Conscious Leadership by Radhanath Swanmi at BSE Event

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Published on Jun 18, 2016 by RNS Video

It is my very great honor and pleasure to be with all of you this evening. Special gratitude to our esteemed guests, organizers, and to all of you.

One time my beloved guru Srila Prabhupada while in London was challenged by a journalist, “Why have you come to our country?” and Srila Prabhupada responded that, “Your country England ruled over India for many generations, and in the span of that time you took so much of our wealth to London, but you forgot to take our greatest wealth, our spiritual culture. I have come to give you freely what you forgot to take from us.”

 

Radhanath Swami describes the essence of all scriptures

I was born and raised in the United States, and I saw all around me so much wealth, so much luxury, such nice telephone system and road systems, and televisions and everything else, and I saw so much power, but to myself and so many people of my generation it was so hollow, it was so shallow, because you see greed could never satisfy the heart. Bhagavad-Gita tells that greed is like fire, the more you feed it, the hungrier and more it needs. When people are trampling on each other, exploiting each other due to greed, ‘Do I want to be a part of this?’

And then I heard of verse, that in many ways is the essence of the Bible, it was spoken by a great personality of Jewish descent who founded Christianity, Jesus Christ, and to me this statement is what a Christian is, what is Jew is, with what a religious person is. And I just saw that it was so rare all around me. The verse is – what profit of a man who gains the whole world but loses his eternal soul? That’s what I saw happening, and it’s happening today more than ever, even in the name of God. I was seeking my soul. I was seeking a meaning and purpose in life that would make whatever I did of actual value. Children in so many parts of the world, if we don’t give them a meaning, a spiritual purpose to live for, then they are so vulnerable to greed, to arrogance, to exploitation.

In my calling, I read literatures from India, and I really wanted to find something. I studied Judaism and Christianity and Islam, and I studied many other traditions, Buddhism, as I hitchhiked from London to India. And here I found my soul. I found a meaning in life.

 

Radhanath Swami shares stories of great leaders of past

Mr. Kumar was describing the story of Dadichi, how he sacrificed everything for a higher purpose. He was a sadhu. But one of the beautiful things of the great Vedic literature is, it really shows what leadership is, and most of the prominent examples are not sadhus, they are people with families, who have immense material responsibilities, but what was their character. Why did they have such loyalty from the people that they lead, because they genuinely felt compassion for them? Yudhishtir Maharaj, he had wife, he had children, he was a king, but it describes in Mahabharata, Srimad Bhagvatam, he considered every single one of his citizens as his own praja, his own children. He didn’t see that, ‘I’m the ruler and you are the ruled.’ He saw that, ‘On behalf of God, I’ve been given the responsibility to serve you as a ruler,’ and he was a servant of everyone, and therefore people loved him and followed him. Lord Ramachandra, in Ramayana, when he came back from exile, as Yudhishtir also came back from exile before he was a king, they had their difficulties and they learned good lessons. Ramachandra, every day, as the king of Ayodhya would open his court to meet any citizen, from the street sweeper to the ministers, to discuss their problems and solve them, because he saw everyone equally. This is the substance of Indian culture, this type of example of leaders.

Maharaj Shibi, why was he such a leader that people followed him with love, because he loved. He was willing to give up his life for the least person of his kingdom, a pigeon and because his citizens saw, ‘He is willing to die for the welfare of the pigeon in his kingdom, what is our importance?’ and they followed his role model. Rantidev, whether one was a Brahmin, or whether one was an outcast, or whether one was a dog, he was willing to give up his life for them and his whole kingdom, because they saw such a leader, everyone was God conscious, everyone was charitable.

 

Radhanath Swami elaborates on meaning of compassion

There cannot be poverty where there is compassion. Poverty is simply an extension of inner heart of human poverty. When there is a poverty of compassion, everything else manifests. – Radhanath Swami

And when there is wealth within the hearts and leaders, a mother and father is a leader, having managerial roles in business is leadership, government leaders educators are leaders, when there is inner wealth, when there is a connection to the soul, when there is compassion, and there is prosperity, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The Bhagavad-Gita teaches us,

bhoktāraḿ yajña-tapasāḿ
sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaḿ sarva-bhūtānāḿ
jñātvā māḿ śāntim ṛcchati
[BG 5.29]

People are looking for peace. Real peace can only be when we accept that there is one God, who is the source of everyone, the essence of all the great spiritual paths and religions of the world, when we understand that one God, and we understand everything is the property of that one God, ‘Nothing is mine, we are caretakers, we are caretakers of whatever abilities we have, whatever intelligence we have, whatever fame and influence we have, whatever money or property we have.’ And what does it mean to be a caretaker? Every living things a child of God. When we connect to our own soul, it’s no longer a matter of getting some tax relief or getting some fame for giving charity, it’s a matter of genuine care, ‘These are my family members.’

