Silicon Valley which is a hotbed of innovation for technology, scientific developments, and entrepreneurship, hacked into spirituality for a mindset shift on July 16,2016 with Bhakti Yoga leader Radhanath Swami and Marci Shimoff, bestselling author of several self-help books including Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul, Happy for No Reason and The Secret .
Held at the Jain Center, the program was co-hosted by Bay Area entrepreneurs N. Prameela and Damodar Reddy and Sushant and Namrata Patnaik and Artha Forum, community dedicated to provide healthy work-life balance and business ethics based on spiritual principles. Around 300 entrepreneurs, corporate honchos, and thought leaders attended the event.
N.Damodar Reddy, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at SutiSoft Inc shared while introducing Radhanath Swami during the forum “ I have been inspired by Radhanath Swami with few moments I have spent with him. One thing that stands out with all my conversations – it is all about finding love within you own heart. And that is Bhakti Yoga”
The event began with a mesmerizing flute recital by Prasad Bhandarkar, who is also the Director, Digital Commerce at Adobe and with his son Kunal. This created a mood of tranquility for the evening.
Marci Shimoff spoke briefly about finding happiness in a world plagued by sorrow and gloom . Sharing her personal story about finding everlasting happiness, she said “ Since childhood, I had existential angst and now I find it’s like an epidemic. In our society, one out of four women in North America are on an antidepressants.”
Radhanath Swami began his talk on the topic by explaining aphorism “Anand Mayo Jigyasa.”
“We are all seeking happiness. Every living being has this in common. From the cockroach on the kitchen counter to Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Everyone is trying to avoid what interferes with our happiness. This question leads to the very basis of spirituality – Who Am I ?”
He explained this just like the nourishment to a car may be oil and gasoline but will it give deep pleasure to the driver of the car? The driver may be happy momentarily but he needs a different type of sustenance. “Things can give flickering happiness to the senses and mind. But it never gives pleasure. Real fulfillment is a state of heart. Only real happiness is to love and be loved,” he added. Throughout his talk, Swami shared personal anecdotes about experiences that helped shape him as a teacher on the path of Bhakti Yoga.
After Swami’s discussion on happiness, fulfillment, and spirituality, Vaisesika Prabhu, President of ISKCON Silicon Valley shared his appreciation to the Marci Shimoff, Radhanath Swami and Artha Forum.
Rajeev Srivastav, Managing Partner, Basil Capital Partners and Founding Member of Artha Forum shared the broader vision of Artha and stressed having a higher goal and purpose is a bigger motivator than simply trying to accumulate wealth for yourself. The event ended with a book signing and a vegetarian dinner.
Sourabh Tandon, Board Member at TiE Silicon Valley and Partner at Alpheas Advisors shared “We often forget about simple things in life. Then we read several books and have great ideas and concept to live life to the fullest. But then you see somebody actually living it when they had so many other choices to take. This itself is inspiring. I love listening to Swami.
“This was a blissful and life changing evening for me. Swami spoke with such simplicity but yet it was so lively with all his experiences and stories,” said Pankaj Srivastav.
You can also view the pics, highlights and full video of the event here
Highlights – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD7roUtm9_s&t=1s
Full video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdd9XG22j-I&fmt=22