Radhanath Swami at Santiago de Compostela
on August 23, 2012
|Religion||Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Hinduism|
7 December 1950
Chicago, Illinois, USA
|Predecessor||A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada|
Radhanath Swami (born December 7, 1950) is a Gaudiya Vaishnava guru. He works largely from Mumbai in India and also travels extensively throughout Europe and America. He has been instrumental in the founding of the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai. In the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), he serves as a member of the Governing Body Commission. Steven J. Rosen described Radhanath Swami as a "saintly person respected by the mass of ISKCON devotees today".
Born as Richard Slavin in a Jewish family, he studied a number of religious paths such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. At the age of 19, he began traveling through Europe and the Middle-East, aiming for India and eventually settling for over a year in the Himalayas. He was living as a renunciate Sanyaasi in India when he first met with Krishna devotees near Delhi. Through contact with the devotees in Vrindavan, and after receiving name Ratim Krishna from Swami Bon, Radhanath Swami began to focus exclusively on his spiritual path in Krishna Consciousness. In 1971, Radhanath Swami observed A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada during the Cross Maidan festival in Mumbai. After leaving India, Radhanath Swami returned to the United States, where he joined the New Vrindaban ISKCON farm community in West Virginia during July 1972. There he accepted initiation from A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in February 1973 receiving the name Radhanath Das, later to receive the name Radhanath Swami, when he got Sannyasa initiation from Kirtananda Swami in 1981.
Radha Gopinath temple
In later years, Radhanath Swami has been instrumental establishing The Radha Gopinath Temple, which is renowned for its quality of community. He has been essential for many successful Mumbai projects associated with the Radha Gopinath Temple in Chowpatty. The temple was founded in 1986 and joined ISKCON in 1994 — becoming a hub for tens of thousands of devotees. The Bhaktivedanta Hospital is another project emerging from the Radha Gopinath community. It has become a flagship center for holistic health and spiritual care in Mumbai.
The Journey Home
On the request of his friend and godbrother Bhakti Tirtha Swami, who was on his deathbed, Radhanath Swami agreed to share his story and wrote his memoir "The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami". It is the story of how he grew up in a Jewish family in Chicago, Illinois and through his journey of prayer was led through the 1960s counter-culture movement in America into Europe, walking and hitch-hiking all the way through Europe to the Middle East and into India. Along the way, he met many people, who would share their wisdom with him, encouraging him on his search for the truth. He stayed with Yogis in Himalayan caves, in Buddhist Monasteries, Jewish Synagogues, and Christian Churches. He met many teachers and practitioners of spirituality and learned from them, such as the 14th Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, to name a few. The book chronicles his spiritual quest.
|“||Like many a spiritual autobiography, the external events and details turn out to be the setting for the author’s inner quest. His journey is a humbling, learning to be poor, a series of tests that push the author toward living by faith alone. Like any pilgrim, he does not see all of this along the way, but in retrospect sees how he was being quietly, insistently drawn toward God all the time.||”|
—Francis Xavier Clooney, A Hare Krishna Swami Tells All
The book launch of the Gujarati edition was held in November 2011 and was attended by the then chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi (in 2014, he became the Prime Minister of India). In his speech at the book launch, Modi emphasized spirituality as the true identity of India and contrasted Radhanath Swami's spiritual journey with that of personalities such as Mirabai and Vivekananda.
A sequel to Journey Home - "The Journey Within" - is scheduled to launch in October 2014.
Radhanath Swami's lectures have also been thematically published in the form of books, which includes those based on his quotations, such as Nectar Drops and Nectar Stream, and those based on his lectures and teachings such as Evolve, Six Goswamis of Vrindavan, The Wisdom Tree, and The Real You. The book "Soul Wise" (later renamed to "The Real You") was reviewed on Spirit Sundae, SABC1, South Africa.
Radhanath Swami has a strong global influence and has been globally honored for his humanitarian deeds. He is one of the few Hare Krishnas that influenced the movement globally and remains one of the most inspirational and respected spiritual leader in ISKCON today. He is on the advisory panel of I-Foundation, which is credited with launching the first government-funded Hindu faith school in London.
