Krsnacandra Dasa – Vrndavan: Radhanath Swami promotes himself as self styled New Age Spiritual Guru and is touring North America to speak on his book ‘The Journey Home’. We again decided to transcribe another of Radhanath Swami’s interviews, this time with fellow comedian Dennis Miller on his radio talk show.
Here is the transcription of the Radio Show broadcast for your reading displeasure… However I decided that this interview was worthy of my commentary so please forgive the intrusion.
Dennis Miller (DM): We are going to talk some hard ball politics now with our next guest who is a political pollster slash holy man. I’m kidding you, Radhanath. This is author of “The Journey Home”.
Radhanath Swami, welcome to the show.
Srila Prabhupada was always treated with reverence and respect in his interviews due to his natural spiritual realization. Here Radhanath is treated as more or less like a joke.
Radhanath Swami (RS): I’m very grateful Dennis, for this opportunity to be with you and all of your listeners, thank you.
(DM): Wait a sec, you’re killing me with that voice, in your religion are you allowed to date women or are you not?
(RS): In our religion there is, but I’m a swami so I do not do that.
(DM): Baby, you could close with that voice. That is a deadly, beautiful voice.
(RS): You are the first person to ever say that about me. I’m honoured, thank you.
The initial impression that Miller got from Radhanath was his voice and his immediate reaction was to recognise Radhanath’s voice as that of a smooth pick-up artist who uses his voice as a weapon to pick-up women in the dating scene. However, Radhanath didn’t see this comment as an insult he saw it as an honour for an authentic Holy-man/Guru.
In answer to Miller’s question on whether we are allowed to date women in ISKCON, Radhanath explains that it is entirely acceptable in our movement to date women but as he is a swami he doesn’t. Where in our Vaisnava sastra, Vaisnava culture or the teachings of Srila Prabhupada that we are allowed to ‘date’ women?
From this statement of Radhanath Swami, Miller and his listeners now have the idea that ISKCON devotees are allowed to date women.
Miller then goes on to make fun of Radhanath by referring to him as “baby” and making his voice appear to be an act meant to ‘close’ a deal or calling it a ‘deadly beautiful voice’ as if he could use it to manipulate people. Inferring that Radhanath puts on that killer voice of his in order to ‘woo’ sentimental people into believing that he is in fact sincere. Which is in fact more true than Miller can understand for he obviously has no idea of what an actual sadhu or guru is in Vaisnava culture.
I simply cannot see any Vaisnava Acharys behave in such a loose manner in public and more importantly I cannot understand how he would allow these interviews of his to be made available to his disciples unless of course he knows that his disciples have already be corrupted to the point where they can no longer distinguish right from wrong.
DM): Well hang in there for a second, I’m coming out right now. I kid, Radhanath, now tell me about “The Journey Home”. In 1950 you’re born Richard Slavin, is it? Into a middle class Jewish family in Chicago. How do you get from there to here brother?
Radhanath seems to play the Jewish card quite a lot in his interviews. Radhanath should never have played that hand in the first place and one would have to seriously question why he did and why he keeps on playing that hand. A person’s ethnic background is superfluous to ones spiritual realization and Radhanath should make this abundantly clear yet he allows himself to be referred time and time again to be coming from a Jewish background. If he himself is not attached and proud of his ethnicity he would have already explained that his Jewish roots are of no consequence to his spiritual journey.
(RS): Well as you know, in the 1960s, it was a very turbulent time. When I was a teenager, many questions, civil rights was there, the Vietnam war. And I was trying to find meaning and fulfilment in life and I remember hearing something that if one doesn’t have an ideal that one’s willing to die for, one really doesn’t have anything very meaningful to live for.
Radhanath‘s ‘modus operandi’ is to use key terms loaded with political correctness in order to show that his journey was meaningful and represented his long history as a human rights activist. In this interview interestingly enough he does not claim to be involved in ‘civil rights’ action but merely claims civil rights “was there” then he simply says “the Vietnam War.” Both of which are superfluous statements and have no bearing on ones spiritual life so why keep playing this hand if not to gain the politically correct vote in order to sell his book? His intention is so obviously not to educate people on Krsna Consciousness but to gain publicity for his status as a Spiritual Guru and to increase the sales of his book.
So I was trying to find that ideal and I went on a summer vacation with my lifelong friend, Garry, trying to see how other people in other parts of the world see society, see America, see truth, see religion and that brought me deeper and deeper into a spiritual search. And eventually in an island of Greece I had a calling to go to India.
