Who is Great?

1 Posted by - February 5, 2013 - Radhanath Swami

Our beloved Spiritual Master in one of his books speaks a line which I consider to be so very important to be understood by all classes of human beings. This one line goes beyond all sectarianism. It is a universal principle. It talks about who is a great person.

People come to adore great people or envy great people. And people like to become great in their own way somehow or the other. But what actually is greatness? What are the actual qualities of a Mahatma or a great soul?

Is greatness to have a lot of money? Some of the most degraded people in the world are billionaires and millionaires. Even today we see very wealthy people funding terrorism and cruelty to innocent. Is that great? Is greatness fame?–being a good singer, being a great dancer, having a beautiful body, being very strong and athletic or being heroic. According to the universal principle of all spiritual paths – One’s greatness has to be estimated by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situations.

It is easy to make a show of being great but when you are challenged–when provoking situations face you–then is actually the test of the substance of your character. There are six enemies that exist within our own hearts and they are provoked by both circumstances within and without. What are those six enemies? Lust, envy, pride, anger, greed and illusion. A great personality is one who is able to tolerate these urges.

  • vandanam108

    By far, this is the best definition of greatness i hv heard, although to be found seldom are such great personalities.

  • Vinay Jain

    Thank you Radhanath Swami for this great article!

  • nandkishordas

    Best formula that I have ever come around-Ones greatness has to be estimated by ones ability to tolerate provoking situations.

  • Y.Raja Shekar

    Truely, HH Radhanath Swami has in his own life exhibited this quality of tolerance in most trying (near death) situations.

  • navin poojary

    This a Good benchmark to understand the genuinely great souls

  • Aishwarya

    Thank you for sharing a unique and practical definition of greatness.

  • Sanjiv

    Greatness of a person has to be estimated by his ability to tolerate provoking situations. Thank you for sharing this !

  • Vidya Patham

    Thank you for sharing such an amazing definition of what it means to be great.

  • Jitendra Pardeshi

    Really great sentence by Srila Prahbupada. Provocations can be negative as well as positive coming through – Lust, envy, pride, anger, greed and illusion. To the degree one has built up inner strength, spiritual strength to that degree one can tolerate provoking situations for one self. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for the reminder and illustration.

  • Vinay Jain

    I think its a very important article even for those who are on the spiritual path. We should, no matter how long we have been in spiritual life, be very careful to resist all such provocations & temptations which Maya offers from time to time.

  • Ravi Garg

    Thanks Swamiji for your instructive words of wisdom…..

  • Anil Timbe

    “Ones greatness has to be estimated by ones ability to tolerate provoking situations.” So beautiful statement by Radhanath swami.

  • Arjun K Ramachandra

    My perception of greatness of a person has completely changed after reading this article! Thank you Radhanath Swami for enlightening us.

  • Abhinav

    Eloquent truth in simple words – Amazing…

  • ananda lila d

    Etan Wegan Yo Wishayeta Dhira
    Sarvan Api Mam Prutivi Sa Shishyat
    In Nectar Of Instruction it is mentioned that one who conquers the urges (6), has followers all over the world….

  • Piyush Singh

    Indeed a very accurate definition of greatness bu Radhanath Swami. We see around that there are many persons positioned at so called great places, but if we observe their activities they just seem to be endeavoring to gain the temporary material gains that too even by unjust means… those acts will not lead to good of anyone but cultivating real greatness will benefit one and all.

  • Shankar Pandit das

    Such statements made by Radhanath Swami are real wealth, as they give us proper directions to choose in our journey of life. Often almost everyone wants to become great, in their field , at least in a small circle of influence. This guideline offered here gives a clear indication what we should strive for.

  • Pranjal Dixit

    Radhanath Swami’s lectures are treasure store of such beautiful lessons. Our six enemies are always with us and at times over power us with their deep influence. We must have to follow instructions of self realized soul like Radhanath Swami to overcome their influence.

  • ananda lila d

    Once greatness in seen by capability to toletare provocking situations.
    How accurate…
    At the same time difficult to practice…
    Because such situations is the characteristics of this material world.
    Maya is attacking at every moment…
    That is why the personalities like HH Radhanath Swami are taking trouble to preach us about the higher taste to enable us forget the suffering in this material world.

  • champaklatapriya d.d.

    some people want to become great without knowing the truth behind it. Become humble and tolerant and understand the meaning of greatness. thanks radhanath maharaj telling about greatness

  • N. Swaminathan

    The understanding and resulting change of behaviour is highly dependent on the definition of a concept. Because it makes one think without confusion and helps focus on the important. Without such clarity it is easy to fall prey to hundreds of charlatans posing as leaders. Thank you Radhanath Swami for bringing this wisdom to us.

  • N. Swaminathan

    Only in challenging situations does the true colour come out.

  • Abhinav

    Greatness is not outside, its about inside.

  • ananda lila d

    Greatness in known by how we react to the provoking situations…
    Our respect to Srila Prabhupada will be seen by how we cooperate with each other in devotee community…
    Both go hand in hand…
    Please bless us Maharaj to develope this understanding…

  • Sumit Sharma

    A great personality is known by his power to control his senses and engage them in the real welfare of the whole world. Nice message from Radhanath Swami.

  • Jitendra Pardeshi

    Such greatness can not be achieved superficially. Unless one is firmly situated on the Spiritual platform. Throughout the history, great saints have demonstrated such greatness in the most provoking situations. In the recent history we have the example of Srila Prabhupada and when one reads journey home, one can understand the same. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • Ashwani Kaul

    “Ones greatness has to be estimated by ones ability to tolerate provoking situations”. This is the ever best statement thai I have come across in my life. Very thoughtful with volume of implied knowledge to convey, just by this one statement.

  • NAndkishor das


  • jayant mahtani

    I pray that this quality of tolerance you mention can be imbibed by me in the near future. Thank you for this wonderful article.

  • A great erson is one who tolerates his enemy. Very good Lesson. All glories to HH Radhanatha Svami Maharaja.

  • jayant mahtani

    As time has gone by, controlling the six enemies has become so difficult, but I will keep praying to the Lord to enable me to do so.
    Thank you Swamiji

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    One’s greatness has to be estimated by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situations- a stunning definition of greatness!

  • Navin Poojary

    True! The real enemies of every living being lie
    within their own hearts- Lust, envy, pride, anger, greed and illusion. A great
    personality is one who is able to tolerate these urges

  • Madhavi

    Such profound definition on ‘Greatness’ by Srila Prabhupada……….This quotes offers immense inspiration for tackling difficult situations in life and gives clear understanding of greatness.Thank you very much for sharing this wisdom.