AIDS Awareness Talk with Chetan Bhagat


On December 14th, 2010, author Chetan Bhagat joined Radhanath Swami at an AIDS Awareness event organized by the Bhaktivedanta Hospital Youth Foundation in Mumbai, India. Scores of college students listened as Bhagat, whom Time Magazine considers one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People”, described how important it is to cultivate spirituality in youth.

“We need good academics, great career and a good partner, but we also need good values,” said Chetan. He explained that the political and economic corruption that India today faces is in fact a crisis of values: “We need to understand virtues like justice, truthfulness, and charity. These values were available to us, but now we have forgotten them. For this reason alone, there is a place for God in society.”

Chetan described his fondness for Krishna and said that all the male leads in his novels are named after him: “It’s my way of spreading the word.” Each of his four books has sold over a million copies and two were made into movies. Chetan regularly visits Krishna temples in Mumbai and Australia and often uploads pictures of the deities to his Twitter feed which counts over two hundred thousand followers. Chetan then quoted Bhagavad-gita where Lord Krishna says that He appears whenever there is an increase in sin in order to restore values. “Krishna may ask you to do something and make a change. Maintain good values and become a good person. Have a cause. It will help you. Protect yourself and make sure that others don’t fall into this HIV problem.”

Radhanath Swami then spoke as follows: “Without real values and meaning in life, nothing we do has substance. A revolution of values is required, a revolution of character, of overcoming prejudice.” He spoke about yoga as harmonization of body and mind with the atma, or soul: “Every soul is in touch with God. To honor and respect that is true religion.” He continued: “Save lives through a life of service rather than a life of selfishness. One person who takes to spiritual life seriously can attract the power of God to make great changes in the world. Connect to the value of compassion.”

A rock concert by the band Madhavas, the winner of MTV’s Rock On contest, brought the event to a close. Chetan published on Twitter: “Speaking at a youth awareness program in Kandivili organized by ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta Hospital. Happy to support the good work.”

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About Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat is the best-selling English language novelist in India’s history. His books include ‘Five Point Someone’, ‘One Night at a Call Center’, ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life’ and ‘Two States’, three of which have been made into films. Graduating from India’s prestigious IIT and IIM schools, Chetan quit his job as international investment banker in 2009 to devote himself to writing and to promote social change in India, especially surrounding youth-based issues. Bhagat is also a public speaker, giving motivational talks at leading multinational corporations and institutions.