?To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.? ? Leonardo da Vinci
These words by one of the greatest philosophers of the fourteenth century ring true today despite humongous progress in science, education and technology. The modern system of education endeavors to create the complete mind by providing a comprehensive knowledge bank meant for functioning successfully in the modern-day world. However, as Da-Vinci explains very succinctly, modern education?s utter failure in appreciating the art in the science or in explaining how everything is connected, has left people to fend for themselves when it comes to the fundamental questions of life. Today?s education has not only managed to successfully create a slew of workers who single-mindedly pursue material progress but has also managed to create an image of the importance of such pursuits as the ultimate goal of life. However, there have been many people who have wondered if the prestigious educational institutions of the present-day world are sufficient at guaranteeing a fruitful and contented life and have endeavored to take a different path based on the true calling of their own hearts. Acharya Prashant is one such individual.
Acharya Prashant is an author and a spiritual teacher. Having authored more than twenty five books on spirituality and everyday Vedanta, he steers people towards a journey of self discovery and spirituality. However, when one glances into his past, his journey from being a model student at some of the best schools in the country to establishing a life-education foundation that focuses on spiritual development, seems not only unusual but also counter-intuitive.?
Prashant Tripathi hails from a simple Indian middle-class family and grew up imbibing the familiar values of the importance of education and career in one?s life. He went onto study in the premier engineering institution; IIT, Delhi and the best management school of the country; IIM, Ahmedabad. Alongside preparing for the management entrance, he also managed to clear the Indian Civil Services examination. He also garnered accolades in several co-curriculars such as theatre, debating, poetry and so on. Looking at the list of his achievements it would not have been a surprise to find him holding an important portfolio in the government or with a large corporation by now. But Acharya chose to do something different.
As a child, he exhibited a level of curiosity and insightfulness which is considered unusual for his age. When he was just 11, the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the surrounding events so disturbed him that he went on to write a letter to the state governor, which also got published. He had questions that ranged from topics of death to casteism and gender equality. He was also an avid reader and writer and began to write poems from a very early age. As he grew, the repertoire of his knowledge also grew but so did his questions. After finishing his management degree, he joined the corporate world but grew uncomfortable by each day. His longing to escape from the corporate environs is encapsulated in one of his poems where he wrote about how artificial the office lights seemed against beautiful moonlight that was visible from his window. The seed of doubt about the futile common-place life which had its roots in him since his childhood, grew to become a huge sore-point by this time. Hence, Acharya decided to break the monotony by developing a life-education program based on Vedantic principles. Today, PrashantAdvait Foundation, that is founded and lead by him, has millions of followers on Facebook and YouTube. People seeking clarity in life flock to his YouTube channels that contain more than 10,000 videos. This scholar’s unconventional mission is uplifting minds, video by video. The foundation runs public interaction sessions, camps and many different types of courses to help people on their spiritual journey.
While many a youth are bucking the trend of a 9 to 5 job to pursue a more independent life with a greater flexibility of work or to find fame via social media platforms, it is not every day that one meets someone like Acharya Prashant, who gave up a lucrative career and a socially-prestigious life to go down the path of spirituality. This is probably what sets him apart; the lack of interest in seeking social recognition and worldly accolades. Acharya Prashant chose a path less traveled by, and that made all the difference!