From Cherry Hill to Maplewood via the Himalayas

Swami Radhanath came to Baker Street Yoga in Maplewood Tuesday night to give a talk and promote his book, The Journey Home.

He told his story in the dimly lit room that was filled near capacity. Most of the people who came to hear his story were women dressed in yoga outfits and stocking feet. A sweet incense filled the air. Carol Garland, the co-owner of Baker Street Yoga, welcomed him. In her introduction of him, Garland said that we may see “that our journey is revealed to us…there will be many ‘a ha’ moments as to what (our) life could be’ in regards to what we were about to hear. With that Swami Radhanath came to the front of the room and sat down.

He started the event off with playing a harmonium and singing. Soon everyone in the crowd what singing along with him. And then he began telling his story. He started out as Richie Slavin in Chicago in the 1950’s. By the time he was 19 in 1970 he had seen enough of people “persecuted because of the way they were born.” He was visiting a friends in Cherry Hill NJ when the three of them decided to go to Europe.

What follows is an odyssey. He travels from London to Crete to Turkey, through Afghanistan and Pakistan to end up in the Himalayas in his spiritual quest to find something more. His hypnotic voice weaves an incredible tale of his life as a sahdu, a wandering monk, of crowded trains, monsoons, staying in holy places, of meeting both the Dali Lama and Mother Teresa. He tells of monks that can mediate for 12 hours a day, of a hippie Magic Bus than ran from Amsterdam to New Delhi and of a monkey that steals his mom’s purse the time she came to visit him in Bombay. He tells his story of his journey home. “We are all on a journey” Swami Radhanath says, “Home is in our hearts.”

What started out as a summer holiday in 1970 for a teenager from Chicago became a life changing journey.

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  1. “From Cherry Hill to Maplewood via the Himalayas”

    With stops at the offices of the book publisher, the website designer, the lawyer for Radhanath Swami Inc., the PR firm and the press agent.

  2. Clearly, the guru and his followers do not value proofreading and copyediting, going by the item above. (It is, for instance, “sadhu.” And he is the “Dalai Lama,” no relation to artist Salvador.) Oh well, it’s such a mundane concern against spiritual ones.

    But all this supposed “rock star” on the guru circuit could fill in Maplewood was one relatively small room? Gee, perhaps Maplewood is not near as gullible as I’d feared.

  3. I will tell you about Maplewood. I am well versed, as I spent the first 36 years of life there, went though the school system, etc, etc.

    1, Maplewood Center is charming, the shopkeepers are all extremely good & nice people, many live in town.

    2. It’s a very clean town, you will very seldom see litter, but you will see persons bening down to pick up litter, when the see it.

    3. The High School (Columbia) offers a good education. However, Maplewood Jr. High is pretty bad! It doe not prepare students for Columbia, and there were always a select group of bullies, tough guys and trouble makers that seeminly came from the maplewood boundry with Irvington Bad news.

    4. The home owners keep property very clean/neat. You do NOT have to schlep your trash to the curb, they come & get it. Most people have gardners.

    5. Towens people are vrry wecoming, and accept all religions, and races.

    6. Taxes are high, prices or home are even higher !

    7. the parks are drop-dead beautifull and have been used many times for greeting cards.

    8. Folks in Maplewood do not have that “I am looking for I fight” that I found when I moved to Bloomfield.

    My folks lived there for 45 years, me for 33 year, until I got married.

    I cannot say anything against the town, nor how it is run. It’s all good – – IF you can afford it. Under $90,000 a year……you can’t!!!

  4. To RoC and cathar: why the hate? Make you feel good about yourself? Have you ever read anything this man has written? I haven’t, so I feel no compunction to praise or critique either way. Is it the “funny” name? Didn’t you’all get that out of your systems in 4th grade?

    To Sandy, sadly, #2 on your list couldn’t be more wrong. Maplewood is easily the most litter-strewn, non-urban place I’ve ever lived. This may be a jersey thing, I’ve seen similar levels of trash in Millburn parks, South Orange, etc.

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