Radhanath Swami

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Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami at Santiago de Compostela.JPG
Radhanath Swami at Santiago de Compostela
on August 23, 2012
Religion Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Hinduism
Order Sannyasa
Personal
Born Richard Slavin
(1950-12-07) 7 December 1950 (age 64)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Senior posting
Predecessor A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Religious career
Initiation Diksa–1973, Sannyasa–1982
Post GBC–1994
Website http://www.radhanathswami.com
Radhanath Swami singing kirtan at Radhagopinath Temple.

Radhanath Swami (born December 7, 1950)[1] is a Gaudiya Vaishnava guru. He works largely from Mumbai in India and also travels extensively throughout Europe and America.[2][3] He has been instrumental in the founding of the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai.[2] 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".[4]

Biography[edit]

Born as Richard Slavin in a Jewish family,[5] 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[edit]

RadhaGopinath temple in Chowpatty, Mumbai

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[6] in Chowpatty.[7] 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.[2]

Writings[edit]

The Journey Home[edit]

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".[8] 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.[9]

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).[10] 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.[10][11]

A sequel to Journey Home - "The Journey Within" - is scheduled to launch in October 2014.[12]

Other Books[edit]

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,[13] and those based on his lectures and teachings such as Evolve,[14] Six Goswamis of Vrindavan,[15] The Wisdom Tree,[16] and The Real You.[17] The book "Soul Wise" (later renamed to "The Real You") was reviewed on Spirit Sundae, SABC1, South Africa.[18]

Global Outreach[edit]

Radhanath Swami has a strong global influence and has been globally honored for his humanitarian deeds.[19][20] 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.[19][21] He is on the advisory panel of I-Foundation,[22] which is credited with launching the first government-funded Hindu faith school in London.[23][24]

Radhanath Swami’s interfaith discussion with Cornel West resulted in “greater possibilities for both interfaith and intrafaith dialog [...] on Princeton’s campus”.[25] The event is regarded as a model for meaningful exchanges between followers of different beliefs,[25] 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".[26] His interfaith discussions with Francis X. Clooney were also very well-received.[27]

Radhanath Swami presented ancient spiritual solutions to modern subjugation at esteemed debating society, Oxford Union.[29] The Union’s event, dubbed Malcolm X’s Speech in Oxford — 50 years later, marked the anniversary of X's acclaimed Oxford address.[30] The event's aim, to rouse modern thought and contention on a radical approach to preserving liberty.[31] Radhanath Swami put forth ecumenical spiritual truths as means of harmonizing society.[32] Prominent participants included included Angela Davis, Dr.Cornel West, Prof. Stephen Tuck and Ben Okri.[31][33]

