Govinda Dasa – USA: I am writing in response to Rocana prabhu’s article about Radhanath Swami (Richard Slavin), son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald and Idelle Slavin, a middle class Jewish family from Chicago. As he grew into a teenager, Richie did what many young Jewish teenagers did – he migrated into the Hippie counter-culture and made his way to India. Even to this very day, thousands of young Jewish teenagers head to India in search of drugs, sex and pseudo-spirituality. It was the sixties, and so young Richie followed the old Hippie trail that led so many other social misfits into the Himalayas, to places such as Hrisikesh, Varanasi, Kullu Manali and of course Goa. All of them playing at being renounced, wearing the uniform of a Hippie, experimenting in drugs, sex and pseudo-spiritualism. Nothing has changed, really.
In the 60’s, the idea of a Hippie was to renounce worldly possessions and to dress in threadbare attire, have dreadlocks, take drugs and stuff like that, but they were also interested in getting high on mystical spiritualism. In this way young Richie was no different than other young Jewish Hippies who had renounced mainstream society. Still to this very day, Richie, now known as Radhanatha Swami, although donning the garb of a Sannyasi, has a very similar counter-culture mentality about clothes and possessions. Old Hippies never die.
I was amazed at how he set the stage for his Television interview with an appeal for sympathy at an alleged act of discrimination levelled against him for being a child of Jewish extraction. For many years now, being Jewish does not put a person on the top of the list of people being discriminated against. From my experience growing up in the states, Jewish people have much more opportunity and status than most minorities, what to speak of run of the mill majorities.
That fact that he was not able to remember the age in which this incident occurred also casts some doubt into my mind if he was telling the truth. Perhaps he was nervous and so he forgot his well rehearsed lines…
Richard Slavin joined in 1971 and was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1972, and had his second initiation officiated by Kirtanananda. Radhanath’s belief and faith in Kirtanananda was signed sealed and delivered when he later took Sannyasa initiation from Kirtanananda.
Most of his early life as a devotee, Radhanath, was dedicated to and served under Kirtanananda and was independent of ISKCON. Up to as late as 1990 we are all aware that he was still glorifying Kirtanananda, even though he was one of the most offensive and perverted individuals to ever have taken advantage of Srila Prabhupada’s mercy.
The quality of loyalty is good in a person, but this depends on who your loyalty resides with. Radhanath’s loyalty was to the infamous and perverted Kirtanananda. It was unshakeable even after Kirtanananda and his throng of ISKCON philosophically deviant malcontents were unceremoniously kicked out of ISKCON in 1987.
In trying to understand who Radhanath is, as a devotee and follower of Srila Prabhupada, we need to look back on his early history, especially at the time when he first laid eyes on Srila Prabhupada. It is here that we can see his true intentions more clearly. In his Wikipedia advertisement, Richie, Radhanath, is stated to have ‘observed’ Srila Prabhupada in 1971. The term ‘observed’ is very important here in understanding Radhanatha’s mentality towards Srila Prabhupada.
Radhanatha didn’t sit in awe and reverence or anything like that, he simply ‘observed’ Srila Prabhupada. The result of his observations was that he had finally found a guru who could really launch his career as a Spiritualist/Mystic Guru.
Seizing on Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, which in ordinary circumstances is a good thing, Richie apparently forgot about all the other unsubstantiated ‘offers’ (he really believes that he was a good catch for some yogi or guru) that he claims were coming in from various yogis/gurus. These people were obviously nonstarters, but Richie, being a very attentive opportunist, saw his lucky break with Srila Prabhupada. So he headed back to the States, to New Vrindavan, and right into the waiting arms of the pervert Kirtanananda. Like a fly to stool, it seems. Why New Vrindavan? Why did he set his ambitious sights on New Vrindavan?
The New Vrindavan Temple, which was meant to be Srila Prabhupada’s residence but was instead turned into Kirtanananda’s private den of iniquity, was also the temple about which Srila Prabhupada instructed in 1970: “It is a fact however that the great sinister movement is within our Society”. Funny hey… I wonder why Srila Prabhupada mentioned that the great sinister movement is within our society when talking about the activities at New Vrindavan?
Being a part of some very sinister movement aside, who would believe that such a great seeker of anything mystical and spiritual would find themselves in such a hotbed of perversion and depravity, what to speak of philosophical deviation? Who would believe that such a pure soul would find themselves in the middle of scandal and murder conspiracies? Who would believe that such a discriminating soul would find themselves taking side with and being the right hand man of such a demoniac personality as Kirtanananda, the very centre of the rebellion against Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON?
Surely this could not happen to the ‘little Jewish kid’ from Chicago? The one who boldly claims he is a seeker of the truth. Surely not the one who ended up not really wanting a guru, but, wanting a ‘ticket’ to fame and glory? The same one who really only ‘observed’ Srila Prabhupada while he was shopping around, trying to find the best ‘guru’ springboard to use so he could fast track it to becoming a world famous spiritualist new age mystic guru.
Mr. Richard Slavin, being the consummate actor that he is, very quickly developed his on-stage persona known as Radhanath Swami, and began to masquerade as a Sannyasi Guru with a sentimentalist flavour and just enough flare to capture the ‘sentimentalist’. Radhanatha had made good use of not only what he mimicked as an understudy of many Indian gurus and yogis, which included Srila Prabhupada, but also obviously took some tips from his Jewish past as he put to good use Jewish Hora dance movements in his now fully fledged repertoire. You only have to ‘observe’ Radhanath’s dance routine to see this…
But when the chips were down and the turncoat crew from New Vrindavan were being discovered for the murderous, perverted, corrupt bunch of scallywags that they were, he ended up fleeing the country as fast as he could. Funny how he ended up taking shelter of his perverted mentor Kirtanananda’s temple in Bombay. Very cunning indeed, for this clever opportunistic person! Bombay, where many of Kirtanananda’s disciples, who had full and deep pockets, resided. Yes, Radhanath is certainly the clever little fellow.
