On Tuesday November 9, Radhanath Swami visited Columbia University to speak to the students. He told his gripping, inspirational tale of how as a teenager – a young product of the counterculture, desperately seeking the answers to life’s profound questions – he began his journey eastward on a spiritual quest to find the truth.

Radhanath Swami explained the humble beginning of his journey in Europe, where he examined the spiritual traditions of the West, spending long hours daily working to extract the truth from their teachings. Dissatisfaction with a lack of answers mixed with the desire to learn of other spiritual traditions led him to the Middle East, where he explored the the site of the roots of Judeo-Christian tradition and meticulously studied Islam. This experience deeply broadened his knowledge and understanding of spiritual traditions, but still did not provide the answers he sought.

To find these answers, Radhanath Swami traveled further eastward to India, where he rediscovered a rich treasure-house of spirituality and eventually found his spiritual home.

Radhanath Swami retold his experiences with the various spiritual leaders he encountered on his journey to India, from saints like Mother Teresa and Anandamayi Ma to mystic yogis like Kailash Baba. He explained the profound lesson he learned from these unique experiences – that one need not travel so far away only to discover that spirituality comes from within, and that true spirituality is about leading a life of forgiveness and compassion.

Special thanks to a Columbia student for writing this article.

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