Mother Ganges taught valuable lessons to Richard (now Radhanath Swami). One of them was the virtue of perseverance. Ganga begins her course from high in the Himalayas and flows without stopping, to the sea. Despite all obstructions she flows gracefully. Radhanath Swami writes that Mother Ganges teaches us that if we want to attain the sea of our aspiration, we must persevere in our goal and never be discouraged by the inevitable obstacles that come on our path. All impediments are like rocks in the river of life. We should flow around them and never give up. With the Lord’s help, there is always a way. Radhanath Swami also felt that the sea was calling and each drop of Ganga water patiently flowed in the current to her ultimate destination, so far away. Mother Ganges is teaching all of us that patience and steadfastness are required to follow our inner calling.
I once heard a story that Radhanath Swami’s friend, Saccinandana Swami narrated. Long ago, there lived a bird in a beautiful orchard. She soon found a mate and they both lived happily. She laid her eggs in her nest and nurtured them with all her love and care. But one day, while she was away an eagle picked her egg and flew away with it. The mother, determined as she was, tried to chase the eagle to retrieve her precious egg. After a while, the eagle dropped the egg in the ocean and flew away. retrieve her precious egg. After a while, the eagle dropped the egg in the ocean and flew away. The mother was helpless and she broke into tears. But she had tremendous faith in God’s grace. She thought she could empty the ocean by scooping out the water and get back her eggs. The tides were strong and night was dark. But nothing could shake her faith and perseverance. She went on and on. Seeing her total faith, the Lord was pleased and personally gave her eggs back. Thus perseverance despite repeated obstacles helps us attract the lord’s grace.
Radhanath Swami says that the ability to persevere during difficult times comes if we can internally connect to God. The tests are sometimes severe and also unaccepted. Radhanath Swami shares his realization that we are living in times of great uncertainty. We do not know what will happen tomorrow. But one thing is sure that if we establish our connection with the Lord, it makes us eternally self-satisfied and fearless. It is like how we take petty things seriously in the absence of our connection towards the great. “For example, if you have two dollars and you have a bill that is a dollar and fifty cents; that is a big problem for you because it is almost everything you have. But if you have 100 million dollars, do you take that dollar & fifty seriously? Similarly, because we are spiritually bankrupt every little thing disturbs us so much.” Through this classic example Radhanath Swami is imploring us to go deeper in our relationship with God. This will help us push on happily when challenges strike us repeatedly during our sojourn in this material world.