Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Subba Rao

When a group of bandits harasses travelers, most worry about their safety. If you're Subba Rao, you'd follow them to mountain caves and confront them, armed with nothing but a bag of candy and a heart full of love ... and consequently you would convince all 550 bandits to put down their weapons and help the poor villagers with development work!

Fearlessness. Peace. Everyone wants it, many rally for it, but few actually have it. At 77, Dr. Subba Rao - a Gandhian legend respectfully called "Bhai-ji" - still has a habit of doing the unimaginable: whether it means confronting bandits with compassion, engaging in peace dialogue with world leaders, or inspiring 2400 youths to take a 8-month "peace train" pilgrimage across India.

"Accept everything that makes you strong -- physically, intellectually and spiritually," Dr. Rao says. "Reject everything that makes you weak."

On Wednesday, August 23rd, we have the rare privilege of hosting such a noted and eloquent speaker, as Dr. Rao shares his personal journey and the universal principles that have lighted his way. This event is hosted in our home and there is no cost to attend; please RSVP for more details (unfortunately, we can only accommodate the first 75 RSVP's).

Service Without A Pause

Subba Rao grew up in British-controlled India, and began to follow Gandhi as a teenager. First arrested at the age of 14 (and released the next day) for painting an Indian freedom slogan on a wall, he continued in Gandhi's footsteps (and later Vinoba's), by engaging in all types of humanitarian work.

When he speaks about the history of India, Dr. Rao isn't retelling stories he has read; he's talking about what he has lived! Being fluent in all 18 languages of India, Dr. Rao has been there and done that. He studied law at Brown University and has even been a translator for many, including the Prime Minister of India. And yet a suitcase and handbag contain all his possessions.

A fellow of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, founder of National Youth Project of India, and a friend of world-renowned instruments of social change, Subba Rao is a man of amazing intelligence, grace and spirit. His work with children has taken on many creative shapes and forms, all incorporating the Gandhian principle of service to humanity. On his 8-month peace train service tour, 2400 youth made daily stops to villages throughout India, where they biked and searched out ways to serve the poor, the elderly, or anyone else who was within the range of a random act of kindness.

Internationally, he is known for a wide network of Gandhi Camps that brings the wisdom of Gandhi's principles -- truth, tolerance and self-help -- to the next generation youth. Over the last 18 years, the camps have touched tens of thousands of kids.

After just one week with "Bhaiji" at a youth camp, teenager Ragini Sreenivasan felt that Dr. Rao was "the perfect man to teach Gandhian principles." He even started to spin yarn at the age of 13, she adds.

As Gandhi's quote reads, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world" - so reads the life of Subba Rao: a man who IS the change.

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