‘Happiness expert’ inspired by gurus from Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka

Happiness expert Chade-Meng Tan, former Jolly Good Fellow at Google, counts Tamil Nadu-based Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and late Godwin Samaratne, a meditation teacher from Sri Lanka among his inspirations.
‘Happiness expert’ inspired by gurus from Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka
Chade-Meng Tan


The techie-turned motivator, based out of US has now authored a book called Joy on Demand that focusses on how one can inculcatee happiness into one’s life with simple meditation and breathing routines, similar to that of yoga.
Talking about the beginning of his journey in pursuit of happiness, Meng tells us that his life took a turn for the better after he learned meditation from late Godwin Samaratne, a teacher of lay meditation. He has also had the opportunity to interact up close with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev of the Isha Foundation, which is headquartered in Coimbatore. 
Sadhguru’s teachings made a deep impression on him, which he talks about in his book. Giving us his take on the secret of happiness, Meng says, “My Asian upbringing had led me to believe that success leads to happiness, that one day, when I am successful, I will be happy. But it’s the opposite that is true. Success does not lead to happiness; instead, happiness leads to success.” 
The software engineer turned motivator, who is the Founder-Chairman of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute says he is amazed by the fluency and proficiency exhibited by people of Indian origin who have made it big in the US. He says, “I’m fortunate to have worked with many extremely talented Indian engineers (some of whom you’ve probably heard of: Amit Singhal, Sanjay Ghemawat and Krishna Bharat, all from Google). 
Not surprisingly, all Indians I’ve worked with in Silicon Valley are very smart, kind and hard-working. I also found that they usually have one additional strength which may be surprising to you: they tend to be very good with languages in general, and English in particular. 
It could be cultural, or historical, or it could have something to do with the intricacies of Indian languages, but ethnic Chinese immigrants, like myself, are keenly aware of our career disadvantage due to relative weakness in our faculty of spoken English, and we often marvel at our Indian friends at how comfortable they are with spoken English.” 
Meng, is also a team member of the non-profit organisation, One Billion Acts of Peace, which was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015. He says the initiative has done commendable work in India as well.  
“One of the best acts of peace I know of came from India when eight young Tibetan students living in India set out to do something seemingly impossible: provide an entire slum community with access to clean water.  These students were inspired to do something of service in their local community.  
A nearby slum had no access to clean water, and they decided to solve that problem. It was a daunting task even for adults, much less for a group of teenage students.” He explains, “First, they had to navigate the bureaucracy, then they had to procure pipes and water containers (which, it turned out, had to be purchased and shipped across India). 
They had to install everything, and of course, figure out how to pay for it all. They set out to solve the problems one at a time. They were unable to convince the local water authority to do anything, but were so sincere and persistent that the water commissioner himself agreed to help unofficially. They solicited donations from a group of Westerners visiting the Dalai Lama. 
They spent 15 hours digging trenches to lay the piping and many more hours assembling and distributing water containers. Thanks to these eight teenagers, 144 families living in abject poverty now have access to clean water.”

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