It seemed as if time had paused on Thursday 7th April to witness a historical event where two extreme ends of the world met for a fusion of the material to the spiritual. His Holiness Radhanath Swami was invited as key note speaker on behalf of the Euro CEO of HSBC to address a large gathering of high profile influential bankers along with the Group Manager of the Board on the topic of universal equality.
Organized by the Vedic Society in HSBC, over 830 bankers congregated together at the global headquarters of HSBC in Canary Wharf UK to explore the message of Holi – ‘The Festival of Colors’ symbolizing the message of universal equality despite being diverse materially. With a presence in over 87 countries, managing in excess of $2.5 trillion, HSBC is amongst the top universal banks, the largest listed company on the London Stock Exchange and according to Forbes, the eighth largest company in the world.
Speaking on the topic ‘Finding Unity in Diversity’ His Holiness began by inspiring tears of laughter through the assembly by revealing that he has not had a bank account for over 40 years! As a frequent traveler, His Holiness commended the successful branding of HSBC worldwide as being deeply thoughtful from a philosophical perspective. He admitted that even Swami’s take notes from the messages.
His Holiness shared sacred stanzas from the Bhagavad-Gita which classifies all walks of life as sacred and equal. He introduced the notion of equality while maintaining respect for diversity through the example of bodily limbs working uniquely but in unity to achieve the purpose of the body. He described the necessity of all social occupations and diversities to operate simultaneously without claim to superiority for each is responsible as the other for social harmony and prosperity. Having captivated the audience comprising of a wide variety of cultures and nationalities, His Holiness shared personal experiences to further illustrate the culture of unity and how to recognize equality despite being presented in diverse clothes and differing circumstances across the world.
During question time, while quoting financial disasters, His Holiness echoed his view on corporate social responsibilities and encouraged bankers to continue utilizing their abilities for the betterment of the global community. The speech ushered in a long duration of applause while the entire floor once again offered a standing ovation. This reciprocation from the floor made the speech an historical event on corporate grounds.
Beatrice Giglio, one of the finest statisticians in Europe remarked: “I found my eyes constantly filled with tears as I heard and experienced the purity and finest examples of saints in my life. It was a lifetime moment.”
Not containing herself, Reah rushed over to His Holiness and introducing herself as a devout catholic commented how if every person was like His Holiness then the world would be a better place. She emphasized how the speech was perfectly universal to appeal to any person regardless of their personal beliefs.
In Hospitality, thrilled at meeting His Holiness, Gill Smith remarked how she felt an overwhelming sense of peace and strong spirituality in his every gesture. “With the smile of innocence I felt that he penetrated my soul while looking into my eyes. It was mystical.”
Top physicist Visieu Lac felt he gained wisdom from an ancient voice despite being a multi PhD and MA post graduate. “I have never met someone so tranquil and seemingly perfect in theory and practice even though I was with him for only a few hours. We discussed metaphysics as their refutable result of an in-depth study in physics. I found him extremely approachable. To my utter surprise despite meeting him a few hours earlier, towards the end of the evening when he noticed me he came over extended himself and embraced me. It was a very warm and loving gesture for a scientist.”
Comparing His Holiness to the living Buddha, mathematical genius Seth Aslin felt a deep spiritual experience that was until now known only on paper. Amongst many, he is enthusiastic to continue his spiritual journey. Michael Connor, hosting the event ecstatically shared: “As I greeted him with joined palms he came over clasped my hands and beamed straight into my eyes. I felt as if he was reading me. Oops! I found him to be a bundle of joy, bliss and deeply enlightening. I can’t wait to take up his offer for a tour of India!” Hundreds of colleagues commented on the depth and joy in the speech by His Holiness. Many colleagues requested and queued for signed copies of his unreleased autobiography that has not yet been launched in Europe.
While VIPs where led to a reserved dining area, the assembly made their way to two banks of buffet tables to receive over two dozen items through a 3 course meal with accompaniments. Despite the food being cooked according to specific standards of etiquette such as being free from any animal products, eggs, fish, onion, garlic, mushrooms and even certain spices, the food was nevertheless the second talk of the floor following the lecture. As colleagues made their way closer to the buffet areas, many found themselves in awe of the presentation which itself was displayed as a piece of art with items in decorative pots served by traditionally uniformed staff in saris. Witnessed by hundreds and shared with millions, the celebration of Holi has undoubtedly made history on corporate grounds.
By sharing one of the many sublime messages of the Vedas to a wide community, society has yet again experienced the natural inclination of spiritual wisdom regardless of nationality or background.