On September 26th, 2015 Radhanath Swami joined Democratic Congresswoman and Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Tulsi Gabbard for a discussion on “Leadership Sutras from the Bhagavad-gita”, organized by Artha Forum, a community dedicated to provide healthy work-life balance and business ethics based on spiritual principles. For Silicon Valley leaders, it was a unique combination of a spiritual and political leader coming together to discuss relevant issues.
Over 50 tech-entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders converged at the home of Silicon tech-entrepreneur Sushant and Namrata Patnaik in Saratoga, California. Guests included SutiSoft CEO Damodar Reddy, Janine Firpo of the Bill & Mellinda Gates Foundation, and SAGE founder Chandra Reddy.
Congresswoman Gabbard eloquently spoke how true victory is above material success and failures. “We follow and dedicate our lives in loving service of Krishna, that is the true winning. It doesn’t matter what the external result is. That’s when the Lord gives us real wisdom, strength and courage.”
She spoke of her arduous experiences while training as an Officer at the Alabama Military Academy where she would have to chant her daily rounds of japa (a devotional practice of meditating on the Maha Mantra) at 4:30am in spite of a lack of private space. “It is about realizing that Krishna is sitting in our hearts and waiting for us to turn back to him. When we do that, we find real peace and happiness.”
Congresswoman Gabbard’s talk was followed by a keynote address by Radhanath Swami. He explained that Bhagavad-gita defines wisdom as the ability to see all living beings with equal vision. True wisdom is not how many degrees we have or how much data is stored in our brains.
Echoing Congresswoman Gabbard, he elucidated that when we understand our real position as children of God – whatever race, caste, species, etc, we understand the sacredness of our own life. “We understand that real victory and happiness is not based on doing something, or getting some result, but rather is based on our sense of purpose.” He cited examples from Ramayana about the selfless service of Jatayu and Hanuman.
Radhanath Swami fondly recalled memories of his visit to the Redwood Forest, explaining how the roots of these gigantic trees are not so deep, but are intertwined with the roots of their neighboring trees, almost like holding hands. “The roots for humans are their hearts. Love is about being unselfish.
He concluded with the saying – “If you lose your wealth you lose nothing, if you lose your health you lose something, but if you lose your character you lose everything.”
The talk was followed by an interactive session with Radhanath Swami and Congresswoman Gabbard.