Radhanath Swami on Vedic Wisdom for Modern Business

Published on February 4, 2015 by

Vedic Wisdom teaches us to understand individually and collectively what our potential really is. Na jayate mriyate va kadachin: we are all eternal, full of knowledge, full of bliss, we are all brothers and sisters. – Radhanath Swami


Radhanath Swami implores us to live in harmony with the unchangeable reality

“Vedic wisdom for modern business” is the topic we have been given today. In the Bhagavad Gita we learn there is prakriti and apara-prakriti. Simultaneously there is the unchangeable reality.Changes are always taking place within creation; on a physical level nothing is ever stable.What we see with our eyes is very gross. If you look under a microscope you will see that every little particle is constantly moving and constantly changing. That is how creation has been built. But underlying it is eternal soul, the atma, which is unborn and undying.  And Krishna tells in Gita – yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharatah – that  the Supreme Truth, the cause of all causes, the source of everything that exists – who some call God, Bhagawan, parameshwar, paramatma, Krishna, who has many names – has descended into this world in many ways at various times and has spoken the same eternal truths and sanatana dharma according to the time, place and circumstances. The container or package in which Dharma is given varies according to what people can understand and according to the needs of the time and place. But the truth is constant, just like a foundation to a building; you cannot see the foundation but it holds up every part of the building. Whether it’s a mosque or a church or a corporate headquarters or a government headquarters, whatever the building shape may be it needs a strong foundation.


So Sanatana Dharma – these everlasting truths that remain relevant in all times, in all circumstances – is often times forgotten, underestimated, overlooked, because we are so busy dealing with the ever-changing challenges of this world. – Radhanath Swami


But we actually want to make a real difference in a way that’s truly beneficial. To know the harmony between physical nature, mind, the atma the force that’s within us that’s giving us the power of consciousness, and the supreme consciousness or God, paramatma from whom everything emanates, to understand the unity and harmony between all these different aspects of life and to live in that harmony is actually the meaning of yoga or religion. It is dharma and it is the greatest need within this world.


Radhanath Swami poses the question – ‘Are we really in control?’

Dr Desai quoted from the Isopanishad: isavasyam idam sarvam, this basic principle that everything is the property of the higher power of God’s grace. And this is something very practical, because proprietorship means control and we may have some control over some things, but ultimately there are so many forces within creation that may take that away from you. If this is really my body, then it should never get sick. But somehow or other there are bacterial people in the world; they somehow or other invade us and we get sick. If I had control of the body I may not decide to get old. Who wants to get old? Children want to get old, but once they get older they don’t want to be old; definitely they don’t want to be older. And ultimately every living being has to die. My Guru Srila Prabhupada used to say that when people want to make the point that something is certain, you say ‘sure as death’.

So if this is really ‘my body’, why do I have to die?

If it’s really my property then how come I can’t take anything with me at the time of death? If it’s really my property I wouldn’t have to pay taxes. This body is divine property and we are the caretakers, we are living within this body. And we have a divine purpose, and whatever wealth, intelligence, health, strength, fame, beauty, whatever we may have, these are all gifts. – Radhanath Swami


To understand how to utilize whatever I have been given in harmony with the creator – aham bija praja pita Krishna tells in Gita, ‘I’m the father and mother of every living being – with this vision…We see everyone as our brothers and sisters. Whatever the race, whatever the sex, whatever the religion, or no religion, whatever the species, wherever there’s life, it is sacred.Every living being is a child of God and every living being has the rights of being treated and respected as a child of God. And if we do not see it that way and utilize what we have in that spirit, then we are disconnected from our own selves, we are disconnected from currents of truth.


