This morning, I completed my first read-through of Governing Business & Relationships, the new book by Swami Parthasarathy which purports to teach people how to succeed in managing relationships at work and elsewhere.

It’s a book based on the principles of the ancient Vedanta philosophy and it’s as wise and guiding as Swamiji’s other books that I’ve read thus far. He’s coming to town next week for the first time in 5 years and for the launch of this book. I will be interviewing him for my West Meets East column on Read The Spirit.

But really, this interview will be a gift of time with one of the world’s great scholars. And so I began to ponder this morning the questions I might ask. I have a half-hour, a generous river-journey of time – what do I want to know?

For I have already obtained the key to eliminating worry and anxiety by reading his books. Will I ask him how to raise children from a Vedic perspective? He’ll likely say, “Be your best person and shut your mouth.” (Quote from his disciple, Gautam Jain, when he was here in the spring.)

Will I ask him how to adopt an attitude of apres vous in a society of gimme-gimme-gimme? Or how to choose clients on the basis of the intellect rather than for the money?

Thankfully, my early studies of Vedanta, primarily through his texts, has set me on the path. So maybe what I will ask him is, who are you and even more importantly, how does one learn who they really are, after stripping away the material, superficial layers?

It is a question I’ve put before my Wayne State University students this semester. Focusing our compoosition class around the notion of work and working class, I’ve asked them to think about who they might be separate from relationships with others and the work that they do or will do.

Can you answer it? [It’s not an easy task!]

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