Radhanath Swami’s interfaith discussion with Cornel West resulted in “greater possibilities for both interfaith and intrafaith dialog [...] on Princeton’s campus”. The event is regarded as a model for meaningful exchanges between followers of different beliefs, and was awarded the 2011 Santos-Dumont Prize for Innovation that recognizes "a unique and creative program, event, initiative, or project [on Princeton's campus] [...] which has had wide-reaching impact and visibility". His interfaith discussions with Francis X. Clooney were also very well-received.
|“||For me as a Christian it was inspiring to hear this great Hindu teacher talk about finding ways to allow ourselves to be motivated and prompted by love of God and by God’s love for us. [...] I felt honoured as a Christian to sit in the presence of a great itinerant spiritual teacher.||”|
—Rev'd Andrew Willson, University Chaplain at Imperial College, London, His Holiness Radhanath Swami – the Guru comes to town
Radhanath Swami presented ancient spiritual solutions to modern subjugation at esteemed debating society, Oxford Union. The Union’s event, dubbed Malcolm X’s Speech in Oxford — 50 years later, marked the anniversary of X's acclaimed Oxford address. The event's aim, to rouse modern thought and contention on a radical approach to preserving liberty. Radhanath Swami put forth ecumenical spiritual truths as means of harmonizing society. Prominent participants included included Angela Davis, Dr.Cornel West, Prof. Stephen Tuck and Ben Okri.
Many famous and influential people interacted with Radhanath Swami and expressed their appreciation of his character and work. Among them are Ajay Piramal, Anil Agarwal, Yash Birla and Chetan Bhagat. Renowned yoga teacher, B. K. S. Iyengar and Madhva sect spiritual leader Vishvesha Teertha of Pejavara matha also met him and appreciated his work. Steven J. Rosen described Radhanath Swami as a "saintly person respected by the mass of ISKCON devotees today".
|“||He's a beautiful fellow. He's got the answer. I'm a spiritual gent and increasingly that's the level I want to vibrate on.||”|
—Russell Brand, after meeting Radhanath Swami
- International Society for Krishna Consciousness
- Bhakti Yoga
- List of ISKCON members and patrons
|Part of a series on|
- Lama 2010
- Dwyer & Cole 2007, pp. 24–25
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- Dwyer & Cole 2007, p. 24
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- The Heart and Soul of Radhanath Swami
- Cole, Richard; Dwyer, Graham (2007). The Hare Krishna Movement: Forty Years of Chant and Change. London: I. B. Tauris. pp. 24–25. ISBN 1-84511-407-8.
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- Swami, Radhanath (2014). The Journey Within: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Wisdom of Bhakti Yoga - Unleashing the Power of the Soul. Mandala Publishing. ISBN 1608871576. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Swami, Radhanath (2014). Nectar Stream. Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 8184954859. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Swami, Radhanath (February 4, 2014). Evolve: Two Minute Wisdom. Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 8184954840. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Swami, Radhanath. Six Goswami's of Vrindavan. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Swami, Radhanath. The Wisdom Tree. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- Swami, Radhanath (2013). The Real You. Ahmedabad: Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 8184954441. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
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|url=missing title (help)
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- Prabhat Khabar (December 27, 2013), "Dharma ka prayojan hriday ko shudda karna(purification of heart is the purpose of religion)", Prabhat Khabar
- Prabhat Khabar (December 25, 2013), "Bhakti ke raste me hi jivan(Bhakti and Life)", Prabhat Khabar
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Radhanath Swami.|
- Radhanath Swami Official Website
- Radhanath Swami's Disciple Website
- Official Website for The Journey Home – Autobiography of an American Swami
- Talks by Radhanath Swami
- Books by Radhanath Swami
- Video Lecture by Radhanath Swami
- Radhagopinath Temple - An Offering of Love by Radhanath Swami
- Radhanath Swami's Letters
- Articles in The Huffington Post by Radhanath Swami