Radhanath Swami summarizes the essence of the Vedas

In the Vedic literatures, there is very primarily historical examples of the difference in the quality of our life and the effect we have in the world by how we utilize what God has given us. In the Mahabharata there are so many stories and so many philosophical teachings, but the basis of it all is ‘Duryodhana’ and ‘Yudhistir’. There was a kingdom. Duryodhana wanted to exploit it for his own selfish purposes; Yudhistir Maharaj wanted to utilize it in the service of God and all living beings. It’s described that Yudhistir Maharaj saw every single one of his citizens as his praja, that ‘everyone is my child’. A leader is one who is like a father or mother and ‘all those people who are subordinate are my children’. And he felt greatly responsible for everyone. He understood that ‘they are my children’, in the sense that ‘they are all Krishna’s children and I am in this position on behalf of God and on behalf of Krishna to be a caretaker of Krishna’s children’. And that’s how he ran his kingdom. Now, in Mahabharata we read: Duryodhana, he was envious, he was exploitative and ultimately he took control over the whole kingdom, and Yudhistir Maharaj was exiled. What was the difference? Yudhistir Maharaj, he held sacredness of dharma above and beyond all the wealth and power of the world, and Duryodhana, he favored the wealth and power of the world over dharma. Initially, Yudhistir Maharaj was exiled; Duryodhana had everything. But in the end Duryodhana was vanquished and he is infamous for the rest of the history.

One of the other great scriptures is Ramayana; same teaching. Ravana!  Ravana wanted to exploit Sita. He put aside dharma for the purpose of his own desires, his own power, and his own pleasure. His little brother Vibhishan, he put Dharma above everything else, and he was also exiled. He had nothing. Ravana wanted to exploit Sita; Vibhishan wanted to honor and respect Sita, and bring her back to her natural relationship with Ram.In the end Vibhishan was made King and Ravana was vanquished.

So Duryodhana and Yudhistir were cousins brothers; Vibhishan and Ravana were brothers. But they had two different ways of looking at the world.One valued the temporary things and one valued Dharma, sanatana dharma, the true values of the soul. Neither Vibhishan nor Yudhsitir Maharaj would ever compromise spiritual values. – Radhanath Swami


Learning from the life of Prahlad

And what is the greatest value? Little Prahlad, we read about him in Srimad Bhagavatam. He was just a five-year-old child. When he was in the womb of his mother he heard the truth from Narada Muni. Now Narada Muni is a renunciate. He doesn’t have a wife, he doesn’t have children, he doesn’t have a house, he is always traveling around. Daksha cursed him: he’s not allowed to stay in one place. But he was happy: ‘if that’s the will of God, let me be, Narada muni bajaeveena Radhika ramananaameso.’ Narada Muni is a renunciate and the knowledge he spoke to Prahlad, let us examine carefully how it transformed him. Little Prahlad spoke to his father Hiranyakashipu…I think we all know the story.He was a dictator, he was a person who had knowledge of scripture, he had gurus. But he interpreted everything according to his own arrogance – ‘what is good for me?’ So he was exploiting and he would destroy anything that came in the way of his own personal interests. And little Prahlad would instruct his father in the principles of Bhagavat Dharma – that ultimately everything is the property of God. Hiranyakashipu hated this philosophy. He decided to kill Prahlad; he tried in every way, and finally when he couldn’t kill Prahlad, he decided, ‘I am going to take my sword and I am going to sever his head.’ And he said, “Prahlad. You talk about this God Vishnu. I’m about to cut off your head. Where is your God now to protect you? Where do you get your power that you think you could defy me?” And here is this gigantic dictator with a massive sword right over the neck of little five-year-old Prahlad. He smiled. He fearlessly said, “My father, I get my power from the same place where you get from – Krishna.” This was such an insult to his father. It was the ultimate insult. Hiranyakashipu said, “Then let us see. Is he in this pillar?” Then Prahlad said, “Yes, he is in the pillar, he is everywhere.”

“Then I will destroy him.  Then let us see if he can save you.”

And then he came to little Prahlad to sever his head, and Vishnu came out of the pillar. And ultimately Vishnu asked – Narasimhadev Lord asked – Prahlad, “You have done so much for me. I’ll give you anything you want. Ask for anything benediction.” LittlePrahlad, he said, “Why are you tempting me? I’m a devotee not a businessman. A businessman gives something with this expectation of something in return, but a devotee just wants to give. Your pleasure is the only thing that I want. Just let me be the servant of your servant of your servant.” And then Little Prahlad said, “But if you insist on giving me something, give my father liberation. And as for me, I don’t want liberation. Great yogis and sages, they go to the Himalayan Mountains for their own salvation. But please put me where the people are, where people are in ignorance, where people are suffering. They are your children; let me be there to help them.”


