Radhanath Swami’s first rendezvous in India was with Delhi. The city, which has been the gateway for most visitors coming to India, also welcomed Richard Slavin (now Radhanath Swami) way back in 1970. Incidentally, the city derives its name from the word ‘Dehli’ or ‘Dehleez’ which means ‘the gateway’. Years later, Radhanath Swami was here to present the memoir of his sojourn in the city which made a significant contribution in his search for God in India.
‘The Journey Home – Autobiography of an American Swami’ and the Hindi edition of the book, “Anokha Safar”; were unveiled in the presence of many eminent dignitaries and famous personalities at PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi, on January 7, 2010. The occasion was honored by the presence of KPS Gill, Ex- Director General of Police, Punjab, India; Yogananda Shastri, academician and speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly. Saeed Naqvi, writer and journalist, Miss Ekta Chaudhary, Miss India 2009; Nirmal Sethia, Industrialist from UK; Himanshu Gupta, Director – S. Chand Publishing house, R. K. Sharma, Director FCI and there were many others to grace the occasion.
Hrishikesh Mafatlal, Chairman, Mafatlal Industries shared the stage with Radhanath Swami and interviewed him. He asked Radhanath Swami’s view on curbing communal disharmony and hatred. Radhanath Swami expressed, “I have never seen a country where there is really as much religious freedom as in India. It’s a country where Muslims, Jews, Zorastrians, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and many others are practicing their religion freely…The inner most need of every living being is to love and to be loved. Things can touch the body and mind, but only love touches the heart. Every spiritual path accepts the origin of that need to love as the love between Atma- soul and Paramatma – God. One who is spiritually intelligent sees a part of God in every living being—whether one is black or white, man or women, rich or poor, Hindu or Muslim or a Christian or Jain or Jew or Sikh or whether one is an elephant or a cow or a plant. Wherever there is life, there is the presence of the soul and thus God. So the essence of every great religion is to love God and all living beings and to be an instrument of God’s love.”
On behalf of the audience and guests Hrishikesh Maftalal requested Radhanath Swami to speak about the book. Radhanath Swami briefly narrated his journey and shared his cause of writing the book. He said, “In Vrindavan I had found the path to lead my life, the path of Bhakti. After some months I met my Guru Maharaj and I found that there was nothing sectarian in his teachings. They were the very essence of every great religion that I had studied during my journey. On the path of striving to love God, my Guru just wanted to be an instrument of compassion in this world. Important part of the book also is my relationship with my parents and various people I met on my journey. This book is my small and humble attempt of honoring the great heritage and the great people of India for all they have done for me.”
The event concluded by a melodious musical performance by Enchanters, a spiritual music band comprising of youngsters–all children of Radhanath Swami’s students. Many of them were personally taught their first musical lessons by Radhanath Swami in their early years. Leaders, actors, academicians, industrialists, music, food and a Swami–the event was truly in spirit of Delhi, diverse and full of life.