Steve Jobs (1955-2011), the man who changed the way we communicate, did visit India in search of enlightenment – to the ashram of Neem Karoli Baba. Did Jobs understand the true teachings of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism)? This question might go unanswered. But he did believe in Karma. He was a vegetarian, liked yoga and was known for his strong love and compassion for animals.
Did Steve Jobs actually speak about Hindu influence – an instance that is widely quoted regarding this Stanford University commencement address in 2005.
Steve said – “I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna Temple. O loved it.” In the same speech he mentioned Karma. You have to trust in something – your destiny, life, Karma… Gandhiji was a great influence on Steve Jobs. Mahatma Gandhi was one of his personal heroes.
When asked by Time magazine about his choice for the person of the century in the year, 1999, Jobs replied, “Mohandas Gandhi is my choice for the Person of the Century because he showed us the way out of the destructive side of our human nature.”
In the same interview, Jobs said, “Gandhi demonstrated that we can force change and justice through moral acts of aggression instead of physical acts of aggression. Never has our species needed this wisdom more.”
His visit to India in search of enlightenment was a disappointment. He was troubled by dysentery, lice, scabies and had trouble with milk vendors. A few years later Steve said this – Thomas Edison did a lot more to improve the world than Karl Marx and Neem Karoli Baba put together. The above statement echoes Sri Krishna asking Arjuna to do his Karma and not to hide behind high sounding philosophical thoughts. Perhaps if ever Hinduism inspired Steve Jobs it was in the idea of Karma – trusting in something and going ahead with it whole heartedly without thinking about end result.
Steve Jobs said this –
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Forget whether Hinduism inspired Steve Jobs or not? But this man was an inspiration, is an inspiration and will forever be an inspiration for all those who have the courage to hear the inner voice and tread the unknown path – a path that will positively change the lives of living beings.