It is very interesting that Radhanath mentions the name of his life time friend Garry 9 times in this interview and he fails to mention Krsna once. Good to see his priorities.
So I hitchhiked from London to Greece and then Greece through Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan to India. And I lived, I studied Christianity and Judaism. In the Middle East I studied Islam and then in India I went to Himalayas and studied Buddhism and different branches of Hinduism and ultimately came to the path of Bhakti Yoga where there’s acceptance of one Supreme God who’s all attractive, all beautiful and the path of devotion to the Lord is the path that I follow.
I simply cannot see how this story is not exactly the same story as every single hippie that did a very similar trip in the sixties? This is nothing special really. To this day thousands of young Jews role play as hippies and do the very same thing. The only difference is that most of them go home to Israel, Europe or the States to get karmi jobs, whilst little Richie here landed the big one. He got a franchise as a Guru in the FISKCON guru franchise corporation, which understandably pays well and comes with all the “lurks and perks” of being worshiped like a God.
(DM): I’ll tell you what, your rhythms are intoxicating, man. What happened in Greece that summoned you to this? You had an epiphany or is that too secret to share with us? When you say you were called, just a moment of illumination?
(RS): It’s in the book so it’s not a secret anymore, it used to be.
I had an epiphany the other day while meditating on my front veranda and a little voice told me to write this article…
(DM): Alright, the book is “The Journey Home” and the author is Radhanath Swami. I’m fascinated by this because I find your rhythms so peaceful that after talking to you for like four minutes here, I’m thinking this guy’s got something.
Here we can see how Radhanath attracts the sentimental person. There is no substance only rhythm, facial expressions, vocal inflections and a state of constant pleading coupled with the saffron robes that sucks the emotionally immature into his spell.
(RS): Thank you, well I was living in a cave in Crete.
Again Radhanath thanks him for noticing his peaceful rhythm.
(DM): Me too, but I didn’t find this.
(RS): And I was going to a mountain top every day and I was praying and meditating every day from sunrise till sunset. And my friend Garry, who by the way now lives in Malibu Beach, he was going to the ocean side to meditate and pray. And one day the intensity of my longing was so great, I was literally weeping and praying for direction. And right at the time of sunset, I heard a voice and the voice said three words. It was a voice from within and those three words changed my life. “Go to India”.
Interesting that Radhanath got his direction in life precisely at sunset.
Srila Prabhupada states in the Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 3 Chapter 2 text 7: “As at sunset the snakes become powerful, thieves are encouraged, ghosts become active, the lotus becomes disfigured and the cakravaki laments…
The part where thieves are encouraged and ghosts become active is I think pertinent to the source of Radhanath’s channelled advice.
I had never met an Indian person, I had no money, I didn’t even have a map, but I was determined to go. So I went back to the cave and Garry was sitting there in meditation and prayer and he said to me, “Something incredible happened to me today.”
I said, “What?”
He said “I heard a voice.”
I said, “Well what did he say?”
Garry said, “I don’t think you’re gonna believe me.”
I said, “I really might, what did he say?”
He said, “I heard a voice that told me, go to Israel.”
I said “What? Where?”
He said, “I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.”
I said, “No no, I believe you. Where? I didn’t hear you properly.”
He said, “Israel.”
I take it Garry was also coming from a Jewish family? Of course he would… Garry who is now a physical trainer at the Malibu Gym? (Malibu Gym offers Physical Trainer certificates for 70 bucks) The Malibu Gym apparently caters for rich elderly people who have a penchant for plastic surgery…
I said, “Well he told me to go to India.”
There was complete silence for a few minutes and then I broke the silence and said “Garry, tomorrow morning at sunrise I’m leaving for India. I can’t wait, I’ll hitchhike in the eastern direction and I believe someday I’ll make it there.”
(DM): What a profound moment, Jesus. It’s unbelievable. And then Garry, he wakes up a couple of hours later and says, “I’m going to Malibu.” Or did he end up going to Israel?
(RS): He went to Israel and then it’s a long story but then about a year later, in an abandoned rice paddy, it was raining, I needed an umbrella to walk under and I was walking under what appeared to be a little old man that was walking. We walked together for about 20 minutes and the rain stopped and I said thank you and the person turned around and it was Garry.
(RS): So we met in India a year later. He did go to Israel and he travelled the world for about 7 years after that, through all the major continents and then eventually went to Malibu where he’s a physical trainer at the Malibu gym and I’m a swami living in Bombay, India.
(DM): You are a switched on duo, man. This is a movie in itself, it’s like the Hardy Boys, get it.
