On Tuesday November 2nd, 2010 Radhanath Swami spoke at the Sunset Gita program at the Jivamukti yoga studio on Broadway in Manhattan. Jivamukti hosts active and energetic yoga classes seven days a week at their Manhattan studio, mixing vigorous Hatha Yoga with a enlivening dose of spiritual thoughts and vibrations based on the teachings of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the bhakti tradition. Their mix of ahimsa, music, meditation, and down-to-earth yoga makes them one of the busiest, most popular, and most innovative yoga centers in the world.
The Sunset Gita event was hosted by Joshua Greene, a bhakti scholar, author, and professor at Hofstra University. Radhanath Swami spoke about his initial inspiration for writing The Journey Home, which came in the form of a request from his longtime friend Bhakti Tirtha Swami. When Bhakti Tirtha Swami was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few years ago he requested Radhanath Swami to be there with him while he left this world.
Radhanath Swami related that they didn’t speak about current news in this world but eternal current events in the spiritual world. “When two human beings share their aspiration to love God and serve God and their aspiration to be an instrument of God’s love with each other, the depth of the experience of the love of the hearts is inconceivable, incredible, and beyond any of us. I never ever had such a relationship with any other human being – just sharing our hearts with the Divine in the center.”
Bhakti Tirtha Swami told Radhanath Swami to write a book about his experiences and travels on his spiritual journay. Radhanath Swami remembers saying that he thought it was “an act of arrogance to write a book about myself, and second of all, I didn’t think anybody would believe me because it was so strange.”
He recalled that Bhakti Tirtha Swami firmly encouraged him by saying that “this is not your story, this is the story of how God took a young man on a quest to find what everyone is looking for – meaning and fulfillment in life. And I believe your story can help any person on any path because its the story of a search and the lessons of life that were gifted to you that can help all of us. If this story can give hope and inspiration to people then it is an act of arrogance for you not to write it.
Radhanath Swami told the audience this evening that he promised his close friend that he would write about his journey, but in his mind he had a clause – I’ll write it but I won’t publish it. Bhakti Tirtha Swami read his mind and said to him “promise me you will also publish it!” Radhanath Swami was planning to talk him out of it, but Bhakti Tirtha Swami left this world a day or two later.
Below are some of the comments that people shared:
“It touched my heart … even though I didn’t want to be touched.”
“It was nourishing … and inspiring.”
“I still hear Radhanath chanting.”
“The night was moving. I was buzzing all night and into the next
morning too. Such a great room full of love and energy.”