And then Prahlad was made king. He was a self realized soul. He became the emperor. It’s not that in his enlightened state he just renounced everything.He took serious responsibility of managing an entire kingdom for a long, long time. But what was the difference?His father Hiranyakashipu terrorized anybody who didn’t harmonize with his egoistic, ulterior motivesin life; and little Prahlad, he was the servant of everyone. He honored and respected every living being. – Radhanath Swami


Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains what is an enlightened state: amanina manadena. When we actually understand reality of how every living being is a child of God and everything is the property of God, it makes life so beautiful, because we learn how to offer respect and honor to everyone.We may not like what they do, but we love them.- Radhanath Swami


The greatest attention within all of us is what we are yearning for, but we have forgotten what it is. We are trying to find pleasure, ananda mayobhyashat, in so many things, but it is the principal that in evolved human society people love people and use things to servepeople.But unfortunately due to being so distracted from our own well-being, we love things and we use people to get them and to keep them.

We are so concerned with the quantity of what we have,that we miss the point of quality of life.The happiness everyone is seeking is to love and to be loved, because it’s the nature of the soul. It’s our potential, and when we connect to that love that is within us, it naturally extends through everything we say, everything we do, everything we have, in the spirit of compassion.The greatest joy to the soul, the greatest joy to the heart, is to find pleasure in being an instrument of God’s infinite compassion. – Radhanath Swami

And this is the foundational basis of true education, whether we are doctors or whether we are engineers or lawyers or farmers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, politicians, teachers,mothers, fathers,or Swamis. Whatever our position may be, if we learn how to utilize that in the spirit of compassion then we are tuned into the eternal truth and we can actually nourish not only the true pleasure in our own hearts, but we can enlighten others in that pleasure.


Radhanath Swami speaks of the example of Maharaj Shibi

The Vedic literatures have countless examples like this. Maharaja Shibi, he was an emperor, he had palace, he had massive wealth, and he had family. And one pigeon came to him and said, “You’re the king, you are supposed to give protection to everyone. I’m one of your citizens. Give me protection.” And the king said, “Yes! I will give you protection.” Now a pigeon is quite insignificant compared to so many people in his kingdom. But he wasn’t seeing everyone according to their rank; he was seeing everyone according to a spiritual vision. He said, “I will protect you.” Pigeon said, “A hawk is about to eat me.” The king said, “I will protect you.” And the hawk said, “What about protecting me? I’m also your citizen and my food is pigeon.” Because hawks are not vegetarians, Maharaja Shibi, he said, “I’ve given my word. The weight of that pigeon I will give you from my own flesh.”He didn’t say, “I’ll give you from the flesh of my wife, or my son, of one of my servant.” His own! And he put the pigeon on one side of the scale and start putting – cutting his own flesh off – putting it on the other side. And no matter how much he put, the pigeon weighed more. So finally he sat with his whole body on the other side of the scale, and it weighed exactly the same as a pigeon. And Maharaj Shibi said, “Eat me now.” This is extreme, cannot imitate.But the principal is to be understood. 

He was willing to sacrifice his life for dharma, and what is the dharma of the king? Not to be the controller or the exploiter, but the servant of even the least among the people. – Radhanath Swami


At that time the pigeon, the hawk, they both became devas, demigods, and they bowed down to Maharaj Shibi and said, “We just staged this performance to show the world for all time to come what is the man of true dharma.” Because death will come, what is the integrity of our life?


Radhanath Swami on the potential within all of us

Great personalities see this potential in us. And because they see it within us, they remind us of what our true potential is. A little example. This building that we are in today, all of the bricks are made from the soil, the earth, of the land that we are walking on, right here in our Eco Village. I think we made about 250,000 bricks out of dirt from our own ground; we don’t import the dirt. We learned this from a lady named Chitra from Bangalore. She taught us the great potential of earth. Now, so many of us are walking on the ground and we don’t really see that much value. But when we are enlightened, we see that we could take that same ground and we can make beautiful homes, buildings that will last for centuries. And they are baked by the sun. We just compress the earth, put them in the sun and build a house. The potential of the earth!

A farmer understands the potential of what can grow in here, because they have been enlightened.

