Could meditation actually lead to world peace? Ultimately, it’s up to each and every one of us, according to Kamlesh D. Patel.
Millions of people across the globe follow spiritual leader Kamlesh D. Patel’s Heartfulness movement and meditation practices. Known affectionately as “Daaji,” the best-selling author released his first book, The Heartfulness Way, in 2018 and has never looked back. He conducts workshops across India and the US when he’s not writing. With his new book, Spiritual Anatomy: Meditation, Chakras, and the Journey to the Center released just weeks ago, I was curious to know what has driven Daaji to such levels of success.
Q: This interview is about what has driven you to become successful. As a child, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?
Daaji: My original dream was to become a doctor, but my scores fell short of expectations and so I became a pharmacist instead. Due to family pressures I remained near home despite offers to attend university elsewhere and this sacrificed my professional future for them. But spiritually, the pursuit was always there, even as a child. I would wonder about all of the statues of gods and goddesses India is famous for, and when I found no real satisfaction in this external world, I had to go inward.
I started searching for books that would enlighten and show me the way. I started reading, and the most imposing book that came to me in my life was through the school library, The Gospel of Ramakrishna, which changed everything for me. Every page I read, I used to cry like a child. His restlessness was so profound. He used to cry for the divinity; his restlessness to attain the highest state was breathtaking.
My initial attempt at meditation consisted of closing my eyes, sitting still and trying to meditate; but this wasn’t successful for me. A friend suggested trying yoga instead – and this proved much more successful!. “I don’t see you going deeper when you meditate; you are still restless with your closed eyes.” He said, “Come, my friend, I’ll take you to a lady who will immediately put you into a trance.” In those days in 1976, there were no handsets, no mobile phones. We went to her home and asked, “Do you want to meditate?” She was so welcoming. She explained how to meditate, sat in front of me, and had a one-to-one session. It was so lovely, the most profound meditation session in my life. I was 19 years old.
Q: It takes a real effort to quiet the mind in this world with so much distraction. With more technology and ways to communicate now, why are people seemingly lonelier than ever?
Daaji: You think you are getting in touch with people through Facetime and Instagram? No. You are in touch with electronic gadgets. These are superficial things. That is not a relationship. You need to hold your friend’s hand, say hello, and have a conversation. We have relegated our hearts and proximity to what I call a metrics world. Though it’s real, we live in limbo and satisfy ourselves by thinking, “Oh, I’m in touch with so many people.” But you are really not in touch with anyone, not even yourself. Had you been in touch with yourself, then all these gadgets would become redundant.
Q: If somebody asked you how to live a more purposeful life, would you say a good way to start is to get rid of electronics?
Daaji: Use it when you must use it. Discern when you should or need to use it. It becomes a stumbling block for us. Whenever we depend more and more on the outside, we become less dependent on the inner self. The less we use our inner self, you lose that inner connection. If you don’t use it, you lose it, they say. Your connections are now more in the metrics world. It is not real; it’s worse than a bubble. You may have a conversation on Instagram, but you don’t even know who you are interacting with. I was fascinated by the AI dating women and dating men. I was wondering, ‘What is this AI woman and man that you can have a romance with?’ Now you can imagine to what extent we are driving towards. Technology is great, but is this the greatness we want to attain? You are fooling yourself when you deny the real and rely more on the metrics world.
Q: What drives you these days? You have already achieved so much success with your bestselling books and a tremendous Heartfulness movement.
Daaji: My purpose has changed. I continue to grow the more I serve and the more I enroll myself in transforming someone’s consciousness. Along with that change in others, I feel a change in myself. The change I feel in my mindset when I transmit that state I just acquired. You know the saying it’s too good to be true? When we meditate the heartfulness way, it is too good to be untrue. Your inner experience is so profound. You become so grateful in the process when emotions, consciousness, and everything change after just a few minutes of meditation. Thankfulness is a natural product of meditation.
Even if one person meditates in the house, mother or father, and if they both meditate together — that’s even better. You can see how it changes the environment. You can see the tranquility around them in that house. Children who wake up to that silence imbibe those vibrations in this divine silence. A natural discernment comes, and you don’t have to teach them to do this, don’t do this, or what’s right and wrong; they will develop naturally. The peace that radiates within you can touch so many people, starting with your own family and your neighbors, and then we radiate peace in the world.
How are we going to bring about world peace? It’s not a magic wand that you wipe around the globe and say, now the earth is at peace. It’s done at an individual level. That is the requirement. Without that, there can be no community peace; there cannot be peace at the family level. How can there be peace at a national level? If a nation is not at rest and peaceful and happy, how can the world be at peace? Peace begins at home with the heart.
Q: I wish 20 million people were following your heartfulness movement! A friend of mine at work wanted me to ask you if you believe in regret or if you have any regrets?
My greatest regret in life has to do with the loss of my mother at age 92. We were close for most of my life except during periods when I lived abroad (such as studying). Even when I was with her, I couldn’t solve her physical issues. I brought doctors and nurses to help her. I regret not pampering her, feeding her, and not massaging her head or her feet myself. I relegated that to nurses. I missed that. That’s the biggest one in my heart. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I want to urge all individuals: when given an opportunity to serve your loved ones, do not miss it.
Q: What is the one thing you hope people take away from reading your new book?
Daaji: If they read this book and it can inspire them to strengthen their spiritual journey and spiritual anatomy, that’s my purpose.
Q: Awesome. Finally, as we are a super car app, I must ask, what was your first car?
Daaji: My first car was a Chevy Impala. I love to drive; I really love vehicles. My son and I used to have a struggle of who would drive. Now, he has given up the idea. There’s no point in trying to convince Dad!
Learn more about Kamlesh D. Patel, and thanks for reading!