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Global Bhagavad Gita Convention Speakers

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha (addressed as ‘Poojya Swamiji’ or ‘Swamiji’ by disciples and followers) is a guide in an unbroken lineage of enlightened Souls. He has been guiding people in their spiritual pursuit and expounding the universal truths of Supreme Reality in India and abroad for over six decades. His rational exposition of the science of Self-knowledge and its application in the art of refining, strengthening, and elevating the human mind has benefited and transformed countless professionals, householders, and students. People involved in highly responsible and challenging positions find Swamiji’s teachings to touch deep chords in their mind and intelligence which generates the needed sublimity, clarity, and vision to address and overcome difficult situations in their lives.
Swamiji is a Sannyaasin belonging to the ‘Tirtha’ lineage of Adi Sankaracharya, and an active social reformer. He is widely revered as a spiritual master, scholar and exponent of the ancient Hindu Scriptures - Bhagavadgeeta, Srimad Bhāgavatam and Upaniśads - and is well-known for his discourses on Vedanta and its practical application in daily life. He has also been instrumental in organizing campaigns for abolition of some discriminative, derogatory and superstitious practices that were followed by some Hindu temples. He has stood strongly for restoration, preservation and promotion of national values, environmental protection, cultural and academic uplifting of village children and development and welfare of rural areas. Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha was born in 1933, in the village of Parlikad near Wadakkanchery in Thrissur district, Kerala, India. After completing his education, he moved to Kolkata (then known as Calcutta), to join his brothers and take up employment. It was during this phase of his life that he met and got associated with Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa, a sage from Dakshinkhanda, West Bengal, which eventually led to his introduction to the world of spirituality and seeking self-realization.
Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha’s association with Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa inspired him to undergo intense meditation and spiritual practice. Ultimately, in 1956, at the age of 23, he renounced his professional life and embraced Sannyāsa, becoming a disciple of Baba. After being initiated into Brahmavidya (Science of Self-knowledge), he undertook assiduous study of the ancient texts and scriptures, as well as the Sanskrit language. As he progressed along the path of spirituality, some of his family members were also influenced to follow him. Later on, he decided to move back to Kerala, where the young ascetic was invited by many people, institutions and organizations for giving discourses on Indian spiritual texts, which gradually developed into his mission of spiritual knowledge dissemination, leading seekers towards the light of self-knowledge. He travelled extensively to conduct discourses, and his proficiency in English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam and Tamil made it easy for him to interact with seekers from different parts of the country. In 1963, he set up Narayanashrama Tapovanam, in Venginissery, Thrissur, which has, over the years, developed into a centre of intense research in the fields of Spiritual learning and Vedanta.

Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha evinced a strong inclination for the spiritual path from a very young age. Right from the beginning, Scientific Quest and Spiritual Pursuit have been complementary in his search for the Ultimate Truth. After a PhD in Physics, he became a scientist and assistant professor in Indian Institute of Technology – Kharagpur. In 1987, he renounced his professional life, and dedicated himself wholesomely to spiritual pursuit & societal welfare under the guidance of Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha. Swamiji's rational exposition of the Upanishads and the Bhagavadgeeta coming from his deep experiential knowledge of Truth has helped people from different walks of life to apply spirituality in all life-situations. Regarding this experience, Swamiji says, “As soon as I started studying Physics, I fell in love with it. Physics used to give me the joy of expansion, the joy of dispassion or impersonality. If we are able to integrate the fundamental philosophy of Physics into our vision of life and the world, then it will certainly generate impersonality, impartiality and humility in our mind.” After a PhD in Physics, he became a scientist and assistant professor in the Indian Institute of Technology – Kharagpur. By then, his spiritual quest had become very intense and was manifest in every aspect of life. In 1987, he renounced his household and professional life, and dedicated himself wholesomely to spiritual pursuit & societal welfare under the guidance of Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha.

