BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, April 28, 2023: “Vedanta is a science, a universal knowledge that can be applied by any human being anywhere in the world at any period of time. The Bhagavad Gita is not just a relic from the past. It is a living, vibrant prescription for life!” Jaya Row, Founder and Managing Trustee, Vedanta Vision said in her exclusive with NRI Pulse. A well-known motivational speaker, Row has been a speaker at forums such as the World Economic Forum Davos, World Bank, Young Presidents’ Organization, Princeton University, Purdue University, Washington University, among others.
Row is currently on her Namaste USA tour between April 1-28 traveling across US cities. She was in Atlanta on April 18, 19 delivering talks about Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta and Relationships: Discord to Accord at the Sanatan Mandir of Atlanta.
Atlanta’s Nik Mainthia facilitated the interview with NRI Pulse.
Inspired by Swami Rama Tirtha’s, “If you are not happy as you are, where you are, you will never be happy,” Row said, she set upon a spiritual quest that culminated with the creation of Vedanta Vision.
Drawing parallels to tennis in the context of the essence of Vedanta, Row said,” You may be a talented tennis player. But to get there, you must first learn the rules of the game. Similarly, Life is a game. You need to learn the rules of the game before you actually live that. So, I would say that Vedanta is about the rules of the game. It’s about the technique of living. Living is a skill that needs to be learned, practiced, and mastered. So, if you don’t know the basics, you violate rules and then suffer.”
“Only when you are happy within can you establish meaningful relationships with others,” Row said about maintaining healthy relationships. Explaining that we feel betrayed from the ones that we love most, Row said the fundamental problem is often, ‘attachment’, which is love tainted with selfishness. Wherever there is attachment, there is pain and suffering eventually in the relationship, she added. “If you treasure people, you must find a way of true love, which is unconditional and irrespective of any return.”
When people believe attachment is love, there is expectation of a return for your affection – tangible or intangible. People make demands on people and bind them. And that is when they start to feel insecure, vulnerable, and threatened. The relationship ends up being conflict-ridden and ultimately breaks down, Row said, addressing the cause of discord in relationships.
“Develop merit and prosperity will come to you. It comes as a byproduct. An excellent musician, outstanding sportsperson or brilliant scientist needs only to focus on mastering his skill. Wealth, fame and accolades will follow,” Row said about chasing success.
Elaborating further with reference to the Gita, Row said, while the Bhagavad Gita was written 5000 years ago, it still impactfully addresses the Arjunas of today – dynamic, ambitious, young adults seeking excellence in their respective fields. She observes that, while most of youth of today are very talented and even have the skill to succeed, eventually land up in failure due to nervousness. And this happens, Row noted, because people worry about the results of their actions. Referring to the sixth chapter of Gita, Row said Krishna addresses the very issue – “One who does what one ought to do without depending on the fruit of action is a sannyasi, a yogi, not one without ideal or action”.
Action, she elaborated, is under one’s control. Fruit is dependent on many factors beyond one’s influence. The key to success, she says is to give yourself to the action and obtain merit, with focus on performing to the best of each’s ability. “The fruit will come to you. Success will be yours.”
How does one act without a fruit in mind? The answer, Row said was to work towards a goal, an ideal that serves beyond one’s own self -interest. “The higher the ideal, the greater is the energy and enthusiasm to work,” she noted. If one only worries about the goal while acting, the mind shifts from the present action to the fruit which belongs to the future and concentration on the present is lost. Do not allow the thought of fruit to interfere with the action and the action will be perfect and the mind will be at peace. Row defines such a person as Sannyasi – a person of renunciation. This, Row says is also an efficient way to deal with failure. The idea is to identify the right goal and pursue it without worrying about the result.
Extracting the relevance of the Gita in current times, Row highlighted the two wonderful blessings bestowed upon human beings – choice of action, and intellect. The key to a peaceful life, Row says, is to make choices using the intellect to discriminate, analyze, weigh the pros and cons and arrive at a decision and not just towards results that offer instant pleasure. Contentment, Row said is calm state of mind, even while the physical body is active.
Shifting from grabbing to giving mentality, she said is the way to set up goals, as per Gita. And what makes for excellence, Row notes is, oneness. While the world emphasizes otherness, competitiveness and one upmanship which lead to discord, bitterness and conflict, Row said, The Bhagavad Gita speaks of harmony which emerges from a feeling of oneness, cooperation and togetherness. “When you feel one with others you see the best in them, you understand them, you gain power and are no longer insecure.”
You may visit https://vedantavision.org/ for more details.