The alternative character interpretation of the Hardy Boys was that they were gay boys who were obviously not into girls… I hope Miller was not alluding to this in the above remark? If so then surely this man has no respect for Radhanath Swami whatsoever. “get it”
(RS): One day Garry said to me, just recently, “How is it that we can still be friends, because you are, I’m telling people that if you have a strong healthy body, they’ll be happy and you’re telling people that they’re not the body. The body is a temporary vehicle and we’re the soul, the living force within the body, a part of god.”
And I said to Garry, I said “You can teach people how to take care nicely of this body, which we believe is a temple of God and I’ll try and tell them what to do inside, we can be a team.” And we’ve been a team ever since.
It is perhaps quite telling that Radhanath only hopes that he and his lifelong friend could become a team instead of hoping that his lifelong friend becomes a devotee. It is also telling that Radhanath could not convince his lifelong friend to become a devotee and not concern himself too much with his body or anyone else’s body as well.
(DM): Very sweet, well we’re talking to Radhanath Swami, the book is “The Journey Home”. It traces the, well you can hear in that voice, this man is tapped into something primal. 1950 was born Richard Slavin in Chicago, Jewish family and now he’s Radhanath Swami.
The primal urge is to lord it over material nature! We are only tapped into something primal when we begin to do devotional service to Lord Krsna and nothing else. The only primal or essential component of existence is Krsna and we ‘tap’ into Krsna by tapping into Srila Prabhupada as Krsna’s divine representative who has no need to market himself as a ‘spiritual guru who comes from a Jewish ethnic background and is famous for writing a book!
Let me ask you this, you sound so enlightened, is there a way for you still to be laid low by the vagaries of life or indeed can you be saddened by a movie? I’m intrigued by your consciousness, what is your day to day like? Is it just prayer and contemplation or.
(RS): There is a lot of prayer and contemplation, but then we dedicate a lot of our day to what we call seva, or devotional service, to try to help other living beings, both the body, the mind and the soul and we don’t believe that we should extinguish our emotions, but we should develop our emotions in a very real and human way. In a way that is in reference to actually helping people.
This is a prime chance for Radhanath to ‘preach’ to the listeners of this radio station to explain how we are Krsna dasa not go dasa. Being fearless is the qualification of a Sannyasi, tell them about Krsna straightaway don’t do this soft sell new age sentimental non sectarian mumbo jumbo. A Vaisnava sannyasi is not like this. Radhanath is simply fabricating his own system simply to get followers, facilities and money.
Seva is pure unalloyed service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He could have easily explained to the listeners what devotional service is. Instead he has explained seva in light of the impersonal feature of Bhagavan – Brahman. Radhanath knows very well what he is saying here is nothing but new age ideology wrapped up with vague references to India and God.
When we connect to God’s love within in our heart, which is dormant within all of us, we do that by chanting God’s names, especially. It’s a non sectarian movement that believes that God has many names and in each of these names is a divine power that we can connect to. Like the frequency of this radio station. When you tune into a particular frequency, people can hear Dennis Miller and they’re even hearing me today.
Srila Prabhupada told the truth up front he did not emphasise the non sectarian method that one can stay in his own religion and chant the names of God. How many of the Abhrahamic religions will support this? Srila Prabhupada wanted that everyone eventually come to the platform of Krsna consciousness not Brahman consciousness by the chanting of the inferior names of God. He preached the chanting of the Hare Krsna Maha Mantra. A person in knowledge gives the best medicine for the treatment of material disease not lesser treatments meant only to confuse and palliate the condition. A person in knowledge therefore will only recommend the chanting of Krsna’s name.
I don’t know what names Radhanath is suggesting for he does not mention any? As he is preaching to the general public this could only infer that any name of God will suffice to chant. While it is true that any name of God will lead to spiritual advancement, the Vaisnava Guru / Acharya will always seek an opportunity to name the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krsna in the context of any preaching situation they may find themselves in.
Srila Prabhupada was preaching when hardly a soul knew of God’s name especially His intimate name such as Krsna. Radhanath would not be breaking new ground with mentioning Krsna’s name as if for the first time. But he intentionally does not give any names for he does not want to come across as sectarian as if he is actually the “Political Pollster” that Miller introduces him as in the very beginning of this interview. Radhanath very tactfully understands his target audience and is very careful to keep the terms and their context to the new age script. He apparently fears that to name a specific God would lose him votes and so he keeps his option wide open for the target audience.
