Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

Who is Radhanath Swami? Everything that you need to know.

Radhanath Swami is an American monk, bestselling author, activist, and one of the top leaders of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). He is a member of the Governing Body Commission (GBC), which is ISKCON’s managerial body. The society’s outreach activities in Italy, New York, London, and Mumbai are under his supervision.

He is the inspiration behind many social initiatives: hospitals, orphanages, free food programs, and schools. He is an acclaimed guide and a community builder.

Contents:
1) Who is Radhanath Swami’s Guru? And how did he meet his Guru?
2) How did Radhanath Swami make it big?
3) What is Radhanath Swami’s yearly schedule?
4) What is Radhanath Swami’s book The Journey Home all about?
5) What is Radhanath Swami’s book The Journey Within all about?
6) What’s special about Radhanath Swami?
7) What are the most famous quotes of Radhanath Swami?
8) Which are the books authored by Radhanath Swami?
9) What are the daily activities at Radhanath Swami’s ashram in Mumbai?
10) Who are the close friends of Radhanath Swami?
11) What are Radhanath Swami’s yearly yatras (pilgrimages) all about?
12) What’s the essence of Radhanath Swami’s teachings?
13) What are some lesser known facts about Radhanath Swami?

Who is Radhanath Swami’s Guru? And how did he meet his Guru?

His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, is Radhanath Swami’s guru.

Radhanath Swami embarked on a spiritual quest to India when he was 19. The Journey Home, his memoir, gives details of his travels: the spiritual leaders that he met, the teachings that he imbibed, the ashrams where he stayed, and the extraordinary experiences that he had. His journey culminated in Vrindavan where he found his guru in Swami Prabhupada.

How did Radhanath Swami make it big?

Even though Radhanath Swami joined ISKCON in 1971-72, he remained unknown for a long time.

Things started to change in 1986 when he made Mumbai his base for his outreach activities. In the years to come, he established a temple there – Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Temple – and built a vibrant community centered around devotional activities. By 1996, Radhagopinath Temple, along with its ashram and congregation, were considered exemplary in all of ISKCON; Radhanath Swami’s yearly pilgrimages, which was attended by thousands, inspired awe; Hare Krishnas all over the world recognized his devotional qualities and his divinely empowered skills as a community builder.

Radhanath Swami’s strategy for outreach in Mumbai during these early years was two-fold. For reaching out to the youth of Mumbai, he focused on programs in professional colleges, and for the rest of society, he held pandal-programs in different parts of the city. The intelligent and talented students who got connected through youth outreach went on to lead projects like Bhaktivedanta Hospital, Food relief programs, and Govardhan Ecovillage, some even went on to build full-fledged devotee communities in other cities of Maharashtra. And the simple but cultured families whom Radhanath Swami reached out to through his mass-outreach formed his growing congregation who assisted in his various projects. The one thing that was exceptional about the Swami – his ability to inspire dedication among followers of all backgrounds.

Radhanath Swami became well-known outside of the ISKCON world after he wrote his memoir The Journey Home. The book struck a chord with spiritual seekers of all backgrounds from all countries, and also with several accomplished spiritualists.

In 2016, Radhanath Swami wrote a sequel to The Journey Home. He called it The Journey Within, a spiritual guide for seekers that draws from his decades of experience as a guru. This book too was well-received and found its place in the bestseller list published by The New York Times.

Radhanath Swami is now focusing on outreach activities in the West. In New York City he is successfully replicating what he did in Mumbai almost 3 decades ago. The serious spiritual seekers from the West are invited to visit the holy cities of India, and also to experience the spiritual warmth of Radhagopinath congregation at Mumbai. For those who can afford a longer stay, there is Govardhan Ecovillage, the newly built spiritual oasis where Radhanath Swami spends most of his time whenever he is in India.

Overall, it’s a rare combination of purity and uncanny intelligence that has led to the Swami’s success. Just purity wouldn’t have been sufficient, because to build projects and to write bestselling books one needs intelligence. And just intelligence wouldn’t be sufficient either, because without purity you can’t inspire casual readers of your books to become followers, and can’t inspire the steady dedication that’s needed to run long term projects.

What is Radhanath Swami’s yearly schedule?

Every year, sometime in October or November, Radhanath Swami takes his followers on a yatra (pilgrimage) to the holy places of India; Vrindavan and Mayapur are his favorite destinations. This yatra has been a part of his yearly schedule since 1986.

