I offer my sincerest gratitude to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, whose teachings have been the foundation of how I live my life. My own spiritual master, Radhanath Swami, who has been my inspiration and example in living a life of integrity and good character, imparted these teachings to me. He not only encouraged me to write this book but also facilitated my stay at the peaceful Govardhan Eco village so that I could complete it without any distractions. My limitless thanks to him!
Thank you to Gauranga Das, the director of Govardhan Eco village, and all the residents there for providing the support I needed for this endeavour.
My deep gratitude to Govinda Das, Radha Gopinath Das, Shyamananda Das, Sanat Kumar Das, Srutidharma Das, Pranabandhu Das, Gauranga Das, Siksastakam Das, Vraj Vihari Das and Shubha Vilas Das, who have all been very kind and instrumental in my learning, encouraging me along the way.
Vinay Raniga and Bhavik Patel from London provided much assistance and support right from the conception of the book. Without them this book would have only been a dream and I cannot thank them enough for all that they have done for me.
Thanks to Prem Kishor Das, Chaitanya Rupa Das, Radheshlal Das, Pratik Kapoor, Yashwant Kulkarni, Priyavrat Mafatlal, Sagar Wadekar, Mabick Thapa, Paresh Kochrekar and Shyamgopal Shroff for their ongoing support in my efforts to serve.
Special thanks to everyone who allowed me to share their stories. They brought the messages of the book to life. Particular thanks to Dr Mukund Shanbag, Mrs Pavitra Shanbag, Gandharvika and their family, Mr Snehal Ansariya and Mrs Kiran Ansariya along with their son, Sairaj, and Brigadier Sunil Kumar N.V. for the awe-inspiring stories from the Indian Army, and Hitesh Kotwani for the Rathayatra story.
Have you ever experienced the Indian monsoon? It brings one of the fiercest, most thunderous downpours of water from the heavens. If you're caught in the heavy rain, it's nearly impossible to stay dry. Similarly, it is hard not to get caught up in the challenges and negative situations of the world. Feeling peaceful, happy and content is not about avoiding challenges in our life, but about how we navigate through these challenges to reach the type of life we want to live.
Aldous Huxley said, 'Experience is not what happens to a man, it is what a man does with what happens to him. It's how we respond that makes all the difference. If there is one possession we have that is the most valuable and can truly transform our lives completely, it is our free will. We are the authors of our own life stories. Challenges and difficulties may fall upon us, just as the monsoon rains fall upon our head. We don't seek them or solicit them. They just come our way. We must choose how to respond.
Happiness does not come automatically. From a young age we receive methodical education in a variety of areas and fields, but happiness is usually not one of them. To live a happy life, with integrity and with balance, is one of life's amazing secrets which is revealed within this book. These are simple principles that can be used by anyone to experience a sense of satisfaction.
Do you ever feel irritable or frustrated? Do you ever feel that life isn't going your way? Do you ever feel that there is a key part of your life that needs attention? If the answer to any or all of these questions is a yes, it's a sign that your life is probably out of balance. The secret of life is finding balance: not too much, not too little. Just as a car balances on four wheels, we must balance the four crucial areas of our life: our personal life, our relationships, our work life and our social contribution.
On 9 May 2017, I received a call from Ms Vaishali Mathur, the executive editor and head of rights and language publishing at Penguin Random House India. She had seen a couple of my videos online and wanted to explore the possibility of me writing a book with them. It sounded exciting to me! I had always believed in trying to make a difference in the lives of people by helping them to redefine their thinking. I had been trying to do that through my speaking and lecturing for over two decades, and now here was a golden opportunity to take my purpose to the next level.
Naturally, I wanted to say yes straight away, but there was something within me holding me back. I gave her a typical answer, 'Let's see. I'll get back to you soon,' which, in hindsight, must have been frustrating for her. My reservation came from the fact that I am not a writer. Apart from a couple of articles and poems I had written years ago, the pen was used for signing managerial documents and the keyboard for my diary and records.
A few days later, after the excitement settled and I began to give the offer some serious thought, I received a call from an old friend in London, Sruti Dharma Das. He had been my well-wisher long before my online presence grew. Out of the blue, he was now calling me to remind me that I needed to write a book. That is the next step for you,' he said. 'A speaker should have a book to complement his talks, because that will truly benefit his listeners. They can then take your talk home with them! And writing should not be too hard for someone who regularly speaks, anyway. I felt flattered by his kind words.
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