Gaur Gopal Das Curated
Monk and Motivational Speaker
CURATED BY :
Often we end up judging a book by its cover; could you share your insight on it?
Is there a way of experiencing a deep sense of joy and fulfillment?
What is the secret of a long lasting relationship?
Now that the election is around, what advice do you have for the citizens?
What does democracy means to you?
What is the parameter for happiness?
Is it possible to gain satisfaction in this era of competition?
How do I stay motivated and follow your advice even when you are not around?
What is the reason for the rise in depression rates today even with so many facilities around?
How to earn success in life?
Can failures really help us grow?
What are the 3 things that we should do to become confidant?
How do we balance our passion and profession?
Are you still learning from life?
Why do you say forgiveness is the foundation of a meaningful, deep, and true relationship?
Could you give a background about yourself and why you chose this path as a motivational speaker?
I studied electrical engineering and I graduated studying the particular subject. Afterwards I worked for Hewlett Packard (HP) in India and I was doing well in my work but there was a calling from within even from my childhood that grew stronger as I grew. I wanted to serve people and contribute to the lives of people in a different way. We all need to give back and we all need to add value. Even when we talk about organisations and companies it’s about adding value. Of course there is a money side to it. People are making money but while doing so we need to look at adding value, to the customers. I always felt that we as people need to contribute and give back. As an electrical engineer I would certainly be able to add value but I felt that there are millions of people doing the same thing. I felt that there are so many people fixing issues and problems of machines and I wanted to start fixing issues and problems of people. Engineering, the way we understandtoday is fixing problems of finance and machines but who fixes the people who run those machines and systems. Then I thought that I need to try and fix the people who fix the other problems in the world. This is why I thought of upgrading my career from being an electrical engineer to a lifestyle engineer. However there’s no such course in universities. I turned to be a monk at ISKCON which is where my spiritual foundation came from. You cannot help others unless you put your place right first. Today, I still work on myself through my spiritual practice. When you are working on yourself then you are in a position to help others and fix their problems. So that’s the beginning of my motivational speaking. You have information, you have knowledge and you have wisdom. Anybody can have information but when you distill that information down then that slowly turns into knowledge. When you further distill that knowledge down then that becomes wisdom which becomes an experience. What people look for today is not so much information but experience and realisation.
You emphasised on fixing people and the importance of helping those who have many troubles and issues themselves. How do you really fix a person?
I think when we talk about fixing a person, we are talking about fixing the attitude of a person and fixing the inside of a person. I strongly believe that a nation is made of people, a family is made of people, a corporate organisation is made of people and a community is made of people. You can’t change any of this until you change people because people make these communities and nations. Fixing people is helping them understand their potential as to who they are and what they have inside. They get so busy with the routine life and get so carried away with the problems and issues that happen that they forget to take that inward journey and the path of self-discovery. Because they are not able to discover themselves they are not happy. They are just fitting into the mould that the world is creating for them but they are not happy. They probably even get a lot of money but they are not truly happy. Just because they are successful in terms of making money doesn’t make them happy. As much as they dress up well, I think it’s great that we help them facilitate their inner journey whether we make them a little reflective or make them look at their insecurities and potential to overcome these challenges. This needs a lot of interaction with individuals where you actually sit and talk to them.
What are your principles in life?
My principles are that we are all here for a purpose. I don’t think any of us came here to pay taxes. Our birth in this world was not to pay bills and I don’t think that the purpose of life is just building an empire based on our wealth. That’s just one aspect of life. So the modern society makes one aspect, the aspect. Success in the world today is considered if you are wealthy and that’s a very miscalculated understanding of success. I do not think that that’s what we are here for. However that is an important aspect of life, we need money to have comfort but we cannot make that the be all and do all. It’s easy to make a buck but very difficult to make a difference in the world that we are in. I believe in one principle which is to try and make a difference as either an individual, a government, a corporate or as whoever we are. Let’s start making a difference to the nature, ecology and environment of the world. Nature has gifted us with so many resources and we are responsible for that. People today lead very irresponsible lives which is very selfish. One principle that I strongly believe in is let’s all, in whatever capacity we can, try making a difference even if it is small.
You give many motivational speeches, how do you get people engaged in your teachings?
