Srila Bhakti Tirtha Swami - His Mentor
Bhakti Tirtha Swami

His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami (1950-2005), the author's spiritual master, was born John E. Favors in a pious, God- fearing family. As a young man, he was a leader in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's civil rights movement. At Princeton University, he became president of the student council and also served as the chairman of the Third World Coalition. Although his main degree was in psychology, he received accolades in many other fields, including politics, African studies, and international law.

He was a charismatic spiritual leader who was known for his eclectic and dynamic preaching strategies that attracted a wide range of people to the path of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Widely acknowledged as a global specialist in international relations and conflict resolution, he became a spiritual consultant to many high-ranking members of the United Nations, celebrities, chiefs and kings around the world. In 1990, he was made high chief of Warri, Nigeria, in recognition of his outstanding work in Africa. During Nelson Mandela's presidency, he met several times with the South African leader to share visions and strategies for world peace.

His Holiness authored many book-series: Leadership for an Age of Higher Consciousness, Spiritual Warrior, The Beggar, and Reflections on Sacred Teachings. Some of his books are used as reference texts in universities and leadership organizations throughout the world. They have also been published in at least a dozen languages. Hari-Nama Press—the publisher of B.T. Swami's books—has released four books after his departure from this world, namely Reflections on Sacred Teachings Volume Five: Srila Bhaktisiddhanta's Sixty- four Principles for Community (2007), Reflections on Sacred Teachings Volume Six: Radha-Sunya: Missing Link (2009), Surrender: The Key to Eternal Life (2013), and The Danger of Misusing Lord Nityananda's Mercy (2018). His passing away from this world was like his life, a deep expression of love and compassion, and a lesson for all of us. A lot more can be read about him in his official biography Black Lotus: The Spiritual Journey of an Urban Mystic.