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India: Land of Spirituality

It is a well-known fact that India is often referred to as the land of spirituality and yet, nobody can answer the question ‘why’ when asked about it. Honestly, I don’t think anyone knows the definite answer to this question. India is a country where the lifestyle of its citizens is a unique thing. In this article, we are attempting to figure out the “why” part of the question so come join us on this journey and let us see why famous entrepreneurs and celebrities came to India specifically and how they found their nirvana and returned to their lands inspired and motivated to be successful.

Every year, thousands of tourists from all over the world visit our country to witness the specialty of this sacred land. While some come to experience the rich heritage and culture of the country, others come in search of enlightenment and inspiration.

I'm sure you've heard of the film Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts. Liz's life is turned upside down when she gets divorced, leaving her unsure of what is important to her. Liz sets out on a journey of self-discovery that takes her to Italy, India, and Bali, daring her to step outside of her comfort zone in the hopes of healing from her traumatic divorce and gaining some spiritual clarity through fun activities and rigorous meditation, and yoga. She visits an ashram in India in the film, where she adopts our typical lifestyle—waking up early, praying to god, chanting prayers, and asking for long and healthy life—and even begins to dress like us. She learned to pray and worship in India, thus fulfilling the “pray” portion of the film's title.

Like Liz, many believe that India is a place of transformation and growth. India is known to have special healing powers. We will be looking at the case studies of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, a few of those people whose visits to India changed their lives completely.

While reading these stories, I had only one question in my mind: I’ve been in India my whole life but why haven’t I come across something that would inspire me? What really inspired these people that India is known as the land of spirituality?

Steve Jobs used to go to an ISKCON temple on Sundays as a young man. In his biography, he has said “I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it.” Steve Jobs always wanted to visit India which he did in mid-1974 with his friend, Daniel Kottke in quest of spiritual enlightenment at Neem Karoli Baba's Kainchi ashram. He was unable to meet Karoli Baba before he died, and the trip to India was allegedly a letdown for the young seeker. He eventually switched to Buddhist meditation as a substitute. He embraced Indian culture in the flower child style of the time. He had, or at least he thought he had. But, he discovered that India came with beggars on the streets and the reality of poverty, which was a far cry from the hippy-ish lifestyle Jobs had led up to that point.

He returned to the West with Eastern philosophy on his lips, a freshly shaven head, and loose-fitting Indian garments, according to his biographer. Steve Jobs was both traumatized and changed as a result of his trip to India. He returned to Atari as a Buddhist who was more focused and hardened. Did he find the steel in India that would allow him to endure being fired from the firm he built and then return to reach new heights?

Mark Zuckerberg, who visited India in 2015, was actually mentored by Steve Jobs. In the initial years of Facebook, Zuckerberg was facing problems with the company and even came close to selling it but it was Jobs who asked him to visit India, hoping that it would help Zuckerberg reconnect with his mission of Facebook, which is exactly what happened.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of our relatives’ favorite app, Facebook, actually came to India and stayed here for a month, hoping that he would return with the same inspiration and zen that Jobs had acquired. He stayed here for a month. In an interview, the young CEO mentioned how “He (Jobs) advised me to go to this temple in India that he had visited early in his evolution of thinking about what he wanted Apple and his vision of the future to be in order to reconnect with what I believed was the company's goal.

What really inspired Zuckerberg to keep his company was the community. He recollected how seeing the people in a community being so close and friendly, the way they are connected got him thinking about how the world would’ve been a better place if everyone had this kind of connection and togetherness, which made him realize the importance of Facebook and the work that he was doing for it. Even today, Zuckerberg owes a lot of his sources of inspiration to keep Facebook going to the time he spent in India.

If not for Zuckerberg’s trip to India, your life might have been a little better without Facebook being what it is today. Your mom wouldn't have compared you to Sharmaji ka beta after seeing his marks on Facebook or your friends wouldn’t have blackmailed you with those photos that were posted by your dad on Facebook.

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