‘Energy management, a key concern for modern-day workers’

NYC-based speaker Dandapani uses ancient techniques to coach new age entrepreneurs on taking informed business decisions.


Dandapani is a New-York based priest, entrepreneur and former monk of 10 years. Having graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, he became a monk under the guidance of Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

As a motivational guru, he works with entrepreneurs globally and firms such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Nike, Trivago, Fortress Investment Group, Xero in cultivating focus and managing energy by employing tools and teachings used by monks for thousands of years. During his visit to Chennai for an Entrepreneurs Organisation event, he spoke to DTNext on a range of subjects. Excerpts from an interview:

Introduction tospirituality
I am Sri Lankan by background, but I was born in Malaysia. I have always been interested in spirituality. When I was about four or five, a swami came to my house, dressed in a traditional robe and wearing rudrakshas. When I saw him, I told my mother I wanted to be a monk. When I was 8 or 9, I realised everything in life went through cycles – creation, preservation and the eventual end. Once my parents took me to a cousin’s birthday party, and we were driving back home after the party. It dawned on me that we are born, we live, and we die. I thought that was ridiculous. I wanted to know if there was more to life. And I felt being a monk was the most efficient path to enlightenment.

Keeping it real
When I am home, I begin my day with a prayer, which I conduct with my 14-month-old daughter. We chant the 108 names of Ganesha. People look at me and they assume I am a saint. I am no different than most people. I was trained as a monk by an amazing guru and he shared with me a few tools.

I impart notes to entrepreneurs on how the mind works and how to concentrate and manage their energies. I tell them to treat energy the same way they treat money. It’s a finite resource, that needs to be wisely managed and invested. You must decide who and what you want to invest your energy in. A lot of people aren’t clear about this, so they put their energy all over the place, and nothing really comes out of it. What you must keep in mind is how badly do you want to or desire to pursue something. Most people don’t desire things badly enough and they don’t get it.

Renunciation and desire
People tend to say you should not have desires if you are spiritual. My guru was the first to tell me that desire is ok. Even as a sadhu, I had the desire to have breakfast, sleep, have an ice cream, and go to the beach, watch a movie. The goal is to direct or channel our desire to what is important in life. To live without desire is impossible. My need to breathe in order to live is a desire into itself. There is a notion that materialism is bad and that if you are spiritual, you should not be making money or have too many material possessions. For a grihastha, as per the Vedas, there are four goals – artha, kama, dharma, moksha. As a householder, your first goal is to make money, ensure your family is sheltered, safe and cared for. Once these things are taken care of, you can sit down to meditate. One of my goals is to make as much money as possible. This is so that I can impact humanity and the environment. Without adequate money, I will not be able to see myself through these goals.

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