Portrait: ‘I Didn’t Plan to Become a Monk’

Feet in Two Worlds brought us this audio slide show portrait of Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, the first Hindu chaplain of Columbia University, and now also of New York University:

In 2004,  Gadadhara became the first Hindu Chaplain of Columbia University where he provides weekly spiritual guidance and support to students. Originally his talks were to support Hindu students from South Asia, but today his audience is a mixed group of Americans as well as students from other countries like Mexico, Guyana, and Columbia. He also became New York University’s Hindu Chaplain in 2007.

Gadadhara’s path has not always been a spiritual one, he told reporter :

Raised in India, he immigrated to this country with his parents when he was eight years old and says he “grew up in an environment charged with materialism.” He worked in a mortgage company for a number of years, but when his parents’ jewelry business took a turn for the worse it prompted him to become introspective and read the Bhagavad Gita, the famous Indian religious and philosophical text. In 1999, Gadadhara’s curiosity let him to India and a spiritual practice. He says he did not plan to become a monk but one month led to two and now he’s been a practicing monk for 12 years.

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