Thursday, August 17, 2017

BOOK REVIEW – TEN SUTRAS FOR A GREAT LIFE by R.A.KRISHNA



BOOK REVIEW – TEN SUTRAS FOR A GREAT LIFE by R.A.KRISHNA

In the preface to the book the author says “To tell the truth, I am a fledgling seeker of Truth and my Understanding, and articulation, of the concepts of spirituality could well be severely wanting. However, I have gone ahead guided by my devotion to Lord Krishna and have been able to complete this book”.

This is a small book of 95 pages (Kindle edition) but one which packs within it the wisdom culled out from the Hindu scriptures – The Bhagavad Gita for the major portion. The author has tried to condense the essence of the Holy book of Hinduism in Ten Sutras or a collection of aphorisms in the form a condensed manual or text. It is not that the author is found wanting like he has said in the Preface to the book, for it is not an easy task to interpret the Gita or any Hindu scripture in a such a shortened form nor can they be interpreted in a general way. Every individual finds his own interpretation and meaning and in this one can find shades of the author’s own beliefs regarding the conduct of one’s life and the search for the truth. We should laud the author’s sincere efforts to make it as intelligible to the layman or people who have not had the opportunity or the inclination to go through the wisdom contained within these great works of Hindu Philosophy.

There is not much of a storyline except for the fact that a despondent Vishal meets the Guru Vishnu the epitome of wisdom and who in a series of meetings at different locations in Bangalore pulls Vishal out of the rut in which he had fallen into and teaches him the way to a better and more fruitful life. One can note that the author has chosen to name the Guru as Vishnu, a reminder of Lord Krishna and in my own interpretation the name Vishal would signify and embrace within it, the whole of mankind.

I like one quote from in the book which has been mentioned by the author – James Thurber’s “Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness”.

There many passages of the author in the book which I have highlighted on my Kindle for ready reference and as a source of inspiration. I can appreciate the efforts of the author in putting down these Ten Sutras of wisdom for a great life and the passion with which this has been written. Whether everyone agrees with some of the interpretations this is a must-read book and does not take much time to read it. I would classify this under the category of self-help books. Expecting more such snippets of wisdom from the author.  
  


Monday, August 7, 2017

MY JOURNEY AS A WRITER – 2



MY JOURNEY AS A WRITER – 2

It was in October 2009 when I first took to blogging trying to revive what I had left many years ago, and what better way to start then posting some of my earlier writings. Maybe it was the thought that I had just eight months to retire and it was time that I prepared for my journey into retirement from the mundane world of banking and finance which to be truthful never did invade my psyche despite all those 35 years I had spent there earning my living. But to be fair, those years spent in that world had ensured that I retired in peace not having to sink into a morass of making both ends meet. Within the space of three months till December 2009 I had made nineteen postings on the blog. But the entire 2010 drew a blank as I was busy wrapping up things and preparing for my second daughter’s marriage. 2011 was active again except a brief period of six months when I was recuperating after a surgery. Thereafter I have been active. It is interesting to note that the very first post that I made on my blog was titled ‘Anonymity’, for that was the last thing one could expect while entering the public domain. This was something I had written long ago in my diary and reflected the mood I was steeped in on that particular night in October 2009. I reproduce that here -

There is solace in this anonymity,
in the gentle hiss
of the summer breeze,
the rustling of leaves,
and the walk
through a dimly lit avenue.
As the darkness beyond beckons,
the spurts of sound
from speeding lights
on the distant highway,
move in and out
of my memory lanes.
And one moves through this darkness,
through this silence,
oblivious of an earthly existence.
Nothing stops the soul,
its flight to freedom.
But the approaching lights
of an automobile,
makes me move to the side.

On 20th February 2013 in my 100th blog post I wrote –

Initially when I became active on my blog it was more an inward journey and more for myself. But a few inputs from some of my well-wishers made me realize that when I write something which I place on the public domain, it must have a certain interest to the reader. I was and am interested that people read what I write. Why, I shall come to later. My elder daughter was the first critic with whom I spent those six months. She said “Appa, you write very well but most of it goes over my head”. She used to diligently read them after all she was my daughter. Another valuable input came from one of my senior colleagues in the bank, quite senior in fact, who had retired long before, a person whose views I value a lot. He said nearly the same thing but in a different way, he said “Subbu you write well but most of it are philosophical excursions, the only thing I can say is that I like them by way of comments but that does not really mean anything. With your varied interests, you should be able to write on things which the reader can connect with”. I took him seriously and changed my approach. I found in the process that I could explore all those things that I have been passionately interested in like art – painting and music. I found that slowly the number of page views increased and knew that I was now connecting. Now I record my introspections separately elsewhere.

It took me three more years to reach the 200th post, but in the process, I learnt my lessons as a published author. Though I had vented my frustration as an author trying to break through into the literary world through a series of light hearted posts – ‘The Writer’s Dilemma’ and the ‘The Travails of an Aspiring Author’, I realized that for me writing was a Celebration of Life. I wrote –

Now, when I am on the verge of reaching the next milestone on my journey, I pause to reflect on what I have seen and experienced and what I have understood of life and what it means to live. I ask myself the question whether it is vanity that forces me to write. Maybe it is there in some measure but to be truthful I have found that my writing is a mirror I hold in front to understand the lessons that life has taught me. It has taught me that each day is a celebration. As you wake up to see the sun streaming through the windows and you stretch your limbs re-enacting the very process of being born again and to live one more day, it is a celebration.

‘I am just An Ordinary Man’ was a very personal journey and though laced with allegorical anecdotes and projections into the future, places it in the realm of a fictional autobiography and that is how I like it to be read for I wanted the reader to connect it with his own journey through life. I was happy when I found that it did, but the measure of success is different, isn’t it?

‘Darkness and Beyond – A Medley of Many Lives’ was a journey into the external world of all those who have gone through the darkness of living and still find hope in living and an authenticity that defines their existence. In fact, from the quotes I have used in the book these two really describe the essence of what I have tried to get across –

“In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.” ― Robert Frost

Each day is a little life; every waking and rising, a little birth; every fresh morning a little youth; every going to rest and sleep a little death. - Arthur Schopenhauer