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Book Review: 'The Journey Home'

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Book review and discussion

Book review and discussion

The Journey Home

The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami is an autobiographical account by Radhanath Swami, a renowned spiritual leader, and a prominent figure at ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness). I must say that this is undoubtedly one of the best books I have read to date. The book is an interesting tale of adventures and pearls of wisdom that Radhanath Swami procured on this adventurous journey.

Radhanath Swami was initially unwilling to share his story but finally agreed after the request of his friend Bhakti Tirtha Swami who was on his deathbed. His memoir The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami is the story of his growing up years in a Jewish family in Chicago, Illinois, and his subsequent journey to India while hitch-hiking through Europe and the Middle East. He met many people along the way who shared their wisdom with him. His stay with the yogis in the Himalayas, in monasteries, synagogues and churches that acquainted him with the teachings of different faiths. The book chronicles his spiritual quest and how he finally found the Bhakti Yoga Path.

God, who is absolute, reveals himself to different people in different ways [..] I realized it would be very narrow to think there was only one way to God.

— Radhanath Swami, The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami


Richard Slavin is a young boy of nineteen years from the suburbs of Chicago who is influenced by the Beatles and the hippie culture. He, along with his friend, decide to go to Europe before starting college. During the journey, one day while meditating, Richard heard his calling: India. He sets off on an incredible journey to India having all sorts of experiences on the way. Once in India, he meets many mystic yogis, gurus, and spiritual teachers before he finally found his path—the Bhakti Yoga.

During his search for his life’s purpose, Radhanath Swami met and learned from various spiritual leaders like Mother Teresa, Swami Rama, Baba Ram Dass and his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON. He has near-death encounters during his journey as well as beautiful and unbelievable experiences of self-realization and miracles of God’s grace.

The book starts with a rather humorous yet beautiful account of Radhanath Swami’s visit to the famous Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal. He was denied entry, but he managed to enter and have ‘darshan’ by pretending to be ‘mauni baba' (a yogi in silence). The book ends with Radhanath Swami realizing in Vrindavan that Bhakti Marga is the path for him and that Srila Prabhupada is the one whom he will accept as his spiritual master.

The cover

The cover

Where there is faith, fear cannot exist.

— Radhanath Swami, The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami

My Review

I recommend this book to all sincere seekers in search of truth. It's a truly inspiring and amazing story of Radhanath Swami as he explores different spiritual traditions in order to seek the higher truth. The writing style is simple, interspersed with humor and profound wisdom. The book is replete with great adventurous and thrilling real-life events that took place in Radhanath Swami's life during his spiritual quest. Each incident taught him some wonderful insights. Precious gems of wisdom are interwoven in this exciting journey of exemplary resilience. The book is inspirational and will be of great interest to anyone looking for answers in life. Intricate pearls of wisdom and philosophies from various religions interspersed with witty incidents make this a memoir worth reading. This is one of those rare books which will change your life for the better. So entertaining and elevating!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Mother Ganges teaches us that if we want to attain the sea of our aspiration, we must persevere in our goal and never be discouraged by the inevitable obstacles that come on our path.

— Radhanath Swami, The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami

Quote from the book

Quote from the book

About the Author

Radhanath Swami is a spiritual teacher and an acclaimed author. He has been a Bhakti Yoga practitioner for more than 40 years and serves as a member of the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness).

The Journey Within

The Journey Within: Exploring the Path of Bhakti is a sequel to The Journey Home and was launched in May 2016. It became the New York Times Bestseller in July 2016 under 'Religion, Spirituality and Faith' category.

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© 2018 Shaloo Walia


Shaloo Walia (author) from India on July 05, 2018:

You're welcome, Manatita

manatita44 from london on July 05, 2018:

Thanks Shaloo.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on July 04, 2018:

@Manatita Bhagwad Gita as it is by Srila Prabhupada is simply amazing. Thanks for pointing out about the poll. I will edit it to include spiritual category. I still write about Krishna and spirituality but not on HP. May be you can have a look at my blog whenever you have time

manatita44 from london on July 04, 2018:

An interesting man and seemingly a noble soul.

The first book I read in 1982 was Autobiography of a Western Yogi. The second was The Bhagavad Gita by Srila Prabupada.

I met a Bhakta in Kenya last week. He has been with ISKON for over 40 years!

The devotional way is a supreme way. It was the way of Sri Krshna, Papa Ramdas, Ramakrishna, Christ and my teacher.

Any meaningful spiritual book is worth reading but I do not see this genre in your poll.

I see you returning to spiritual articles. It is a loving way ... the most loving way, perhaps, of seva or service to mankind. Om Shanti!!

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on July 03, 2018:

@Louise Definitely worth a read!

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on July 03, 2018:

This sounds like an interesting book - 1 to put on my list, thankyou.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on July 02, 2018:

@Bill I am sure you will like it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 02, 2018:

This sounds like a fascinating book. Thank you for the review. I will look for it.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on July 02, 2018:

Yes, Dora...It's an incredible story of hope, faith and devotion.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 02, 2018:

Among the writing genres you listed, autobiographies are my favorite. Thanks for your review on the Journey Home. Swami's story offers hope in the pursuit of purpose.

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