Many famous and influential people interacted with Radhanath Swami and expressed their appreciation of his character and work. Among them are Ajay Piramal,[34] Anil Agarwal,[35] Yash Birla[36] and Chetan Bhagat.[37][38] Renowned yoga teacher, B. K. S. Iyengar and Madhva sect spiritual leader Vishvesha Teertha of Pejavara matha also met him and appreciated his work.[39][40] Steven J. Rosen described Radhanath Swami as a "saintly person respected by the mass of ISKCON devotees today".[41]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Lama 2010
  2. ^ a b c Dwyer & Cole 2007, pp. 24–25
  3. ^ 2004, p. 204
  4. ^ Dwyer & Cole 2007, p. 24
  5. ^ Prof. Francis X. Clooney, S.J.. "A Hare Krishna Swami Tells All". The National Catholic Weekly (www.americamagazine.org). Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  6. ^ The Heart and Soul of Radhanath Swami
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "The Journey Home". Mandala Publishing and Earth Aware Editions. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Clooney, Francis X. (May 21, 2009). "A Hare Krishna Swami Tells All". America Magazine. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Modi, Narendra (December 1, 2011). "Shri Narendra Modi releases the Gujarati version of Radhanath Swami's autobiography 'Pele Par no Pravas'". Narendra Modi's Official Youtube Channel. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Admin (November 30, 2011). "CM releases Gujarati version of Radhanath Swami’s autobiography ‘Pele Par No Pravas’". Narendra Modi's Official Website. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Swami, Radhanath (2014). Nectar Stream. Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 8184954859. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  14. ^ Swami, Radhanath (February 4, 2014). Evolve: Two Minute Wisdom. Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 8184954840. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Swami, Radhanath. Six Goswami's of Vrindavan. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Swami, Radhanath. The Wisdom Tree. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  17. ^ Swami, Radhanath (2013). The Real You. Ahmedabad: Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 8184954441. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Shetty, Anirudh (December 23, 2011). "Soul Wise By Radhanath Swami reviewed on SABC1". Spirit Sundae, SABC1. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Dwyer & Cole 2013, Interview with Dr. Edith Best, p. 141.
  20. ^ Kravitz, Lee (2014). "Krishna Meets Radha". . Penguin Books. ISBN 0698156919.  Text "Pilgrim: Risking the Life I Have to Find the Faith I Seek." ignored (help)
  21. ^ Dwyer & Cole 2007, Steven J. Rosen, p. 24.
  22. ^ "Britain's first Hindu school gets planning permission". India Edunews. September 12, 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "First Hindu state school to open". BBC News. September 11, 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  24. ^ Doward, Jamie (December 24, 2006). "£10m state cash for first Hindu school". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  25. ^ a b "Winner, Alberto Santos-Dumont Prize for Innovation 2011". Princeton University. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "Santos-Dumont Prize". Princeton University. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  27. ^ Clooney, Francis X. (April 16, 2012). "Hindu-Christian Dialogue at Columbia 4/20". America Magazine. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  28. ^ Willson, Andrew (April 18, 2013). "His Holiness Radhanath Swami – the Guru comes to town". Andrew's Blog: Blog of a University Chaplain. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  29. ^ "Radhanath Swami Speaks at Oxford Union with Dr. Cornel West On…". www.dandavats.com. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Malcolm X anniversary marked at Oxford Union with extremism debate". BBC.com. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  31. ^ a b "Malcolm X ‘50’ debate at Oxford Union". The Oxford Times. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Radhanath Swami Speaks at Oxford Union with Dr. Cornel West". Radhanath Swami.com. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  33. ^ December 24, 2014 "Extremism Debate". The Oxford Union. 
  34. ^ Banerjee, Soumyadipta (August 20, 2009). "We have started a youth movement". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  35. ^ "Anil Agarwal introduces Radhanath Swami". Youtube video. Jun 27, 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  36. ^ Patel, Amit (April 11, 2011). "One Spirit". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  37. ^ Bhagat, Chetan (November 2, 2009). "The Ocean". Chetan Bhagat's Blog. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  38. ^ Coelho, Alisha (September 25, 2014). "Chetan Bhagat, The Writer Who Had To 'Beg For Credit', Now Turns Film Producer For Half Girlfriend". Indiatimes. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  39. ^ "Meeting with B. K. S. Iyengar and "The Journey Home" Club". radhanathswami.com. January 9, 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  40. ^ "Sri Pejawar Swami Appreciates "The Journey Home"". radhanathswami.com. December 16, 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  41. ^ Dwyer & Cole 2007, p. 24.
  42. ^ Sanghera, Sathnam (October 16, 2008). "Russell Brand: I’m a spiritual gent with a crazed lust for glamour". The Times. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  43. ^ "Russell Brand seeking guidance from guru". Now Magazine. October 18, 2008. 
  44. ^ "Comedian Russell Brand pictured exploring his spiritual side at a Hare Krishna temple". Daily Mirror. August 18, 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  45. ^ Barkham, Patrick (October 30, 2008). "Has Russell Brand turned to Hare Krishna?". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  46. ^ Dril, E. Van (October 17, 2008). "Russell Brand Seeing a Swami". thecelebritycafe.com. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]