This was the title of the 111th monthly Prerana youth festival held in Mumbai on 27th July’ 2013, Saturday.
Prerana, one of the most anticipated events in the itinerary of Radhanath Swami has been a monthly feature of Radha Gopinath temple activities since 2002 July. Saurabh Pandey, a noted Bollywood Actor and Producer and Mr Hari Vamsha, the chief editor of a prominent newspaper ‘Prabhat Khabar’ were the chief guests for the festival.
The programme began with melodious kirtans followed by a talk by Radheshyam das, a senior student of Radhanath Swami, and the President of the community in Pune, close to Mumbai.
In his address to the two thousand youth of Mumbai, Radhanath Swami shared how humanity today has spent enormous amount of time, money and energy focusing on outer space but there’s practically no focus at all in understanding our own inner space. Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, he explained the reason the world is in such disunity is because humans have disunited from their own selves. He also pointed out how one of the prominent teachings of Jesus was ‘what will you gain if you achieve the whole world but lose your own eternal self’.
Offering a brilliant analysis on the way people see this world, he pointed out three common views. The first is the materialistic view, where people see the present world as the only real reality. The second is to deny the world by declaring it as an illusion. However a genuine spiritualist has the view that the world is a sacred property of God. Although the world is real, it’s a temporary manifestation and a devotee of the Lord serves the Lord and harmonizes his existence with God’s energies by engaging his life in the service of God and all living beings of this world.
First he explained the dangers of the conception that the world is the only reality. “When we believe that this world is the only reality, then even our so called moral principles are built on a weak foundation, because when temptation and fear threaten, we’d break our moral and ethical values. We then become the servant of greed, envy, lust, anger, arrogance and illusion.”
He then elaborated on another prevailing conception that the world is nothing but an illusion. For people living by this philosophy it doesn’t really matter if the ecological condition of the world is getting precarious. They are interested in their own salvation and are least bothered if they leave behind a mess. He revealed how holy rivers like Ganga and Yamuna are today polluted and lot of waste is indiscriminately dumped into these rivers.
“But then we have the sublime Vaishnav philosophy,” said Radhanath Swami, “that reveals how the Absolute Truth, God is perfect and complete and is the source of everything that exists. When we see the whole world as God’s property we are freed from greed, envy, anger and lust because we understand, ‘I am not the proprietor; I am the caretaker.’”
Imploring the audience to build their lives on the foundation of service to God, he said, “Exploitation is the symptom of the disease of a selfish egoistic heart. Compassion is the symptom of a person who has actually found inner fulfilment within his or her heart, and to live happily in this world we need to consider everything is a sacred property of God. ” Contrasting a vision separate from God which is characterized by ‘this is mine, and this is yours’, he explained how when we understand that we are all children of God, we respect all life. “In order to actually engineer a better world, we have to begin by engineering a proper perspective of this world” concluded Radhanath Swami.
He also candidly shared many personal stories and anecdotes from his memoir, ‘The Journey Home’. The programme concluded with a melodious kirtan and dinner feast for all the attendees and guests.