Ma Gurupriya is a sannyaasin (renunciate) disciple of Poojya Swamiji – the guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam, Kerala; the Centres for Inner Resources Development, in India and abroad; and the Foundation for Restoration of National Values, New Delhi. Born in a family of academic excellence, Ma Gurupriya’s spiritual journey began during her days of postgraduate scientific research, when an overwhelming feeling of dispassion evoked an intense yearning for something eternal. She received deeksha from Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa, who before attaining Mahasamadhi, entrusted her spiritual welfare to Poojya Swamiji. Ma renounced her professional life as a lecturer of Physics in 1987. Dedicating her life at the feet of Poojya Swamiji. Ma attained enlightenment under his guidance. She is the Loving Mother for Poojya Swamiji's devotees and disciples around the world. Ma Gurupriya guides and participates in:

The Guru-bhakti and Guru-seva that remain the predominant forces shaping Ma’s life are expressed in her discourses and writings, systematic management of Ashram affairs and loving guidance to seekers. Her soulful chanting of Guru Stotras and other slokas echo the power of eternal Truth and devotion.

Swami Ishwarananda is the resident senior acharya of Chinmaya Mission Los Angeles. An accomplished master of Vedantic philosophy, Swamiji explains the universality of spiritual teachings in an extremely simplified manner for the audience to grasp the concept and for a seeker to implement the teachings in day-to-day living. Several companies, universities and inter-faith consortiums routinely reach out to Swamiji for delivering talks to their employees, students and congregations. Swamiji is presently one of the Directors of Chinmaya Mission West (CMW) which oversees the activities in North America. Previously, Swamiji was part of Chinmaya Mission Bangalore where he served as the secretary. Swamiji's own spiritual journey began when having been inspired by Param Pujya Swami Chinmayananda, and with the guidance of Swami Brahmananda, he left his field of software consultancy and joined Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai in 1991. Upon completing his brahmachari training in 1993, as Brahmachari Someshwar Chaitanya, he served Chinmaya Mission Centers in Bangalore and Calcutta and eventually as resident Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Los Angeles. In March of 2000, he was given sanyas deeksha by Pujya Swami Tejomayananda, and was named Swami Ishwarananda Saraswati. Swami Ishwarananda served the Mission in Los Angeles until 2001. Swamiji was then made the Acharya in charge of Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai for the 12th brahmachari batch from 2002 through 2004, thereafter returning to Los Angeles. Swamiji is a dynamic speaker and has given talks on Vedanta, stress management, management techniques and other such related fields.The topics include - Medication and Meditation, Spirituality at Workplace, Stress Management, Game of Life, Human Approach to Management, Profession with Principle, Surfing Above Sorrows, Value-based Management, Mindfulness, Excellence in Career, Vedanta in Daily Life, Spiritual Approach to Life, Mind Management, Vedanta for Householders, Practical Spirituality, Destiny versus Freewill, Conscious Self Management.
Swamiji is also a very discerning author providing very deep scriptural imports in simple language in well-known books like Conscious Living, Silent Search, Mukunda Mala, Dew Drops, Pathways to Peace, Guru Stotram.

Christopher Key Chapple is Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and founding Director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He has published twenty books on topics that include studies of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, and religion and ecology. Chris began his study and practice of Yoga while in high school in upstate New York. In 1972 he joined Yoga Anand Ashram in Amityville, New York where, along with his wife Maureen, he helped establish a vegetarian restaurant, an art gallery, a bookstore, and a community education center. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Stony Brook University in Religious Studies and Comparative Literature, with a specialization in Sanskrit and Tibetan language and literature. He completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Religions at Fordham University, focusing on the intersection between Buddhism, Vedanta, and Yoga. He served for five years at The Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions at Stony Brook where he also taught undergraduate classes in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Yoga. He joined the faculty of Loyola Marymount University in 1985. Chris is a featured teacher on YogaGlo.com. He edits the journal Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology (Brill) and serves on the advisory boards for the Forum on Religion and Ecology (Yale), the Ahimsa Center (Pomona), the Centre of Jaina Studies (SOAS, London), and the International School for Jaina Studies (Delhi). Chris is dedicated to the teaching of the whole person, body, mind, and spirit, through the modalities of book learning and experience as provided in Yoga traditions.