That’s the nature of a spiritual connection, when we see all living beings is God’s children, we care. We cannot be happy unless they are happy, para-dukha-dukhi. – Radhanath Swami

Human evolution is going from the obsessive need, to get things to the joy of giving, that’s the nature of the soul. The environment is God’s property that everyone, whether we are simple farmers or whether we are corporate heads or government leaders, we all depend on the environment equally.

To be conscious, to enrich the environment, not to pollute is a spiritual principle, and it’s a social responsibility. It’s simply a natural expression of compassion. – Radhanath Swami

The Bhagavata Purana tells, if you water the root of a tree it naturally extends to every part of the tree. Similarly when we actually come in contact with our own true self, the atma, the soul that is seeing through the eyes, and hearing through the ears, the source of life within us, we understand that our real wealth and our only true happiness is in feeling God’s love and sharing that love in everything we do, with everyone we come in contact with, according to our capacity.

Things can give some amount of pleasure to the body and mind, but things can give no satisfaction to the heart, only to love and to be loved can give fulfillment to the heart, and real happiness is a thing of the heart. – Radhanath Swami.

What do we want to give our children? Do we want to give them happiness or do we just want to give them external implications and complications? A mother doesn’t want to just see her child dressed pretty with jewelry, a mother wants to see her child happy. You can give her all the jewels in the world, but if you have time to give her love, she will look pretty but live in misery, and that applies to everyone. The more we have, the more we love, the more that is expressed, and in our Sanatana dharma principles, if you have compassion in your business, or you are in politics, or you are in investment, then you will be motivated millions of times more than somebody who is doing it for greed or prestige because you have a mission, the more you have the more you could help.

To earn with integrity to spend with compassion, that is dharma and that is something that each and every one of us need to take responsibility for, it’s not a theory, it’s the substance of life, it’s the substance of culture. – Radhanath Swami

It’s what our children and the world need to learn by our examples.

 

Radhanath Swami narrates the story of Joe Torre

A few years ago I was invited to speak at a conference in Beverly Hills, it’s called the Mike Milken Global Conference. And there was a panel discussion with several thousand people there, and I was invited to be present. And perhaps the top person with hotels in the world was there, a person who is CEO of the greatest food chain in the world, grocery stores, investors, bankers, a scientist who has more patents for cancer than anyone else, and then there was a baseball player’s name is Joe Torre. He was one of the three most successful baseball managers in history. Do any of you know what baseball is? How can I explain it? It’s kind of a Western offshoot of Indian cricket. But it’s the most popular sport in America, and it’s a huge business. The greatest team in the history is the New York Yankees.

The New York’s Joe Torre was introduced with this kind of life story, for fifteen years the New York Yankees did not get into a single World Series. And they kept firing managers and hiring new ones. They hired Joe Torre, who happened to be, before he was a manager, he was a Hall of Fame player, he was a most valuable player, he had all awards. And all the press of country were blasting him, “This is the worst mistake the Yankees can make, such a useless person being the manager? This is crazy.” And he was getting nothing but bad press. But he didn’t care what the press said. He was in charge of the team for the next 12 years, they were in the playoffs all 12 years. They won four World Series, most successful time in the Yankees history.