And the sun! The sun is shining for everyone equally.We have solar panels here.Somebody taught us how you can give power to your whole community by just extracting electricity from the rays of sun. What a beautiful art!

I remember when I was a student in school, and as a teenager in the 1960s, we were really rebellious,because we didn’t like what was going on in our country, in the world. So we sometimes grew our hair or wore clothes that made us very obvious that we were living for our statement of revolution called the counterculture. So a lot of our teachers really didn’t like us, but I had one teacher and this particular teacher, he saw something very valuable in me and he appreciated me for that. And he enlightened me and I really thought I could actually do something. And when I met My Guru Srila Prabhupada, he could appreciate that I could be an instrument of a power that can actually transform so many people’s lives in a positive way. I can see it in me, any more than an ordinary person sees bricks and houses in the soil, or electricity in the sunshine.

Vedic Wisdom teaches us to understand individually and collectively what our potential really is. Na jayate mriyate va kadachin: we are all eternal, full of knowledge, full of bliss, we are all brothers and sisters. – Radhanath Swami


The wonderful property that we are entrusted with is sacred if we use it for a sacred purpose. Wealth is not maya, unless we don’t understand its purpose. Maya means illusion. Laxmi is the goddess of fortune. Knowledge, strength, fame, influence, property, money, this is all the energy of Laxmi. It is sacred, if we only understand that sacred potential within it and within us.And theVedic wisdom,it can bespoken in many languages.Bhagavad Gita is in Sanskrit.Our guru Srila Prabhupada translated it into almost every language in the world. Doesn’t matter what language, doesn’t matter what kind of cover you put on the book.


Radhanath Swami speaks of unity through the Vedic Wisdom

The human body is composed of so many parts; we have lungs and pancreas and liver and heart and brain and arms, legs and eyes and ears, and each part of the body appreciates the contribution ofevery other part of the body. And each part of the body is there to nourish, to protect and to give happiness to every part of the body. When you see something – your vision – you’re seeing how to protect, how to nourish every other part of the body.The eye is not thinking, ‘just about me’, and the heart, heart just doesn’t pumpfor itself.Every cellular part of thebody is being nourished by the heart and the brain is giving direction. So the Vedic literatures, its wisdom teaches that human society is like a body, God’s body within this world. And Vedic wisdom is where we can see the potential unity ofeverything and everyone. And as Dr. Acyut Samant was saying, “Not just understand it, but live by it.”

Theoretical knowledge, scientific information is crucial, because without it, it’s like trying to get to a place we’ve never been without a map. We need direction, but even if you have the best map or you have one of those GPS, you may know exactly where to go and how to get there – we have to go. Otherwise, you are just sitting at home saying, “I know all about this place.”But if you actually want to experience the place, you have to get up and go. You have to apply that information. So this is the great opportunity we have. 

This Vedic wisdom is sanatana dharma. It’s the essential, universal principles that is foundational for the morality, the values and the enlightenment of every culture and every religion. – Radhanath Swami


To connect to it, to understand and then to put it into our practice, we become transformed, we experience that seva, serving with compassion. Watering the root of the tree, by pleasing Krishna, by pleasing God, we can actually learn how to be a compassionate instrument of his grace in everything we do for everyone. That is real satisfaction that we will find. And as we find that satisfaction we become more and more enthusiastic, determined and fearless to share that satisfaction with others.That is our real life.


Concluding words

And business, it’s so much controlling the world. Most of the politicians, they were in power because of business people putting them there, facilitating them. Through business, whether small or big, it’s not important, it’s the quality that is important. Dr Acyut Samant, he had so little, but he had compassion and look what he has done. My own beloved Guru Maharaj Srila Prabhupada was a businessman. He owned a little pharmacy, Prayaag Pharmacy, in Allahabad and then in Mumbai.But in his heart, like little Prahalad, he loved Krishna and he wanted to share that love with the world through compassion. And one time he was in Mumbai speaking to some of the biggest business people of Mumbai. And he said, “When I left Mumbai in 1965 I had 40 Rupees and I left on a cargo ship The Jaladutta.” 38 days over oceans and continents, he was70 years old, and when he came off, nobody wanted Rupees in 1965, so literally he had nothing. He knew no one, he was in a strange land, he never saw the winter and snow before. He said, “But I wanted to share the greatest wealth, the wealth of Sanatana Dharma, wealth of bhakti.” He said, “Now that I have come back and I have hundreds of temples all over the world and tens of thousands of followers from all over the world and have published millions and millions of books,” he said, “40 rupees that I couldn’t exchange, look what that investment has done.” On this level… but he never considered anything to be his. Success, failure, honor, dishonor, happiness, distress, these things are always coming and going.

