This is a transcript of the Baccalaureate address to UPenn's graduating class of 2012, delivered by Nipun Mehta. Nipun is the founder of ServiceSpace.org, a nonprofit that works at the intersection of gift-economy, technology and volunteerism. His popular TED talk Designing for Generosity provides an overview of their work and guiding principles.
Thank you for sharing this. May God bless you both.
Wow, amazing, simply amazing talk...you just kept me glued to this narrative as though I was hearing you live, Nipun. Your name is befitting you. It is always about how you can decipher a thought in simple yet effective way so that the recipient of the thought could not only grasp but also transmit it forward. You did that to me. I will never forget the expansion and meaning of the acronym W-A-L-K and would always get reminded whenever I walk. Wishing you all the best in your WALK of life. God bless.
Amazing article... When one foot walks, the other rests.I`ll take this forever!
Amazing story. Reminds me of Nanak ji. Sat naam wage guru. We need crazy people like you in this world to make it better, loving and acceptable.
This was a true gift today. An affirmation of thoughts I was pondering just this morning. On my way into work (driving, sadly rather than walking - but at a leisurely pace through a parkway, foregoing the freeway) I was thinking about walking and those that walk for a purpose such as Nipun and his wife, although at the time I was thinking of another walker's story I had just read. I thought of all the books I've read about others' pilgrimages and how my little hikes reveal to me in small ways what others learn on their longer journeys. It came to my mind that if I had the opportunity and time to walk one of these long walks, the Camino, the APT, the PCT, and IAT, I wouldn't be doing it to write a book or to change the world, but I could expect it to change my world vision. If we change our vision, such as Nipun requests, we do change the world, though, don't we?
Amazing speech nipun. It has been amazing knowing about you. It is really shaking selfish and insecure person in me and temping me to start giving - in whatever small way until it becomes a habit. Thanks for showing new way of living.
This is the most insightful and inspirational speech about the adventure of their pilgrimage in India and the lessons learned during this journey. Thank you very much for sharing with all of us.
I will always remember these four key words - Witness, Accept, Love and Know thyself. These four words are like mantra to me to remember and practice all through our day to remind myself about Nipun's insights.
very inspiring and thought provoking article, feel pleaure to read this .:)
Truly inspirational. However, temper your kindness with pragmatism. Feeding wheat flour to ants may be an act of micro kindness but don't try that with snakes. When bit by a cobra, most you can do is to follow the 'A' in the WALK model before turning blue.
Thanks to Nepun Mehta for enlivining each of our life's and sharing your thought with us..........it has greatly moved me and changed my life.....
i was lead here again by the new grad speech .. one of my favorite reads ever still HUGS
I feel myself blessed to read this beautiful article. Though i have read it a lot of times, each time i read it , i learn something new. Thank You :) Its one of the most amazing blogs i have read.
Thanks a lot for sharing.:)
Thank you I will carry these thoughts on my daily walks
Nothing new in this article or speech. Its like remaking the older version of a film BUDHA back. Its becoming a fashion for the so called elite saying, " I'm also experienced the suffers". The speaker doesn't know what the real life means so its make him some difference. In B.C Gowtham Budha changed himself from a 4(WALK) incidents.
Modern education system doesn't teach for the mind growing process its only teaching for the industrial market driven process.
Nipun, Both of you are doing greatest job and very few people are devotee like both of you. Both of you have started your journey of SEVA at very young age. Thank you very much for explaining very true meaning of WALK. May God bless you for your long journey for betterment of the people around the globe.
Day after day I become more and more certain that there is already enough wisdom out there to make us live a fulfilled and immensely happy life! :) It always boils down to the same: Be mindful, be grateful... Truly BE! And then, when you have yourself sorted out completelly, you realise that it is not about you anymore.
If you analyse the article, or any other inspiring one, you will find that all the takeaway points
can be pretty much fitted in 3-4 categories on the sorts of "mindfulness" "gratitude (take everything as a gift)" etc.). There are lots written about this (From philosophy (I am quite stoic myself :P), to modern works like the book "Flow"... Endless quotes and frameworks (Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues) etc.) Anyway, my point? We have the information! Please let's DO something about all this! There is NO justification for any of us not being fulfilled and happy. :) Let me leave you with a powerful quote on a new comment to illustrate gratitude. Don't be scared about the religious feeling it has... ignore that if you please... just take the main point, the one of gratitude:
Heaven is available to the Muslim and Jew, even to Catholic… heaven is even available to atheist… but often the atheist does not find heaven because the atheist is full of conflict, full of
pushing away. Religions are important… religions are beliefs systems that get people to faith, but faith, faith is trust in life... trust in that anything life brings you is a gift... even when it seems like it is a pile of crap. If you can trust that everything life brings you is a gift, even when it seems as though is darkness and adversity, then you will trust that even death is a gift, because after all... what does life bring everybody eventually but death... and if you can trust that even death is a gift... then surely... you will go to heaven. If you can trust that everything life brings you is a gift... if you can really chose to have faith... then you remove your heart from anxiety, from stress, form conflict... and you replace it with peace, creativity and acceptance... then you have found heaven on earth. (Brother David Steindl Rast )
Compare with a quote from your article "When the things around you are seen as gifts, they are no longer a means to an end; they are the means and the end"
Similar right? We have it sorted! Let’s do something about it!
