Until the police cleared away the protestors camping out in Zuccoti Park as part of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, ex-investment banker Rasanath Das was spending Sundays in the park leading protestors in meditation.
Das is a Mumbai native and studied at the Indian Institute of Technology. He moved to the US in 2000 where he worked as a consultant with the Deloitte accounting firm. Das then received an MBA from Cornell University and then began working for Bank of America in 2006.
In 2007 Das began living in a Hindu monastery in the East Village of Manhattan. In 2008 he quit his job at BofA. Das said it was not easy to give up the prestige and perks of the life of an investment banker, but he was convinced that was not what he ultimately wanted from life.
“It was only after joining the monastery that I began to understand the prison of Wall Street,” he said. “I didn’t hate those people but I began to understand what drives them and how much shallowness and suffering is there inside.”
Although not part of the Wall Street world any longer, he stayed connected to the financial industry, acting as something like a corporate chaplain.
Now Das is 32 years old and is a Hindu monk. He says he will continue to follow the Wall Street protestors so he can lead them in meditation because he believes the only way they can achieve the change they are looking for is by finding their own equanimity deep inside themselves.
“Anger won’t solve anything,” he told Reuters. “We have to work from the heart … there is so much distrust now,” says Das.