There’s a very popular proverb in English which says ‘minds are like parachutes, they function only when they are open’. A parachute functions only when it is open and so does a mind. So a challenge of every speaker is how to open the mind because once the audience’s mind is open, then the message slowly goes in. To engage the audience there’s three to four things that I prefer to do. Top on the list is humour. People love to laugh. Many times they love to laugh at themselves. Humourrelaxes people but of course humourshould never be condescending. Many times people joke but they do so to demine or criticise people. If everyone’s spirit is to uplift, then that joke is taken in a very sportive spirit. That’s the entertaining side of the talk. The second way to engage is to tell stories which are not necessarily funny but stories that are touching, stories that are meaningful and stories that are very pertinent to what they are going through in their lives. The third way I try to engage with the audience is by keeping my content relevant and contemporary because if you speak from the past and it’s not relevant to the people who are listening to you then they don’t feel engaged. Another thing that I do,is get them to stand up and do a little bit of exercise that will create a practical and interactive atmosphere.
How do you create happiness within an organisation or work place?
An organisation like a nation, like a community is built of people. People make an organisation. People make an organisation successful and people make an organisation a failure. People make an organisation a happy one and people make it a sad one. They are like antennas both transmitting and receiving. They are transmitting as in they are radiating an aura, an energy, positivity and happiness but they could also radiate negativity and depression. If you have 200 members you have 200 antennas and when these antennas together radiate positivity, then the organisation is a positive one. How we do we ensure that all these antennas are radiating positivity? It has a lot to do with the leadership and it has a lot to do with the ethos of the organisation. If people within the organisation are treated with dignity and respect then there is a family bonding that happens. They are no longer just colleagues but more than that. They are friends and even going a step forward they start feeling a sense of family bonding. Anybody who feels appreciated will end up doing way more than what he or she is expected of. I feel that organisational performances increase by happiness and happiness increases by how people are treated. Richard Branson said ‘you train people so well that they are now qualified enough to leave but treat people so well that they don’t want to leave.’ So happiness within the organisation is created by the people and people will create it only if they are treated rightly.
How do your teachings and workshops help employees of various organisations and institutions?
All these teachings, workshops and keynotes give the people a sense of inspiration and motivation to work on themselves. It also creates a sense of empowerment because now they start taking the responsibility for their happiness to themselves. They are not passing the responsibility to someone else but do it themselves. When you have such responsible individuals then everything around starts flourishing and prospering. When I do these workshops and events I believe in making people feel that sense of empowerment. My talks are the investment but whether the investments turn into profit for their lives is based on whether they grow with it or not. For me to keep track of how they are following it up is not easy. There’s a lot to do with the responsibility that they take for their own lives, which is why I am very active on social media. They can still try and catch up on what I have to say. Likewise I do a Facebook live session everyThursday so people can ask me anything and I will answer their questions.
You’re a qualified engineer. You worked at Hewlett-Packard. What made you make this switch in your career?
What kind of problems do people have right now, and what are the biggest problems they have to face?
You are fixing a lot of people’s lives, but before that you had to fix your own life. What were the challenges that you had to face? What did you do to be who you are right now?
Before you became famous and known as this really cool person, you must have faced challenges from your family, lifestyle challenges, even seeing your friends get successful in their own lives. How did you manage that?
For a regular working professional, what are the kind of stresses that you see? And what would your advice to all of them be?
Give us a few practical solutions to continue to focus on oneself, and not be distracted by the noise all around us.
You don’t seem like a person who’s cut out of a rational Sadhu mould. You chose to take this profession up. What did you analyse in that arena, what would work and what would not work, and how did you get to where you are?
Could you give us an example of how Spiritual Quotient in a corporate company led the company to a lot of success?
Tell us about your famous pencil analogy.
What angers you?
What is one message you would give to all the stock market investors right now? What is your message to those people who are managing their companies in a dishonest manner?
How would you advise someone who wishes to follow your footsteps and perhaps do something similar to what you are doing right now?
Tell us one story from your life that summarises everything that you want to say to the world.
What exactly is spirituality? How would you define it to a layperson? How is it different from religion?
You were an engineer before. What was your trigger for turning spiritual? Where did your spark for the quest for spirituality come from?
People assume that monks are at this high level of mind thinking that no basic human emotion affects them. Is this true? Tell us more.
Yoga, meditation and mindfulness have become a phenomenon worldwide. How do we, as Indians, put a stamp of our authority, our ownership on this as we continue to promote it across the world?
Give us some practical advice that we can all use in our daily lives. How can we practice mindfulness?
Tell us about your moment of transformation from an electrical engineer to monk?
It's more of a journey of evolution than a moment. I wanted to follow my passion not conform to whatever was deemed as socially acceptable. I wanted to be completely satisfied with what I'm doing as lifestyle engineer - who works with people - not an electrical engineer who works with machines.
It’s easy to say, but hard to apply: How do we remember to live a quality life?
