Swami Mukundananda was invited by Amity University, Gurgaon to deliver a talk on “G20 Presidency–Fostering Peace, Harmony & Hope for a Blissful World” on 6th April, 2023. The program was presided over by the honourable vice chancellor, Dr. P.B. Sharma, Program Director, Dr. Sanjana Vij, and Admiral K.K. Pandey. As an esteemed guest speaker, Swamiji addressed the students, staff, and faculty who had joined in-person as well as online from the Amity fraternity across different parts of India.
The program was initiated with the lamp lighting ceremony. Dr. Sanjana opened with Swami Mukundananda’s words of wisdom during his online talk with Amity students the previous year, on Values and Ethics in life. In it, Swamiji had emphasised on self-discipline being the mantra for a successful life.
True to His style, Swamiji, in very simple terms, briefed about G20 formation, its history, and its present functions – contrary to all the Internet jargon. He explained that this is the first time India had taken on such an important role at the global level, which is being viewed with optimism and hope of experts across the world.
For India, this is a rare opportunity to forge a global dialogue for steering decisions affecting multiple economies, in alignment with India’s time-tested ancient values, rich culture, and profound philosophical heritage. These are the same values that led us to choose democracy and secular principles over dictatorship and communism at the time of gaining Independence. Therefore, India has the ability to present multi-lateral views to the world. Also, our colonial past and subsequent progress enable us to nurture empathy for the under-developed nations, for more equitable distribution of the fruits of progress. India assumed presidency on 1st December 2022 and is striving to take the challenge head-on by planning 200 meetings, covering 32 streams of activity, in 50 cities to spread out opportunities all over country.
Thereafter, Swamiji expounded on India’s G20 slogan ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, in which “Vasudha” means the earth; “iva”, is; and “kutumbakam” means family. Sourced from India’s holy texts of Upanishads, it implies to embrace the whole earth as one’s own family. This is what great minds do, unlike people with small minds who think, ‘This is mine, that is mine.’ This theme of One Earth, One Family, One Future affirms the significance of all life forms – human, animal, plant, and microorganisms and their interconnectedness on planet Earth and in the wider universe. It resonates with India’s commitment to universal brotherhood and the welfare of the world. Swamiji further exemplified this with quotes from the Indian scriptures.
Similar to the ecosystem, even the world economies are interconnected today. The rise of global trade, travel and technology has brought us all closer than ever before. That is why a crisis of any kind – environmental, economic, geopolitical, societal, or technological in one nation will find its way to impact the other parts of the world.
In the economic progress marathon, everyone today wants to earn more money so they can buy more things and afford a better lifestyle. But what will we do with all the money and luxuries if we do not have clean air to breathe, water to drink or food to eat? How will we ensure the safety of our children if the world is broken in strife and wars? On one hand, we are getting good education but parallelly we are making the earth unhabitable for our children and grandchildren.
In such a situation, India has come to helm to take charge. Swamiji quoted how the Indian culture has deep-roots for veneration for the whole environment. He gave the examples of cows, earth, and rivers – all of which are looked upon as a ‘Mother’ in our living. Reigniting such perspectives at global forums will automatically lead to lifestyles more conducive to the environment and a peaceful co-existence with Mother Nature.
Transitioning to the need of peace amongst various nations, Swamiji observed the lack of it, evident due to the latest war between Ukraine and Russia. Reminiscing his earlier lecture at the UN, Swamiji mentioned that world is not a nuclear entity. The World consists of individual entities like you and me. Hence, world peace is possible only when each of us is at peace. Only when all individuals are at peace, the family, subsequently the community, then each nation and finally the whole world can be at peace. So, world peace is possible only through peaceful pieces!
Diving into individual peace, Swamiji revealed some shocking statistics about how over the last 75 years of Independence, the average income has increased by 700 per cent, yet the depression, suicide, and divorce rates have also soared high. Ironically, increased literacy rates and advanced education have not been successful in fostering goodness in humanity or world peace. Our visible discontent, suffering and universally perceived mental restlessness are testament to the lack of inner growth and evolution. For this, we need to re-evaluate our definition of success.
These days, the most prominent measure of success, is to become rich, famous, or our subscriber count on social media. Swamiji illustrated the famous lives of Justin Bieber and Elvis Presley, who had all of these but lived miserably due to lack of mind management. So, what we value as success is not so valuable after all. With single-minded focus on rampant scientific progress, we are now at the edge of a catastrophe. Material Science has bestowed us with many powers but unfortunately it did not guide us with the sense of good or bad use of that power. Herein comes the significant role of Spiritual Science!
Spiritual science is the means to go within yourself for manifesting the divinity within. To truly feel blissful, we need to stop running blindly behind the mirage of material desires and make out time to reflect on our values. Prosperity in the real sense means to pursue a higher purpose of life that corresponds with our values and fills us with inner inspiration to remain resilient at the face of obstacles. In alignment, Swamiji mentioned the slogan of the JKYog Foundation, “Do good, be good and feel good”.
Unlike the western world, where there was always a dichotomy between Science and Spirituality, India is a country where the heritage recognized both for their respective roles in our individual lives. Thus, India has the capability to gift this much-needed balance to the world at large for universal harmony and world peace. The agenda of such inclusive growth is well-manifested in the priorities set by India’s presidency in G20.
In His conclusion, Swami Mukundananda highlighted that contemporary education has become all about money-making instead of focusing on the art of human-making, as inspired by Swami Vivekananda a century ago. Spirituality is what will help us bridge the gap. India, as the spiritual leader of the world, has a golden opportunity to steer dialogue and influence viewpoints in alignment with its ancient foundations in this one year of G20 presidency.
Swamiji’s speech was followed by a Q&A session covering a wide range of topics, including the difference between mind and soul, the definition of good and bad, and how to include value systems and change modern beliefs. The session provided students with a fresh and modern perspective on the meaning of life, success, happiness, and spirituality.
Swamiji sowed the notion of ‘Be Good, Do Good and Feel Good’ as a seed in young minds for creating a golden future for their country.
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