Gotta give him full credit, somehow or other Radhanath’s bread always ends up butter-side-up, and he was very quick to be ‘reinstated’ back into ISKCON by the similarly corrupted GBC — the ISKCON he only months before preached heavily against, the Society of his so-called guru Srila Prabhupada. Then, again by the blessings of the corrupted GBC, Radhanath meteorically rose to the highest positions in ISKCON, seemingly as a reward for his traitorous and deceitful devotional service to the pure devotee, his guru, his mentor, Srila Prabhupada.
He did not come alone, though. Most of the Sannyasi initiated disciples of Kirtanananda rose with him as well. This included Malati, whose degraded and reprehensible history leaves nothing to the imagination. You can imagine the state of mind of Kirtanananda was in to give Sannyasi initiation to such a debauched person. This displays the decadence of the man.
That is not the full story though. Radhanath’s true intention and plan is being revealed, as he now is openly promoting himself as a Guru in his own right. Making the big time, he no longer has need for Srila Prabhupada. It is he now that is quoted and gives his pearls of wisdom instead of his alleged Guru, Srila Prabhupada, who hardly ranks a mention in Richie’s spiritual journey and in his now high profile Spiritualist Mystic Guru persona.
I wondered at why Radhanath rarely if ever speaks of Srila Prabhupada or ISKCON in his interviews. Out of all the people that he values in his most fantastical spiritual journey of self-discovery, Srila Prabhupada hardly ranks a mention. How many photos are there of Srila Prabhupada in his website? How much does this Radhanatha glorify Srila Prabhupada in his book websites or interviews? It seems to me that he became famous by his own endeavour, which has about as much to do with Srila Prabhupada as the other personalities that he glorifies in his book or websites.
If you were to read his websites, you would hardly find mention of Srila Prabhupada. Here are some excerpts taken from his website, www.RadhanathSwami.com:
“My spiritual teacher Srila Prabhupada and many of the great teachers throughout history have taught us…
I met His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. And in him I found a connection and an inspiration. In his teachings I found a wisdom that included all that I had learned from these other teachers.
I am still trying to share the precious gifts that he gave me and all of these other great saints, what they have given me…”
Out of approximately six of seven mentions in his website about Srila Prabhupada, Radhanath’s supposed guru, almost half of them place Srila Prabhupada as only one of his teachers… Teacher? Teacher is a generic term really, and it does not indicate one’s surrender to that personality. Radhanath has never alluded to or proven in his life that he has surrendered to anyone except to his self-centred desires, deceit and the pursuit of fame and glory.
Here are his “Teachers”, and it is certainly nice to see him glorify the pure devotee AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada in this collection… Please make note of the placement of Srila Prabhupada in this line up. You may notice that Srila Prabhupada is rather insignificant, and does not even rank main attraction, which is Swami Ram…
It seems to me that Richard Slavin, AKA Radhanath Swami, the discriminated against little Jewish kid from America, made the big time by riding on the back of Srila Prabhupada. But he neglects to give him much credit for his ‘journey home.’ By downplaying Srila Prabhupada’s role in his so-called spiritual journey, he is elevating himself as a self-made spiritualist. No different, really, from the other ragtag band of gurus that have inflicted themselves upon mankind since time immemorial. Cheap trickster comes to mind when I read or hear anything about the man.
He no longer even makes any attempt at glorifying his alleged guru, Srila Prabhupada. If you were to read the introduction to his book you will not see mention of Srila Prabhupada.
What amazes me more is how some long-term devotees are so easily fooled by this man? I can see how neophytes can be fooled into thinking that this man has an ounce of spiritual shakti, but senior Prabhupada disciples?
In truth, how many of us can say that they can trust such a man? All of his private projects are not in ISKCON’s name. He has controlling interest in many ISKCON Temples throughout the world via his disciples. He has independent ashrams in most of these zones where the Brahmacaris are being trained up to be ‘nice devotees’, but are instructed not to associate with the ISKCON devotees in the Temples they are connected to.
Even though he flaunts his independent and offensive program right in front of our faces, still many so-called senior men and women of ISKCON want to be fooled by his thespianship as opposed to his reality. The old adage of “Hiding in plain sight” is very significant with Radhanatha’s persona. Even though it is glaringly obvious and he makes no bones about how Srila Prabhupada hardly ranks a mention in his so-called spiritual life, so many stupid people find him to be a genuine and sincere devotee.
This self-styled/new age/ex Hippie/Mystic Guru/Hora dancing/charlatan is now setting his sights on taking his travelling act onto the world stage of public society life, and launching his career as a stand-up Guru in his own right.
Apart from having gone ‘professional’, Radhanatha is still working his illusionist act all over the world of ISKCON, as he is giving more of his disciples sannyas and encouraging them to take over more and more of ISKCON’s Temples. You can still see his brahmacari Hari nama parties marching in the street as they exit from their secluded bhakta training program ashrams. What are they being trained for? What is the need of being separate from ISKCON Temple programs? What are they waiting for????
Mark my words, Radhanath has a plan, and whatever it is you can bet your bottom dollar it is something megalomaniacal.