After the yatra, Radhanath Swami usually visits the United States for around a month. Then from January to March, he is in Mumbai; March to August in the US; August to September in Mumbai; September to October in the US. And every time during transit from the US to Mumbai or vice versa, he stays a week or two at London.

While in US, he spends most of his time at the Bhakti Centre, New York City. And while at Mumbai, most of his time is spent at Govardhan Ecovillage.

What is Radhanath Swami’s book The Journey Home all about?

The Journey Home is Radhanath Swami’s memoir of his spiritual quest as a teenager.

The printed text on the book’s dust jacket says,

Within this extraordinary memoir, Radhanath Swami weaves a colorful tapestry of adventure, mysticism, and love. Readers follow Richard Slavin from the suburbs of Chicago to the caves of the Himalayas as he transforms from young seeker to renowned spiritual guide. The Journey Home is an intimate account of the steps to self-awareness and also a penetrating glimpse into the heart of mystic traditions and the challenges that all souls must face on the road to inner harmony and a union with the Divine. Through near-death encounters, apprenticeships with advanced yogis, and years of travel along the pilgrim’s path, Radhanath Swami eventually reaches the inner sanctum of India’s mystic culture and finds the love he has been seeking. It is a tale told with rare candor, immersing the reader in a journey that is at once engaging, humorous, and heartwarming.

Radhanath Swami dedicates this book to a whole lot of people:

“To all my guides of various faiths, who extended their compassion and wisdom as I stumbled along on my journey home.

To my mother and father, who nourished me with selfless care and devotion. They never gave up on their wayward son.

To my guru, who transformed my life with his unconditional love.

To the many sincere souls, my brothers and sisters, who also seek the forgotten treasure of the heart”

Even though Radhanath Swami took his journey in the early 70s, he never bothered to write his book until recently. Why? In The Journey Home he explains:

“Over the years many people have pressed me to write this story. I resisted, considering it inappropriate to write a book about myself until something happened to change my mind. In May of 2005, my lifelong friend Bhakti Tirtha Swami called me. He was dying and wanted me to be with him… Nobody knew me better than Bhakti Tirtha Swami. He knew the details of my quest and also my hesitation to write about them. One day he clasped my hand, gazed into my eyes and said, ‘This is not your story. It is a tale about how God led a young boy into an amazing journey to seek the inner secrets that lie within all of us. Don’t be miserly. Share what has been given to you.’ His voice choked up and a tear-streaked down his ebony cheek. ‘Promise me,’ he said, ‘here on my deathbed, that you will write the story.’ A few days later, on June 27, 2005, he passed from this world. This book is my attempt to honor his wish.”

The Journey Home is divided in to four sections.

The first section is called “Journey to the East” which describes the Swami’s childhood days in Chicago, the circumstances that inspired him to venture out Eastwards, and his hitchhike across Europe and the Middle East that brought him to the doorsteps of India. The second section is “Mother India” that details his experiences in India, in the cities – Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai – and in the holy places – Rishikesh and Varanasi. In the third section, “Himalayan Pilgrimage”, there is a description of his spiritual adventures in the Himalayas. And the fourth section “Forest of Grace” explains his experience in the holy place of Vrindavan where he found his spiritual path and his Guru.

Here are a few reviews of the book:

“This wonderful book shows how purity of heart can overcome all obstacles on the Spiritual Path. It sings to us of holding on to our dream of Real Love until it becomes Reality. Come take this journey with Radhanath Swami!” – Krishna Das, American Vocalist.

“The Journey Home is a rare and intimate view into the initiation and process of becoming a swami through the fire of Bhakti yoga and the extraordinary sacred landscape of India. An inspiring journey for all.” – Shiva Rea, Yoga Instructor.

“The Journey Home is a generational classic. It portrays an American teenager’s search for meaning and fulfillment in the turbulent world we live in. He travels across Europe, the Middle East and into the mystical world of India. It’s a tale of adventure, humor and love. I recommend the Journey Home as a must read for seekers of all sorts.” – Sourav Ganguly, Former Captain of the Indian Cricket Team.

“The Journey Home an autobiography of Radhanath Swamiji is a stunning story…” – B. K. S. Iyengar, Yoga Instructor

“The Journey Home, Autobiography of an American Swami, is a great book and has made me learn how to balance life.” – Anil Agarwal, Indian Industrialist.

