Radhanath Swami At House of Commons (UK Parliament)

on Tuesday, October 11, 2011, Radhanath Swami addressed Ministers and Members of England’s Parliament, along with an interfaith community. James Clappison MP (Member of Parliament), Richard Harrington MP, and Matthew Offord MP invited him to speak about the application of spirituality to the themes underlying the Government’s Big Society, an important current policy of the British Government.

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His Holiness Radhanath Swami, The Cambridge Union Society

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.

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The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

In the four volumes (Now in nine volumes — Ed.) of the works of the Swami Vivekananda which are to compose the present edition, we have what is not only a gospel to the world at large, but also to its own children, the Charter of the Hindu Faith. What Hinduism needed, amidst the general disintegration of the modern era, was a rock where she could lie at anchor, an authoritative utterance in which she might recognise her self. And this was given to her, in these words and writings of the Swami Vivekananda.

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“When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day.”

Mahatma gandhi

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“When I read the Bhagavad-gita, the only question left is how God created the universe. Everything else seems to be superfluous”.-

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Radhanath Swami’s “The Journey Home” – Official UK Book launch trailor

A powerful and emotive trailor about the auto-biography of an American Swami, by author, Radhanath Swami. Music by Craig Armstrong.

How did a Jewish kid in Chicago go on to become one of India’s most renowned spiritual guides? Radhanath Swamis story is so unique it borders on the unbelievable. His autobiography, The Journey Home, recounts an amazing odyssey from a Midwestern suburb through 1960s countercultural exploits, to Mediterranean caves, Himalayan mountains and finally, his life’s purpose of serving the needy. Today, Radhanath Swami travels the world teaching devotional wisdom, spearheads some of India’s most acclaimed social action programs, and develops sustainable spiritual communities.

Radhanath Swami emerged from his years of travel as a seasoned, cave-dwelling ascetic, and therein lay a dilemma. On the one hand, yogis typically avoid society, opting for lives of peace and solitude. On the other hand, Radhanath Swami possessed a fervent desire to share with the world the beauty and rewards of a life dedicated to service. Casting his fate to the wind, Radhanath Swami cut his matted locks and reentered society.

More than a symbolic gesture, these were first steps toward an active, engaged form of devotion, a practice he refers to as spiritual stimulus. A spiritual stimulator” maintains that those who become aware of their spiritual identity share an imperative to reduce suffering in the world—employing all means at hand and stopping at nothing to do so. This truth was slowly revealed to him by teachers he had met including the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.

Radhanath Swami has been practicing devotional yoga since 1972, when he adopted the vows of a monk: poverty, celibacy, and abstinence from intoxicants. As a swami, or itinerant teacher, he has no property, no bank account, nor a penny to his name. He eats once a day and sleeps on a mat on the floor. But he has found the one thing so many strive to achieve: the path to inner peace. People who know Radhanath Swami speak of his lightness, simplicity, and sense of humor. Visitors and friends are inspired by his unassuming nature and unwillingness to take credit for the work he inspires.

He is the driving force behind social initiatives such as Midday Meal, a food relief program which feeds 250,000 indigent school children per day. Bhaktivedanta Hospital is a groundbreaking initiative to provide quality healthcare to the underprivileged. It operates clinics for pregnant mothers, campaigns to combat HIV/AIDS, and emergency relief teams to provide support during disasters. Barsana Eye Camp performs 1,000 free cataract operations per year to keep destitute villagers from going blind. To promote rural development, Govardhan Ecovillage is an environmentally sustainable community meant to serve as a working model of localized economy.

He seems to see life as a continuous blessing of God’s grace,” one admirer said, “and yet he never loses his humanness. His accessibility leaves people feeling that, with a little sincere effort, they too will find the path to self-realization.

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How can I know if God Exists?

Visit http://www.Radhanathswamiweekly.com/ to read full transcript.

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