Date recorded: 15/10/2012
RADHANATH SWAMI: “Life was much simpler when apples and blackberries were just fruits”
One of the world’s leading spiritual teachers speaks on modernity and the modern era.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.
Radhanath Swami (then Richard Slavin) became an active participant in the civil rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He soon discovered, however, that social transformation begins with personal change, and at the age of 19 he embarked on a remarkable quest for meaning in life.
This adventure, detailed in his memoir The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami (Mandala Publishing, 2010), took him hitchhiking across Europe and the Middle East—through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and finally to India. In India, studying with some of the foremost spiritual teachers and yoga masters, he eventually reached the inner sanctum of India’s mystic devotional tradition. Accepting this as his path, Radhanath Swami returned to the West to share the gifts of wisdom that he had received.
For the past twenty-five years he has guided the community’s development and has directed a number of acclaimed social action projects including Midday Meals, which daily serves more than 260,000 plates of sanctified vegetarian food to the children of the slums of Mumbai. He has also worked to establish missionary hospitals and eye camps, eco-friendly farms, schools and ashrams, an orphanage, and a number of emergency relief programs throughout India.
Radhanath Swami’s message is as profound as it is universal: by cultivating a rich inner life of self-awareness and a genuine practice of service, we can become instruments of compassion and agents of sustainable change in the world.
He has been featured as a guest speaker in universities such as Harvard, Princeton and Stanford, and in corporations such as Apple, HSBC, and Microsoft. He has also addressed the House of Commons in 2011 and met with President Obama to discuss inter-faith dialogue in 2012.