Practising the art of conscious living
Pretoria - “Living is an art, a skill, a technique. You need to learn and practise it as you would a game or a musical instrument.”
This is the doctrine the 87-year-old Swami A Parthasarathy, philosopher, author and corporate guru lives by, and for five decades he has been advising business people all over the world to practise it, in order to work more effectively and free themselves of stress.
An advertisement for his teachings, Parthasarathy follows a daily regime of yoga and jogging, and prides himself at maintaining the same weight for the past 60 years.
Parthasarathy’s lifetime research, under the auspices of The Vedanta Institute in India which he founded in 1988, has formulated self-management courses for corporations worldwide, and he is the author of nine books, including The Complete Works of Swami Parthasarathy (2012) and Vedanta Treatise: The Eternities.
He will soon be heading to South Africa on his annual tour, to present seminars in Joburg, Cape Town and Durban next month.
While he may not be imparting obvious economic solutions, Parthasarathy is a world-renowned authority on combating stress and enabling a far more focused approach to work. He encourages people to develop their intellect and improve their general well-being, his message derived from Vedanta.
Vedanta is an ancient philosophy of India, dating back several thousand years. It is a system of principles governing human life – the digest of great thinkers and philosophers over countless generations. Its timeless principles transcend culture, race and religion.
Swami Parthasarathy, or Swamiji as he’s fondly known, interprets this philosophy into practical techniques of management, translating it into contemporary language that modern business folk can easily understand.
One of his main points, for instance, is that you become exhausted not because of hard work, but because your mind continually “slips between the past and the future” instead of focusing on the present. “You worry about the past and are anxious about the future. This is what tires you, not work. Work can never tire you. When your intellect holds your mind on the present, you are practising concentration. This is the number one facet of success,” he says.
London-educated, with degrees in literature, science and law, Parthasarathy came from a prominent business family, but instead of running the family shipping business, decided early in life to dedicate himself to full-time study, research and the propagation of Vedanta.
Part of disciplining the mind is quelling desire, and this is another of Parthasarathy’s focus points in his seminars. “The mind generates desires, which are endless…You need to develop control over desires. Don’t get attached to things, to wealth, family, fame. Attachment is opposite of love. When love becomes selfish, it is attachment,” he has told his audiences.
Another of his teachings is based on the understanding that the intellect controls the mind, and that no amount of intelligence will help you without the power of your intellect. “Develop intellect that is strong enough to police and direct the mind,” he says.
Parthasarathy’s findings, discourses and seminars have been featured on TV and in print media worldwide, and he has been acclaimed as the “business guru” and “go-getters’ guru” by Time and Business Week.
Parthasarathy has been travelling to South Africa annually for a number of years to deliver his business seminars.
This year, his seminars in Joburg and Cape Town are titled: “Intense work is Rest”. Again it is themed on his message that work can never tire you. “Action is the insignia of life and the beauty of action lies in keeping the body ever active while the mind rests at peace, like the fuselage of a Boeing flying at 500 miles per hour while the passengers inside rest blissfully,” he says.
His Durban seminar is titled: “The Essence of Leadership” and focuses on the power of intellect in effectively leading a team, and creating harmonious relationships.