Radhanath Swami

The Journey Home Book Review

Lucy James on Radhanth Swami’s Book

Lucy James Review on Radhanath Swami's Book

Lucy James

“If a person does not have an ideal he’s ready to die for, he has nothing really
meaningful to live for”. This statement encapsulates the spirit behind Richard
Slavin’s journey home – a journey that was all part of a beautiful plan. In reading “The Journey Home – Autobiography of an American Swami”, one is struck by the kind of life that Richard Slavin (Radhanath Swami) led, or rather, was chosen to lead. The events that Radhanath Swami narrates are almost the stuff of fiction, and the reader sometimes forgets that it is an autobiography!

The author’s candid and clear expression, as also his courage in making public his struggles and weaknesses, are what make this narrative endearing.  The reader can at once identify himself with Richard Slavin at the level of an ordinary human being, and at the same time is inawe of his superhuman determination, and his unwavering conviction in his ideals. Born into a traditional Jewish family in Chicago, Richard, from his early years, wrestles with ideas about Religion, War, Hatred, and God’s role and identity in the entire scheme of things.  In order to find some answer, he makes a study of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity, but issues still remain unresolved in his mind.  His restlessness and search for a meaningful life with ideals draws him towards the counterculture of the 70’s, wearinghis hair long as an aggressive challenge to mainstream values driven bymoney, power and prejudice.

From here begins his quest for the meaning of life which takes him and his friends on a European tour, where, on the island of Crete (Greece), Richard hears an inner voice urging him to go to India. With single-
minded determination, grit and tact, he travels overland, often hitchhiking, through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and finally reaches India.  His experiences in these countries are at times spine-tingling and at other times absolutely hilarious. The narrative then takes us to his sojourn at Kathmandu, the Himalayas, Calcutta, Hrishikesh, Dev Prayag,Patna, Varanasi and finally, to his being stranded on Mathura station on the day of Janmashtami, half way through his train journey to Amarnath. His eight mile walk to Lord Krishna’s Vrindavan becomes the culmination of his journey home.

Richard’s narration of his experiences in this forest of grace is so vivid that the reader is virtually
transported to Vrindavan and can actually feel the gentle flow of the Yamuna, hear the lowing of cows and the melodious notes of Krishna’s flute. Strangely, the most seminal event in Richard Slavin’s life is narrated in an absolutely non-dramatic manner. The simple and stark dialogue between Richard and his Guru Srila Prabhupada – “I wish to offer you my life”RR”Yes, you are home.” – serves to remind us that very often, the most important events in life need not necessarily be the most dramatic. The rich and varied experiences and anecdotes that are included in the autobiography ensure that there is
never a slack moment.  Richard’s reflections on these events are something that will compel readers to ponder upon and savour.

Richard Slavin’s life is unique just as each one of ours is too.  The kind of life that he has led sculpts an image of a man who seems larger than life yet human enough to feel pain, humiliation and fear. But what inspires the reader is the power that he receives to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles through patience, perseverance and prayer.  His experiences plumbthe depths of human potential to reveal what an individual is capable of through sheer faith. “The Journey Home” is Richard Slavin’s transition from being the one who sought, to the one who is sought after. The book is a must-read, not only for the spiritualist but for anybody who is sensitive enough to see the miracle that Life is.

– Ms. Lucy James
Associate Professor,
Dept. of English,
Govt. College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Sanquelim.

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80 Comments to

“Lucy James on Radhanth Swami’s Book”

  1. On January 14th, 2011 at 1:47 pm Glentin Franklin De Silva Says:

    Read the book, fascinating Thank you

  2. On February 9th, 2011 at 1:42 pm Vinay Rachh Says:

    must read book

  3. On April 19th, 2011 at 6:36 am Utkarsh Says:

    Yes this is a must read book. Awesome review too.

  4. On June 8th, 2011 at 6:06 am tushar Says:

    This book is classic example of a person whose life is personally orchestrated by the divine will of the Lord

  5. On July 4th, 2011 at 12:16 pm vvdd Says:

    fantastic reviews for a wonderful book

  6. On July 14th, 2011 at 10:52 am Madhava Govinda Says:

    It is amazing, Radhanath Swami is inspiring personality to every one.

