Be a Gift to The World


Happy morning. I don’t know whether the speakers are working or not and I will not know they are working unless I get a response from you. Happy morning. Okay, thank you. “Bhutan” is one country that does not measure GDP, they measure “Gross National Happiness”. They believe happiness will be their greatest asset. Dubai recently has appointed a minister for happiness. They believe a happier Dubai will be a gift to the world. Last evening my wife from India asked me, so what’s your impression of Seoul? And I said, it’s a very happy city.

Everybody smiles in Seoul. A very happy city. So, I decided, I will begin this morning with the salutation. Happy morning. However proud I am about my own children, the greatest joy to me comes when I hear the neighbours praise my children. The greatest joy comes when I hear in a parents-teachers association meeting, the teachers praising my son, my daughter. No doubt I’m very, very proud of about my children but still the joy that I experience every time I travel in Singapore, the taxi driver would always ask me, “So what do you think about Singapore?”

He’s very proud about Singapore, but yet he wants to hear from a tourist. Everything good that he can speak about Singapore. In the same vein I know all of you are very, very proud “Rotarians”. I am a non-Rotarian in a Rotarian convention and I want you to hear it from me. “Rotary” is a gift to this world. “Rotary” is a great blessing to this world. And I have a reason to believe this, I’m not saying this just to please all of you in this convention. I have a reason to believe this and I’ll explain this in the last two minutes of my speech.

Excuse me, you’ll have to sit slightly on that. that’s okay, because my timer is there. I want to start on time and end on time. My entire work revolves around one story. All the work I do in these 20-years has revolved around one story. There was a father whose habit at the end of everyday is to read the newspaper and that day also he was reading the newspaper. He wants to know where all the wars are there, where all scandals are there.

And his six-year-old daughter insisted, dad play with me. But the father was too obsessed with the newspaper. But you know, children have their way around with their dads. The child kept on insisting dad play with me. Just then the father noticed, there was the full-page advertisement of a courier company, a international courier company, stating that they deliver the goods in all parts of the world and a world map was printed there.

In a moment of situational brilliance, the father immediately took that sheet of paper, tore it into multiple pieces, scattered it all over the floor and told the six-year-old daughter, darling, this is your jigsaw puzzle. Now assemble the world map together and once you are done, Dad will play with you. And believing he has bought time. He continued to read the newspaper. Within less than 10 minutes, the child had assembled the entire world map together and called out to the dad and said, Look.

The father looked at the world map in one piece, in one place and he was stunned. He knew, he couldn’t have done that. Looking at the expression on the father’s face. It seems the little one told the dad, “Dad, I know why you’re looking so shocked?” When you were tearing the paper, I saw there was a face of a man on the other side. Now, I don’t know where Korea should be, where America should be, where Sri Lanka should be, where Canada should be. But dad I know where nose should be, where forehead should be, where ears should be, where eye should be.

And it seems the child has said on behalf of all of us, “Dad, I got the man right the world became right.” There’s only one way to make this world right. Get the man right and collectively when all of us get ourselves right, the result an effect of it is the world will become right. We have all the time expecting from others. We expect government should do this, we expect a Rotary should do this, we expect this RI President should have done this, next RI President should do that, we expect this is how our convention should be done.

Everywhere we expect. But the most worthy thing that we can do is turn those expectations on ourselves. One of my favourite road sign reads, you turn. It’s telling me, you turn. First bring about all those expectations on to yourself and every individual transformation will result in collective transformation of the world. So, if each one of us, like John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country has done for you, ask what you can do for your country”. In fact, in every aspect rephrase this.

Ask not what this convention did for you as a Rotarian. But instead ask, you as a Rotarian, what value did you add to the convention? Ask not next year, what Rotary as an organization can do to the world. Instead each one of you ask yourself, I as an individual Rotarian, where can I throw my hand-up and assume responsibilities and be an instrument in the cause and the purpose of Rotary than each one of us make ourselves a gift to rotary and a gift to this world and thus a gift to humanity. It all begins with us. Always ask this question, what can I do?

In fact, the richest way to live your life is to go into any relationship, any relationship, looking at what can I give than what I can receive? You’re taking over a responsibility as a District Governor next year. Ask yourself, what I can give rather than what I can receive? This year how many more members can I add into my chapter? Ask what can I give then what I can receive? When you go home instead of expecting everybody to bring happiness to you ask yourself this question. How much happiness can I add to everybody at home?

