“Follow your passion. But also remember that when it becomes a means for exploitation, your talent which is a nature's boon starts to diminish.”
Vallabh Bhanshali is a visionary, a businessman, a devoted Vipassana meditator and a philanthropist. He co-founded ENAM securities, a highly reputed investment banking and investment group. ENAM has played a critical role in the growth story of multiple Indian corporations which went on to become the crown jewels of Indian economy -- such as Infosys, Reliance, Sterlite, Zee, Inox, Jindal, Thermax, etc. For his unique ability to solve complex problems, he came to be known as “investment banker of the first and the last resort”.
For Vallabh-bhai, however, the real jewel was never his wealth or even his fame, but it was his search for the “truth” within. At 19, he chanced upon Acharya Vinoba Bhave’s Talks on Gita, and in his own words “half-way through the book, my life was completely changed.” He decided to live by a clear set of principles: Be passionate about what you do, embrace change and stand firm when the going gets tough. “I was practicing as an accountant and I realized that I may be academically brilliant, but my heart was not in it. So, I just walked out of my practice not knowing what I was going to do next.” Illustrating his dedication to stand firm and show up for a client even in troubled times, Bhanshali recalls the IPO of Air Deccan, India’s first low-cost airline. “Captain Gopinath, the founder of the new airlines, appointed five bankers to raise capital in order to make Air Deccan fly. Three of them scooted when they realized that things were not as solid as they appeared. The other two couldn’t help because they had invested in the company. But I said, ‘Captain, I will hold your hand. I am not going to leave you’. Had I also left, the airline would have stopped in the next seven days.”
In the world of finance which is often associated with greed and selfishness, Mr. Bhanshali is a beacon of integrity who leads with values, clarity, modesty and sincere concern for the wellbeing of others. But how did a “shy and diffident kid” – that’s how he describes himself as a child – become this immensely successful and highly renowned entrepreneur who constantly strives to make this world a better place? Gladly, Mr. Bhanshali is excited to share his ‘secret sauce’: Inner Transformation.
His 30 year long spiritual journey took him to many shores, from Eastern Philosophy to Western Philosophy. Another pivotal point in his search was when he found Vipassana Meditation. In 1989, at the age of 37, he attended his first course and ever since it has been “one blissful journey”. Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by the Buddha more than 2500 years ago. Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced by disciplined attention to your own breath. Once the transformation is complete, you are liberated from mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
Mr. Bhanshali sees meditation as an evolutionary process for mankind. “Having explored the external world and reaching its threshold, people are looking for greater peace, greater meaning, greater understanding.” Through ardently practicing Vipassana for many years, he became deeply transformed. He sees his body and his consciousness as part of a bigger system and feels aligned with the universe. “Once you are aligned, all the happiness just flows. You don’t worry too much, you just do what you think is right. Life becomes so easy, it’s wonderful.”
Strongly committed to support the Vipassana movement, he has not only encouraged his family, friends and colleagues to meditate regularly but he is also Trustee and former Chairman of the Global Vipassana Foundation.
He was a Trustee of the Bombay Stock Exchange and has served on several policy making & advisory committees of the Government and other regulatory bodies. He is also the founder Director of FLAME University – India’s innovative Liberal Arts University. He is the founder and chief mentor of Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation which is focused on instilling a sense of active citizenship amongst school and college students. The Foundation has also launched TRUTHtalks, an innovative initiative to inspire people to raise the Truth Quotient in their lives and make our society more happy, trustworthy and productive.
Join us in conversation with this inspiring visionary, truth-seeker and changemaker!