On October 13, 2010, Radhanath Swami gave a presentation on his book The Journey Home at the Core Power Yoga Studio in Aliso Viejo, CA. Run by yoga instructor, Kumudini, Core Power leads lifestyle and teacher training programs, yoga retreats and conferences, and has students numbering in the thousands.
The 100 people in attendance were treated to a high energy devotional chanting led by local kirtan diva CC White. Radhanath Swami began his talk by discussing his motivation for writing his memoir, then, at Kumudini’s request, proceed to share some stories from Chapter 5 of his book about his journey into Turkey. He spoke of his treacherous border crossing, where he was denied entry due to an outbreak of cholera, and how his dogged determination paid odd.
He recalled his adventures, hitchhiking through the Middle East, facing danger at every step to reach his destination, India. He wandered as a mendicant in the Himalayas and interacted with many mystic yogis, sages, babas and saints and got priceless lessons from them.
He narrated about his encounter with a leper colony while sauntering through a forest in Rishikesh, where he was accosted by dozens of dismembered beggars. When they realized he had nothing, they dispersed. As he walked away in relief, he was stopped by an old leper lady who placed her fingerless palm on his head and blessed him. Radhanath Swami walked further to a river and gazed at a swirling current trying to see what is beneath the surface. He there had a great realization that “we have the tendency to judge others by their surface appearance and try to find negative qualities. But if we search beneath the surface we discover that a myriad of strains mix together to create a particular person’s nature”.
Radhanath Swami remembered the compassion and selflessness of an old man, Ghanashyam Baba of Vrindavan, the birthplace of Krishna. In the company of Ghanashyam Baba, Radhanath Swami discovered that humility is the most positive state of mind. True humility is in fact pride, universal pride in the greatness of God and a genuine appreciation for others’ virtues.
Radhanath Swami concluded his talk saying that the fundamental principle of life is to love and to be loved. Yoga is about accessing that love and being an instrument of that love. Chanting of God’s names cleanses the heart and awakens the real love within, which enables us to live in harmony with other beings, nature, and God.
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