The richest way to live your life. Like “Bible” says, “You’re poor by what you receive and you’re rich by what you give”. “The richest way to live your life is to go into any relationship looking at what can I give than what I can receive”. Ask not, what the outside can do for me, but always ask yourself what I can do to the world outside. Now how do I achieve this? So, I’ve planned this entire few minutes of mine with you around a personal pledge.

Day-by-day in every way, I will be a gift to the world by becoming most and more healthy, wealthy, loving, blissful, spiritual. I repeat and then I will explain, every word in this personal pledge is impregnated with meaning. Day-by-day in every way, I will be a gift to the world by becoming most and more healthy, wealthy, loving, blissful, spiritual. Day-by-day. There is no place for us to waste our time.

A human being has to make everyday count. We are not given a day of life to waste it, but to use it to construct tomorrows. There’s no place for lazy people in this progressive world. So, growth cannot be a once in a way affair. “Swami Vivekananda” from India said, “Truly great is not the man who can produce occasional excellence. Truly great is the man who can consistently produce excellence.” Day-by-day, making every day of your life count.

After all, we don’t have enough time left. Time is ticking. With great sense of purpose, let’s make everyday count. Putting days into life is aging, putting life into days is growing. Let’s keep growing by putting life into every day of our life. End of every day we should be able to utter the simple prayer to Lord saying that, thank you God for giving me a day and helping me to make it count.

A little child asked me once, “Mahatria, when do we die?” And I told the child, when we stopped being useful to the world. Even if you are still breathing, the day you’ve stopped being useful to the world, you’re already dead. You’re just breathing through the body. Every day let us use ourselves and be useful to the world. Day-by-day in every way. Man, of all the creations of God has been designed to be a holistic wonder and not a one roll wonder. Your success in one roll of your life does not permit you to fail in the other roles of your life.

Sometimes, we are all so satisfied with the success we produce in one role of our life, that we actually excuse ourselves by being a failure in the other roles of your life. You can be the greatest entrepreneur in the world and still you have to succeed as a family man. You can be an extraordinary family man and you still have your social obligations. We have to be a multi role wonder and we cannot be a one role wonder.

A king went to “Picasso” and ask “Picasso”, can you paint my portrait? And Picasso said I can do that, and this is what it would cost. The king told Picasso, for a canvas and a few colors. I’m not going to pay you so much. So, how much will you pay me? Picasso asked. I can only pay you this paltry sum, said the king. “Picasso” said, you can come and collect it tomorrow. The next day when the king went to see “Picasso”, there was a canvas with some yellow color, some red color, some blue color, some black color, some green color here.

And the king asked, what is this? “Picasso” said, a canvas in few colors. But I told you I want my portrait and “Picasso” said that can be achieved only by balancing all the colors, otherwise, you will not get a portrait. And “Picasso” added only a balanced life is a complete life. You cannot be a one roll wonder. Day-by-day in every way. And this is a resolve. I don’t want to be a gift to the world to be just a theme for one year, under one RI President. It’s so demanding to live a purposeful life. I really wish it becomes a personal pledge for all of us.

I will be a gift to the world. Day-by-day in every way, I will be a gift to the world by becoming a human being as an evolving consciousness. The greatest gift of being a human being is every today of our life can be better than our yesterday. Every tomorrow can be better than today. On the last day of his life, knowing very well he has to consume poison the next morning “Socrates” asked for a book to read. The prisoner asked “Socrates”, anyhow you’re going to die tomorrow, why do you want to read today? And “Socrates” said, so that I can die a little more intelligent.

The greatest joy of a human being is you’re an evolving consciousness. The “Vedas says, the “Jeevatma came from Paramatma“. “Bible says, God created human being after his own image”. “Islam says, everything descended from that one Allah”. “And science says, a human being is a bio-magnetic field that descended from the cosmic magnetic field”. So, if you are the micro essence of this macrocosm, then you are an evolving consciousness. A lion attains its maturity by the time it’s two-year-old and lives the rest of his life, repeating the same thing.

A human being need not. Today you can make a decision and live the rest of your life as a new human being, as an evolving human being. And that’s the greatest gift of being born as a human being. So, I am becoming all the time striving, relentless in my striving of becoming most and more. Scarcity has not solved any problems of the world. In fact, scarcity has created all the problems in the world. Abundance will solve all the problems in the world and for that each one of us have to become abundant minded.

