Click here to Download The Journey Home PDF Book by Radhanath Swami having PDF Size 8.4 MB and No of Pages260.
Danny pulled open two doors inside the cabinet, exposing a sort of altar. There, a framed photograph held a figure whose eyes stared ominously into mine. Horrified, I found myself face to face with Adolph Hitler. Two armbands embroidered with Nazi swastikas had been draped ceremoniously on either side of the photo and below hung a dagger with a shining swastika embossed in its handle.
The Journey Home PDF Book by Radhanath Swami
|Name of Book||The Journey Home|
|PDF Size||8.4 MB|
|No of Pages||212|
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My heart sank. Hideous images flashed through my mind. I had often heard my elders speak about the recent slaughter of our relatives at the hands of the Nazis. My grandfather’s family had never been heard from since 1941 when the Nazis occupied Lithuania, our ancestral home. On my thirteenth birthday, my older brother Marty gave me the debut record album of Peter Paul and Mary, the folk trio from Greenwich Village.
Their songs protested war, prejudice, and social injustices, but it was their lyrics referring to God that most stirred my soul. Leaning back to listen, I would close my eyes, drawn like a magnet to every word. The album’s opening song began, “Early in the morning, about the break of day—I ask the Lord to help me find my way.”
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Again and again I listened, unaware that this simple prayer would guide the coming years of my life. In my quest for meaning, folk musicians like Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan spurred the rebellion erupting within me. But if folk music left me spellbound with meaningful lyrics, the blues struck my heart with raw emotion.
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The blues is all about feeling and yearning, pouring the grief of your heart into every note played or word sung, discovering relief and joy in that expression. Listening to a blues singer cry for a lost love, I would cry along for my lost love, though I didn’t know yet who this was. While I was introspective, shy, and often worried about the feelings of others, my older brother Marty had a sixth sense for how to rile people.
Wild like a monkey, he was called Monk for short. In 1965, when I was fourteen, I entered Deerfield High School, where Monk had just graduated. Seeing me, some teachers gasped, “Oh no, another Monk.” From my first day of school I was labeled Little Monk. The name stuck, although the irony of it escaped me until many years later.
A single middle finger thrust out from the window and the sweating motorist inside scowled. “Get a job, you useless parasite.” He shoved his stocky arm out of the window, grabbed a lank of my long hair and jerked my face close to his. The stench of beer and tobacco blasted me. Spitting on the ground, he cursed, “Punk, if I had my shotgun, I’d shoot you dead.” He swerved away, tires squealing. The Journey Home PDF Book
I coughed up the black smoke I’d inhaled from his exhaust pipes. Resentment swelled in my chest but I wrestled to curb it. I was seeking a spiritual life. On roadsides, I sometimes felt like an open target for anyone suffering from anger or negativity, but I hoped all these difficulties might help me to grow. I knew I needed to learn the value of patience, perseverance, and prayer to overcome obstacles.
In the summer of 1970, wearing one’s hair long was not just a fashion, it was a statement of discontent—an aggressive challenge to mainstream values driven by money, power, and prejudice. It was a signal of what I believed. My friends and I were living out our beliefs. Protesting the war, we’d been tear-gassed the year before at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and conservative police often harassed us in our college town.
All this, simply because we yearned for a meaningful life with ideals we could live and die for. Although in my heart I bore malice toward no one, my appearance invited hateful reactions. I was afflicted with severe dysentery. Travel was no longer possible, so we stopped in the town of Erzerum and inquired of the local people for the cheapest possible place to stay. The Journey Home PDF Book
They led us to a tea stall on the outskirts of town and gave us a room on the third floor of the time-beaten edifice. My burning concern was the toilet room. To reach it, I had to climb down a steep staircase of about thirty stone steps. In a hallway to the left of the stairway was a hole in the floor. That was the toilet.
Human waste was left to pile up in the hole until it was shoveled out, which, from what I could tell, was infrequently. A partition of rotted wooden planks provided privacy. The stench made me dizzy, the air so thick I felt as if I were drowning. Still, I practically lived in that latrine for days. After finishing my business and hauling my body to the top of the stone steps, I would be forced down again to evacuate.
Intense nausea, vomiting, and constant loose movements ravaged my body. My friends, meanwhile, patiently waiting for my recovery, would go out each day to explore the town. This was their nightly recreation, but it was too much for me. I crawled back into my corner, slumping against the wall. Rushes of energy paralyzed my every limb while strange visions appeared in the immense cloud of smoke. The Journey Home PDF Book
All sound was a strange music, and my mind seemed to be whirling and whirling, beyond time and space. I could not move and there was no place to go. My eyes burned with tears. Hallucinating, I watched the billows of smoke rising from the hookah taking the forms of ghostly demons coming to devour me. I reflected on the times I’d sought relief, happiness, or meaning through intoxication. What had I gained?
