By Dharmadevi Romano
March 28, 2017

I never considered myself an artist because I’m not particularly good at painting, drawing, or composing music. I realized, however, that creativity takes many forms and I discovered I have a knack for starting businesses. I started my first business when I was 18, which grew to employ 25 people. At 20, I helped my brother and sister-in-law create a successful online business. That business allowed them to quit their corporate jobs, buy their own home, and send their daughter to private school. At one point, I was operating 10 businesses at the same time; I don’t even remember what they all were!

There were a couple of things that made me successful, which I passed on to my brother and I’d like to share with you:

  1. Do what you love to do! If you find something that inspires you and helps others, you can probably make it a successful business.
  2. There is no such thing as competition. If you find joy in what you are doing, you will naturally attract people who resonate with you and what you have to offer, while your “competition” will attract the people who resonate with them.
  3. Perseverance is essential. Most people give up before their business can flourish.

After meeting Swami Kriyananda and coming to Ananda Village, I learned that I was actually unknowingly practicing ancient yogic teachings in my business. In fact, it was in Los Angeles, in 2010, where Swamiji wrote and taught a six-week series called AKASH: Ancient Keys to Attaining Success & Happiness. In these lessons, he shares how to bring creativity into business, as well as all aspects of our lives.

After studying these teachings, creativity took on a whole new meaning for me. I began to see it as the life-force within me finding expression in the material world. I understood why, for example, it is better not to share an idea with someone who may squelch your enthusiasm. “Thoughts are things,” Paramhansa Yogananda taught, and when a creative project is in it’s infancy it is more fragile than when it is already well-rooted in the fertile soil of inspiration through manifestation in the physical world.

Swamiji’s creative expression was beyond anything I could have imagined. He was successful in writing over 150 books, composing 400 pieces of music, and starting 10 spiritual communities around the world, among other things. Here are a few keys to his success:

  1. Live in integrity. Integrity he defined as self-integration or wholeness in oneself.
  2. People are more important than things. In an email I recently read from Swami he shared that he never used anyone, even if his motives were altruistic.
  3. “Where there is right action (dharma), there is victory.” Never cut corners, always remain honest, practice kindness and in the end you will be victorious.
  4. See God as the Doer in everything. Swamiji would say, “I was able to do all of these things because I didn’t do them at all! God did them through me.”

Arise Attire was born!

One of my latest creative projects has been helping to start a spiritual clothing line, called Arise Attire. While sharing satsang (spiritual fellowship) with some dear friends, we began to talk about the great Indian epic, the Bhagavad Gita. Keshava shared his favorite line, when Krishna says in response to Arjuna’s despondency, “Cast off thy weakness. Arise!” Another friend responded, “That could be a great theme for a clothing line.” And voila, Arise Attire was born!

We had a logo designed, found a company that makes good quality clothing in the USA, found a screen printer, did a photoshoot, created a website, and basically let our creative juices flow. You can see the beginnings of this project on the Arise Attire website. All income received from this project goes to support Ananda’s efforts in Southern California.

Creativity is essential, so why not create beautiful things that can help people and make the world a more lovely dream to live in?

Cast off thy weakness. Arise!