Last year in India I encountered two very unique Americans, one a renounced Swami, the other a Los Angeles based, body builder- personal coach. Their paths seemed poles apart.
However from the Bhakti Yoga perspective, both travelers regardless of their beliefs and aspirations were at different stages on the same journey… the journey back home.
You may or may not already know that the ultimate goal or destination of Bhakti Yoga is to go back home… back to Godhead. From the material point of view, it might appear that someone can navigate their own separate trail in any direction they choose; however in reality everyone traverses the same path… the path of learning through life’s experiences. Material pursuits bring fleeting pleasures, and may sometimes help us to learn some important lessons along the road, but in the big picture of things they are more or less temporary diversions or distractions from reaching life’s ultimate destination.
In the ancient Vedic yoga text Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna states that ‘everyone follows my path in all respects’… either directly, by following the path of loving devotion (Bhakti Yoga); or indirectly by repeatedly pursuing the illusory happiness of material sense gratification. In the ultimate issue there is only one path, and that path rather than being linear, is cyclic.
After experimenting with lifestyle choices in the early seventies, and travelling together across Europe and the Middle East in search of life’s purpose, Radhanatha Swami and Gary… his best friend from childhood… chose vastly differently ways to live their lives. But here they both were, forty years up the track, connected again by a seemingly insuppressibly tight bond of spiritual love.
In a large pandal (marquee) in Mumbai, along with 4500 devotees, celebrating the American Swami’s 60th birthday, Gary and Radhanatha Swami once more were united. To be with them both at this time was nothing less than beautiful… two unique souls traversing apparently divergent paths, all the while connected by a spiritual friendship that allowed them both to transcend the mundane considerations of societal identity.
How two such young adventurers started out on their journey to seek the fulfillment of their lives… and how one of them could no longer ignore the ardent calling of his heart to seek out God in India, is vividly described in Radhanatha Swami’s new book ‘The Journey Home’… the Autobiography of an American Swami.
‘The Journey Home’ is nothing short of brilliant. It is captivating… from the very first page. It has excitement, drama, adventure, raw passion, suspense, humour, introspection, spiritual insight and true love. As a practitioner of Bhakti Yoga for over 35 years, I thoroughly recommend this autobiography as suitable for all audiences… currently I am reading two chapters weekly to my 90 year old mother, and she loves it. It’s an absolute “must read” for every spiritual aspirant.
Let’s face it, the choice of which way to turn confronts us all daily.
Fortunately whatever way we go… Lord Krishna is patiently waiting for us all to reconnect with Him, to come back home and experience our original life of eternal bliss and knowledge.
It was truly wonderful for me to have the privilege of the association of both Gary and Radhanatha Swami in Mumbai last January. I can’t wait to see where their journey leads next.
Your well-wishing servant, Jaya Sila Das