still Re-reading. Kudos Nipun for enlivening others.
I wish I could walk like Budhaa,Shankaracharya, SRI Gandhiji, SWAMI Vivekanandji , ACHARYA Tulsidasji or like you with an empty hand.
A courageous advanture for a person like uou.
Some people are brave ~ courageous ~ blissful. Nipun is among those and they pull others and show the way that generosity is possible and not linked to the wealth you own.
Really blessed after reading it and wish many will get blessed and not just inspired.
I loved this piece very true especially when he says
make it a point, instead, to acknowledge mystery and welcome rich questions ... questions that nudge you towards a greater understanding of this world and your place in it.
many of us do not know our place in this universe feeling that we are minute hence dont care less
brilliant and thoughtprovoking even at my seventies. This is what our ancestors did walking from Kanyakumari to badrinath in the himalayas and had this ennobling experience
Very beautiful speech that reminded me to take life easy and embrace it. I received clarity on my confusion regarding, "Accepting what is given vs Need to grow" Thank you for that. My eyes welled up in tears for the act of giving water by the lady who walked for 10 KMs to fetch water. The importance of silence was beautifully expressed in the line: "A melody, after all, can onle created with the silence in between the notes.
Am blessed to know you, Nipun, and call you a friend. Many bows...Marsha
Such profound advice can only come from a heart and mind of one who has experienced the richness of life way beyond the rat race and aggressiveness found in this materialistic world! I hope the Class of 2012 of UPENN are indeed moved to follow it!!
It is simple yet soo deep! Thank you for motivationg the future generations!
Truly inspiring. A fantastic piece, every single word coming out of deep experiences.
It tells us again the the real India lives in our villages. It reminds all of us that we can be happy by simply loving, giving, being kind, accepting life as it unfolds, and always look within.
The best line was perhaps, do not go through life, grow through life.
Hats off to Nipun and his wife.
We pray to our beloved AMMA to shower Her blessings to both of them, and pray for all success in all their endeavours.
It is absolutely beautiful, had tears of 'love' in my eyes-----
Amazing article!!an eye opener to most of us who have have not realised the art of submitting,giving,receiving,unconditionally.
Just a couple of questions (without malice)...did Mr Mehta wing his way back to the safety and comfort of the US after his walk? Second, he has not written his wife's name or how she reacted to the walk. (or, are we supposed to know her only as his wife, and nothing else)?
very inspiring indeed . an eye opener for me . thanks for sharing your thoughts & experiences
Excellent work Nipun,
It proves your name............one who is Nipun in enjoying life. May God bless you to inspire people.
( Nipun can be translated as Kushal............but not very exact)
One word sums it up - Brilliant. You are a true change agent Nipun and the world desperately needs people like you to bring about spiritual transformation and peace. What a touching and inspiring experience and so beautifully articulated. I sincerely hope and pray that our politicians draw a leaf from your chapter.(wishful thinking perhaps but nonetheless)... Kudos and a big thank you for this wonderful article...
Nipun what an amazing and an inspiring message to the young generation,it has deeply touched me.
As a speech, it is touching ! However is it suitable to the audience- I would say- NO.
The young graduates who has spent their hard earned saving to be graduate - and we are teaching them not to be ambitious but be contented , not aggressive but considerate, not game changer but game player- this sounds alright after you have lived life, understood and experienced its invincibility-but not to the young graduate whom we need to encourage to go and conquer the world...
While I salute Nipuns' selflessness, his sagely advice, I strongly disagree to his teaching these to the young guys and sucking out their enthusiasm for the life yet to start.
Truly inspiring. Realised what enormous wealth I have -my mind and the ability to walk. It is absolutely fantastic that a person can have such a clear thinking while delivering a speech! Blessed are those who had the opportunity to hear / read these wonderful thoughts.
