On 6th November 2017, Radhanath Swami gave a keynote address on the topic of unity in diversity at Clifford Chance LLP, an international law firm and a member of the ‘Magic Circle’ of leading British law firms.
The law firm’s second year of Diwali celebrations took place on the 30th floor of their Canary Wharf offices, a hub of the United Kingdom’s major financial institutions. Radhanath Swami was introduced by Monica Sah, a senior partner in the International Financial Markets Group. She spoke of the Swami’s accolades from the Govardhana Eco-Village to the Midday Meals project, as well as his New York Times bestselling book The Journey Within.
Radhanath Swami started his speech with an explanation of the significance of Diwali. “Diwali happens to be celebrated on the new moon, which is the darkest night of the month. It is a day where people come together from all varieties of life with lamps and candles. Whether we have our candle in a golden receptacle or a clay receptacle or no receptacle at all, it’s the light that is important. That is unity in diversity.”
Being a global firm, Clifford Chance play a key role in numerous communities around the world as part of their corporate social responsibility. Cathy Jones, head of community outreach, celebrated the holistic nature of Radhanath Swami’s talk saying he “emanated good vibes and spoke sensibly for all faiths.” This highlighted that Diwali is not just for those of the Hindu faith, but for everyone, from whatever background. Director of Human Resources, Claire Howe, echoed the same gratitude stating how Radhanath Swami’s talk was “just right – interesting and a pleasure to listen to”.
As Radhanath Swami spoke, he intertwined lessons from ancient literatures and stories from his life. From partners to associates to legal secretaries – a mix of people from different backgrounds, there was acclaim for the Swami’s speech. A tax partner at the firm, said “What a lovely man. His aura was amazing and he emanated such calmness. I want to hear more from him!” He also said that he also took advice from a Tibetan monk and was intrigued to do the same from Radhanath Swami through his books and events.
The event also consisted of a traditional Indian kathak dance by BBC Young Dancer of the Year Finalist, Shyam Dattani and lunch for all the guests. As the event drew to a close, one of the legal secretaries, exclaimed, “What a lovely speech from the keynote speaker His Holiness Radhanath Swami! I told my colleagues and they wished they had registered themselves! Looking forward to the next event with him.”
Radhanath Swami was grateful to the organisers, Ashika Patel and Chirag Ghelani and looks forward to being back at Clifford Chance in the future.