightening spiritual experiences in this ashram. Yet he was leaving and moving from one place to another. As his search was getting intense, one can see his prayers becoming desperate.
Richard is growing in his spiritual quest and maturing with time. Radhanath Swami says unless we have this desperation to grow in our spiritual lives, advancement on the spiritual path is difficult. Radhanath Swami assures that as we seek to grow in our spiritual lives, we become mature in our realizations. And this will happen if we invest our time and energy in spiritual activities of hearing and chanting God’s names and serving selflessly. For a seeker of divinity, his search helps him mature. This can be understood with an example of a young, immature boy and girl. When they become physically mature, they see each other in a different light. Previously they had thought members of the opposite sex to be foolish, uninteresting and no good for playing with. Upon physical maturity they develop a different outlook—they become attracted, even infatuated. New, previously unknown desires arise in them. The same is true for a seeker of God who becomes mature. He or she will find new or previously unknown desires enter his or her mind: “Oh I wish to really serve God! Oh I really wish to satisfy Him and when, oh when, will I develop my relationship, my loving fulfilling relationship with the Lord?” Often God helps His devotee to mature by sending him a challenging situation which all of a sudden changes his perspective on life. At such a time new perspectives and desires arise in the mind. Radhanath Swami went through challenging situations and tests that helped him take shelter of God desperately. His realizations grew and prayers matured.
Radhanath Swami tells an interesting story to drive home the point of being intense in searching after truth. One day Socrates was wading into the public bath in Athens. Following him, a young man tapped Socrates on the shoulder and said, “Socrates, can I be your disciple?” Socrates continued walking, giving no response. “Socrates, can I be your disciple?” the young man repeated. Again Socrates gave no response. A third time the young man pleaded, “Socrates, can I please be your disciple?” Suddenly, Socrates wheeled him around, grabbed the young man’s head and thrust it under the water. He held the struggling man under until the bubbles started surfacing. Finally, when there was virtually no hope left, Socrates pulled the young man up out of the water and said to him, “Young man, when you desire truth as much as you desired air, then you can be my disciple.”
It is this kind of desperation that Richard was now developing in his quest. And when he would get to that level of desperation, ‘The Journey Home’ reveals, he meets his master and his path is revealed to him. Until then he continues to wander…