(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 07 January 2018, Brisbane, Australia, Q&A Programme)
Can you talk about your early life? What recollections do you have about your childhood and your family?
I am from the outskirts of Amsterdam which is the business heart of Holland. This is what my family did – they ran lots of businesses. My grandfather was a director of a large multinational corporation and so were my uncles and my father. So this was the idea from Day 1, that I would also follow such a path. I went to the right schools and played with the right kids, until I turned about 13, which is when I started playing with the wrong kids. Generally, my early childhood was quite nice – very peaceful and good.
My mother was a nice and pious lady. She was religious, but did not have much faith in the Church, which was the mindset of many people during that time because my parents had gone through WWII; they saw the bombs, the starvation and so on. But my grandfather had a business of selling tent materials and covers for ships and trucks, so he would take some of those to swap with farmers to get some food on the table for the family. So the family did well in this way but they were very much in the mood of re-building the nation after the war and working very hard to build up the economy. Therefore, my family did not have much time for spiritual life. They were quite successful as a generation, but when time started to pass by, we felt that something was lacking. It was all too materialistic. And this really hit me and inspired me; there must be more to life than just making money!
It was very clear to me when I was about 12 that making money was not going to be the goal of my life. At one point, I decided to go more on a spiritual direction when I was about 17, and so I left school and all. I never graduated from my school, but instead I started travelling and went to India and this is really where my life began. Before that, I was just living my life how my parents scripted it, but after that I started making my own choices.