“It is not it’s industry or business nor it’s entertainment or education – the foundation of Indian culture is it’s compassion and spirituality. I request all of you, that in all your endeavors you please keep this heritage of spirituality as the foundation and thus create a revolution of peace and happiness throughout the entire world.” With these words, Radhanath Swami addressed a crowd of over 15,000 students at the INSPIRO 2012 Youth Fiesta, at Mumbai’s Somaiya Ground. INSPIRO is a voluntary non-profit initiative that brings together a series of events for India’s youth, with the aim of providing a platform for them to present ideas that can lead to a positive shift in society for the betterment of their country. India is a young nation, with a median age of 26. With 50% of the population under 25 years of age; and with rapid developments, both economic and social, young men and women’s role as the trustees of the nation’s future is being shown increasing attention.
Hosted by MTV, and attended by leaders of Indian Industry and NGO’s, the event featured the Youth for Change Competition, requesting young boys and girls to provide their support for socail initiatives such as – Save the Girl Child, Prevention of HIV-AIDS, Say No to Tobacco, Solutions for Environmental Protection and Stop Corruption. There was a Social Innovation contest to provide a platform to grass-root innovators. The event began with a welcome performance by the spiritual rock band, MADHAVAS, followed by an acrobat and dance performance by SURESH N VERNON GROUP, and talks by industrialists Hrishikesh Mafatlal and N.D. Desai. Indian film star and youth icon Sonam Kapoor next addressed the crowd followed by her introduction of Radhanath Swami.
Swami shared with everyone how he was brought up witnessing several social anomalies in society, such as racism, which deeply troubled him. He saw that even though people had material opulence, their lives were devoid of meaning. “I became a social and civil rights activist, but that didn’t help. I realized that if don’t change myself I cannot do anything substantial for the world. It was spiritual transformation that I was really looking for, but I also saw that amongst religion there was also hate, envy, and violence. So I wanted to try to dive deeper into all the great religions of the world and understand the essence that could that could transform me. I wanted to love God and be a compassionate instrument in the hands of God to serve humanity. This was my search for the real purpose in life.”
“After hearing a calling in my heart to go to India, I hitchhiked through many countries like Iran, Afghan and Pakistan to reach India – studying Judaism, Islam, Christianity and many other faiths all the way. I leaned that it is the soul in the body that is the vehicle or the living force, and it has no religion, designation or color but yet it is our only connection to the God.
When asked by the press regarding her feelings about the event, Sonam Kappor responded “Now the young generation is becoming aware of spirituality, and she feels good to be part of a youth fiesta which not only believes in entertainment but in also being responsible. Regarding her message to the youth, Sonam responded “His Holinness Radhanath Swamiji is the right person to answer since I am also part of the youth and keen to hear from Swamiji.” Radhanath Swami responded: “When a deer smells fragrance, he runs helter-skelter to find out where the fragrance is coming from. He doesn’t realize that the fragrant smell is coming from within him; from the musk that he is carrying within. Similarly the bright youth of today have a strong spiritual base, which they have to recognize.”