Bhubaneswar: His Holiness Swami Sarvapriyananda, Minister & Spiritual Leader, Vedanta Society of New York delivered KIIT Knowledge Tree Lecture at KIIT Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar on 29th March 2022. KIIT Knowledge Tree Lecture series is a unique initiative of KIIT-DU to host, on regular basis, eminent scholars, spiritual leaders, celebrities, public servants, and leaders, who share their lives’ experiences and wisdom with the students and staff. It seeks to bring knowledge of the world closer to the students.
Delivering the lecture, Swami Sarvapriyananda stated that India, unlike the US and other advanced countries, is undergoing transformation at a rapid pace. Young people, particularly students, are at the forefront of this transformation. “While going around the wonderful campuses of KIIT and Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) this morning, my feeling was that while Harvard, a great university and one of the best in the world, is the present, this is the future”.
Enlightening students on ways to achieve success and happiness in life, Swami Sarvapriyananda, who is a well-known speaker on Vedanta, said, success assumes different meanings in different fields – in Hollywood, success is connected with the celebrities; in Wall Street, success is the accumulation of wealth; while at Harvard University, success is the amount of learning. However, successful people, irrespective of their field, fail to find happiness and peace, he pointed out, emphasizing that happiness and peace remain elusive in absence of spirituality.
Summarizing Swami Vivekananda’s teachings, he told students three essentials – self-confidence, focus, and selflessness – for achieving their full potential in life.
He cited the example of Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS, who has shown what one person can achieve with these three qualities. Recounting his interaction with Dr. Achyuta Samanta, he said that he asked Dr. Samanta that had he ever felt that he had sacrificed his life for his mission. “Dr. Samanta replied, not at all. I am getting more happiness than I had imagined and I am the happiest person. This shows that the more you think for others and the more you do for others, the happier you will be immediately and lastingly so”, Swami Sarvapriyananda said.
He told students, firstly, one needs to believe in oneself. Without self-confidence and self-esteem, even the best resources will not help. He elaborated that living consciously, accepting who we are, the practice of self-responsibility, the practice of self-assertiveness, living a purposeful life, and the practice of integrity are six attributes required to inculcate self-confidence.
Secondly, one needs to be focused. It is seen that extraordinary people have the extraordinary power of concentration, he stated, adding that focus is more important than IQ and facilities and it removes the limit to the capacity to think, feel and work. Lastly, Swami Sarvapriyananda said, one needs to be selfless. It is true that the more we serve others, the more fulfilled we become, he added.
He also answered queries from the audience. Swami Sarvapriyananda joined the Ramakrishna Math in 1994 and received Sannyasa in 2004. He has served as an acharya of the monastic probationers’ training center at Belur Math, India. He has also served in various capacities in different educational institutes of the Ramakrishna Mission in India and as the Assistant Minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California. He was a Nagral Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School in 2019-20.
Expressing gratitude to Swami Sarvapriyananda for enlightening the students and staff with his wisdom, Prof. Sasmita Samanta, Vice-Chancellor, KIIT-DU said, history is a witness that spiritualism and spiritual people have made a profound impact on the world. Understanding oneself and being connected to the globe is the essence of knowledge, she added. A large number of students, faculty members, and staff of KIIT-DU attended the lecture, which was held in hybrid mode.