Richard S. Brown

Richard Shaw Brown, the founder of Astral Gemstone Talismans and the Planetary Gemologists Association Global, was born the only son of Col. Richard S. Brown, Sr. (USAF retired) and Elizabeth “Bette” Mae Brown. Richard experienced his first taste of fame as the lead singer and song writer of the innovative international rock group “The Misunderstood,” which rose to critical acclaim in London during the late Sixties at the same time the Beatles were taking the world by storm. Just as major musical success was assured, the American Army draft claimed lead singer Rick Brown for the Vietnam War and the group was forced to disband. Already a pacifist he opposed the War and was a conscientious objector.

Fortuitously at this point Richard met and was instructed by the exalted Indian Guru, Swami Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, who ordained him “Hrisikesh.” With his new-found direction in life Richard (now Hrisikesh) chose to leave America, bound to study and practice Vedic religion at the holy pilgrimage town of Vrindavan in Northern India. In Swamiji’s absence, under the watchful guidance of his foster-Guru, Tridandi Swami Bhakti Hridaya Bon Maharaj, he lived the ascetic life of a traditional monk for six and a half years, devoting himself to religious devotion and public service. Under Swami Bon’s guidance Richard studied arduously and became proficient in the Sanskrit, Hindi & Bengali languages. 

Madan Mohan near to Richard’s Vrindavan ashram
Richard as a Vaishnav mendicant

At the same time he helped Swami Bon build two schools in Nandagram and Vrindavan (U.P.), India Through his public service he was befriended by India’s President V.V. Giri and the Chairman of India’s Law Commission, Dr. Gajendra Gadkar. His dedicated public service also brought him close relationships with many Indian industrial giants, such as Jai Dayal Dalmia, D. M. Kathau, G. D. Somani, Dr. Kailash, Srimati Sumati Morarji, L. N. Birla, Hans Raj Gupta, Major Kapil Mohan, actor Devanand, and numerous uppermost Indian dignitaries, movie stars and VIPs. From 1972 to 1973 Richard was appointed Secretary to the Institute of Oriental Philosophy in Vrindavan, India, as well as Assistant Editor of the Institute’s quarterly Journal, “Indian Philosophy” Culture.”

With his Indian religion and language proficiency Hrisikesh earned the monastic title Lalitananda Vana and addressed audiences on many occasions, including the classical Indian discussion among scholars on the 18,000-verse “Srimad Bhagavatam” which he organized at New Delhi’s Vijnana Bhavan in 1972. After 7 years of public service in India he was inspired to rejoin his true spiritual master, Swami Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, who ordered him to give up the monastic title which had been awarded him by Swami Bon and return to his original spiritual name, Hrisikesh.  Under Swamiji’s order he moved to Nepal where he became involved in construction of a School in Dhulkhel, Sri Hari Siddhi Primary School. There Richard also helped to build a separate Youth Centre and Public Library in the town square. Note: All three of Richard’s affiliated schools (Nandagram, Vrindavan and Nepal) are still in operation today.

Richard with India’s President, H.E. V.V. Giri
Richard has been creating jeweled talismans for 30 years

A strange twist of fate involved him in a new ruby mine located in Southern India. It ignited his interest in gemstones and inspired him to undertake an in-depth study of the ancient Sanskrit classics concerning gemology, which he uses as reference books until today.

Combining his technical knowledge of gems with the planetary aspects revealed to him in the Sanskrit texts, Richard Brown began developing his own unique system of designing auspicious Astral Gemstone Talismans. After 12 years in Asia in 1979 he returned to America to complete his formal technical training at the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.). Subsequently, upon his graduation as a “Gemologist,” he moved to the Kingdom of Thailand where he has established himself as an International authority on planetary gemology and a cutting-edge fine jewelry designer.

Richard Shaw-Brown’s first book on gems, “Sri Chintamani Astro Jewels,”was published in 1975. He has now authored nine books on astral gemstones and their powers, including, “Handbook of Planetary Gemology” and “Ancient Astrological Gemstones & Talismans” as well as authoring numerous gemology related articles. Richard has also written four books on Vedic mysticism including “Sri Bepin Sakhi Vilas,” which was first published in 1970. A large archives of articles by Richard Brown may be found here: Mystic Articles.

Since moving to Thailand Richard has appeared on TV 30 times, published over 240 articles, authored seven big books on Gemology and jewelry design, and given numerous talks and lectures on Planetary Gemology (Graha-anukula-ratna-vishesajna). In 1988 a book by American writer Daniel P. Reid, Rishi, was written about Richard’s early life. A movie screenplay based on Richard’s life was written in 2002 by British music historian Mike Stax and is under development for adaptation as a motion picture. A book based on the script, Like, Misunderstood, was published in 2007, and a novel based on the book, I Unseen, was written by Paul Swainson in 2012.  

Richard has published 12 Gemology & Design Books