  7. On July 17th, 2011 at 9:21 am Tallam Sita Ramaiah Says:

    Generally, people are on a journey towards hellish life performing abominable acts. But this book will definitely take people to a new and happier life .

  8. On July 18th, 2011 at 2:53 pm Vidya Patham Says:

    It is thanks to Radhanath Swami that many people have got spiritual re-birth. Thus his book is very close to their hearts.

  9. On July 19th, 2011 at 9:02 am gopasana Says:

    very heartfelt review of the book…and a very appropriate conclusion

  10. On July 21st, 2011 at 1:47 am vraja manjari Says:

    Great review. Thank you!

  11. On July 21st, 2011 at 3:31 pm Arabinda Says:

    It;s the best quote – if you don;t have something to die for, you have nothing useful to live for!

  12. On July 22nd, 2011 at 10:48 am vvdd Says:


  13. On July 23rd, 2011 at 5:37 pm Amol Kulkarni Says:

    Thank you Madam for insights on ‘The Journey Home’. We are all eternally indebted to Radhanath Swamiji

  14. On July 27th, 2011 at 1:22 pm naresh Jethwa Says:

    Excellent, Thank you

  15. On July 30th, 2011 at 2:36 am surekha Says:

    Journey Home is really a wonderful book and worth reading it. Thank you for giving insights of the book

  16. On August 1st, 2011 at 5:55 pm madhavi Says:

    All Glories to Radhanath swami.

  17. On August 11th, 2011 at 6:53 pm Sunny Says:

    Such a perfect conclusion: The book is a must-read, not only for the spiritualist but for anybody who is sensitive enough to see the miracle that Life is…

  18. On August 21st, 2011 at 2:53 am surekha Says:

    Thank you Lucy for giving the total description of the Journey Home in this article. Journey Home is a must read book by everyone.

  19. On August 24th, 2011 at 3:00 pm Chandrika Says:

    This is an adventurous book.

  20. On September 2nd, 2011 at 8:44 am Deepak Says:

    Truely amazing book

  21. On September 16th, 2011 at 9:30 am Anand Says:

    This quote of Maharaj is one of my favorites
    “If a person does not have an ideal he’s ready to die for, he has nothing really meaningful to live for”..
    Haribol.. HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj ki Jai!

  22. On September 20th, 2011 at 6:10 pm Citra Gopi DD Says:

    A truly wonderful book.

  23. On September 27th, 2011 at 10:09 pm achyuta govinda Says:


  24. On September 28th, 2011 at 11:35 pm poonam Says:

    Thanks for sharing this review. The book is absolutely wonderful. I liked your point that sometimes the most important moments in our lives are not the most dramatic ones; this is very true!

  25. On September 30th, 2011 at 5:26 am jackie Says:

    they should make a movie out of this!!!!

  26. On October 4th, 2011 at 10:38 am Milind M Churi Says:

    Honestly written comment by Lucy James.A proper judgement is made in this comment.Very inspiring and useful.Thank you very much for sharing with us.

  27. On October 5th, 2011 at 9:26 am Paramesvara Dasa Says:

    Good appreciation. Very nice suggestion for all. All glories to the readers and the author, An American Swami, HH Radhanatha Swami.

  28. On November 5th, 2011 at 9:42 am Roshan Kumar Hota Says:

    Thank you for that learned review.

  29. On December 30th, 2011 at 11:59 pm surekha Says:

    Thank you for your wonderful comments about the Journey Home by Radhanath swami.

  30. On February 4th, 2012 at 9:54 am Jagannath Dham Das Says:

    Thank you very much Prof.Lucy James for sharing your review about the autobiography of Radhanath Swami !
    Hare Krishna !

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder Acharya of the International Society For Krishna Consciousness

The Journey Home - Autobiography of An American Swami

Radhanath swami's - The Journey Home Book

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