The Journey Home Book - By Radhanath Swami
At the age of only nineteen, Radhanath Swami left his home in America seeking adventure and spiritual knowledge. After trekking across Europe for months, Radhanath Swami reached his long hoped for destination: India. After living there for many years as a sadhu or wandering monk, Radhanath Swami returned to America in order to share the sacred knowledge and wisdom he had learned from the many holy men and women he had met there. It was an extraordinary choice, given what Radhanath Swami had survived to get there: a journey filled with bizarre characters, mystical experiences, and dangerous adventures. The story is recounted in his recently published memoir The Journey Home - Autobiography of an American Swami. Reviewers have called Radhanath Swami's saga "at once an engaging yarn, a love story, and the evocation of a transcendent paradise in all its savagery, solitude, and splendor.
Radhanath Swami emerged from his years of travel wanting to explain for others the beauty and rewards of a life devoted to God, and therein lay a dilemma. Radhanath Swami's many followers and friends describe him as completely selfless and consequently unwilling to take credit for his work and restless when a spotlight is focused on him. By choosing A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (1896-1977), a Bengali Vaishnava Saint, as his guru (after declining offers of initiation from several tyagis or renunciants in the Himalayas), Radhanath Swami cast his fate to the wind, cut his matted locks, and entered back into the society.
RadhanathMaharaj.net gives us a complete collection of the teaching of Radhanath Swami. Teachings consists of Transcriptions of lectures delivered by Radhanath Swami at various places. This website is to inspire the followers of Radhanath Swami to practice the philosophy of Vaishanavism.
Start Lecture by His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaja.
We find some souls by associating with saintly godly people, their inmate natural divine qualities awaken. The qualities of compassion, the qualities of love, mercy, inner satisfaction and peace, self control, freedom from lust, envy, anger, greed, and pride. These are the natural qualities within us. If we associate with god and those who are godly, we become godly. If we associate with drunkards, we become drunkards. If we associate with wicked people, we become wicked. If we are bombarded with all kinds of propaganda just excite to our senses, we develop those qualities. We have all of our great satellites. Do you know how much good these satellites could be doing? They lot of good. But also they do a lot of damage. Sattelite TV, little children six seven years old, just turn on the TV and watching pornographic, sexual scenes.
By the time the average America sees so many thousands of murders a year on TV. Can you imagine, what does to a people’s heads? You are seeing monsters murdering, you are seeing saint people murdering. You are seeing violence. You are seeing sex and you expect the child to grow up to be a pious ethical saintly person. It is influence. Should I give an example? How much we are affected by our surroundings? It is according to what we are truly mean to in our life. If by our association, we are actually tuning in to truth, to reality, to compassion we can pick that up. If we associating with other virtues, other values, it is just like one of the satellite televisions. Actually, in America there is some places where there is 200 channels, I guess it is all over the world because it is by the satellites. What is that mean? That means the subtle vibrations of that energy is all over the world. We just tune it and that it is. It is not just the requisition the channel. Just like this station and it is coming from some other part of the country or some of the part of the world. It is not that you turned to channel three or four and you have to wait like a week until the show comes to your television. Really it is an amazing science. You just turned it on, immediately it is there. You turn the channel and somebody on a quiz show, asking everybody about, who is the first general of the Indian army? You will win thousands and crores of rupees if you give the right answer. Then the next show, you see some man and woman embracing passionately and then the next show is somebody is murdering, next scene you see a cartoon of little dogs playing with cats. You turn the next channel, you see the weather report. How is it instantly? It is right there. Did you ever think about it? That is incredible. You take it for granted because we just tuning on.