They can chant any names they so desire – YAHWEH if they are Jews or Jehovah if they are Christians or Allah if they are Muslims or perhaps even Ahura Mazda or Baal??? It does not matter to him of course for he is a non-sectarian spiritual guru.
The terms Radhanath uses are to describe the absolute truth are new age terms, like God’s love / non sectarian / divine power etc. There is no substance in these words and terms.
Radhanath is very careful to use terms that will attract the new age / retro modern hippie sentimentalists who also happen to be the rich of this world. The ideology he preaches has nothing to do with Krsna Consciousness and the people who begin to follow Radhanath will only achieve the destination of impersonal Brahman.
Radhanath’s preaching style and the way in which he has carefully sculpted his image is solely to gain as much personal advantage as possible, from his heretical role as an ISKCON Rubberstamped Guru, that he can. Even though dressed as a Vaisnava Sannyasi and functioning as a bona-fide diksa-guru his real intention is nothing but demonic.
“Bg.Chapter 16 text 17 : Translation: Self complacent and always impudent, deluded by wealth and false prestige, they sometimes perform sacrifices in name only without following any rules or regulations.
Purport: Thinking themselves all in all, not caring for any authority or scripture, the demoniac sometimes perform so called religious or sacrificial rites. And since they do not believe in authority, they are very impudent. This is due to illusion caused by accumulating some wealth and false prestige. Sometimes such demons take up the role of preacher, mislead people, and become known as religious reformers or as incarnations of God. They make show of performing sacrifices, or they worship the demigods, or manufacture their own God. Common men advertise them as God and worship them, and by the foolish they are considered advanced in the principles of religion, or in the principles of scriptural knowledge. They take the dress of the renounced order of life and engage in all nonsense in that dress. Actually there are so many restrictions for one who has renounced this world. The demons, however, do not care for such restrictions. They think that whatever path one can create is one’s own path; there is no such thing as a standard path one has to follow. The word avidhi-purvykam, meaning disregard for the rules and regulations, is especially stressed here. These things are always due to ignorance and illusion.”
And if you tune into another frequency you get something else. So spiritual life, whether we call it religion or yoga, it’s about tuning into our divine nature which is within us and is all around us. And in that divine nature is love for God and as that love awakes, we become instruments of that love in the form of compassion to others. We believe that is the real essence of all the great spiritual paths.
Radhanath Swami is preaching pure Brahmavada. His advice to the listeners is that they must tune in with God in order to do earthly works by becoming in tune with the impersonal Brahman which is the exact same message of all the impersonalist gurus of India and the western religions. His suggestion that the divine nature is in us and all around us is pure Brahmavad doctrine.
It is at precisely this point in his preaching where we can clearly see this man’s true intent and we can begin to discern that he is more in tune with his Jewish ethnicity than his so called Vaisnava philosophical orientation.
The difference is our external, based on, whether it be dogma or historical context or particular forms of ritual. But the purpose of all of these great spiritual paths is to reach the essence, which is connecting to God and the love of God that is within our heart.
Again we see that the point that he is trying to make is impersonal and more related to his Jewish Kabbalah side than Vaisnava siddhanta which is personalist. The prayojana of life is to develop one’s relationship with God as Krsna dasya which has nothing to do with the impersonal Brahman realization which seeks “to reach that essence or in other words to become one with God” Vaisnavaism is nothing at all similar to the various religions of the world which are basically impersonalist religions and have no understanding of dharma.
There is no substance to his words only blabbering. Substance is Krsna and if He is missing then what is left? Impersonalism. His listeners are either sunyavadis or nirvisesavadis.
nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet”
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
“Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism”
As a so called disciple of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, Radhanath’s preaching should be aimed at defeating impersonalism and voidism in the world, not supporting them. One of the many reasons why we chant Srila Prabhupada’s pranams is to remind us that we come in his footstep and our mission is to deliver the western countries from impersonalism and voidism.
And to be an instrument of that love, whether we’re in business or whether we’re engineers or radio announcers or even swamis. We all perform our natural duties in such a way that we live with good character and we have this spiritual practice by which we can express the beauty of our souls in what we do in our life.
This again is the same impersonalist rhetoric dressed in the garb of a Sannyasi.
(DM): Well I’ll tell you what, Richard Slavin, you’ve come a long way because you sound like such a selfless individual to me. I always admire people who aspire to selflessness. And it sounds like you’ve found your happiness right? You must be a joyous man.
Selfless? Miller, one can tell, has no idea what selfless means. On one hand he is showing Radhanath up for being opportunistic and on the other hand he says that he is selfless?
