A man in forties, Madhava, befriended Richard (now Radhanath Swami) and persuaded him to visit Ganesh Puri to the sacred tomb or Samadhi of Nityananda Baba. While meditating there, Richard felt the overpowering presence of the Baba, as if being reassured that his blessings were upon Richard. Richard was also surprised to find the Baba’s followers chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, the one that had been revealed to Richard by Mother Ganges and that Srila Prabhupada had sung in Bombay. Richard also met Nityananda Baba’s disciple Swami Muktananda who advised Richard to become addicted to his mantra even more than an alcoholic is addicted towards his liquor. As if following the swami’s advice, for the last forty years, Radhanath Swami too practices the chanting of Holy Names, having received initiation into the chanting by Srila Prabhupada, in an unbroken chain of disciplic succession. And the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra has become Radhanath Swami’s life and soul.
Nityananda Baba is worshipped by millions of followers in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. One popular anecdote of Nityananda Baba is that once he was asked about his childhood and previous life. He was reluctant to speak about himself and mentioned, “People go to take bath in Ganges without bothering about the source of Ganges. Similarly when you are discussing spirituality with me, why bother about my past; just focus on my present services.” Nityananda Baba is also said to have not given any formal public programmes when he was alive. Nor did he demonstrate any particular set of spiritual practices like many other yogis. Often he laid down on his side facing a wall with his back turned to the congregation. Thousands of people experienced God’s Grace through him in this way. One of his followers spoke about Nityananda Baba very affectionately, “He was like the ocean. The ocean doesn’t come looking for you. You have to go to the ocean and, depending on the size of the vessel you are carrying, that’s the amount of water you’re able to take away with you.
This is the way it was with the Baba. He was always available to everyone without any disparity.”
Nityananda Baba is also one of those rare saints who discouraged people from approaching him with mundane desires. Those who came looking for the fulfillment of their material desires to be fulfilled were often disappointed. Radhanath Swami also encourages spiritual aspirants to not seek material pleasures while practicing spirituality. Our goal should be to get out of material consciousness and not get further entangled by seeking material benefits. Radhanath Swami gives the example of a priceless diamond and a broken piece of glass. Radhanath Swami says when we approach God or saintly people and wish for material benefits, it’s like going to a wealthy man who is willing to give you a priceless diamond. However due to our short sighted nature we ask for broken pieces of glass. Radhanath Swami compares spiritual benefits to a priceless diamond and all material desires to be nothing more significant than broken pieces of glass.