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Life lessons, Sukhabodhananda style

Vinay Kamath R.Ravikumar Chennai | Updated on November 26, 2013

Swami Sukhabodhananda at the Family Business Conference organised by the Chennai Business School and Madras Esplanade Round Table 30 in Chennai. – Bijoy Ghosh

“Swamiji,” piped up a participant, “we’re normal, lay people and you’re a Swami, so how do we…” Swami Sukhabodhananda cuts him off mid-sentence. “Now, hold on,” he says, “when I go to the bathroom, flowers won’t come; I also need to flush like you. When I sweat, jasmine flowers don’t roll off. I am as normal a person as you,” he says to the bewildered questioner.

Corporate guru, spiritual leader, public speaker, author of bestsellers and many other appellations, Swami is speaking at a session on ‘accelerating ahead’ to an audience comprising young entrepreneurs at the fourth Family Business conference co-hosted by the Madras Esplanade Round Table 30 and the Chennai Business School.

Throwing in anecdote, couplets in Hindi, phrases in Sanskrit, effortlessly flitting between English, Tamil and some smattering of Telugu, nothing is taboo in Swami Sukhabodhananda’s talk. Marriage to sex, he refers to them all in equal irreverence, bringing the house down with his quick wit and repartee, but using the anecdotes to make his point about how people should live in the ‘here and now’ and indulge in the joy of living.

If he wanted to bring the audience awake from its post-lunch stupor, Swami succeeds it by showing a picture of Marilyn Monroe. “Whatever one wanted in life, Marilyn had it,” he says, “but she was depressed and committed suicide when she was just 34.” Point made, he has his audience hooked. Success in life, he says, is not equal to fulfilment. “Success is necessary but fulfilment is what we need,” exhorts Swami, showing pictures of fallen sportsmen O.J. Simpson and Oscar Pistorius, who were at the pinnacle of their sport but ended up killing the ones they loved.

Using simple analogies in his two-hour talk, Swami says when life becomes mechanical and “then, life for you is in the basement!” If life’s on auto pilot, without appreciating it, then the “quality of your life goes down,” he says. Many people see without seeing and hear without listening, which leads to poor understanding of situations. And, many get hurt by mere words. “Only how the mind interprets a word is the cause of hurt,” he explains simply.

Swami touched upon happiness; how everybody thinks of happiness as something in the future: “if I get one million rupees, I will be happy; if I get married to her, I will be happy etc.” The brain, he says, has to learn a new language, that the time for happiness is now, and not some time in the future. “Out of happiness, you need to go for your success; don’t look for happiness in the future,” he explains.

While ending his talk, one intrepid participant piped up, “Swamiji, you gave us lessons around the people you showed pictures of: Marilyn, O.J. Simpson, Pistorius…what about Angelina Jolie (whose pic was also shown)?” Needless to say, that question brought the house down, with Swami saying, “I can’t cover everybody in just two hours!”

Published on November 25, 2013

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