Radhanath Swami

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Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami at Santiago de Compostela.JPG
Religion Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Hinduism
Other names Richard Slavin
Personal
Born (1950-12-07) December 7, 1950 (age 63)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Senior posting
Predecessor A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Religious career
Initiation Diksa–1973, Sannyasa–1982
Post GBC–1994
Website http://www.radhanathswami.com, http://www.radhanathswami.us
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]

The Journey Home[edit]


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On the request of his friend and god-brother Bhakti Tirtha Swami, who from his deathbed asked him to share his story, Radhanath Swami wrote his autobiography "The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami".[8] It is the story of how Radhanath Swami grew up in a Jewish family in Chicago, Illinois and through his journey of prayer was led through the '60s counter-culture movement in America into Europe, walking and hitch-hiking all the way through Europe to the Middle East and into India.[5] Along the way, he met many people who would share their wisdom with him, encouraging him on his search for the truth.[5] 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.[5] The book details his adventures along the journey.[5]

In his review of the book, Francis Xavier Clooney notes "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".[5]

Celebrities and Radhanath Swami[edit]

Many famous and influential people have met Radhanath Swami and expressed their appreciation of his character and work. Among them are United States President Barack Obama [1], Cornel West [2], current Indian Prime Minister (then Gujarat Chief Minister) Narendra Modi [3], the 14th Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Swati Piramal, Ajay Piramal [4], Anil Agarwal–Executive Chairman of Vedanta Resources,and Johnny Winter[citation needed]. Renowned yoga teacher, B. K. S. Iyengar and Madhva sect spiritual leader Vishvesha Teertha Swamiji of Pejavara matha have also met him and appreciated his work.

According to The Times report, after meeting with Radhanath Swami, Russell Brand stated “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.”[9]

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. ^ a b c d e f 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. ^ Mandala Publishing
  9. ^ Russell Brand: I'm a spiritual gent with a crazed lust for glamour

References[edit]

External links[edit]