Radhanatha Swami is always a very popular subject for he tries so very hard to be noticed and recognized for being a big Spiritualist New Age Guru. His book “The Journey Home” has not always been given positive reviews; below is a very interesting review of his book that is a very good read. For me the idea that he can call his book ‘the journey home’ means that he has arrived or attained Kṛṣṇa darśana if we are to believe that what he means by ‘home’ is in fact being engaged in pure devotional service to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Anyway please read this review for it paints a rather different and perhaps more accurate picture of this man.
13 of 24 people found the following review helpful:
Indiana Jones meets the Hare Krishnas, May 20, 2011
This review is from: The Journey Home (Paperback)
This is only a well written and inspirational memoir if you are one of this guy’s disciples and you like stilted dialogue and pretentious prose. His purpose is to present himself in the most glowingly spiritual light possible — from his early childhood (where he “refused to sit in chairs while eating”, preferring to “sit on the floor”, presumably hinting that he was a yogi in a past life or something) through to his becoming a saintly renunciate (after hearing a “voice” tell him to “go to India”) who hears the entire Hare Krishna mantra in the flowing of the River Ganges.
The “best” bits were where he takes pains to present his life-long celibacy. While he was alone in a forest in France, “crying out for [his] lost love — God”, a beautiful girl mysteriously appears (in the mooonlight no less!). He considered a her a possible soulmate, but eschewed her “earthly love” for dedicating himself to God, even though she “took a deep breath, highlighting her charming form”. Then again, in Kabul a “shapely young woman” (whose voice is he writing in anyway? he was only 18 at the time!) gave him a bed for the night. Supposedly, she tried to seduce him in the night with her “perfumed body” and “in a frenzy of passion”. Of course, the saintly man the author is, he not only refused, but escaped — even though, she said, “If you don’t satisfy my desire, my bodyguard will crush your skull. You can’t escape.” And the bodyguard ominously added, “Submit or die.” Yet, of course, he neither submitted nor died.
The dialogue throughout was ridiculously crafted. For instance, when the author travels to the UK, he hitches a ride with some lads who implausibly say (mind you, this was in the late 60s), “We’re traveling ahead to a rock festival at the Isle of Wight. It will be a jolly good time. Why not join us, mates?” And the Swiss girl’s introduction to him was: “I come from a village in Switzerland. I’m on holiday to seek spiritual friends. … I have been praying for a companion.” And when he tries to stay in a youth hostel in Tehran, he’s very concerned that they’re smoking dope in the room. His travelling companion, Ramsey, expresses his shock by saying, “Egad, there’s capital punishment for possession of a gram of hashish, yet you mates have kilos lying around in the open.” But the dope feind (who the author describes as a “young man”, even though he was only 18 himself) replies, I mean “slurs”: “Get hip and get high, man. Just be cool and blow your mind. … Either be cool or get off of my cloud.” Yeah. Right. I can hear real people talking like that in these situations.
Metaphorical language is also way overdone: everything has a symbolic meaning to this guy. One example from his time in Italy: “As Mount Vesuvius had erupted, leaving a civilzation in ashes, there had erupted from my heart an exclusive commitment to the path of spirituality, to leave all else in the ashes of my past.”
The minutiae of his travels are turgidly set out and often interspersed with history lessons (he seems to feel the need to explain everything as if it’s ancient history: “in those days, there was a whole counterculture…”), preaching sessions, biographies of the people he’s supposedly met or impersonal letters (his salutation is “My dear family”) he’s supposedly written to his family during his travels. When his father finally gets an address to write back to him, “tears from his eyes had washed away words and whole passages” — how did he know this? Could not the letter have been dropped in a puddle?