But the greatest opportunity is to see potential within our own self, to tune in to that potential. That is why we chant God’s names and follow these principles of bhakti. And satsang, association with enlightening people tunes us in, and once we become tuned in, through everything we do we can be a transmitter of compassion, of grace. – Radhanath Swami


Thank you.



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  • Kalpana Kulkarni 7 years ago

    Amazing lecture! So powerful and enlightening! The message of the Gita is relevant to people from all walks of life. that is the beauty of this great literature.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni 7 years ago

    The scriptures are truly manuals for living and perfecting our lives.

  • Satya Kama Das 7 years ago

    Unity can be achieved only by following vedic path.

  • Sumit Sharma 7 years ago

    Jai gurudev!

  • CS Sandeep Shinde 7 years ago

    Thank you very much.

  • NSP 7 years ago

    Great lecture!

  • Jeff Smith 7 years ago

    I had never heard an story like Shibi, I don’t think that such kind of people exist. I understand the values and principles that he followed but you know, its tough to follow those standards in our day-to-day life. I will try to incorporate but I know that will be a tough one.
    I liked the story of Prahalad too.

    • George Martin 7 years ago

      Yes..I agree with you Mr. Jeff..These kind of people we never got to know in US. We are all absorbed in our own lives. But anyways really wonderful people mentioned here by Radhanath Swami. We all should be grateful to him.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni 7 years ago

    We can learn so much from these amazing stories. If we try and follow the principles mentioned, our lives will be successful – whether it’s business, home or spirituality!

  • biswajit 7 years ago

    Great lecture!

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde 7 years ago

    Very nice video. Thank you very much.

  • Piyush Singh 7 years ago

    Such an inspiring video. We are certainly not in control but most of us endeavor so hard to always keep things in our control, which are often thwarted by the destiny.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde 7 years ago

    Very inspiring video. Thank you very much.

  • Deepika 7 years ago

    Very inspiring lecture.

  • Keshav Kishor Das 7 years ago

    If anyone thinks modern business has nothing to do with spirituality…., they are missing so much. They must watch this video. Everything can be spiritualized by utilizing in the service of God…..!

  • Keshav Kishor Das 6 years ago

    I would like to take this message into my heart……….- “The greatest joy to the soul, the greatest joy to the heart, is to find pleasure in being an instrument of God’s infinite compassion.” Thank You Maharaj.

  • biswajit 6 years ago

    Very well said by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj,

  • Kalpana Kulkarni 6 years ago

    Amazing stories and wonderful realizations! Thank you for showing us the way to tune into our own potential to follow Bhakti by chanting and association of devotees.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde 6 years ago

    Thank you very much for such a nice video.

  • Jerry Richard 6 years ago

    I liked this “Vedic wisdom for modern business” — But the truth is constant, just like a foundation to a building; you cannot see the foundation but it holds up every part of the building. Whether it’s a mosque or a church or a corporate headquarters or a government headquarters, whatever the building shape may be it needs a strong foundation.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni 6 years ago

    Very powerful words that should make us introspect – When we actually understand reality of how every living being is a child of God and everything is the property of God, it makes life so beautiful, because we learn how to offer respect and honor to everyone.We may not like what they do, but we love them. if only we could follow this principle in our lives, life would be really beautiful!

  • Dr.Subrahmanyam 6 years ago

    golden words to …. make us think …

  • Carl Farrel 5 years ago

    By pleasing God, we can actually learn how to be a compassionate instrument of His grace in everything we do for everyone. That is real satisfaction that we should look for. And as we find that satisfaction we become more and more enthusiastic, determined and fearless to share that satisfaction with others as well.

  • Dr.Subrahmanyam 5 years ago

    following the foot steps of pure devotees are always safe…..