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|February 26, 2000|
Karma, dharma talk gets record attendance in Silicon Valley
J M Shenoy
Most of The Indus Entrepreneurs monthly events get about 300 people who flock the Marriott Hotel in Santa Clara to listen to Internet sages wax eloquently about their startup days and current success. Practically every event is sold out.
But, last week, TiE had a gathering that made the event look as if it was the annual convention of the organization.
At least 720 people turned up -- with dozens turned away -- not to listen to a newly minted Internet billionaire or the latest wunderkind in the business, but hear some plain soul talk about karma and dharma. A sizable number of the attendees flew in from other cities. Indian Ambassador Naresh Chandra came from Washington, as the event was organized with the Indian consulate's help in San Francisco.
The speaker was Dr Deepak Chopra, the best-selling holistic guru, whose new book How to Know God: The Soul's Journey Into The Mystery Of Mysteries is now reaching hundreds of bookshops across America. And the theme of his presentation? The Creation of Wealth, Entrepreneurship And Nourishing The Human Spirit.
"It's the soul that generates the wealth ultimately,'' said Dr Chopra. "Wealth is that abundance that helps fulfill human needs. And not only human needs, but that of the ecosystem to which human beings belong."
All technological progress, including the fantastic rise of the Internet, will fail if the soul is not given its due, Dr Chopra said.
TiE organizers said there was nothing contradictory in having soul time at a business gathering. They point the books out in the market that deal with spirituality and business, and to best-selling writers like Stephen R Covey who make spirituality the core of their business by writing such books as The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.
Last year, the New York chapter of Network of Indian Professionals organized a two-day retreat for its members in an ashram in Pennsylvania.
'When you talk about entrepreneurship, the typical topics are how do you raise money, how do you build a team, how do you take a company public -- this is somewhat different,' Lata Krishnan, one of Silicon valley's big success stories, told the San Jose Mercury News.
'But I think the culture of the Indo-American community is historically built on a lot of spirituality,' she said. 'In the rat race we're all in, we're all looking for a sense of stability and a grounding to begin the day with.'
Dr Chopra's message went down very well with listeners, the organizers said, adding that it was a sight to see some of the most powerful men in Silicon Valley and scores of younger entrepreneurs, programmers and their spouses listen to the talk with utmost attention.
"Real wealth gets created when the soul is fully nourished,'' said Vinod Dham, chairman and CEO of Silicon Spice.
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