My parents migrated to the U.S. from India in 1980 with very little money. I was just a little child and one of the first things my parents did to earn an income was to set up a small shop on the boardwalk at Venice Beach in Los Angeles which is where I began to taste American culture for the first time.
When I lived as a monk, everyone asked me why I became a monk. Now that I'm no longer a monk people want to know why I'm no longer a monk. The answer is not so simple and instead of trying to overwhelm people with my answer and to answer many other questions people had, I wrote a book, Urban Monk.
I didn’t just wake up one day thinking to live
in a monasterY...
without money and minimal possessions. My journey inward began after my family lost their multimillion dollar jewelry business in Los Angeles and we went almost completely broke.
Life only got more exciting when we left everything behind and decided to explore new business opportunities in post-communist Bulgaria in the early 1990s. After living in a politically unstable environment for two years, we decided that the best thing would be to move back to the US.
I decided to take a break from everything I could to figure out what I really wanted to do. I bought a ticket for India and decided to spend the month living in a monastery. The idea was to be there for a month but I fell in love with the lifestyle of living simply and decided to spend the next six months in India.
After my Indian visa expired, I came back to New York and realized that I wasn’t ready to live life with a 9-to-5 job, so I ended up
spending 15 years in a monastery
in the Lower East Side of New York City. Having learnt so much from the monkhood, I began sharing the wisdom with college students around the country. Now, in my post-monk life, I’ve been sharing messages of resilience, leadership, stress management at work life balance with corporate audiences and just people around the globe.