Satinder Dhiman, PhD, EdD, serves as Associate Dean, Chair, and Director of the MBA Program and Professor of Management at Woodbury University’s School of Business. He holds a PhD in Social Sciences from Tilburg University, Netherlands; a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University, Los Angeles; an MBA from West Coast University, Los Angeles; and an MCOM (with the gold medal) from the Panjab University, India. He has also completed advanced Executive Leadership programs at Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton. Professor Dhiman teaches courses pertaining to ethical leadership, sustainability, organizational behavior & strategy, and spirituality in the workplace in the MBA program. Author, co-author, and co-editor of 17 books, his most recent books include Holistic Leadership: A New Paradigm for Today’s Leaders (Palgrave, 2017) and Gandhi and Leadership: New Horizons in Exemplary Leadership (Palgrave, 2015). His recent co-edited works (with Dr. Joan Marques) include: Spirituality and Sustainability (Springer, 2016) and Leadership Today (Springer, 2016). Recipient of several national and international professional honors, Professor Dhiman is also the winner of Steve Allen Excellence in Education Award and the prestigious ACBSP International Teacher of the Year Award. He has presented at major international conferences and published research with his colleagues in Journal of Values-Based Leadership, Organization Development Journal, Journal of Management Development, Journal of Social Change, Journal of Applied Business and Economics, and Performance Improvement. Professor Dhiman also serves as Accreditation Mentor and Site Visit Team Leader for the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) for various universities in America, Canada, Europe, and India.

Dilip V. Jeste, M.D. is a geriatric neuropsychiatrist, who specializes in successful aging, neurobiology of wisdom as well as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders in older adults. He is the Senior Associate Dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He has published over 600 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 12 books, including Successful Cognitive and Emotional Aging (2009), Prevention in Mental Health (2011), and Positive Psychiatry (2015). He was listed in “The Best Doctors in America” and in the Institute for Scientific Information’s list of the “world's most cited authors”--comprising fewer than 0.5% of all publishing researchers of the previous two decades. His work has been featured in popular media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, National Public Radio, PBS, Public Radio International, London Times, and the Colbert Report, among others. Dr. Jeste obtained his medical education in Pune and Mumbai, India. In the USA, he completed psychiatry residency at Cornell University, and Neurology residency at George Washington University. He was a researcher at National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) before joining UCSD. Starting with just one fellow, he developed a geriatric psychiatry program at UCSD and San Diego VA; today it is one of the largest Geriatric Psychiatry Divisions anywhere, with major clinical, research, and training components. In addition to serving as Chief of the Geriatric Psychiatry Division at UCSD, he is the director of two institutes focused on of aging (Stein Institute for Research on Aging and Hartford Center for Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry) and the newly launched UCSD Center for Healthy Aging (2014). Dr. Jeste has been widely recognized for his contributions to the scientific community. As the American Psychiatric Association’s President during 2012-13, Dr. Jeste spearheaded the process of finalization, approval, and publication of the DSM-5. He also expanded APA’s international membership, and focused on Positive Psychiatry. He has received many awards including those from the NIMH, VA, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Institute of Living, and the Asian Heritage Society. He is a member of several prestigious professional organizations, including the Institute of Medicine. He also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Under Dr. Jeste’s leadership, the journal became the top publication in the field, in terms of the impact factor, and number of submissions and downloads.