(RS): I found great happiness in chanting God’s names and in trying to serve others and being an instrument of compassion. And whatever way I can serve and help others in a non judgemental way, I consider that my greatest fortune.
Radhanath forgets about being truthful… First admit that Srila Prabhupada is your guru if in fact you still believe this or ever did. Then admit that you fraudulently took a position as a guru in Srila Prabhupada’s Society, knowing full well that you are not qualified and chaste to your so called guru Srila Prabhupada. Then admit that even though you expect the listeners to follow your advice and you expect your disciples to follow your advice and instructions to the T, you never truly followed Srila Prabhupada’s instructions yourself.
You claim to be non-judgemental yet you have judged Srila Prabhupada’s preaching style, his instructions and the Vaisnava philosophy to be inferior to yours so how can you say that you are being non-judgmental?
First become an instrument of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada and don’t be a fraud, you would still be a guru if you want to think in these terms, but like us all, you would be a siksa-guru. You should be proud to represent the pure devotee His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. It is only when a devotee of the Lord can follow the instructions of the pure devotee of Krsna that he will then be able to appreciate the sublime nature of a bona-fide siksa guru of a suddha bhakta.
(DM): Well it’s my good fortune to talk to you, you’ve calmed me out here and God bless you Richard, Radhanath Swami, I’m happy for you.
Yes you have assured this man that you pose no threat to his belief system.
(RS): Thank you and “The Journey Home” is a book about my travels when I was a young man in search of truth and how I met many great spiritual teachers in many different paths and it’s available at most bookstores and Amazon also.
If Radhanath’s search is actually for the truth then the only sound advice anyone could give Radhanath Swami is to listen to Srila Prabhupada for once in his life. Then grab a bag full of Srila Prabhupada books and put on the dress of a Brahmacari, or wear white cloth if you want and hit the streets. The distribution and mass publicity of your own personal story is not Sankirtan and never will be.
(DM): Ha ha ha ha, that’s the most beautiful thing. Always be closing baby. Swami, how I love ya, ha ha ha ha. Alright Radhanatha, have a good one baby, you’re a cool dude.
Miller could see right through Radhanath Swami with this comment! He knows why Radhanath is ‘really’ sitting next to him in his radio booth. He knows Radhanath is engaged in exactly what every single ‘author’ who wants to make a name for himself by selling his books would say and do if he was sitting in the guest seat in his studio. Radhanath did not disappoint him at all did he?
(RS): I’m really honoured to be loved by you and my sincere love for you and all of your wonderful listeners.
The term ‘love’ that Radhanath so very easily throws around means exactly what? What is this love he has for a radio talk show host or his listeners? It is abundantly obvious that Miller knows that Radhanath’s love means; manipulation, followers, power, fame and money…
(DM): Alright baby, good to talk to ya. Oh that is the greatest product placement ever. Back after this on the Dennis Miller show.
Miller closes with showing up just how materialistic Radhanath is by this statement – “Oh that is the greatest product placement ever!” Oh my God how embarrassing for Radhanath Swami! I wonder if his face was as red as a beetroot after that! But I suppose Radhanath does not care so long as he gets some airspace to make a plug for his new age book and himself!
Please tell me where in this interview does Radhanath Swami, Sannyasi, ISKCON Diksa Guru, GBC member, suddha bhakta/pure devotee and Divine Representative of the parampara and Lord Sri Krsna, show that he has any self realization whatsoever??????
Can anyone compare his preaching with Srila Prabhupada’s???? NO! It is nothing whatsoever like the angle of vision, transcendental consciousness and presence of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. Not even a cheap gilded version…
Yet his disciples believe that they are listening to a pure devotee of Krsna.
The disciples have been ‘dumbed down’ to mere sycophantic blind followers who have set aside rational intelligent thought due to pure sentimentalism and have really basically joined a new age cult which is pandering to the Tikkun Olam ideology based on Judaic thought with little Radhanath as their cult leader.
The followers of these charismatic leaders have fallen for the oldest trick in the book with regards to charlatanism where the leader/guru by the clever use of facial gestures and expression, imploring voice tone inflections and emotive speeches, convinces the naïve listener of their sincerity and altruistic intentions.
As I have said in “The Betrayal of Sri Guru by the Original Rtvik Gurus of ISKCON” (http://prabhupadavision.com/2011/06/betrayal/) we must purge our Vaisnava Society of these heretical apostates, whose only purpose is to degrade our Vaisnava Society as opposed to giving them facility and protection.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada