Since it was released earlier this year, Journey Home, the autobiography of ISKCON leader and Vaishnava guru Radhanath Swami, has been a must-read for many Krishna devotees. In what is, perhaps, a sign of things to come, the book has begun to win fans outside of the devotee community, as well. BKS Iyengar, considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world wrote an enthusiastic endorsement for the book, as did celebrated yogini Shiva Rea and Ayurveda scholar David Frawley.
And on May 21, Harvard Divinity School’s Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology Francis X. Clooney, reviewed Journey Home for America, the country’s only national Catholic weekly magazine. Father Clooney, who is also a Roman Catholic priest, is widely considered to be among the world’s foremost experts on Hindu-Christian comparative studies. His review, entitled A Hare Krishna Swami Tells All, appreciates Radhanath Swami’s book as the story of “a very human journey of spiritual discovery and grace.”
Journey Home tells the story of how Radhanath Swami, born Richard Slavin to middle-class Jewish-American parents in a Chicago suburb, embarked on a spiritual quest at age 19. This journey, recounted in vivid detail and full of exciting adventures and notable characters, brought Radhanath Swami to spiritual India where he studied under several renowned Hindu and Buddhist teachers before finding his path. The book ends with Radhanath Swami accepting ISKCON founder-acharya A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, as his spiritual mentor.
Father Clooney sees Journey Home as a valuable and personal glimpse into the life of an ISKCON practitioner.
“Radhanath [Swami] gives flesh and blood and spirit to ISKCON,” Father Clooney writes, adding that “this book is a good way to begin to understand what it means to be a Hare Krishna — willing to devote oneself to praise of God (Hare! Krishna!) who is present as Krishna, young, so very near in flesh and blood, loving as he is loved.”
The review, available in its full form here, also notes that the book was intentionally written for an audience unfamiliar with the Hare Krishna movement, and hopes that such readers will not be distracted by pre-conceptions or stereotypes about the Krishna faith.
“To me, it is worth noting that ISKCON is by now a rich spiritual and theological tradition which, despite its difficulties and growing pains along the way, is maturing as a community true to its ancient Indian roots.”
Father Clooney’s full review, originally written for America (The National Catholic Weekly), is available at ISKCON News Weekly here.
Journey Home can be ordered directly from Mandala, here.
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