Radha Baba (1913-1992) was a devotee of Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krishna who lived in Gorakhpur. Born in a Vaishnav Brahmin family in Gaya, he became an Advaitin sannyasi, but later took the path of Braj devotion. Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar, the founder of Gita Press, was his inseparable spiritual companion. It is said that Radha Baba spent fourteen years performing a very strict maun vrat, during which he kept complete silence, without even using gestures to communicate. During this period he was completely absorbed in Braj Lila. Several beautiful books were written by him, including Keli Kunj, Satsang Sudha and Mahabhaga Brajdeviyan. The following excerpt is taken from his book Easy Steps to Eternal Vrindavan, translated into English by Lakhpat Rai, M.A. It appears to be out of print, but the original Hindi edition, Prem Satsang Sudha Mala, is still available from Gita Press.
One cannot recognize real saints by their outward behaviour alone.
There was one Gwariya Baba in Vrindavan. Only a few years ago he passed away, leaving his physical body. He had a unique personality. He used to consider himself as a playmate of Shyamsundar (Lord Krishna) and he was really so.
Very curious things are related about him. Where he used to roam throughout the day, nobody knows. One day he was lying on the roadside. It was nighttime and some thieves were passing that way. The thieves inquired, ‘Who are you?’
‘Who are you ?’ he asked the thieves.
‘We are thieves!’ They said.
“I too am a thief!” said Baba.
The thieves said, “Come along then, let us go and steal.”
Baba responded, ‘Let’s go.’
All of them entered the house of a Brajwasi (resident of Vrindavan) for stealing. The others were indeed thieves and they began stealing and tying up the items into bundles, whereas Baba remained just standing there for a while. Later he saw a drum (dholak) lying there and began to beat it loudly.
The men in the house were awakened. All the others ran away, but Baba continued to beat the drum. The men of the house came on the scene and hit the Baba four or five times with a stick. It was dark, but when a lamp was lighted they noticed that it was Gwariya Baba. All of them felt very sorry for having beaten the high-souled one with a stick.
They asked, “Baba! Why did you come here in the middle of the night?”
Baba replied, “For stealing.”
They asked, ‘Who were those other men?’
He replied, “All of them were playmates of Shyamsundar.”
Now see, how such people behave.
Some days before his death, Gwariya Baba said, “A notice has been served. I shall not live any more.” Two days after his death he went and drank milk at the house of a devotee who lived not far from his place. Another devotee of Baba had fallen seriously ill. He started crying and said, “Baba! Either cure me or call me to your side.” Baba came to him in a dream - this happened two days after his death - and told him, “Why are you crying? Come along and see the festivities going on in my honour.” Still in the dream, Baba took the devotee to where the festivities were being held, showed him whatever was going on, and told him, I shall take you away on such-and-such a day.” On waking up the matter was inquired into, and it was found that the celebrations had been performed exactly as he had seen in the dream. The devotee passed away on the date stated by Baba.
Baba’s moods were so very peculiar that it becomes difficult to understand all of them. But he was in reality a playmate of Shyamsundar. He was a real saint. Some of his actions could not be interpreted at all. Two months prior to his death he used to roam about with handcuffs round his wrists, saying that Shyamsundar had imprisoned him.
The sum and substance of all this is that outward behaviour alone cannot be a proof of God realization. There can be a defect even in a person whose behaviour is of a very high degree, whereas even a seemingly worthless individual looking like a madman can be a very great saint.
On listening to the biographies of saints on fire with the love of Vrindavan, it will be noticed that some weep, others laugh and yet others are mad. Some show no outward signs at all of love, but inside them a limitless ocean of Sri Krsna’s love continues to surge. Saints aflame with such love cannot be recognized by outward signs at all.