“Urban Monk” educates, intrigues campus in exploration of Hinduism


Lucas Koprowski

Gadadhara Pandit Dasa giving a seminar for his Conscience Mind series at the College of DuPage from Feb. 25 though Feb 26.

Ben Grote, Sports Reporter

Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, author of the book “Urban Monk,” visited College of DuPage as the keynote speaker of the Conscious Mind Fest hosted by the Living Leadership Program. His speeches varied in content, from stress management tips to Hinduism’s similarities to the hit movie “The Matrix.” The wide range of topics that Dasa touched on offered unlimited knowledge to anyone who attended the free presentations.

“Exploring Hinduism,” Dasa’s presentation on Feb. 25, covered his religious affiliation. While it’s impossible to truly explore one of the oldest religions of mankind in a one night lecture, Dasa was able to cover a plethora of information in the short timespan he had.

Breaking down his presentation into six sections, Dasa presented monotheistic and polytheistic beliefs in Hinduism, the concept of time, “ahimsa,” or the practice of doing no harm to others, reincarnation, Hindu practices, and Hinduism in America.

Spending about 10 minutes per subcategory, Dasa explained the main concepts behind each Hindu idea. He talked in a manner that was able to intimately engage the audience during his whole lecture, keeping listeners attentive even with fast-moving information.


We learned quickly about key components that make up the religion. Dasa started off by showing the audience the names and pictures representing just a few of the many Hindu gods. He asked the audience what we thought Hinduism was: a polytheistic religion or a monotheistic religion?

Many people jumped to the conclusion that Hinduism is a polytheistic religion, considering Dasa had just explained there are believed to be as many as 330 million Hindu gods and goddesses. However, Dasa explained there are more views than just that of the polytheistic nature in the religion. Many people, including himself, believe that Hinduism can be a monotheistic religion.


He continued on by explaining that George Harrison, a member of The Beatles, believed in a monotheistic version of Hinduism. Harrison’s belief not only helped to spread Hinduism in America, but also made the idea of a monotheistic version rise to popularity to the common eye.


One point that intrigued many audience members was the impact Hinduism has made on the fitness industry. This may sound strange, but many forget that yoga is derived from Hinduism. Originally used mainly as a method of prayer, yoga is practiced by many people for health benefits.

As the presentation went on, Dasa presented a video that illustrated why his belief in reincarnation is so strong. The video showcased people remembering their past lives, each with accounts that testify to the validity of their claims.


At the end of his presentation, Dasa took questions from the audience and was able to further explain any misconceptions about the religion. I was able to ask him to expand on a point he had brought up earlier in the night. Dasa believes everyone should be a vegetarian. I was happy with the well-thought-out response explaining the pain eating meat causes to animals. Dasa was also kind enough to sign copies of his books for students and attendees, and was very sincere when thanking the audience for listening so attentively. Both of these genuine acts proved that Dasa had no agenda other than sharing his knowledge for the members of the Glen Ellyn community in a completely non-judgmental way.


Dasa’s “Exploring Hinduism” lecture was eye-opening for those who attended, and the audience’s facial expression spoke for the overall interest in the topic.


This lecture, as well as the remaining three events that Dasa and the Conscious Mind Fest hosted, were recorded by the Living Leadership Program. If you could not attend the events but wish to see a specific lecture, you can do so by speaking with Student Life in SSC 1217.