iMahal Interview Series:
Robert Arnett
August 15, 2000

iMahal:  Any thoughts for the younger Indian generation that is growing up outside of India?

Girl rings prayer bell
Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Arnett:  I would tell them to combine the best of East and West. They have a unique opportunity growing up bi-culturally, to take the best of two worlds.
   ... No culture has an exclusive on truth. It is only from borrowing from other culture ...
No culture has an exclusive on truth. It is only from borrowing from other cultures that any one culture can become whole and complete. If they will take the trouble to study Indian culture, they will be very proud to be a descendent of the oldest surviving civilization on earth that had a huge impact on the Greek and Roman civilizations, not to mention the rest of the world.

iMahal:  You said yoga has changed your life, but how has your life changed because of your trips to India, and your experiences there?

Near Surat, Gujarat
Arnett:  I would say that seeing the living examples of what devotion really is has changed my life. You can read about what is devotion, but seeing it being lived is another thing.
   ... seeing the devotion that Indians have for their religion and families has certainly made me a better American ...
It has been said that the living example of one God realized soul does more to change the world then all the scriptures in the world. Traveling in India and seeing the devotion that Indians have for their religion and families has certainly made me a better American.

iMahal:  On a lighter note, what is your favorite Indian food?

Arnett:  I do like a lot of Indian foods. My favorite food would be Dal Makhani [lentil soup flavored with butter] from the North and from the South I like Onion Uttapam [a flat bread - much like a pancake, made from fermented rice and lentils].

iMahal:  We'd like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. We wish you the best in your endeavors and look forward to seeing your documentary.

Arnett:  Thank you and I wish you the best also. Before I go I would like to share one thing with the readers. Live your dreams. I am living mine. I wanted to do this book but no one would publish it because they did not see a market for it - I am proud of how well it has been received. Each of us has a special unique gift to offer to the world, to make it a better place. We are never going to truly be happy until we share our life with our fellow brothers and sisters.

All images in this interview Robert Arnett

This iMahal Interview with Robert Arnett was conducted by Jayshree Ranka. Jayshree is a software developer at Carnegie Mellon University. Of Indian origin, Jayshree was born and brought up in the US.

Here's a personal note from Jayshree:

"I met Robert Arnett about 1 years ago. I was involved with the Network of Indian Professionals (NETIP) and we helped to organize a talk by Robert in Pittsburgh. As I helped publicize his talk, I learned more about Robert and his book India Unveiled.

Given a conflict with my class schedule and my desire to be a diligent student, I was unable to attend Robert's scheduled talk. The very next day I heard that the talk went really well, which over 100 people had attended. This only increased my interest in his knowledge of India. I called Robert to see if I could meet him. I had a very nice visit with him. Since then, we have kept in touch. When I heard about his return to Pittsburgh for another talk, I thought that Robert would be a wonderful person to introduce to the iMahal audience. So about 1 years after my first meeting, I now sit with Robert again, learning more about the book India Unveiled and the man behind it -- learning more about his experiences, his views, and his affection for India."


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