Now people have these remote controls and it is going tuning on. You can see hundred different scenes from a hundred stations within a matter of two minutes. That means the energy of the waves of antenna. Antenna makes waves come out like circular motions and it is just permeating the atmosphere. According to what you tuning the channel, you are going to pick it right up to right inside, even you see. That’s the way of life is. Everyone has the perception of the world according to their particular consciousness, according to their tuning their consciousness into. Everything, everyone does things and says is in the atmosphere. It is energy. Have you ever been in a room or somebody is really angry and everybody is affected by that even if they are say nothing but everybody is just like very uncomfortable. Whatever we think, whatever we do, whatever we speak, we are all antennas. Every living being is like antenna and you are just emanating the waves of your consciousness through your actions, your words, and your thoughts collectively and individually.
Where you see a small particle of realities. Do you know as you sitting here, right here with us? Practically there is universal energies just right all over us. All those television stations, how is it present by pressing the button here, all the waves are here. All the millions of cows being slaughtered and their screaming that’s going off in the energy. All the pious people are doing good things that all growing up in this energy. Now what station we are going to program our consciousness to pickup? It is only according to our association. If we are in ignorance of the purpose of life and the goals of life, according to we associate with, according to what we do, according to what we think, we are just what tuning in and what we absorbing different types of vibrations in our lives and it is affecting our consciousness. The purpose of human life is to actually program your heart to be on the channel where you become enlighten rather than degraded.
Some people just see hope every where and other people see hopelessness everywhere. According to your channel you are turned into. Because they are both there, some people optimistic and some people are pessimistic, some people are angry, some people are friendly, it is depending on your channel or how you are being influenced by environment around you, what waves you are connecting to. Does it make sense? So the nature of the part of god, is pure. But what we associate with we are going to be very highly influence by that. The human form of life is specifically and especially an opportunity to turn into our original divinely all blissful eternal nature. To utilize this body, utilize our education, utilize our wealth, utilize for everything for that purpose. There is nothing wrong in making a lot of money, there is nothing wrong with a fantastic education, these are wonderful virtues. But they are providing being used for the right reason. Put a knife thief’s hand and he will kill somebody out of greed. Put a knife in a doctor’s hand and will save someone’s life out of compassion. The knife is the same. What is our consciousness? The biggest problems in this world today are not being created by simple poor uneducated people. They are being created by very intelligent highly educated wealthy people. But with that same power of education that same power of knowledge of strength of wealth we can do the best benefit and service to the world. This is essential.
Many of you are young man with the very very prosperous life ahead of you. So much power, so much prestige, so much influence will be yours. What do you do with it? What is the purpose of life? If you make millions and billions of dollars but you are frustrated and lonely in your heart, are you a success? Open Himmler was a great scientist commission by the United States Government and other, he was instrumental and helping to create this atomic energy and when he saw it was being used instead of to improve life but to destroy life he miserably regretted he ever did. When he spoke against it, he was claimed to be mentally disabled. So we have to purify our conscious. The fundamental cause of all problems, the fundamental cause of all conflicts can be understood very simply and there is a very very simple solution. I like to share with you today. It is not my opinion. It is the opinion of the great acaryas, it is the opinion of all the great books of knowledge, the scriptures and common sense conform it.
What is the fundamental need of every living being? What is it that everyone is looking for and longing for in life? Can any of you give your opinions? 1. Happiness. 2. A lot of money and prestige is the most fundamental need in your life. 3. Food, clothing, and shelter are the fundamental needs of the life. 4. Love. 5. Satisfaction.
Actually food, clothing, and shelter, then prestige and money, why do you want it? For your happiness. So really the food, money, prestige, shelter and in none of themselves are not the goal of life. But the promise that that will give us happiness is actually we are striving for, is happiness. Everyone is striving for happiness. What is the basis of happiness? Who would like to say? What is the basis of happiness? Let me ask a question to you. If you have a hundred billion dollars, how many rupees is that? So you have so much money and you have a beautiful palace and you have the best cars and you have the finest foods, you have beautiful majestic dress, and you have all best technologies but you are the only person alive. Will you be happy? Will you be happy driving in your car and eating all your nice goolabjamus and samosas? Will you be happy? This is a serious question, living in a beautiful house and only understanding I won everything. How many will be happy with that situation if the only person live? What happens if one little bird comes and lands in your finger? Because you can have a relationship with the bird that bird will be more precious than in your life.
