Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. He spent his youth wandering through disparate countries and cultures yearning for an experience of truth; after finally meeting his spiritual teacher in India he has spent the last 50 years internalising that spiritual practice and sharing it with others. He is not only a guide, but a community builder, activist, and a New York Times Best selling author. Rooted in his study of ancient India’s mystic devotional tradition, Radhanath Swami’s message is as profound as it is simple: by cultivating a rich inner life of self-awareness and a genuine practice of service, we can become instruments of compassion and agents of sustainable change in the world.
Radhanath Swami’s Journey
From a young American boy to one of India’s largest spiritual leaders
Born into a working-class family in Chicago, Radhanath Swami (born Richard Slavin) became an active participant in the civil rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He soon discovered, however, that social transformation begins with personal change, and at the age of 19 he embarked on a remarkable quest for meaning in life.
Arriving in India
This adventure, detailed in his memoir The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami (Mandala Publishing, 2010), took him hitch-hiking across Europe and the Middle East—through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and finally to India. There he lived as a wandering ascetic, first amongst the forest dwelling Himalayan yogis and later amongst a wide variety of gurus and spiritual practitioners throughout India and Nepal. Ultimately, he reached the inner sanctum of India’s mystic devotional tradition in the holy town of Vrindavan, where he found his spiritual teacher and his path amongst the Bhakti-yogis.
Meeting his teacher
After encountering hundreds of spiritual and religious leaders, he found the teacher he was looking for in A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In choosing Bhaktivedanta Swami as his guru, Radhanath Swami felt compelled to shave his matted locks and re-enter Western society with a mission to share the sacred wisdom he had received. This return exemplifies the form of devotional yoga which is at the heart of Radhanath Swami’s teachings, a spiritual practice expressed as tangible action meant to bring about personal fulfilment and benefit the world.
Radhanath Swami is a Spiritual Guide, Author and Activist
Radhanath Swami is the founder and co-ordinator of multiple spiritual communities throughout the world, the most prominent of which is the Radha-Gopinath Ashram located in Mumbai, India. Under his inspiration and guidance, the project has grown to include hospitals, orphanages, eco-friendly farms, schools, temples, emergency relief programs, and a food distribution program that feeds more than 1.2 million children in India every single day.
In spite of his many responsibilities, he also travels widely, teaching Eastern philosophy and spiritually throughout Europe, Asia, and America. He has been featured as a guest speaker in universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Harvard, Columbia and Stanford, and in corporations such as HSBC, Microsoft, Facebook, Starbucks HQ, Google, Intel and Oracle, to name a few.
Radhanath Swami’s work as a social activist has led him to meet and discuss the message of compassion with some of the leaders of the world.
New York Times
Radhanath Swami has captured his epic journey to spiritual India in his best-selling autobiography, “The Journey Home.” He has also presented the teachings he has learnt in the last 50 years in his New York Times best-selling sequel, “The Journey Within.”