What a beautiful speech! My friend Asheesh shared this with me, and I am so glad I read it. Truly an inspiration for me in my life. I recently had the honor of delivering the student keynote speech at my own MBA graduation from the Penn State Smeal College of Business, and it was centered on a story of walking as well. (If you are interested, here is the link: http://slidesha.re/KQzLRl)
You have shown the wisdom and beauty of accepting the only pace that you can take for a journey that cannot be run. Thank you!
Feed the ants. Don't just go thru life, Grow thru life. W.A.L.K. Thank you for sharing this meditation.
Amazing.....its most important to be "grounded"......bravo !
It is highly motivating. This made to ponder the inner and come out with peaceful state of mind.
Wow, I like the way speaker's experience is brought out. An encouraging speech!!!
There is much to be learned by merely breathing into the Spirit we all have within our hearts and asking to be lead. Of ourselves we can accomplish nothing. But, letting go of past and future and following that inner voice's words, directions, and feelings will lead you to insights that our hard to believe. Try it. Breath deeply within the heart and say: Of myself I can do nothing. Please guide me, give me your words, thoughts and feelings. Then without trying of thinking, just listen and follow the guidance. It seems to be leading you nowhere but trust and you will find what seems impossible.
That was an amazing speech Nipun! I always love hearing tidbits about your pilgrimmage and the wisdom in your words helps me to remember that I need to stop and enjoy my surroundings. Hope you and the wife are doing well :)
I agree that this is a fantastic article, would love to have been there to hear it in person.
I think everyone can be guilty sometimes of not taking time out to appreciate the wonderful things that fill our world, and more often or not the most simplest of things.
If we all change the way we treat ourselves and the world, eventually every person on this planet would become the happy and content person they seek to be.
Very ennobling speech. One is reminded of the Venerable Sage of Kanchi (Paramacharya) who followed the illustrious path of Adi Sankara in a walkng pilgrimage across India. He too wished to witness the nobility of the people of our countryside, who have so much to teach us. He in turn also blessed them with his compassion to help them face the harsh realities of life.
It is very inspiring and thought provoking.....You are truly blessed to experience thing that you only read in books. Your stupendous desire to experience the greatness of simple things in life this way is truly amazing.
That was really amazing talk. Took me a while to read it line by line but really mind blowing and inspiring.
Another comment disappeared before I replied. Well, I can't say what hurt the feelings of the Asian Culture is true or directed to them. It was meant for a short time punishments to the woman, thief and money launderer in a swift way as words and sentences would tell authorities---what?
Second reason, was to return the money to the needy beneficiaries or to the careless donors.
That is why I sympathize for looking someone who demonize a certain community who had no stakes with me. I was fool for that.
Hats off to you, Mr. Mehta! The article is simply Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing.
Beautiful. Mt Gandhi discovered. True india is found. Wish our Political leaders in India read and learn to WALK.
This has come at an intersection in my life, today is the beginning of a new walk for me. Thank you
That was so beautiful. In this world when goodness is viewed sceptically ( read secret agenda), this was an endorsement on being human.
Heartwarming!! Thank you for sharing the joy and spreading the message.
W-A-L-K= witness always, like a kid
Let us walk and even own it...just need how-easiest way of making it heaven.
Fantastic article , written with utmost sincerity and honesty; two items which are becoming rarer and rarer every day in the rat race for materialistic progress and so called achievements!! An open look in to the broader throbbing world and trying to live in it with true participation can make us all Walk Taller literally and make this earth itself a heaven. Humility, compassion, optimism and belief in self and utmost modesty ; all these shine like gems in this article. I am made aware now, that I lack these and I bow my head and thank you immensely for firing my imagination with this spark to help me become a humble human being with a better heart and to lead a purposeful life. Thanks once again
Very inspiring article. Next time i take my morning walk i will remember what walk means.
I am delighted to have read the passage on W-A-L-K. I am deeply touched
Thank you too. truth is only thing I can offer...name a topic you would like.
Thank you for sharing......the world's desperate for the truth!
Well, projects are as many as stars. If people looking innocent don't appreciate then there they are. Because the work is about compassion and grounded is nature
Truly humbling and intensely inspirational!
You have epitomized the essence of our ethos and underpinned the importance of staying sanely and steadily grounded.
Thank you for shared wisdom
Thank you for sharing your story, experience and learning.
wish i had heard this talk when i graduated!! in deep gratitude for this talk...
,it sums up what it is to be a loving christen.It is simply Christ's teachings no matter what your faith is. this should always be a reminder what life is meant to be,should we at times forget.
I walked many times and enjoyed travels but mine were planned unlike the couple.