So he got up to speak and he said, “Yes, I’m in the Hall of Fame, and I was one of the greatest players of baseball that ever lived, and I was one of the three greatest managers that ever managed, and I made hundreds of millions dollars for the team.” He said, “But none of those things are really important,” he said, “The most important thing that has given me the most fulfillment in my life is not that stuff.” He said, “Would you like to know what was really meaningful to me?” He said, “When I was a child, I was in a very abusive household.” I think his father was an alcoholic and he was very abusive. He said, “There was so much stress and misery in my heart. As a child I would just go out and play baseball and just take out all my stress and my anxiety and my anguish and just hitting balls and playing, and that’s how I became so great. But after I retired,” he said, “I started within the inner-city ghetto schools, counseling programs for children from abusive homes, and when I see those children who went through what I went through, lost, confused, and alone, now I see them smile and I see that they feel loved,” he said, “that is meaningful, not the money, not the awards.” and he was very humble. He said, “And I have to admit to you. The greatest achievement of my life, which is this foundation was actually my wife’s idea.”

 

Radhanath Swami illustrates on applying the principle of yukta-vairagya

What is meaningful? I was just at a medical conference in American, one doctor from India said, “In my tradition, at the crematorium a person wears a white garment and there is no pockets that means you can’t take anything with you.” Arvind Mafatlal, our Rishikesh Mafatlal’s beloved father, he gave his life so much, he was a corporate person but he inspired his stockholders, his company, so much to invest in helping millions and millions of people in so many ways. And he was inspired by his Guru, spiritual inspiration. And after he passed away from the world, no one really cared about how much money he made, nobody really cared about how many awards he got, people loved him because of his love because of what he had given away.

You see, in this world, I’ve been around for 65 years now, I have never ever seen anyone love anyone for what they have, no one will love you for your money, they may give you some superficial respect or they may envy you, no one will love you for your skills, no one will love you for your fame or prestige, people will love you for your compassion, people will actually respect you from their hearts only for what you give, for your character, for your values, for your humility and compassion, this is leadership.

When we really understand that there is nothing more valuable than connecting with our true self, in our tradition we chant God’s names to make that interconnection, because you see unless there’s a spiritual connection, our compassion and our values could be very unsustainable, unless we have a deep inner reason, ‘Why I will have integrity, that means I will maintain my values even if I risk losing so much, I will maintain my values even if I can gain so much by putting them aside.’ Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas, she explained what Jesus said, “The greatest disqualification for spiritual enlightenment is wealth, too much beauty, too much education, and too much fame, because they have a tendency of separating us and making us arrogant, and exciting our greed, akinchana-gocharan.” But then it goes on the principle of yukta-vairagya, if we understand that, ‘Our welfare, our beauty, our fame, our influence is God’s property and I’m a caretaker, and we use it in the principle of seva, then they are the greatest gifts that help us toward spiritual enlightenment.’ And what I have experienced is at the very core of Indian culture, there is such deep philosophical, cultural, presence of these divine principles, and I see so many of you living by these principles. It’s the leadership the world needs. Thank you very much.

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  • Gopinath Chandra

    This was a really cool event at Bombay Stock Exchange. I was present for it. All the speakers spoke well at the event. Before Radhanath Swami spoke Ronnie Srewalla spoke; he is a film producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a very eloquent speaker.

    Radhanath Swami Maharaj’s talk was like the icing on the cake. The talk received a standing ovation.

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    • Piyush Singh

      Wonderful information. I can only say that this talk certainly deserved many standing ovations.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Great to hear that! May glories of Radhanath Swami Maharaj’s contributions spread all over the world.

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  • Keshav Kishor Das

    The “Yukta Vairagya” part touched my heart so much…….! Inspiring indeed….!

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes very true! And for having “Yukta vairagya” one has to get him/her detached from the thing that he/she wants to engage in the Lord’s and His devotees’ service. Otherwise, one may be able to get this detachment only momentarily and mind would again push hard that person to take it back.

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  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice event at Bombay Stock Exchange and very nice talk by H.H. Radhanath Swami.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Great to hear that! I wish I could be there…

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  • Piyush Singh

    Such inspiring talk. HH Radhanath Swami keeps the talk fully focused on the theme. I especially liked the inspiring stories shared by him to show that how serving others even at the cost of our own life is the topmost service that one can render. In today’s selfish world we need more and more leaders who are willing to act more to serve others in a way that overall harmony is established in the society.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      I completely agree with you Piyushji! We need leaders with refined character who can work under the guidance of great saints like Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

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      • Piyush Singh

        Thank you Sumit ji. Let’s hope for the best.

