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.