Undergraduate and graduate students from around the globe gathered at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Edison, NJ, on Sunday, August 13, 2023. The assembly aimed to teach students how to think differently, be different, and succeed differently during their academic lives. The unique program featured an inspirational seminar by Pujya Gnanvatsaldas Swami, an eminent motivational speaker whose insights have inspired millions worldwide. With a background in engineering, Pujya Gnanvatsaldas Swami has delivered over 15,500 seminars and talks and regularly publishes columns in various publications.
This assembly was a component of the Festival of Inspirations, a three-month-long spiritual celebration marking the grand opening of BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, NJ. Akshardham stands as a testament to Hindu architecture and culture, aiming to reconnect the youth with the core values of service, devotion, and harmony. This festival celebrates the timeless values that Akshardham hopes to inspire for future generations.
Addressing the assembly of students, Pujya Gnanvatsaldas Swami shared invaluable insights on achieving success in personal, academic, and spiritual life. He emphasized the paramount importance of a strong value system, cautioning that the road to progress is fraught with temptations. While easier, non-ethical paths may present themselves, one must remain anchored in their values to find true success. Highlighting the need for a positive mindset, he contrasted the prosperity thinker, who remains optimistic in the face of adversity, with the poverty thinker, who becomes disheartened by challenging circumstances. Citing the resilience of figures like HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj, and Elon Musk, Pujya Gnanvatsaldas Swami showcased how these leaders maintained a positive outlook even in the most challenging times. He concluded that when one thinks differently, they inherently become different and, as a result, succeed differently. He underscored that every life decision rests in our hands and ended the seminar by encouraging attendees to stay rooted in their cultural fundamentals and maintain unwavering faith in divine providence. As Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj believed, "God is the ultimate doer; whatever God does is for the greater good." Holding onto this belief can pave the way for lasting happiness.
The seminar also touched on practical topics like time management, immigration challenges, financial burdens, and strategies to combat overthinking. Sharing a profound thought, he remarked, “No one witnesses a sunrise without enduring the night's darkness. Struggles are intrinsic to life. During challenging times, face them head-on, work diligently, and always be on the lookout for opportunities.”
The assembly was honored by the presence of Mr. Kanjan Patel, the first elected Indian official in the Council of Roosevelt Park.