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Chasing Rhinos with the Swami: Volume 1
“We should always be enthusiastic to try for capturing the rhinoceros. That way, if we fail, everyone will say, ‘Never mind, nobody can catch a rhinoceros anyway,’ and if we succeed, then everyone will say, ‘Just see what a wonderful thing they have done!'” –A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada changed the world. When he came to America from India in 1965, few Westerners knew the deep spiritual truths behind ancient Vedic culture and civilization. Within a decade most humans on the planet had heard the Hare Krishna mantra.
Shyamasundar Das (Sam Speerstra) was one of Bhaktivedanta Swami’s earliest disciples, helping him shape the Krishna Consciousness movement in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, in London, and then, as the Swami’s personal secretary, he traveled with Prabhupada in India, Russia, and all over the globe. “Chasing Rhinos With The Swami” is the intimate account of Prabhupada’s amazing adventures, describing in loving detail the seven years Shyamasundar spent at the side of the perfect person. Nothing was impossible for Srila Prabhupada, and he instilled this idea in the hearts of his first disciples. Go for the rhino!
SAN FRANCISCO , 1966-1968: The Hippie revolution on Haight Ashbury neighbourhood of San Francisco between 1966-1969 was one of the most significant social events in history. Read how Srila Prabhupada entered this narrow window in time, sat down with the hippies and from there launched the Krishna Consciousness movement, the science of Bhakti Yoga, all around the world. You will find recollections of the early days of the Hare Krishna movement in San Francisco, including opening the first temple, organizing the Mantra Rock Concert at the Avalon Ballroom, the appearance of Lord Jagannatha, the first Ratha-yatra festival, followed by the movement spreading to Europe via London.
LONDON, 1968-1970: In 1968 , the Beatles, were the most famous people in the world. Read how Srila Prabhupada became their friend and guru and conquered Great Britain with love. You will find detailed account of the time Shyamasundar and the Hare Krishna devotees spent living with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, as well as George Harrison’s involvement and support that led to the recording of the Hare Krishna single, the “Radha Krishna Temple” album, the printing of the KRSNA Book, and the first temple opening in London.
Rare Photos: The book is replete with more than 130 rare and some never-before-seen photos (b/w and color) of those early days.
“Get Ready for Chasing Rhinos with the Swami! Shyamasundara is about to take us on an incredible adventure into events that transformed our world. We will be witness to unimaginable events, events that made history, while we live side by side with Prabhupada, a humble saint who awakened spiritual love in countless hearts. This book is masterfully written and is truly unique.”
His Holiness Radhanath Swami
“In ‘Chasing Rhinos with the Swami,’ Shyamasundara Das has accomplished something truly remarkable. He successfully takes his readers back in time, with descriptive language and storytelling expertise, and gives them — fully — the association of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. There have been other memoirs involving His Divine Grace, to be sure, but the attention to detail and visceral manifestation of time and place found in Shyamasundara’s book is something new. It has never before been accomplished in quite this way. His street savvy, intelligence, common sense, and love for Prabhupada all come through with a tangible freshness, allowing readers entrance into the narrative in a very real way. He seems to remember it all, and he shares it with exacting specificity. He was there! And you know it by the way he writes about it. He lived it, and now, through him, you will live it too! A must read for all students of philosophy, the 60s counterculture, cosmic consciousness, eastern thought, and life itself.”
Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa), author of 30 books on eastern spirituality.