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  • Jerry Richard

    man who is qualified to protect the sufferers, is meant to rule the state. Untrained, lower class men or men without ambition to protect the sufferers cannot be placed on the seat as an administrator. Unfortunately in the current times the lower class men without training occupy the post of a ruler by strength of popular votes and instead of protecting the sufferers, such men create a situation quite intolerable for everyone

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    • Piyush Singh

      That is the unfortunate situation these days Jerry. I heard somewhere Srila Prabhupada used to call democracy as demon-cracy, means something associated with demons. Ideal situation is when the leader is a top class man of values and leads his subjects with the power of virtues and not by alluring them to gather more and more votes by unfair means.

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      • Y. Raja Shekar

        You are right Piyushji. A true leader is the one who leads from front, walk the talk. Bhagavad Gita 3.21 teaches this. What a leader does the common people follow. Leaders have to be following perfect values first. Very emphatic lecture by Radhanath Swami on true leadership.

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        • Piyush Singh

          Thank you for sharing this wisdom from Gita. We do lack these qualities in most of the leaders these days.

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          • Sumit Sharma

            That’s very true and that’s why leaders from societies must be guided under great saints like Radhanath Swami Maharaj. We are very fortunate to have him our leader and spiritual guide.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Very nice point! And in fact, in Shreemad Bhagavatam, Srila Sukdev Goswami made predictions of such things happening in Kaliyuga and that’s what we are witnessing today. The situation is going to get worsen in the coming times, and unless we have leaders who believe in character building, it’s going to be very hard for common populace to live their life with sanctity and safety.

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  • Dr.Subrahmanyam

    great things can be learned only when we hear from great people & can be practiced only by following their instructions and footsteps…..

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    • Piyush Singh

      Indeed. This process of hearing and learning is being followed by everyone around in this world even in mundane education. However people in general hesitate to pick this same process for spiritual matters.

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      • Y Raja Shekar

        You are right Piyushji. People take spirituality very ritualistically. When we hear and follow the footsteps of great souls like Radhanath Swami, then there is hope to imbibe true spirituality

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        • Piyush Singh

          Yes, hearing and following wisdom from enlightened souls like HH Radhanath Swami is the only hope to spread the real understanding of spirituality.

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        • Sumit Sharma

          That’s very true. That way anyone who is taking guidance from Radhanath Swami Maharaj and other contemporary acharayas is very fortunate and he/she should take maximum advantage of this guidance. There is very important verse in vedic scripture (ie. Chaitanya Charitamrit by Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) “Brahmand bhramite kaun bhagyawan jiva, Guru Krishna prasade paye bhakti lata beej”, which says that one who has received mercy of a bonafide spiritual master and the Lord is very fortunate among many living entities who are wondering in this material world.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Bhavad Gita 3.21 “Yat yat acharati shreshthas…” mentions exactly the same. If there are leaders who value character building in the society, common populace would always find themselves happy and safe. Thank you very much for sharing this thought.!

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  • Carl Farrel

    Modern university education practically prepares one to acquire a doggish mentality with which to accept the service of the greater master. After finishing with so called education, the so call educated persons move like dogs from door to door with applications for some service and mostly they are driven away informed of no vacancy.The general mass of people unless they are trained systematically by conscious leaders for a higher standard of life and spiritual values are no better than animals.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Great point Mr. Carl! In fact whatever you have mentioned about the need of conscious leadership, is what we used to find in scriptures when we read about great Kings (raja-rishis) who were playing roles of King however by character they were Sadhus. Today, the world needs these leaders who can usher the whole world towards new era where everyone is self-satisfied and content.

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  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very inspiring talk by H.H. Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes true. May every sincere soul gets inspiration from this wonderful video. May glories of this movement spread to every nook and corner.

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  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Very inspiring lecture illustrated by such meaningful stories. It’s true a person is loved not for his wealth or status but his character, his love and compassion. Lot of lessons to be learnt and imbibed!

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  • Dr.Subrahmanyam

    true kalpana ji until unless we get inspiration from such golden words we can not justify our human life what to speak of spiritual….

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  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    “To earn with integrity to spend with compassion, that is dharma and that is something that each and every one of us need to take responsibility for, it’s not a theory, it’s the substance of life, it’s the substance of culture”. – very powerful words to introspect on and imbibe in our lives.

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    • Sumit Sharma

      Great point! And in order to practice this philosophy, one must take constant association of great saints like Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

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