Swami Dearest

In the Hill Country, what was once the hallowed ranch of Walter Prescott Webb is now the sacred site of a mammoth new Hindu temple—and the home of a controversial ashram called Barsana Dham.

HE WAS AGITATED. His fingers twitched. His deep brown eyes seemed to grow even more impenetrable. Fifteen minutes into our interview on a bright morning last November. Swami Prakashanand Saraswati made it clear he did not like the questions I was asking about his writings and the spiritual philosophy that governs Barsana Dham, his ashram west of Austin. The 66-year-old leader of the International Society of Divine Love ( ISDL) reached toward my tape recorder to turn it off. “These questions are useless. I cannot explain. These are intellectual questions,” he said, shaking his head. His words came out in a breathy mumble, accented

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