One night in Mumbai, I got a call from Radhanath Swami. He was amidst his North American book tour, to promote the US trade release of his autobiography The Journey Home. Visiting most major cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Dallas, Houston, and Vancouver, he also gave media interviews for radio, television, newspapers and magazines.
Sitting thousands of miles away, I felt excited about the whole affair. I asked him how he felt. “How’s it going Maharaj?” (Admirers often address Radhanath Swami as Radhanath Maharaj)
After a brief silence, I could hear his soft voice, “You know Jagannath Kirtan… do you remember the photo of the cave I lived in Rishikesh, while on my spiritual journey?”
I had worked on the design and layout of his autobiography The Journey Home. I remembered that photo distinctly.
“One side of me wants to go and hide in that cave right now,” said Radhanath Swami.
I felt special. I had heard his heart speak.
It wasn’t for popularity or self-aggrandizement that he was on a book tour. But that was the price he had to pay to reach more people with the wisdom he had gained through his travels.
He shares in his autobiography the reason he wrote the book. It was upon the request of a life-long friend who was on his death bed:
Nobody knew me better that Bhakti Tirtha Swami. He knew the details of my quest and also my hesitation to write about them. One day he clasped my hand, gazed into my eyes and said, “This is not your story. It is a tale about how God led a young boy onto an amazing journey to seek the inner secrets that lie within all of us. Don’t be miserly. Share what has been given to you.” His voice choked up and a tear streaked down his ebony cheek. “Promise me,” he said, “here on my deathbed, that you will write the story.” A few days later, on June 27, 2005, he passed from this world. This book is my attempt to honor his wish.