Harish Dayanand Shivamogga

Favorite god is inherited from a grandfather

“Whatever you do, do it well!”

Short introduction

Harish +++ software developer +++ emotionally well-balanced +++ win-win for everyone

WE: Harish, you have been working for Würth Elektronik for eight years now, but not all the time in Germany ...

Harish: No, I was born and grew up in India, and when I joined WE, I to-and-froed a lot between the sites in Mysore (India) and Germany before finally settling here in Germany.

WE: How did the decision come about?

Harish: I like the culture and way of working at Würth Elektronik. I wanted to contribute to improving productivity and speed, to expand my networks and get more involved. Shoulder to shoulder. That was missing beforehand.

WE: What did your family say about your decision?

Harish: My parents gave their approval, and my wife and I spend four to five weeks holidaying in India each year.

WE: What was the most surprising thing for you when you first came to Germany? What did you notice most?

Harish: My wife and I are very open towards German culture and enjoy learning new things. We like to make use of the offers here, for instance, to visit the horse market or famous churches. What bothered us was seeing adults smoking in the presence of children.

WE: What are your experiences of acceptance in Germany?

Harish: Very good throughout. From how we were treated in the Town Hall, in the Hohenlohe and previously in the Ostalb region, to relations with neighbors, who support us, or landlords, who have always been very open-minded towards us.

WE: Does this openness also apply to your religion?

Harish: I am a Hindu. My religion is very important to me. It is part of my culture and my family. So far, there have not been any conflicts. On the contrary, we celebrate our festivals also with colleagues and friends here, and I bring traditional, home-made sweets or food into the office or when we go visiting.

WE: What is your favorite festival and how do you celebrate it?

Harish: My favorites are Makara Sankranthi, a thanksgiving festival in January, the Ganesha festival, where everyone visits each other and exchanges good wishes, and Deepavali, the festival of lights. We decorate our home with lots of flowers and lights, cook a typical lunch together, and in the evening we have friends round for a meal, give them gifts of sweets, and talk about why we celebrate this festival.

WE: There are many different festivals, but also very many different Indian gods.

Harish: That's right, there are about 300,000 Hindu gods.

WE: How do you then find the right one?

Harish: Every family has its favorite god, who is inherited, so to say, from a grandfather. We can then continue to follow this god. Once a person turns 18, they can decide themselves, whether they feel closer to another god. We usually stick with the original one, though, as we strongly trust that familiar god.

WE: What does it mean to you to be a Hindu?

Harish: It defines my attitude to life: whatever you do, do it well. Make sure to have good emotions every day, a good emotional balance, within the family, socially, privately and beyond.

Be tolerant. I am a vegetarian. But a friend eating next to me, doesn’t have to be. Our coexistence should always be a win-win situation for everyone. And for nature. That's what I learned it from my parents.

WE: Is there a Hindu temple in easy reach for you here in Germany?

Harish: I have heard that there are some in [larger cities like] Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. But I can pray anywhere. I pray at home. We have a small table next to the living room for that purpose, with a a figurine dedicated to our favorite god. There is a temple for Keshava, my favorite god, in Belur in the state of Karnataka.

WE: So you pray at home, and do you also read from holy scriptures, the Vedas, that are over 5,000 years old?

Harish: Daily prayer is an obligation. It involves greeting our parents and loved ones and asking for everyone to stay healthy; then we sing in our native language, Kannada, or in Sanskrit. We don’t necessarily read from the holy scriptures, we tell each other short stories from them, ones that we feel are important.

WE: What is the single most important symbol in your religion?

Harish: Om (pronounced: a–u–m). According to my faith, it was the first word in the world and came from God. It is also a mantra, I can use it when meditating. I inhale deeply into my abdomen and let the sound out from my throat and lips without using my tongue. 108 times. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

WE: Meditation is a good keyword. Is yoga not also a part of Hinduism?

Harish: Yes, absolutely, 100%. I learned it at school over 12 years. Every month, a yoga tutor visited us. Yoga originated from a Hindu priest. In my family, we practise Surya Namaskar (the sun salutation) three times a week. Yoga gives us a good balance. It makes me feel fit for my daily work, it's good for the head, soul and body, for a balanced blood pressure, the arms and legs, and it prevents backache.

WE: It obviously brings many benefits, especially if you learn it in early childhood.

Harish: Two or three of my colleagues also practice yoga, and sometimes I can give them useful tips.

WE: Our WEtality scheme also includes yoga courses. As such, it is also a win-win situation for our company to have healthy, well-balanced employees. Many thanks!