Here I stand

In the early 1970s, I lived in India for three years as a renounced devotee of Radha Krishna living in the holy places such as Vrindaban. I got to experience this spiritual path in its homeland from a variety of reputable sources, most importantly Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor and Lalita Prasad Thakur. I became very Indianized and an initiate into the most advanced spiritual traditions among followers of Sri Chaitanya.

I resumed my American beat/hippie lifestyle in 1974, got involved with the New Age Movement, Sufism, Taoism, Zen, etc. while continuing my devotion to Radha Krishna internally. Then, I got involved with the United Church of Christ so much so that I went to seminary, got ordained and served as a Mid-west church pastor for eleven years, all the while maintaining an inner devotion to Radha Krishna from the perspective that Love is the eternal religion of all and just manifested differently through Jesus and Chaitanya. Thus, I was very much re-Americanized, and my seminary education gave me new intellectual tools with which to re-examine the writings of Sri Chaitanya’s followers and the beliefs I formerly held.

Since leaving the church in 2002, I have returned to Radha Krishna devotion as my primary spiritual practice both internally and externally. However, I have definitely developed my own devotional style based on my cross-cultural, interfaith background. Thus, the Universalist Church of Radha Krishna is my own personal take on spirituality based on a wish by Bhaktivinode Thakur that Radha Krishna devotion be indigenized in the West. To do this, I have even had to break with the Thakur and other previous teachers where I felt the teachings were not relevant or not core essential teachings.

I take full responsibility, with the help of the many teachers of all faiths I encountered along the way, for who I am and my teachings. Making an ancient, foreign religion relevant to a new time and setting requires radical departures from the past which I suppose entails a degree of audaciousness that few seem to possess. So, here I stand.


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