The basis of happiness is relationship. What makes relationship satisfying is love. People work for their children. People are looking for love. If is the most fundamental need of every living being, happiness mood of love. If you do not have love in your life, your life is superficial and quite meaningless. If you have love in your life, it really does not matter whether you have anything or whether you have everything will be satisfied because of that love. Because happiness is something of the heart. Happiness is not out here. Out here, if we are trying to facilitate happiness we here. But the real happiness is within not without. We see some of the most successful people committing suicide. The most successful people cruel, greedy, and envious, they do not have love. Why is that the fundamental need of every living being is to love and beloved. Why everyone is longing for that? Because it is our nature. The soul is part of god. To love god is our original constitutional possession, to love god and to be loved by god.
Krishna means all attractive. He attracts our love unlimitedly, eternally and reciprocates with His love unlimitedly and eternally. The purpose of human life is to again connect to union to that station. We can experience unlimited love of god in our life and to share that with the world in what we do and what we say and how we think. That is what real happiness lies. But when we forget, who we are, what our nature is and what is our relationship with the supreme absolute truth. Then we try to replace that love by directing it in other places. We are looking for unlimited eternal loving relationship. When we directed to the temporary phenomena of this world we can get some pacification but it does not really fulfill our hearts needs our soul’s needs. Due to frustration of our propensity to love people create so much conflict. All the conflict, we are talking about for the first 45 minutes of today’s discussion is simply born of people whose propensity to be love is frustrated to different degrees under different modes of nature. Expressing that frustration, that anxiety, that dissatisfaction toward each other, I hate you because of color, I hate you because of your business, I hate you because of your race, because of your cast, because of your nation, because you are my brother. There are so many conflicts. Because there are so many conflicts in our heart, dissatisfied, and frustrated it expresses in so many ways individually, collectively, nationally, internationally. What is the solution to find peace, happiness, and love?
Within our spiritual society, we have a universalistic nonsectarian way of tuning into that love, putting our consciousness and chanting to actually receive divinity. That is the chanting of the holy name. The Chanting of “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” is not just a ritualistic song. It is a scientific method of actually tuning our consciousness into the divine. What happens when we tune our consciousness in to divine, our hearts become pure. Heart purity means to bring us back to a natural state. When something is pure it is natural. When something is contaminated it is unnatural. The cleansing of the heart means brining our consciousness back to its original pure natural state to love god, to experience and realize the unlimited love of god. Not just a theoretical sentimental but in experienced direct realization.
As long as we have these bodies within this world, whatever influence we have, whatever wealth we have, whatever assets we have in our life, whatever intelligence, we have a purpose, we have a motive. Life is actually quite frustrating, if you do not really have an ultimate purpose you are living for, because it is meaningless. When you start growing older, you just see everything is dying. It is very frustrated. Actually there is no such thing is death. The soul is eternal. The bodies are separated from the soul. The bodies do not really die. The bodies are matter. They just merge back into material nature, the elements are still there. But when we realize and understand these principles, then there is real love and real satisfaction and real purpose. There is real life.
So real conflict resolution is to understand, who I am? How to love and how to beloved on the spiritual platform? This chanting of the holy names awakens that love. But we also misleads a life of integrity, a life of character, a life of compassion but our motivation is not envy but compassion, not violence but peace, not greed but charity, not sectarianism but understanding, hate to love. What do you really want to do with your life? You are at that junction stage, whether you are a engineer, a doctor. Mr. Maheswari, Mahaprabhu Das, he is a high court advocate, a lawyer for many years. We have big big industrialists, doctors, nurses, business people, teachers, students, swamis, brahmacharies, house wives, architects, scientist all these different kind of people we have within a society of god consciousness. But they are trying to create unity, harmony through whatever they are doing because they are motivated by their desire to love god.