The author rather conveniently meets with life-threatening situations at every turn of the page (which of course, God miraculously saves him from, a la Indiana Jones, only he doesn’t get a girl at the end). Things like “just as they were almost upon us, all at once the lock popped open and we burst into the street” repeatedly happen to this guy. Crossing by foot into Turkey from Greece (during a cholera epedemic no less, and at night, of course!), he passes by “the dry bones of some sort of a skeleton lying about thirty feet to our left”, wolves were howling and he remembers that the land “was full of unexploded mines”. Not only does he escape from all these treacherous situations, he learns from them! For instance, he equates this journey in Turkey to “a walk through the valley of death”. And, after escaping from a murderous gang in Istanbul, he says: “I thank that gang of murderers who had served as instruments to teach me an essential lesson and prepare me for the pilgrimage ahead.” And when in India he is gored by a charging bull who jabbed his horn into the author’s belly, hurled him upward and over the bull’s body to crash on the ground, the bull “impatiently scaped the earth with his hooves, snorting through his nostrils and parepared to attack again”. However, miraculously an “elderly man wearing a Nehru hat appared” and simply by shouting some dialect words “induced the bull to lower its head” and stride “quietly away”. Yeah. Happens everyday.
He also rather conveniently happens to meet almost every exotic Eastern brand of mysticism, which he then debunks (he even “escapes” from a sexual encounter with one of them, keeping himself pure, of course). And famous people, did I mention them? Just to make sure we get the picture, he’s included half a dozen pages of pictures of these “famous” people.
There as so many “coincidences” that I can’t begin to ennumerate them. The “best” ones (and which happen most frequently) are encounters with strange people who seem to appear from nowhere. One (who, of course, has to have only one arm and one eye) takes him wordlessly to a hash den in Kandahar, where the author has the realisation: “Dear Lord, I will never again indulge in intoxicants.” Of course: although he was young and foolish, he saw the light and was really pure. And on another occasion, while he was staying at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, he was walking alone in the forest when “a sadhu with a curious smile plastered across his face stepped right in front of me, refusing to let me pass.” He gripped the author’s hand and took him through the forest to meet some sadhu, saying “I have been sent for you, but you do not recognize me.” Yeah. Right. Whoa, this is SO mystical I’m getting tingles down my spine.
While I believe this author made this journey (he has pictures to “prove” it), I can’t believe (or he didn’t convince me) that it happened as he’s portrayed it here. This didn’t inspire me with hope that “our true home waits us at the end of life’s perilous journey” (as he claims his purpose in writing to be in his final chapter). Instead it read as a chronicle of someone’s desperation to prove his “righteousness”. And as I said, will surely be appreciated by his disciples (as evidenced by all the 5* accolades he’s received here).
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 20, 2011 6:54:17 PM PDT
Vishal Thakur says:
He doesn’t know what he is talking. Envious!
Posted on Jun 19, 2011 9:44:34 AM PDT
Very rude comments. Such comments should be banned by Amazon. If the book was not helpful, a line or two for feedback should suffice. Instead, this person has written a whole essay trying to show his frustration and dislike for the book. He’s trying to insult the author which is completely uncivilised. All other positive feedback are from reader who don’t even know each other(verifiable with Amazon) and this guy is claiming(without any proof!) that all positive reviews were from author’s disciples. Cleary, he’s got some ulterior motives other than just give a feedback on the book.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2011 7:51:42 AM PDT
Feedback is important to read, whether it is favorable or unfavorable. Reading or hearing both sides gives one an idea what to expect. The author of this particular feedback finds the story unbelievable, and that is his view, obviously not everyone else’s. And that’s ok.
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” ~ Buddha
Posted on Jul 10, 2011 7:28:55 PM PDT
satya n. vashishtha says:
well if this guy is not convinced and i am not convinced that he is not prejudiced about subject matter ,he has to figure it out by him in this life or next if he has one.
Posted on Aug 19, 2011 12:08:29 PM PDT
I could not have written a more accurate review. I bought the book with no prior knowledge about it. I became skeptical early on. It is like a book for 12-14 year olds. There are so many more substantive biographies and auto-biographies of eastern spiritual teachers that this book should be avoided by anyone with an ounce of objectivity. All the positive reviews smell of a fix.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 14, 2011 6:42:28 AM PDT
Bob Moon says:
Actually, he does. His review is rational, objective and eloquent, and as a further advantage was not written by some googoo eyed follower.
People want to be fooled. They want to believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy and honest politicians. Instead of believing in someone else try trusting yourself.