What is Radhanath Swami’s book The Journey Within all about?


The Journey Within is a sequel to The Journey Home: Bhakti Yoga was the home that Radhanath Swami discovered through his journey, as he describes in The Journey Home; The Journey Within explores that path of yoga. It’s a contemporary guide to Yoga’s ancient wisdom.

The printed text on the book’s dust jacket says,

The mysteries of the soul have evaded mystics, sages, and gurus for centuries. Humanity has long yearned to discover the answer to our existence, and many spiritual traditions have evolved to provide those answers through sacred texts that facilitate journeys of transformation and discovery. Yet, never before have all of the spiritual traditions been distilled so simply into one easy-to-follow path – a path of love and devotion. In this long-awaited follow-up to The Journey Home, The Journey Within guides readers through the essential teachings of bhakti yoga. World-renowned spiritual leader Radhanath Swami draws from his personal experiences to demystify the ancient devotional path of bhakti, capturing its essence and explaining its simple principles for balancing our lives. His down-to-earth writing simplifies spiritual concepts and answers timeless questions in a heartfelt narrative that brings this sacred philosophy beautifully to life. What is love? What is the soul? Who is God? How can we live in the physical world without losing touch with the spiritual? In concise and approachable language, Radhanath Swami sheds light on how to answer these vital questions and offers solutions to life’s challenges with the simplest of resources. Reach beyond the material world and journey within to discover the beauty of the true self.

Radhanath Swami dedicates the book to his “beloved teachers, family, and friends, and to all seekers of truth and love”

The book contains 13 chapters that are divided into two parts.

The first part is called “The Big Questions”, and contains five chapters: What is true wealth? Who am I? Who is God? What is Yoga? and What is Bhakti?

The second part is “Living spiritually in a material world”, and contains eight chapters: Distinguishing reality from illusion, Practicing the dharma of Bhakti, Awakening divine love, Leading a spiritual life, Growing through adversity, Living consciously and the art of dying, Becoming one through love, and “Entering the state of grace”.

Here are a few reviews that the book received:

“Radhanath Swami is a towering spiritual figure of our time. He is a masterful teacher and a wise leader whose knowledge inspires me. Don’t miss the gems of wisdom and courage that comprise this powerful book.” – Dr. Cornell West, American philosopher and political activist.

“Radhanath Swami has conveyed the Divine Light through his writing with the gentle and seductive effortlessness that he does in person. This book is a joyful way to move closer to the truth within you.” – Russel Brand, British comedian and actor.

“The Journey Within conveys the same captivating and enlightening spirit that I’ve experienced in Radhanath Swami’s personal presence. It combines the powerful wisdom of the East and West, and I recommend this book to anyone who wants to feel authentic, lasting happiness!” – Marci Shimoff, # 1 New York Times bestselling author.

What’s special about Radhanath Swami?


Radhanath Swami is an impressive orator. Even Narendra Modi, the current prime minister of India, once appreciated his speaking skills. This happened during the launch of the Gujarathi translation of The Journey Home. Radhanath Swami had spoken first, and then Narendra Modi, the chief guest, took the stage. Speaking in Hindi, Modi Ji said, “Unki shaili sunke hi patha chalta hai unki lekhni kitni badiya hogi” – Hearing him (Radhanath Swami) speak we can get an indication of how good his writing will be.

If you get to meet Radhanath Swami personally, you will undoubtedly be touched by his warmth. You will remember that meeting, perhaps for the rest of your life.

At a deeper level, Radhanath Swami is special because of his spiritual realizations. His character and devotion commands respect even from volunteers who have been working closely with him, and have been managing his projects for decades– many of them are IITians, a breed that tends to be highly skeptical. This is extraordinary because it defies the general rule of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’.

Gauranga Das, a graduate from IITB and a disciple of Radhanath Swami, who has been serving as a monk since 1993 tells of his relationship with the Swami: “Radhanath Swami Maharaj always tells me – material fame and infamy will come and go, sometimes one will be praised and at other times will be blamed, but under all circumstances one should remain committed to one’s services. Maharaj doesn’t just say all these; he also walks his talk.” Gauranga Das is currently the director of Govardhan Ecovillage.

What are the most famous quotes of Radhanath Swami?

  • Every moment is perfect and sacred and a divine power has engineered it in some imperceptible way and woven it into our intricate tapestry of life for our spiritual progress.
  • In the sea of material nature, just below the surface of apparent pleasure, swim all sorts of jellyfish with stinging tentacles.
  • If we can sacrifice even a part of our lives to show compassion to others, we enrich ourselves.
  • Root cause of all environmental pollution is pollution within the ecology of the human heart.
  • As faith deepens, we look for a deeper exchange of love with God.
  • Grace is essential. That time the infinite allows the finite to know him.
  • Healthy relationships are hard work. Those who put in that hard work learn to see not through the eyes of the ego but with humility which makes apparently insurmountable differences seem insignificant.
  • A narrow mind will call a pebble a mountain but a broad mind will see a pebble for what it really is.
  • Choosing a devotional life is declaring one’s independence from maya.
  • The surface of a river changes with every breeze but if we dive deep enough below the waters’ surface, we’ll find a place of calm.
  • To apply balance between justice and compassion requires spiritual maturity and attention to the particulars of the situation.
  • Spiritual sound is the most effective way to awaken divine consciousness.
  • If we do not actively invest in our spiritual growth, quality of life remains shallow.
  • Distractions can invite us to spend a moment with them and take us for a long ride.
  • For the imperishable soul, this lifetime is just a single pencil point in a long line of many lifetimes.
  • Faith is not a religion it is what you trust with your conscience, intelligence and heart.
  • Replace behaviors that impede growth with behaviors that nourish it and the flower of self-realization will bloom.
  • See adversity not as a consequence of a cruel purposeless universe but as an opportunity to offer selfless love.
  • Difficulties of this world will not go with self-awareness but devotion will equip us with a deeper level of perception and over course of time when a spiritual connection is deepened, we will truly be free.
  • Harder the conflict, more glorious the triumph.
  • In the spiritual life, as in war we stand against the tyranny of material conditioning on the battlefield of the mind.
  • The supreme sculptor is helping us to chip away everything that obscures our inner self.
  • More the soul becomes uncovered, more the ability we will have to see the invisible, feel the intangible and achieve the impossible.
  • The will to grow despite the heat of adversity is necessary if one wants to thrive.
  • In a grateful heart, tree of love will grow deep.
  • Good intentions without proper knowledge create setbacks.
  • Burning sincerity breaks the cone of spiritual complacency.
  • We have an instinctive longing to live because the soul is eternal.
  • Who we are and who we become is not based on chance but on how we choose to interact with nature’s laws.
  • The spirit of simple affection is the basis of our relationship with the Supreme.
  • Life leads us on many journeys and all are ultimately meant to lead us to the love that lies within us.

Which are the books authored by Radhanath Swami?

Radhanath Swami has authored two books, The Journey Home and The Journey Within. There are other books that are attributed to him – The Real You, The Wisdom Tree, Life with Lemon Drops, Evolve, and Nectar Stream. But they are compiled from the transcripts of his talks.

The Real You: This book is a collection of: “Pearls of wisdom, in the necklace of life, for the beauty of the soul.”To seek is the nature of the living force. The search of the soul seems never-ending. But the real need is not just to seek, but to seek the right thing from the right source.Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgment about the truths of life. Essentially, knowledge that not just informs but also actually transforms is called wisdom. For example, a diamond is nothing but an ordinary piece of coal, which, with the help of nature’s wisdom, has transformed into the most precious jewel.

Similarly, the soul with the help of the right knowledge from the right source has the potential of being transformed into The Real You. When the sun shines on a snow-capped mountain, the layers of snow melt down helplessly. Similarly, when the sun-like wisdom shines on a covered entity, layers of ignorance start melting away, thus uncovering a The Real You.

Real learning has to be holistic and not just in one dimension. When learning happens using multiple faculties, the depth of its influence is always greater. Historically, knowledge has always been combined with art. Our experience and the experience of the world is that each form of learning can influence us equally powerfully. So in this book you will find a combination of the wisdom of the heart with the wisdom of the art. This combined wisdom can make us ponder, wonder and help us overcome the blunder of ignorance which leads to suffering and sorrow.

The Wisdom Tree: Wisdom is the art of converting an experience into learning. Every experience one undergoes in the course of life is like a seed. The learning that comes out from that experience is like a tree. The biggest of trees manifest from the smallest of seeds. How easy it is to misjudge the depth of content that is stored in the tiny seed! If only we could learn to decode the hidden wisdom contained in every experience, life would become a journey of learning, rather than a series of frustrating experiences. The Wisdom Tree is a book that helps you see the world from the perspective of a learner.

Life With Lemon Drops: Life with Lemon Drops is a collection of special quotes which work like drops of lemon squeezed over various aspects of life, adding extra value, flavor and dynamism to our experiences colorfully sprinkled over the pages of life.
Come, experience the extraordinary impact of the lemon drops in every page of Life with Lemon Drops. An energetic mosaic of colors and wisdom, the book promises to make you ponder over the wonder called life.

Evolve: Evolution conveys change, growth and elevation. When seen from a biological perspective it conveys evolution of the species from having lower abilities to those having higher abilities. A diametrically different way of seeing evolution is to see it from the perspective of evolution of consciousness.

In Biological evolution the change happens externally. But in the evolution of consciousness the change happens internally. Handling external changes is task of nature and handling internal changes is the task of spirit. Biologically evolution may be debatable but in terms consciousness evolution can be experienced.

‘Evolve’ is a book which helps us handle and make internal changes and thus facilitate the evolution in our consciousness. ‘Evolve’ is about growing lotuses in a desert.

How can lotuses grow in a desert? A heart which is fearful of uncertainties, lacking confidence, negative in its approach, always conflicting and having no goal, is like a desert. Even a parched desert can grow lotuses if it rains continuously for days together.

Nectar Stream: The drop has expanded into a stream now. Yes Nectar Stream is a sequel to Nectar Drops book which was the first quote book.

In Nectar Stream you will find an array of quotes lined up to help you advance in your personal understanding and practice of spiritual life. Every person is looking for deep wisdom underlying in the innumerable scriptures of this world. Nectar Stream is a book which is based on HH Radhanath Swamis teachings which brings out the deepest wisdom in simple, yet profound words which will leave you in a meditative trance.

Each quote of Nectar Stream can leave you thoughtful for the entire day.

Experience the nectar flowing through the pages of the Nectar Stream

What are the daily activities at Radhanath Swami’s ashram in Mumbai?


The ashram is located within the temple structure, and most monks stay there. Some stay in the adjoining building.

The morning program begins at 5:00 am with Mangalarati, the offering of lamps and other items to Radha and Krishna. While one of the monks does the rituals, the others sing devotional songs and kirtans. At 5:45 am everyone sits for Japa meditation, the silent chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare – on beads. At 7:45 there is darshan aarati followed by guru puja and spiritual discourse on the devotional epic Srimad Bhagavatam. The morning program ends at 9:15 am. The morning ceremonies are open for all, but the program in the afternoon is exclusively for the monks.

The afternoon program begins at 1:30 pm and ends at 2:30 pm. Here the monks discuss the Vedic scriptures.

In the evenings most monks go out to various parts of Mumbai for outreach programs.

During the rest of the day everybody is busy, either preparing for the outreach programs or managing various temple projects.

Who are the close friends of Radhanath Swami?


Radhanath Swami has many close friends. Here’s a short list:

One of Radhanath Swami’s closest friends was Bhakti Tirtha Swami who passed away in 2005 at the age of 55. He was suffering from cancer. During the last 8 weeks of his life, Radhanath Swami was by his bedside. After the departure of Bhakti Tirtha Swami from this world, Radhanath Swami gave a five-hour class on Tirtha Swami. Here’s an excerpt:

Just two days before he (Bhakti Tirtha Swami) departed from this world, he called one of his caretakers and asked them to bring one of his latest book Beggar IV – Die before Dying. They brought it and he said, “Maharaj I want to write a message in this book for you.” I am not sure, but they may have been one of the last things that he had written.

“My dear brother – His Holiness Radhanath Swami,
You have been such a constant source of divine inspiration for me. I remain eternally indebted to you. May we constantly remain locked up in each other’s arms. I love you so much, and I am eager to see this love increase each year as we continue serving Srila Prabhupada’s mission.
With Love,
Bhakti Tirtha Swami.”

Sachinandan Swami from Germany is also a good friend of Radhanath Swami. Once, on the occasion of Radhanath Swami’s birthday he recollected how many years ago the two of them had spent the whole night discussing topics about Krishna.

Other close friends of Radhanath Swami are Niranjan Swami, Bhakti Charu Swami, Giriraj Swami and Vaisheshika Prabhu.

What are Radhanath Swami’s yearly yatras (pilgrimages) all about?


Visiting holy places connected to Lord Krishna is considered an important aspect of Bhakti Yoga. Vishaka Priya, one of the early disciples of the Swami, shares her experiences of these yatras:

Our first pilgrimage to Vrindavan was in the winter of 1986; we numbered 22, all novices, and Radhanath Swami was our transcendental tour guide. It was a three-day tour. We visited temples on the first day, circumambulated Govardhan Hill on the second, and visited Barsana and Nandagaon on the third.

As we walked around Govardhan Hill, a 21 Km trek, we sang kirtan. Radhanath Swami danced all the way. Stopping at holy spots, bathing at holy kunds, it took us sixteen hours to complete the circumambulation: from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Whatever meager luggage we carried grew in weight with every kilometer, and each tried to push it on to another’s shoulder. “You please carry my luggage. Please…..”

A year later, we visited Vrindavan with Radhanath Swami for the second time and went on a circumambulation of Govardhan once again. This time we found ourselves less inclined to push our luggage on to others.

And on our third visit to Vrindavan, the mantra during the circumambulation had changed to, “Please allow me to carry your luggage. Please….”
Who can deny the transformative potency of spirituality?

The attendance at the yatras has steadily risen over the years. In 2017, over six thousand people from 34 countries joined Radhanath Swami at Mayapur, West Bengal. An article on this yatra appeared on the Swami’s official website radhanathswami.com:

Everyday thousands of pilgrims would rise early to take a delicious breakfast, and then divide into eight groups to visit various holy places. The parties traveled, some by boat through the Ganges, some by foot to close by places, and others by buses. It was beautiful seeing thousands of people singing together on fleets of simple traditional Indian boats, eager to see, eager to experience the sacred places they were destined to visit for the day. When each group arrived at their particular location, there was education by inspiring lectures and discussions, as well as sweet kirtans and devotional ceremonies. “Visiting the very locations where the Lord performed his pastimes was a divine experience,” recalls Craig Thomas, one of the pilgrims who hails from London.

In the afternoon the eight groups returned from their destinations to enjoy a nine-course lunch feast.

While the number of pilgrims joining Radhanath Swami for the annual pilgrimage has been steadily increasing over the years, the volunteers running the yatra kitchen have been upgrading their technology, and more so their commitment; this time they had set up the kitchen in a vacant field to prepare meals for the 6000 pilgrims. The magnitude of the kitchen’s operations has even attracted media attention. The kitchen was featured on National Geographic channel last year under the series “India’s Mega Kitchens”.

Every evening by 5 p.m., everyone came together for the evening discourse. Even local devotees from Mayapur joined, and the total attendance would go well beyond 7000. Radhanath Swami would speak for several hours – stories, histories, and teachings – from such classic literature as the Chaitanya Bhagavat and Chaitanya Charitamrita, the two biographies of Lord Chaitanya. The lectures were translated into Chinese, Russian, Persian, Hindi, Marathi and Telugu, and transmitted live on FM radio for the benefit of pilgrims who didn’t understand English. The evening programs concluded with Radhanath Swami leading the pilgrims in kirtan, an offering of lamps and prayers.

“I come for the yatra (pilgrimage) especially to get Radhanath Swami’s association. It’s like coming to the spiritual world where everyone is united in love for God. It’s a joy to see Americans and Iranians, Russians and Ukrainians joining hands and dancing together as Radhanath Swami sings kirtan,” says Nitin Sawant who is from a small village in Maharashtra, India. “The memories I gather here charge up my spiritual batteries for an entire year.”

In the October of 2019 the yatra will be to Vrindavan.

What’s the essence of Radhanath Swami’s teachings?


Radhanath Swami’s latest book contains the essence of his teachings. By analyzing some scholarly reviews of the book we can get an understanding of what the book is all about – and what Radhanath Swami’s teachings are all about.

“In his new book The Journey Within Radhanath Swami deftly connects the ancient wisdom tradition of bhakti yoga – the yoga of love – to our busy modern lives. He eloquently persuades us, both through the scriptural references from the world’s major faiths and from his own life story, that to attain true happiness we don’t need to change our externalities, we just need to change our consciousness. A very relevant and contemporary message drawn from timeless teachings.” – Gopi Kallayil, chief evangelist of brand marketing at Google.

“The Journey Within reveals everything from an understanding of the real self within to an awareness of the inner nature of God, and from the actual meaning of yoga and how it’s ideally practiced to how one might achieve spiritual fulfillment. Highly recommended for anyone with a thirst for the divine.”- Steven J. Rosen, Author.

What are some lesser-known facts about Radhanath Swami?

  • In the late 1980s when Radhanath Swami arrived in India for outreach activities, he started attending classes to learn Hindi. He even delivered a few classes in Hindi during that time. But he observed that people were getting distracted by mistakes he made in his pronunciation, and so he stopped speaking in Hindi altogether.
  • Radhanath Swami performs yoga exercises every morning. While he is at Radhagopinath temple, every morning at around 8 he does yoga exercises in his room. He believes that yoga helps maintain good health.
  • Radhanath Swami has down-to-earth close relationships with many natives of Vrindavan, the holy birthplace of Lord Krishna. One of his secretaries Damodar Dulal tells the following story:

    Chiksoli is a remote village thirty kilometers from Vrindavan–externally a sprawling mass of poverty, but internally a treasure-house of pure devotion. It is the birthplace of Chitra Sakhi, one of the eight confidential associates of the divine couple Radha-Krishna. In November 2008, during a pilgrimage to Vrindavan, I was at this place with Radhanath Swami. Back in 1971, Radhanath Swami had first visited these holy villages surrounding Vrindavan during his spiritual quest. Though he was a sincere spiritualist even then, he was unknown to most of the world. But now in 2008, he was a world-renowned spiritualist with thousands of followers.One day at Chiksoli Radhanath Swami visited a mediocre family he knew since 1971, for lunch. I accompanied him. In the kitchen an old lady squatted on the floor besides the choola, traditional stove that’s fueled by firewood. She rolled dough, as a pan heated up on the fire. Meanwhile, Radhanath Swami after receiving a warm welcome freshened up with a bath and a change of clothes. He then sat cross-legged on the kitchen’s mud floor and thali, lunch plate, was served out before him. Vraj Rotis, hot and fluffy, after baking on the pan, landed on Radhanath Swami’s plate, one after another. Radhanath Swami consumed them with a gusto I had never witnessed before, though I have accompanied him for lunch at several palatial bungalows of down-town Mumbai.Baking a roti on the pan the lady spoke, as if thinking aloud, “Aap bilkul badle nahi.”(You haven’t changed at all.) She went on to explain how Radhanath Swami was still as simple as he was in 1971. But for me, who hadn’t seen him here in 1971, Radhanath Swami seemed—through this entire visit—an overgrown child who had returned home. Sometime ago, on 16 December 2010, someone brought Rotis from Vrindavan to Mumbai, for Radhanath Swami. Though it reached his lunch table after two days, Radhanath Swami remarked, “The rotis are the best. Every other preparation is a distraction.” Again, I sensed that his heart is always at his home, in simple Vrindavan.

  • ‘Humility’ is a quality that Radhanath Swami always emphasizes in his teachings. He insists that spiritual practitioners imbibe this disposition in order to gain higher realizations in their practices. Ashoka Parikh, a stockbroker from Mumbai, has this story to tell:

    In 1983, I became the first Asian and the youngest person in history, at age 19, to win Gold at the Salesmanship and Sales Management Exam conducted by the London Chamber of Commerce. This was indeed a laudable achievement, given that the exam is held yearly for the past hundred-odd years and attracts participants from over forty countries.In 1989, during one of my initial interactions with Radhanath Swami, it was but natural for me to vent out the pride I felt in my achievements. He congratulated me with a gracious smile and said nothing more.Several months passed before he picked on it again. In the middle of a conversation he discreetly conveyed to me, “If academic qualifications inflame our arrogance, it’s only a distraction for a spiritual seeker.” That obviously jolted my ego, but I knew he spoke for my spiritual welfare. I quietly nodded in agreement.Later, I wondered how I would have taken that statement if it were to come in one of those initial interactions. I hadn’t developed sufficient trust in him then; I probably would have taken him otherwise and never come back again; that sentence, though true, would have probably plundered my spiritual life.It’s not just wisdom that makes Radhanath Swami a brilliant spiritual teacher; it’s his deep compassion that makes him so. Driven by that compassion, he orchestrates the flow of wisdom in a way that benefits his students optimally.

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