Maharaja: That is natural. Actually if you awaken love of god then your love spontaneously and naturally must generate itself toward everyone. Because everything is part of god and everything is god’s creation and every living being is part of god, even a cruel person. You see that the person is diseased, you see that the person, who is diseased is actually your brother or sister. You love them. Instead of hating them if you compassionate for them, even if you they try to kill you.
Haridas Thakur was being beaten to death and he was praying for forgiveness for those people beating. Jesus Christ was crucified and he was begging god, “Please forgive them. They do not know what they do”. If you love god, your love is for everyone. What to speak of your parents, relatives, and family members. You have unlimited ecstatic love to actually help them. That is real love. So love for people in this world without understanding its relationship to the soul’s natural love for god is incomplete and ultimately it cannot really satisfy the heart. It is not that we do not love our parents but we should learn to love, the souls of our parents in an unconditional selfless spirit that is real love. Real love for parents can only come when we realize the self and its relationship with the supreme absolute truth. Then we can love our family members with pure love. Not just loving the bodies but loving the very person, the soul within the heart.
Devotee: Is it possible to live in this current world with Hindu dharma?
Maharaja: It is not doubt difficult but that is the purpose of life. Purpose of life is to live in this world following the principles of Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana Dharma is beyond one religion or another. Hinduism actually in its true essence is Sanatana Dharma. Dharma means to our constitutional nature.
Maharaja: As we are explaining if we have the proper association, it is not only possible but it is certain. We must express our aspirations in life by the association we choose to keep in our life. What things we do? What people we associate with? We are very much determined, whether our consciousness smells like the rose garden or like the shoes. According to what we associate with. If we are associating with people who are sincerely teaching Sanatana dharma to sincerely aspiring to practice sanatna dharma and we are trying to really live by these principles ourselves, by accepting what’s favorable and rejecting what is unfavorable. Then we will achieve our destination by the grace of god. God helps those who helps themselves. In future of life who we associate with and what are ideas in our lives. We can judge a person by their ideas. Even if they have enriched it, if they are striving for an idea that person is a great person, if it is the right idea of Sanatan Dharma.
Devotee: How to get the love of god as soon as possible?
Maharaja: That is a very nice question. To the degree we make that idea a priority in life, to that degree we realize it quickly. If we really make it a first priority in life then we will make a very rapid advancement. If we make a second or thirst priority in life then we will make very gradual advancement. Now making a priority does not necessarily giving up everything else. It means giving up separate motives. Krishna told Arjuna, “sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja”. He said, “You should surrender to Me”. But Arjuna was a married man. He was married to Draupadi, Subhadra and eight children and grand children. He was a warrior. After hearing Bhagavad-Gita from Krishna he did not become sannyasi. He did his duty, he fought and he was a military man. He maintained his family. He did everything. But did it in a spirit of service rather than a spirit of greed and exploitation. He did it is an expression of love.
Arjuna made love for Krishna and surrender to Krishna the priority in his life. That means he just oriented his occupation, his domestic situation. He did not renounce it. He renounced greed. He renounced envy. He renounced pride. He renounced lust. But with that pure state of consciousness with that desire to serve, he aspired for idea through the situation he was in. So to develop love of god. You do not have to give up school, you do not have to give up family, you have to just make all of the things you are doing, you are ultimately doing it for the purpose of loving god. That becomes natural, when we are in association with people who are doing like that. And we philosophically understand how to do that. By chanting god’s names and living a life of proper ethics and morality, we become spiritually enlighten within. Then we want to express that enlightenment through our studies, through our works, and through our relationships.
Devotee: What is the purpose of putting elements of negativity ……..?
