On Monday, November 8, 2010 Radhanath Swami spoke at the Krsna-Bhakti Club at New York University (NYU).

The Krsna-Bhakti Club hosts a weekly Vegetarian Cooking Class, which is open to all NYU students, faculty, and friends. The event was also sponsored by The Gita Circle, a new NYU student-run club which meets every week to discuss the practical philosophy of the classic Eastern wisdom text the Bhagavad-Gita.

Having spent many years in the 1980’s helping to run similar student clubs in universities in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Radhanath Swami expressed his pleasure is being back with so many students, saying “it is a dream come true to be here at New York University again.” In his talk, he spoke about one of the most unique and intense experiences from The Journey Home, recalling his time in Herat, Afghanistan where he underwent a deep and profound “culture shock.”

Finding himself unable to relate to anything and anyone around him, as far from his home as he could imagine, Radhanath Swami revealed that through his deep sense of dislocation he could actually understand that his identity was not based on the various designations he knew himself as, from his body to his nationality to all the various Western cultural trappings he had been raised in.

He remembered that he could finally experience and understand what he had been reading about in the various books of wisdom he had been carrying with him on his journey, which was that he was the spirit within, and not the body or external circumstances without. This powerful understanding would help him to deepen his desire to continue onto India to understand more about his spiritual self.

Radhanath Swami was also asked by one of the NYU students how he overcame the various barriers of language on his travels. Radhanath Swami humbly and endearingly admitted that despite all his travels, he still only knows how to speak English.

He then related another story from The Journey Home of his experiences with the great sage Kailash Baba, who despite the barrier in spoken language, was able to instruct him through gestures, expressions, and heart-felt knowledge how to live in the Himalayan forests in a respectful relationship with all the other living beings there, including such dangerous animals as leopards, cobras, and vipers.

Radhanath Swami told the audience that from their relationship  he came to understand that the language of the heart and of the spirit goes beyond the words we speak, and is easily transmittable and easily understood if we are open and humble to it.

 

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