I remember visiting my brother who is legsless and back the bus punctured one of its legs. I and two others went into the forest to see what it hosts. We came back to only find the bus left us. We walked about 4 hours in Masaai highlands and unlike other other communities, Masaai have a strict culture. We needed water badly and it already got dark. Only costume and leaves on my head and thighs, I got close to where they were celebrating on firewoods. Their leader who held a flame on his hand was impressed and I called my friends who were nearby. We were given water and milk. I don't costumes but my need of water forced me. So I learned cultures are very different where ties on some cultures are disguised. I also learned if one lives in slums he should look a slumdog like I am now. I can tomorrow be an urban dog. My experience on different cultures strengthened my ability of Human Engineering.
Though I believe I mastered Africans' way of life, I tried to see how westerners can be comforted. Some town tourists didn't return greetings as as they kept distance looking wary, so I thought I was discomforting them. I still feel that it would be great to meet one and impress. And Change is worked out. One student I once influenced his education promised me something very great 2days ago. So, I can tell priceless tags are sometimes greater than priced items. Though my facial outwards are not very interesting for first time am really honest. When I saw most people corrupted, crimed, harmful and non-punished I thought resorting and later re-correcting. Resorting for important celestial and earth change should not damage my name to open websites, social pages, create awareness against terrorism and improve social understandings which will lead religion and culture tolerance among all. Best known to adults or wise people am not doing all these things to clean my name from previous cases or because of way out of poverty. I may have made some statements telling people "here is the cash key" I may say that because of many reasons for:
1. Some people get motivations only when money involves.
2.Some people only respect when money is talked.
3.People's attentions can be gained
4.people will be productive and supportive.
Well, for me and my NGO which is the core of the changes need funds as the only way of achieving simplest change to set off. Imagine pals, I am to build a website from my store and countless people spread rumors against me saying I am an agent of Non-muslims where these accusations alone can be not only deadly but also assassinations. Still even didn't receive a penny and fewer people who would back me in case are to disbelieve me. You can then see how brave I am to disregard them and move forward. I need backings and change is here sirs and madams. This is Noor saying some truth out to wise men and women.
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Very inspiring speech, with a great vision , the facts were simple yet thought provoking,
Hope to meet this lovely couple sometime in my life
I've not read something as amazing as this in a long long time...u've deeply touched my heart & my sensibilities & given me new eyes with which to see the world....i salute u for having the courage to do what u wanted to & not give in to the monotony & average-ness of this materialistic world which frowns on everything new...but ur convictions have given me new hope that life can be lead from the heart....thankx again
Nipun. It is with the humble-est spirit, to thank you for your joy in sharing all that binds us together. Peace.
Thank you Nipun, for continuing to be an inspiration, for truly making a difference in the world one step at a time, one being at a time, and in the ripples who knows how many are touched. My heart is full with gratitude at knowing you and Guri -
"It is precisely these small, often invisible, acts of inner transformation that mold the stuff of our being, and bend the arc of our shared destiny." What a beautiful commencement address. Thank you :)
Thank you for sharing, inspiring and being the change. :) beautiful and touching to the soul.
Absolutely marvellous!Sets you thinking and change direction.
Nippun, thank you so much for posting this and sharing your journey. The Daily Good keeps me grounded, like a kite with a steady hand guiding it through the air.
In 1970-71 my husband and I took a trip from Spain to India. Although we did not walk we travelled slowly getting to know the people and we were regularly invited and treated well by almost everyone. The experience changed my entire world view as I saw how some people could uncomplainingly make something out of nothing; in contrast to the attitudes of my fellow countrymen (US).
Wow.. It takes lot of courage to WALK, but the love that has filled in you couple is so true and pure.
I wish Both of you keep growing with your years together.
Thank You for being so true and kind...)
Hi Nipun and Guri,
The reality - the golden hearts of Indians as both of you saw when traversing the path in India - especially in the rural part and through villages is a memory which you will treasure forever. When you share your experiences, I am sure it will motivate many others to experience and seek the same joy and pleasure and understanding of mankind.
Mr Nipun Mehta, a refreshing, motivating speech which definitely needs a standing ovation. This article made me think where we all are heading and where we should have been, from our childhood we been taught to be a good person in the society and where do we end up. Corruption/scams/ crime around us has changed our views towards life, we have been neglected, rejected so many times(which is ideally very little) that has changed our attitude towards life.Everyone want to fly in this phase of life and the one who walks always is termed as Loser or Lazy, but there are beautiful things in life that can be experience only when we walk and avoid flying. Mr Nipun, this is a real good article and speech, hope you have loads of fun in your tour W-A-L-K.article