We have to teach our children to strive for abundance, complacency, adequacy, satisfaction, contentment has not served human progress. This striving for abundance has solved most of the issues of the world. And abundance here is connoted by the words most and more. Day-by-day in every way, I will be a gift to the world by becoming most and more healthy. Five promises we take to be a gift to the world, healthy, wealthy, loving, blissful, spiritual. Healthy. This vehicle is the greatest gift of God and to us, and let’s use it to serve the world.

The only way your body can serve you is if you take care of the body. Wealthy. Financial abundance in the hands of a good human being will build a better world. Financial abundance in the hands of a bad human being will destroy the world. So, there is only one way to save this world from all the bad people. All the bad people should become poor. And there is only one way all the bad people in the world can become poor, all the good people should become rich. Healthy, wealthy, loving.

Take love beyond relationship, love nature, love your environment, love animals, love each other, love people. Do not leave the “Rotary” convention without hugging at least 10 people. Sometimes shaking hands looks like untouchability. Squeeze somebody. To the point they are choked for breath. Do not leave the convention and try to hug at least 10 people from 10 different countries before you leave the convention.

If the fragrance of a flower is the signature of the flower, let the fragrance of every Rotarian be love. Where there is a Rotarian, let there be love. Blissful. We need a happy world. In a happy world we don’t fight with each other. Happy people don’t fight people. We need a happier world. Be enthusiastic, be energy on the move, be exuberant, be demonstrator. Don’t go to a discotheque to be happy, wherever you are, let it be a discotheque. Bring happiness to where you are.

Don’t simply sit there as if you’re an extended furniture. Sit with energy, feel that enthusiasm, feel that energy. Be blissful wherever you are. Never, doesn’t matter how many layers of clothing you have. If you don’t wear a smile, you’re not complete. That’s God’s gift and spiritual.  All your disappointments in life is because you no more have an appointment with God. We cannot afford to be Sunday morning Christians and Friday afternoon Muslims and once in a week Hindus. We cannot afford to be that. A part of you should always be connected to the divine.

You can’t be a part time devotee of a full time God. Always feel spiritually connected to that great force. Day-by-day in every way, I will be a gift to the world by becoming most and more healthy, wealthy, loving, blissful, spiritual. I want to end my speech by saying, there is this gifted poet from India, “Rabindranath Tagore”, who said, “A world that is not broken up by fragments by narrow domestic walls into that heaven of freedom”.

My father let my country awake in a world that is not broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls into that heaven of freedom. My father let my country awake a world beyond discrimination. Yes, we need somebody to take care of hall arrangement, we need somebody to take care of program arrangements, somebody to take care of guest’s relationship, different functionalities, but together everybody is the core committee of Rotary Convention.

We need Presidents, Governors, RI Presidents, and next year another RI President, functional protocols, but together, it’s one Rotary. Like that we need countries, we need Korea, we need Sri Lanka, we need Canada, we need India, we need United States, we need Australia for governance. We all need our own paths of faith of Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism. But if we stay discriminated, there is no future for our children.

We need one world and to me, the hope of that one world beyond country, beyond language, beyond religion is actually Rotary. My greatest sole fulfilment every time I am in a Rotary event is, I know, I stand in front of a crowd from all the countries, from all the religions, from all the language, from all professions, all of them connected by one thread called I am a “Rotarian”. In fact, I firmly believe, our heart instead of beating lub-dub, especially when you are a “Rotarian”, your heart instead of beating lub-dub, lub-dub should actually beat one Rotary, one world.

One rotary, one world. And that will be the solution and that is why I believe, Rotary is a blessing to this world and that is why I request you before you leave the convention, before the closing ceremony. Ensure each one of you have at least hug 10 people from 10 different countries before you leave and let this be the beginning of one Rotary one world. Let’s take one collective pledge on the theme and I will close my speech. Together can we take the pledge.

Day-by-day in every way, I will be a gift to the world. This is not everybody. You want to listen to the next speaker, then you have to take the pledge. Otherwise, I’ll keep speaking till evening. I am not leaving, if you don’t take the collective pledge. I start again. Day-by-day in every way, I’ll be a gift to the world by becoming most and more healthy, wealthy, loving, blissful, spiritual.

One Rotary, one world. Thank you for the beautiful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. With one word I leave. I want to personally thank this wonderful human being the President Ravi for trusting me with this opportunity. A wonderful human being with no pretensions. Thank you so much. I love you all. One Rotary, One World.

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