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Black Lotus (The Spiritual Journey of an Urban Mystic)

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This volume explores the life and mission of His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami (1950-2005), an African-American seeker who rose from an impoverished condition in a Cleveland ghetto to become a dynamic worldwide spiritual leader

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Item Code: AZD102
Author: Steven J. Rosen
Publisher: Krishnapada Press
Language: English
Edition: 2007
ISBN: 9781885414236
Pages: 424
Other Details 8.50 x 5.50 inches
Weight 478 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

This volume explores the life and mission of His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami (1950-2005), an African-American seeker who rose from an impoverished condition in a Cleveland ghetto to become a dynamic worldwide spiritual leader.

Black Lotus examines the broad range of his life, from his early years as a child evangelist to his work as a teenager with the civil rights movement. Here, as a junior leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he directly assisted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Soon after, arriving at Princeton University on a scholarship, he became involved in black nationalism, at the same time excelling as a student of international law, race relations, psychology, and yoga.

His journey took a surprising turn when he affiliated with the Hare Krishna movement, known in India by its traditional name, Vaishnavism. This ancient science of the soul, with its embrace of universal spiritual principles, would provide the framework for his life's mission: global ministry, community-building, interfaith dialogue, material and spiritual welfare work. Thus, he has been recognized internationally, as evidenced both by his coronation as a High Chief in the Warri kingdom of Nigeria and in his becoming the first African-American Vaishnava guru, with disciples in every major country of the world.

Black Lotus is an uplifting story enriched by the personal testimony of family, friends, college professors, mentors, disciples, and other travelers on the spiritual path. As a result, the reader is offered an intimate look at the Swami’s life and times, which blossom on these pages in florid detail. As the beauty and sublime perfection of a lotus rises in majesty above its stem, which is buried deeply in clouded waters, so Black Lotus is a tribute to one who rose above numerous obstacles and limitations, inspiring others to do the same.

About the Author

Steven J. Rosen is Senior Editor of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies and Associate Editor of Back to Godhead, the magazine of the Hare Krishna Movement. He is the author of numerous books, including Essential Hinduism (Praeger, 2006).


IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa) is, in many ways, one of today's leading Vaishnava scholars in the Western world. His forté, as I see it, is in utilizing the rich Vaishnava culture of ancient India to address contemporary issues and modern-day concerns. By masterfully drawing on Vaishnava predecessors and their philosophical conclusions, he is able to access truths and perspectives that bring contemporary scholars and practitioners together—to analytically examine and appreciate the tradition for the benefit of all. In his own personal life, he shows this harmony between scholarship and practice by himself being a most humble practitioner since 1973 and by writing thorough, well-researched texts. He was initiated into the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder and spiritual master of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), in 1975. Since then, Satyaraja has written over twenty books; served as the founder and senior editor of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, an academic quarterly esteemed by scholars around the world; he is an associate editor for Back to Godhead, the magazine of the Hare Krishna Movement; and he was recently asked to write a textbook on Hinduism as part of the Introduction to the World's Major Religions series (Greenwood Press), which will be in universities and research libraries throughout the United States and much of Europe.

As if all of this publishing isn't enough, he still finds time to mentor fledgling (and senior) devotees and to advise academics on courses at major universities, where his books are often used as required reading. Still, with all this, I see Satyaraja as “a work in progress”—not only in the sense that he is always fine-tuning and honing his talents, which is evident with each of his newly published books and magazine articles, but especially in that much of the world is as yet unaware of his great contributions, nor do they understand the depth of what he has offered to the global community already.

So when we initially discussed writing my biography, not only was I extremely humbled and honored, but I could not imagine a more qualified person in ISKCON to render the task. This is especially true because my life has been somewhat mysterious and complex, taking part in both the rich Vaishnava tradition and in a desire to communicate that tradition in a contemporary setting. I know that Satyaraja understands this and will express it in a clear and accessible way. As I write this foreword—which is most probably only a few days before I leave this body-I think of two specific goals that I want this work to accomplish. First of all, Satyaraja's writing of my life story should draw greater attention to the works of my spiritual mentor, Srila Prabhupada, who is also Satyaraja's spiritual mentor. And, secondly, I pray that it will draw attention to the many contributions that Satyaraja has made through his own writings.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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