I find a great need in like-minded communities that meet together to inspire each other and remind each other of what matters. You find fitness works best when it's done in groups of people who remind each other of why it matters. Technology is a great place here, too, because watching motivational videos, setting a certain background on your phone plays equal priority to keep that memory going. When there's a will, there's a way. When there's no will, there's an excuse. We have to take the extra mile to get it right.
Today, 1 in 13 people struggles with anxiety and depression globally. How can people achieve a spiritual balance?
There's no ideal balance in life ever. It is misleading as we know the difficulty of achieving balance, especially in metropolitan cities that put us under constant expectations of growth. It is about priorities that change at different stages of life. If we live in awareness, we will know what needs attention at what point of time.
People nowadays mainly struggle to find their purpose. How can they find their inner purpose?
It comes through the sense of selflessness on the small and large scale, through adding value to someone's life and to the world, which doesn't come from achievements. Often times you find people reaching the maximum of their abilities then asking what next? That's why you see people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates wanting to give back to society, large companies starting to make their employees partners in stock markets. Work hard but don't wait to get to the top to start doing something for someone and it can be in the small things.
How can I boost my self-confidence and focus in life?
How can I overcome my fear of failing?
How do I learn to control my emotions? If you share some of your personal stories it would be great.
How can I stay focused in the present?
What changes should I make in my everyday life to stay happy?
What should I do to take life positively?
How do I deal with failure and hope for success?
How do I set my life as my top most priority?
How important is it to say “sorry”? It would be great if you could share your personal story from which you understood the importance of saying ‘sorry’.
How can I forgive the people who have wronged me?
Do you really believe that there is a price for every pain taken in life?
How do I overcome the dilemma of right and wrong and find out the correct path?
Is there a way to correct the mistakes that I have already made in life?
How do I start dealing with others with sensitivity and respect?
How do I make my life more meaningful?
How shall my life change if I change my outlook?
Which is the greatest power in our lives?
How do I cope with the problems and sufferings of my life?
Could you share your views on the real meaning of peace?
As per your opinion, what is the role of spirituality?
Could you share an experience of your life which had inspired you?
Is it actually possible to know the future?
Why do we always need to make the right choices?
Could you share your views on the importance of utilizing time correctly?
How do I set goals for my life every New Year?
Do you believe that it is wrong to possess money?
Why should we never lose hope? Could you elaborate this with a real-life story?
Could you please elaborate your thoughts on astrology?
What is the secret behind achieving success in life?
How do I free myself of envy?
How do I break the fear and discover my new possibilities?
Is it a good thing to stick to one’s own opinions by ignoring others suggestions?
Do you help people know their future?
What are your views on the moral values of today’s youth?
How is spirituality connected with other aspects of life?
What made you start practicing and believing in spirituality?
What is spiritual wisdom according to you?
What are your views on winning the game of life?
How do you see life?
अपने जीवन के लक्ष्य को प्राप्त करने के लिए मुझे क्या करना चाहिए?
How do I keep myself motivated for a future situation which may or may not happen?
Today we have a technologically advanced life. But why can’t we be happy?
Do you believe that spirituality can give happiness over technology?
What is the role of technology and spirituality in a happy life?
It is said that every individual is blessed with some uniqueness. Could you help me identify my unique quality?
Often I feel that life is messed up. How do I deal with life in such situations?
Could you share any one of your learnings from life that would help me to lead my life in a better way?
How do I deal with criticism and handle people who are out of control?
How do I build my personality?
Could you elaborate on how a smile can actually change a life?
Do you really believe that we have control over our own lives?
How do I learn to make correct choices?
Often we feel that something is holding us back from moving ahead. How do we deal with such situations?
Should I just quit if I am having a troubled relationship with someone who is close to me?
How do I deal with people who fail to understand me?
How do I learn to judge a statement made by a person against an individual?
How do I learn to deal with situations when others are given credits for our hard work and efforts?
When there are two options to choose from and we are not sure of the consequences, what should we do?
Even after dedicating a lot of our time and efforts in order to achieve success in a particular thing, we fail. What should we do in such situations?
Life’s Amazing Secrets
Life’s amazing secrets is a book written by Sh. Gaur Gopal Das explaining the various ways to find balance and purpose in our lives. While navigating through the traffic packed lanes of South Mumbai with his friend, Harry, he explains the lasting key to happiness through his various traveling experiences and the wisdom that he gained from the people of community he is a part of (ISKON-Chowpatty,Mumbai). Here I am going to summarise the book sharing invaluable insights by Sh. Gaur Gopal Das Like the four wheels of a car that needs to be in perfect state for the car to move smoothly, he explains the four principles that forms the foundation of a happy life.