IN A PHOTOGRAPH POSTED to Facebook in 2011, an American man named John Morgan stands on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi, wearing a white dhoti. He smiles, and holds a small bag in his hand. The sun is setting over the river, into which, just moments earlier, he had scattered the ashes of his beloved cat. When the photo was taken, Morgan had been living in India for two years.
Several of his friends commented on the photo. “I didn’t know that you are inclined towards Sahajiya Vaishnavism. Traditional Gaudiya Vaishnavism sorts that path better,” one wrote.
“I’m interested in everything Vedic,” Morgan replied. “I’m not even certain that I’m really a Gaudiya Vaishnava, since I find the Sri Vaishnavas and even Advaita Vedanta fascinating.”