Dr. A. D. Amar (Amar Dev Amar), an expert in knowledge work and organizations, received the 2013 Carolyn Dexter Finalist Award of the Academy of Management for his work on the effects of meditation on emotional intelligence and leadership of CEOs. He was also the 2013 Stillman Star of the Stillman School of Business and awarded the 2010 NJBIA Bright Idea Award in Management by NJPRO Foundation of New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) for his publication on leading without authority in the context of knowledge organizations in the Harvard Business Review. A tenured Professor of Management for knowledge, operations and strategy at the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ 07079, USA (e-mail:ad.amar@shu.edu or amaramar@shu.edu), he came to the US as a student from India. Dr. Amar has taught, consulted, held management positions and trained managers in industry and public sector undertakings in the USA, India, Poland, Russia, and the United Kingdom. In addition, he has lead several University courses to India to help students better understand the business environment outside of the United States in a seminar titled 'Doing Business in India.' He has served as external examiner on several doctoral committees, has years of research in knowledge work, and hundreds of scholarly publications and presentations on a variety of management topics. He has delivered a number of invited, plenary and special lectures worldwide. Among his publications is a graduate-level book on knowledge work and organizations titled Managing Knowledge Workers (Westport, CT: Quorum Books; 2002) and many peer-reviewed scholarly research articles in journals such as the Harvard Business Review, Organizational Dynamics, European Journal of Innovation Management, and IIE Transactions. Dr. Amar has been department chairperson, Director of MBA Assessment, Director of Seton Hall University Comprehensive Achievement Program (SHUCAP), Director Management Development Center, and the Editor cum Director of the Mid-Atlantic Journal of Business for 12 years. He serves, or has served, on several boards of journals and professional societies. He is a member of AOM (the Academy of Management) and Beta Gamma Sigma. He has been a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), APICS The Association for Operations Management (APICS), the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Derik Mills - With a decade-plus of diverse international business experience, the concept of YogaGlo represented the nexus of technology, wellness, fitness, connectivity, and spirituality for Derik Mills. He founded and self-funded YogaGlo in 2008. Teaming up with his younger brother Ryan, they converted a Santa Monica office into a studio. As the vision came into focus, the online service empowered subscribers to experience yoga and meditation classes taught by world-class instructors on-demand in the comfort of their own homes. By 2017, the company had expanded to a team of over 100 people, including employees and faculty, and produced over 7,000 classes. Featured by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Time, Forbes, Goop, Oprah, and more, it became a cultural phenomenon driven by Derik’s dedication, diligence, and devotion.
“As a seed is genetically encoded to become what it is meant to become given the right conditions, so too is YogaGlo as the confluence of my various paths taken,” he says. “When I saw the potential for those paths to align towards one mission for which I was thoroughly passionate, there was no choice; it had to become what it was meant to become. Its actualization took on its own inertia.”
You can trace Derik’s journey back to childhood. Born to educator parents, the New Jersey native always possessed a thirst for knowledge. Upon graduating from the University of the Puget Sound with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, he set off on a seven-year course around the world, spending much time in in Germany, India, Japan and Australia where he achieved a Master’s in Business at the University of Sydney. His career spanned entrepreneurial successes throughout various verticals, but yoga continued to beckon him as it did in college. Forever remaining a student, Derik resides in Southern California with his wife Lisa, and he devotes free time to surfing and bike riding.

Dr.Philip Goldberg has been studying India’s spiritual traditions for more than 45 years, as a practitioner, teacher and author. He is the author or coauthor of more than 20 books, including Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path and his most recent, American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West . That book was named one of the top ten religion books of the year by both Huffington Post and American Library Association’s Booklist, and received the Award for Special Distinction by the Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies. An ordained Interfaith Minister, a spiritual counselor and a meditation teacher trained in 1970 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he is an illuminating and entertaining public speaker who has presented at yoga centers and festivals, universities, religious and spiritual institutions and various other venues throughout the U.S. and India. He blogs on the Huffington Post, contributes regularly to Spirituality & Healthmagazine online and is a consulting editor at Sutra Journal. He has led workshops on the Bhagavad Gita and related topics, both in person and online. He also conducts tours of India with American Veda Tours and cohosts the popular Spirit Matterspodcast, which features interviews with spiritual teachers and leaders. He is currently working on a biography of Paramahansa Yogananda, to be published in April, 2018. His website is www.PhilipGoldberg.com.