My mind wandered back to the sight of the drug addicts and alcoholics I encountered on the skid rows of American cities. Acquaintances in college had succumbed to drugs, becoming helpless slaves to their addiction. I remembered a dear soul who went insane from too much LSD. An intelligent college student, she started chirping like a bird. Everyone was amused until she tried to fly out of a second story window.
A year later she still believed she was a bird, but now chirped in the cage of a mental asylum. I too, had at times, sought peace through intoxicants. I was led to believe that chemical or herbal stimulants could induce higher spiritual perceptions, but I had quickly realized their limitations. It was an artificial state that drew me farther from my heart’s longing. I had to move on. The Journey Home PDF Book Download
On another day, as I was walking along the coastline, I found a tiny fish flapping desperately in the sand. A wave had washed it ashore. The fish’s fear and desperation evoked my sympathy. He and I were not so different, after all, and I resolved to return him to his home in the sea. But each time I picked him up, he frantically flapped right out of my hand, so fearful he couldn’t recognize me as a friend.
Finally, I trapped him in my cupped hands and hurled him back into the water. Still, my sense of satisfaction was short-lived. The next wave washed onto the shore then receded back into the sea, leaving the same little fish once again flapping in the sand. Again I cast him into the water and again the next wave left him in the sand to die.
The next time, with much difficulty, I held him inside my cupped palms, tread into the ocean up to my neck, and then hurled him in as far as I could. I returned to the shore and observed wave after wave washing in and out until I was satisfied that the little fish was safe. peaker. Here, I immersed myself in reading the words Krishna spoke to his disciple Arjuna who was about to shrink from his calling in the face of insurmountable obstacles. The Journey Home PDF Book Download
The Gita had been spoken on a battlefield because life itself is a battle, where evil perpetually attacks good and our sacred ideals are destined to be tested. We would all be confronted by grave dangers and fearsome demons within and without. There was much to be gained from facing these aggressors with integrity and faith.
Krishna’s timeless call culminated in the practice of selfless devotion, determination, and spiritual absorption as the means to access a power beyond our own to overcome all fear—the power of God’s love. In that sanctified place, the Bhagavad Gita’s message penetrated me so deeply that I felt as if Krishna were personally speaking to me on each page.
I read several chapters every day, poring over my little Gita Press copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which was printed on cheap paper and bound in a white cardboard cover. I had read many spiritual texts in my travels, but none struck me as so highly practical. It was in Ayodhya that I was given an English translation of the Ramayan, which I read daily on the bank of the Sarayu River. The Journey Home PDF Book Download
This ancient scripture recounts the life and teachings of Lord Rama. While I still had a tendency to meditate on the all-pervading, impersonal Truth, I was slowly finding my heart irresistibly drawn to the personal qualities of the Lord. Reading about the loving exchanges between Rama and His devotees drew my mind closer to the path of devotion.
He was such a wonderful role model, teaching us how to be a spiritual person, but also active in the world of family and society. At the time of my departure, I thanked holy Ayodhya and prayed that I would never forget the treasured gifts I received. With a gracious smile, he performed the fateful deed: he dropped the contents of the ladle on my plate.
My mind reeling, I somehow completed the fiery food and breathed a sigh of relief. Just then, I saw him returning with thirds. I knew I couldn’t survive another plate. I wanted to run away but couldn’t. The etiquette among sadhus is that no one gets up until all others have completed. He dipped the ladle into the pot and filled it with what looked like a ladle full of chilies. The Journey Home PDF Book Free
Ever since I was a child, I had always felt bad when I caused other people sorrow. So intent was the cook on pleasing us that I didn’t have the heart to reveal the pain he was causing me. My pulse was racing. What could I do? On the road again from Kathmandu, we returned to India riding in the back of a truck to Raxaul and then on to Patna, where I introduced Gary to Rama Sevaka Swami.
Swami was thrilled to see me again and still carrying the stick he gave me. Gary looked on in wonder, amazed by the kind of friends I was keeping. From Patna we traveled west by train. Gary was especially eager for a tour of Varanasi from a sadhu’s perspective. While there, we visited the famous temple of Kasi Viswanath in the early morning.
Brass bells were ringing, hymns were chanted by the temple priests, and swirling pillars of incense smoke rose and dissipated into the air. I prayed, My Lord, I long to know You and to love You. Please, show me the path I must follow. Something happened to me at that moment. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of hope, that if I only humble myself before the Lord, everything would be revealed. The Journey Home PDF Book Free
I felt that His hand was reaching out to me and that something very special was about to happen in my life. Neither Gary nor I had ever seen such massive crowds. To get a better view, we climbed up two pillars in the temple hall and looked down upon this astonishing scene. We scanned the multitude, which vibrated in anticipation. When the clock struck midnight, the doors of the inner sanctum swung open to reveal the altar of Krishna. A tumult of joy rose like a tidal wave.