On the afternoon of June 18, Radhanath Swami spoke to an audience of 120 Google employees at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. The event was part of “AtGoogleTalks,” a series of presentations by invited speakers sponsored by Google and given at various Google offices throughout the world. As written on the Google official blog, the talks feature “some of the most prominent and promising thinkers, artists, leaders, and personalities of our time.” Previous speakers have included Barack Obama, Noam Chomsky, Salman Rushdie, Bill Clinton, Bob Woodward, Michael Bloomberg, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Christopher Hitchens, David Brooks, Lady Gaga, Eckhart Tolle, Henry Kissinger, and Deepak Chopra.

Radhanath Swami was asked to speak on the subject, “Consciousness – The Missing Link,” and to provide fresh insights on the root causes of many problems facing the world today and their solutions, based on the Vedic knowledge.

After being introduced by Gopi Kallayil, the Chief Evangelist for Google Social, Radhanath Swami began by sharing his gratitude for the opportunity to speak at Google. He noted how Google has grown and how its influence is felt all around the world. Radhanath went on to recollect his recent visit to Muir Woods, a redwood forest. There he heard from a park ranger that the giant redwoods have survived centuries of onslaught from winds, storms, and earthquakes – although their roots do not grow very deep. The reason for their survival is how their roots grow outward and interlock with the roots of neighboring trees. Below is an excerpt of Radhanath Swami’s talk.

“In our lives, our hearts are where our roots are. When the roots of our care, our concern, our affection actually connect with each other, we can develop such incredible strength. Even when the storms come –  the storms of temptation, the storms of fear, the storms of reversals and challenges – we can hold each other strong. This is very much a spiritual principle. There is a very beautiful verse in the Bhagavad-gita. When I first heard this I thought, “This is what I’ve always been looking for.” I was born in a Jewish family near Chicago and in my life I had a natural inclination towards spirituality. But I saw so much hate and division in the name of a loving God. This was extremely disturbing to me. Either I have to reject the entire concept, or, I wondered… Is there something deeper? Something that is there in an essence that unites us and awakens character and real love? Something common? I believed in that essence and I was seeking that essence. I hitchhiked from London, through Europe, through the Middle East, traveled through India, and studied various religions under various masters trying to find that essence. And a particular verse in the Bhagavad-gita, when I heard it, I was thinking, yes, this is what the world needs. And this is what I need.

vidya-vinaya-sampanne / brahmane gavi hastini

suni caiva sva-pake ca / panditah sama-darsinah

‘The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a outcaste.’

Real wisdom is defined not by how much data we collect within our brains. Real wisdom is not defined by how many degrees we have or how many followers we have. Real wisdom is measured by the extent that we have the capacity to see every living being with equal vision, life as sacred, and that this conscious force beyond this material body and mind is our true essence. Wherever there is life, it is sacred. Life is sacred. When we understand how our own life is sacred we will understand that sacredness, and respect it wherever we experience life – in every tree, in every plant, in every living being.”

Find the video from the event here.

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