Find your purpose

Ambika Shaligram
Saturday, 13 April 2019

Gaur Gopal Das shares life’s amazing secret and that is balance! Here are some gems from the new age monk’s teachings

Gaur Gopal Das whose book Life’s Amazing Secrets has become a national bestseller with more than 2.5 lakh copies sold, is s new age monk. A social media star, Das had studied Electrical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune. After a brief stint with Hewlett Packard, he decided to live life as a monk in an ashram in Mumbai. He has remained there for the past 22 years, learning the antiquity of ancient philosophy and the modernity of contemporary psychology, to become a life coach to thousands in the city. 

Das has also been sharing his wisdom with corporate executives, universities and charities. In 2016, his popularity exploded as he took his message online. With millions of views on his videos on social media, he has now begun to lead a movement to help others achieve happiness and purpose in life. 

We talk to him about all matters moral and spiritual.
- Can you explain the concept of a new age monk?
A new age monk is someone who can make timeless, ancient knowledge, contemporary and relevant. It is someone who can present wisdom in a way people can connect to. It is someone who can understand the needs, interests and concerns of the modern day and age. It is someone who can help with the application of the timeless, universal principles to help transform people’s lives. Monks spend long periods of their time meditating and studying, but now we’re using everything possible to help humanity at large.

- How do you balance your calling in life with being on social media?
I think social media, more than just being a medium for entertainment, is a great tool to spread positivity and educate people on how to live fulfilling lives. It is through social media that I have been able to reach millions around the world and I am very grateful to all my online followers for their ongoing support.

At the same time, I have my personal life as well. I think my life is like a well full of water. Through social media I am trying to share the water of life-changing wisdom. But if the well keeps giving, it will go dry one day, unless it is connected to a source of water. That source is my offline life — my offline relationships, friendships and my spiritual practices. So that balance between online and offline life is essential and has to be given a conscious priority. 

- Not too far in the past, we were encouraged to look within, to not flaunt our riches and so on. What changed in a generation or two?
We are like a ship on the ocean, often carried away by the waves of distraction from what is of true value in our lives. We tend to conform to that which is considered socially acceptable. But this paradigm keeps changing with time. This is why we need to constantly realign ourselves with moral principles that guide us to lead a life of balance between our internal and external worlds. Focusing on just one of them at the cost of the other can lead to extremism, which can be unhealthy.

- Indians have always depended on spiritual and political gurus for guidance. Is life coach an extension of the age old relation? What is missing in our public discourse?
Whether it is sports, music, academics, politics, spirituality or with life itself, when we have an expert mentor, who is there by our side to train us and facilitate our progress, we can reach newer heights of success. Nothing great happens without us being helped by someone who knows something we don’t.

Nomenclature and the details of those relationship may change with time. Whether we call someone a guru, a mentor or a life coach, the purpose remains more or less the same. As William Shakespeare said, ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’.

- One is always asked to look upon elderly people as wise, because of the experiences they have gathered in all their years on the earth. Did you at any point feel this an hindrance? Maybe people didn’t think of you seriously because you are young. What makes a wise guru?
At all times, we must respect elders and the experience they have. At the same time we must also be aware that wisdom and experience also comes by living your life based on the right values, by going through successes and failures, by travelling and interacting with people from a wide cross section of different cultures and backgrounds. And when we share that experience, people take us seriously, regardless of age. 

Personally, I haven’t encountered this situation where my age turned out to be a barrier for my words to be taken seriously. In fact, my experience has been embarrassingly otherwise, some elderly people coming to bow down to me, which I never allow! I bow down to them, seeking their blessings. We must respect elders, but also not accept everything blindly. It’s all about balance!

- What is life’s amazing secret — in one word?

- Is there any common answer to the questions and dilemmas that people approach you with?
Yes. I always tell people that our experience in life is a sum total of the choices we make. In any situation or dilemma, it is important to deliberate on all the options before we make our choice. 

If we are confused we can take help of trustworthy guides who can facilitate our thinking, presenting to us the pros and cons of each option. There is no option which is perfect and without cons. But at the end of it all, it’s we who have to choose which set of pros and cons we are willing to live with and make that choice and stand by it.

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