Maharaja: We have created. God creates the opportunity but then according to our desires and our ambitions we create the world we live in, the situation of this world. Just like a father can give a children so many nice gifts. The children have the right to use those gifts to something very nice for each other or they can beat each other with their gifts. So that’s the children’s choice. Actually god is like the sun. He is all good. He is all light. The sun is the source of all energy within this world. Is it not? Now what if you turn your back to the sun. Then you see shadow. Shadow means darkness. Is the darkness in the sun? There is no darkness in the sun. There is no bad or evil in god. There is only pure good and love in god. But when we return our back we see ignorance, darkness, the absence of god. Human life means to turn around again toward light and be enlighten but since time immemorial we are just becoming deeper and deeper involved in the intricacies and implications of the darkness of the shadow. It is really simple just turning around and your whole life becomes enlightened. But we are so conditioned to that darkness that it takes time to actually turn around.
Devotee: We discussion that and emphasizing on the god loving …… A person who has lost his only son and father is not earning and parents just alone. So such incidences are very common. So how can a person sustain faith in god?
Maharaja: God means the absolute truth. It is important because the absolute truth. The definition of god is “janmädayo 'sya yad” from whom everything emanates. Because it is the reality. Where do you come from? Where does life come from? Is this entire universal creation just happening by chance? Einstein and other very very great scientists Sir Isaac Newton the founders of science that we know today. They were very religious man. They understood mathematically, scientifically the world cannot be or the universe cannot be as it is without a supreme intelligence behind it. It cannot be happening by chance. It is not just big bangs. It is too much happening. So we are speaking about the truth. Now if we want to understand the truth we must understand scientifically. So if a person is in a tragic situation of life to blame god, disregard god under that circumstance is only complicating and deepening the perplexities and frustration and the sorrows in our lives.
We are talking about laws of nature. When the spirit soul enters into a body according to its destiny, according to its karmic situation of the past, there is a certain time one has to die. That we made that karma but god made the law of karma. We made the specific karma that we have. If you go to the airport and you get on an airplane to London, once you are on the airplane, you say, I want to go to Singapore. The airline hostess will say, what is this? You are going to London? You will say, I have my free will. You have your free will but your free will was when you were in the airport. You could have gone to Singapore. But once you get on the plane, there is no more free will. You have to get the reaction. So similarly according to our actions we are going to get certain reactions. We make our destiny but god made the laws. But according to our actions and words we are making our destiny. So everyone has their destiny. Everyone has sorrows and happiness in life. If we understand the scientifically and philosophically and properly then we do not blame god for these we understand. We tried to make best of our life for our children, for ourselves and everybody who we are going through our karmas.
Maharaja: God could change destiny.
Devotee: For example those people who are not doing a single thing wrong in their whole life and still they are suffering.
Maharaja: No, that’s not true because you do not understand what life is? Life does not begin when you went to the body. What about the past lives? The soul is eternal. If somebody suffering in this life and they are good in this life that means they are good in this life, in the future they are going to have a very good. But obviously if they are suffering it must be because they have engage in unethical activities in the past. It may have been previous lives. Now that passing through in this world people die, people turn against us and also there are so many people who help us and become friends with us. This is part of life according to our karmas within have friends and enemies and according to how we are acting now. What you do now is your future. What’s happening to you now, is due to actions of the past. Now the purpose of human life is whatever situation you are in you are trying to actually achieve your idea.
Some of the greatest people in history in times of great sorrow they achieved the greatest enlightenment because they have knowledge. They have philosophical scientific outlook of life rather than just sentimentally, anything that goes wrong, why I should think of god with all these things going wrong. The fact we turned way into the darkness that’s why all these things are going wrong. The solution is turning again to the light. Do something for the soul of that child. The body has gone. But the soul is eternal. If you become pure, even that soul will be liberated because of its connection with you. That is the laws. So we can show our love in a real way.
Devotee: Science is the cause of sorrow, like in the previous old age we were no so developed scientifically and even in the country those are developed scientifically more. There is more sorrow and self conflicts.
Maharaja: It is due to lack of science, there is so many problems. But science does not mean the manipulation of the external gross elements. Bhagavad-Gita, spirituality, Sanatana Dharma, is science. Without that foundational science strong, other science is we build upon it could create many many difficulties. If we build our Arts and sciences of this world upon the foundation of the science of sanatana dharma. When the science of this world will have great great benefit for everyone. So the problem is not science. But the problem is ignorance. When we create great sciences on the foundation of ignorance that causes a lot of problem, lot of pollution, and lots of disruption. Penny wise pounds foolish. Have you ever heard this saying. We create so many things but what we are doing to the environment. That’s one of the biggest conflicts in the world today. It is not ecological conflict. We do not even discuss that on it. There are ecological conflicts. It is horrible. The oceans are becoming polluted. Over the years there is big oil ship just leak and the oil fell on ocean and millions of fish die and pollute so much of waters. Lakes are polluted.
Here is Bombay the air right now you are breathing, some people say just walking around Bombay is like smoking to packs of cigarettes a day. I have heard like that. It is pollution and that’s a problem. Now the ozone and the global warming it is an international problem. If we do not give up this type of polluting of the atmosphere this global warming is going to cause the solar ice caps to melt and the oceans are going to rise and Bombay is very close to the ocean. According to the not sannyasis and the babajis but according to ecological scientists, they are claiming, if we do not do something about cleaning of the pollution the ecology practically one fourth even one third of the land on earth will be under the ocean. We are talking about hundreds and millions of people, either being displaced or sleeping with the fish. This is a very serious matter. It is created by science. The pollutions are not created by simple people who are farming by natural ways. It is due to industries, chemicals. Now it is a science and all those things could be used for good purpose. But if they are not in harmony with nature and harmony with god, they may create a nice thing now but destruction in the future.
So science should be built upon the foundation of knowledge and truth. Then all our science could have very very wonderful affects. We use microphone, fan, electrical lights these are all the blessings of science. But we are using it to try to help enlighten people and rich people. Other people are using the same thing for something very very different. Some are singing different kinds of love songs not the enlightening kind but it is the kind just awakens passion in your heart. Some are speaking hatred and violence. Science is a neutral thing. According to the consciousness of the person using it either going to have positive or negative affects. So science is neither good nor bad. Science is as good as the scientists, who are using it. It can be used to enlighten the world or can be used to degrading and pollute the world. That’s why we desperately need a young generation of the youth, who are in positions, where they will in the future have influence in society to actually build theirs ideas on the foundation of truth spirituality and love. One person who has that idea, who has that spiritual potency can do so much for the world. Actually we should all serious irresponsibility. It is the most important responsibility we have in our lives.
Just to be a media worker I won’t hear of anybody, “I’ll be a nice person of my career nicely”. That is the purpose of life. That is an idea. This is a substance to be realized. Everything we do should be in harmony with that.
Devotee: Why Arjuna was forced by Krishna to fight other than giving him the mantra of love?
Maharaja: He gave him the mantra of love.
“man-manä bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yäjé mäà namaskuru
mäm evaiñyasi yuktvaivam
This is the mantra of pure love.
Because he fall with love. This is duty. He was like a surgeon. This like, if a person is in the Hospital and he has serious tumor and if it is not cut out the person dies. So surgery is in one sense is violence. It taking the weapon or knife and you are cutting a person open. Some of my friend said, “It is open heart surgery”. That’s really a violent surgery. It cut open ribcage and open it up and going their inside cutting their flesh and blood. Now is that surgeon violent. Yes he is violent but after the surgery the person suffering like anything but he actually helped the person. So Arjuna was like that. He was fighting for Dharma. He was fighting against exploitation and greed, which was represented by Dyurodhana and his brothers. Arjuna and the Pandavas on the advise of Krishna did everything they possibly could have done to avoid the war. But Dyurodhana was insistent on fighting that war.
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