“The reason for living and working is to act, and the reason to act is to seek excellence in everything that you do. If you are going to run a business, then run it well. The most successful person is the person with the least desires. The successful individual is the contented individual.” Whose quote, do you think, this is? A spiritual master? What if we tell you these are actually the words of an internationally renowned gold and silver trader who called the top of the gold market in 1980. James Sinclair is today the Chairman and CEO of Tan Range Exploration Ltd, a prestigious mining company in the gold-rich region of East Africa.
Take another leader. Alvaro Cruz is the owner and CEO of a large construction company ICM Ingenieros Ltda. and also the Governor of Cundinamarca, a state in Columbia. He says, “Being spiritual means being able to listen to one’s intuition. Spirituality is something you must persist in everyday, every hour... It is a permanent attention to the inner self.” Now, many a skeptic would ask, what business do these prosperous and successful entrepreneurs have with spirituality? Some would even dismiss it out rightly – “It is all just words.”
Ask any graduate these days, “Do you think you can be spiritual and also be a successful businessman?” All you will get is a scornful look for asking a stupid question. And believe it or not, this is at the crux of all tragedies and trauma mankind is facing today - be it terrorism, global warming, pollution or poverty. In the name of secularity, rationality and what not, spirituality today is shunned in educational institutions. In corporate boardrooms, no one dares make a reference to it, lest they may be considered unfashionable; and in professional forums people are tight-lipped about it to save themselves from being branded as ‘not-in-tune-with-the-times’.
And as a result, what do we see today? Countries are spending currency in billions on defense and other allied projects when a large part of the population is still marginalized, without access to even minimum satisfactory healthcare; post-graduates and doctorates, without an iota of guilt or hesitancy, are joining terror networks and masterminding them; companies which originally started to serve people’s needs, are now only seeking to intensify their greed and maximize return at any cost; and divorces, which used to be the exception a few decades ago, are now as common as marriages. With the family system in peril, society is unable to hold together, for how long can a beautiful rosary last once the thread has become weak and beads are falling apart?
You may now ask, “So, do you think spirituality can solve all these problems?” Our answer, is an emphatic, “Yes!” And this is not just an emotional response or off-the-hat self-pleasing optimism. We are convinced about it because if spirituality can work in the dog-eat-dog world of business, and do wonders, it can and will deliver elsewhere and everywhere. Just look at the cover story of this issue. We have stories of as many as ten executives, leaders and top businessmen, who have made spirituality their way of life and as a result have not only made great strides in their career and business, but also have travelled deep into their inner self and found tranquility. Now, they have inner peace and material prosperity. What more do you need? Actually adding to their bliss is also another facet, their spontaneous service to the community.
This happens only when man learns to broaden his vision. Spirituality is not an apron to be worn when one attends mass or a temple, or turns in the direction of Mecca to offer worship; it becomes real only when it encompasses our every thought and sphere of activity. Then, our personality blossoms, and we become invaluable assets to the community and world at large. And to understand, assimilate and be convinced about this aspect of integrating values into business and personal life, is the most important lesson that the youth of today need to learn, if the world has to change for better. To practically demonstrate to the world how this can be done, Swami set up the one-of-its-kind Sri Sathya Sai University in 1981, and just five years later, inaugurated the School of Business Management, Accounting and Finance in the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the University.
Today it is perhaps the only Institute in the world where spirituality permeates every aspect of secular learning and daily life. “Knowledge has to be skilled, not killed,” Swami says. The management graduates of this University are among the most sought after in the industry today, even though the School has no campus placements. What difference are these students making in the corporate world? Read the experience of one of the alumnus, Sri Dayasindhu, in the Swami and Me section and you will know what makes them such unique change-makers.
What is needed today, Swami says, is a fine balance of the heart and the head. All the problems faced by mankind today have their origin in the mind - but they can be solved only through the heart. And every student of this University is trained to have this right balance directly under the care of the Divine Manager. It is to pay tribute to Bhagavan for bestowing the management course to the Institute 22 years ago in August that we are carrying our cover story on the theme of “Enlightened Leadership” this month. And of course, you will agree that it is most relevant in the present times.
Even during the inaugural function of the just-concluded Youth Conference, Swami said, “Today’s youth have immense intelligence, enormous common sense, but absolutely no discrimination.” This discrimination comes only when we learn to silence our minds and open our hearts. For, that is the seat of compassion and all divine virtues that are hidden in man as a spark of the divine. “You are God,” Swami said in the Valedictory discourse of the Youth Conference. If only we always remind ourselves that we are not different from God, that we are only love just as God is, then every second of our lives would be just bliss. For, the power of pure love is unbelievable. Imagine, devotees in hundreds and thousands, in the distant land of Peru feeling His love and living His message. Or, read the story of the little girl Ruby in the Healing Touch section. Isn’t it a miracle of pure love that everyday, hundreds of deprived and destitute people who had nowhere to go and would have just succumbed to their cruel fate are now walking out of Swami’s Hospitals as if they were returning from an enjoyable stay in their best friend’s house. Again, it is the magic of this love that provided drinking water, unasked, to nearly ten million people in the state of Andhra Pradesh and in the city of Chennai suffering from drought and contaminated water. Swami says, when your desire is selfless, guided totally by your higher self, resources are never a constraint. The forces in the universe will come together to make your positive thought fructify. And how many times have we seen this miracle happen in our midst!
This world is nothing but a projection of the divine. And the divine, truly, is only love. When we realize and foster this spark of the divine in us, Swami says, we can conquer the world, within and without. May we all know and be convinced that we are God. Let us live every moment as if we are love, breathing in and out. And in the end, become - just love. That is the ultimate!