The most important book that I read this year was titled ‘Krishnamurti For Beginners: An Anthology’, published by Krishnamurti Foundation India. I had purchased this book sometime around 2006 when I was in Ahmedabad, and had already read it once or may be twice. This was my third reading of this book. Krishnamurti rarely fails us and always impresses us by his insight into problems and issues we come across in our everyday lives. After a biographical sketch and an outline of Krishnamurti’s philosophy by Radhika Herzberger, this book presents a collection of Krishnamurti’s writings, diary notes, speeches, dialogues and conversations. He does not belong to any religious sect or philosophical school; instead, he has a direct and straightforward way of looking at things, and through every piece of writing or conversation he encourages you to look at ‘what is’ instead of ‘what should be’. According to him, this conflict between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ is the root cause of most of the problems.Continue reading
There might be several things which you do not like; however, note that the world does not run according to your preferences, your likes and dislikes. You are not the centre of the universe; so if you want everyone in the world to live as per your likes then it is too much asking. It is not without any reason that God has kept the system administration of the world with Himself, and created you and your account with selected privileges which we call as ‘free-will’. Otherwise, you would agree, given that every individual has a personal preference and wants the whole world to acknowledge and accept it, satisfying everyone is simply not possible. Any attempt to do so would only lead to utter chaos. So let the world be as it is. Of course, there are certain things which are absolutely incorrect and you are completely justified in opposing them, just as there are others which are correct and one must take every trouble to ensure that they happen. Not only that, one should be prepared to make any number of sacrifices to let that happen. Here the choice is not between good and bad — which is a matter of personal taste — rather between correct and incorrect. At the same time, such universally good or bad actions which I have named as correct and incorrect respectively, are quite few and are generally accepted by everyone. On the other hand, for most part, most of the things that you want to happen or not happen are merely a matter of personal taste. Live and let live — that is the formula if you like to call it that way.
Good Bye, Phone Hello World: 60 Ways to Disconnect from Tech and Reconnect to Joy by Paul Greenberg was the last book I read in 2020 and the first one that I am reviewing in 2021. In my opinion it is an important and an urgently needed book. That is the reason that I decided to start the book reviews this year with this book.
Good Bye Phone is about how we are losing out on our lives, our own interests, in small small bits and pieces, for the sake of something which is not even worth it. The focus of the whole book is to convey the urgency to get rid of smartphone addiction. In the first few pages of the book, the writer highlights the various ways in which smartphone is robbing you of your life. And remember that he is not just talking about the effect on your health or effect on your relationships. He tells you how seriously it is affecting your whole life and how you are being deprived of the various beautiful things which really mean to you.Continue reading
I am a very kind person. Almost. Whenever I get involved into any discussion, I try my best not to let it turn into an argument. I listen to the other person and let them have their own opinion and point of view. Sometimes. At other times, I get deeply annoyed and irritated, and lose my temper. Most of the time. What is my criterion of a healthy discussion? Besides the generally accepted social norms like not to make personal comments, not to use obscene, vulgar or provocative words, not to make remarks related to caste, creed, religion, gender, social status etc, I also give importance to information. An informed discussion and argument is always a healthy one. But most of the time you would find yourself either witnessing a discussion or yourself getting involved in a discussion with a person or group of people who don’t even have basic information or knowledge about that subject. I agree that having a complete knowledge about any subject or field is nearly impossible and also there is no end to the learning process. The more you explore, the more new questions and doubts arise in your mind. But I am talking about having basic information about the field which you are discussing. Otherwise you are fooling yourself only, given that the other person could be well informed. Well, I have also witnessed arguments where none of the parties had any information about the subject and both of them were giving heated arguments to support their points of view. In such cases, I do the wisest thing possible under the given circumstances — run away.Continue reading
Winter has already passed and we have already started getting ready for the summer ahead. Mornings and nights are still cold whereas afternoons are hot. Forenoons are pleasant, very very pleasant. Peculiar March weather. Yet another festival — Holi — is knocking at our doors. The whole campus is empty — students, professors, staff, nearly everybody has gone on leave. Yes, the whole campus is indeed empty, except only a few individuals. Most of them live such an isolated lives — engrossed in social media and/or video games — that even their neighbours aren’t aware of their existence. There are others of whom I could only say that it would have been better had they not existed at all. But this world doesn’t go by our choices or preferences, so we have to adjust ourselves and share this planet with such demons. Continue reading
It was a dinner party. While food was getting ready, the host entertained his guests by raising several topics for discussion and entertainment. It was mostly for entertainment, as such parties are seldom an occasion for serious intellectual discussion. If someone makes any political statement, or explains any scientific theory or shares some issues of personal life, it should be considered as such without giving too much importance to it. It is just a social gathering and communication is the only objective there. In other words, contacts, relationship, communication is the primary goal there and the subject of discussion is secondary, just serving as a foundation or medium for that discussion to take place. This is important to note because time and again we come across occasions when a dinner party was spoiled by some stupid discussion on politics and/or religion. That is why these two topics are in general ‘prohibited’ from after-dinner discussions. Continue reading
I usually say that we as a people are not a scientific community. I still maintain this opinion. I do not concern here with what might be the reason behind such a mindset of Indians. May be in a future post we would delve deeper into that issue. Today I restrict myself with what makes me form such a strong opinion against intellectual health of Indians. Continue reading
Today I’m feeling very light. In fact, very very light. Today I was finally able to take off that burden from me. Let me be specific. A huge pile of coins had accumulated and it was indeed getting more and more difficult to store them. Of course, I couldn’t keep them in my wallet nor in the pocket of my trousers. For some time I kept them in my bag, but the load kept increasing. Have you seen the calendars sold during Dussera and Diwali? You remember that pile of gold coins in front of Lakshmi ji? Same thing here. I segregated them into smaller piles of Rs 5, Rs 10 and Rs 2 coins and put them in different boxes. Once I discussed this problem with a local shopkeeper and he happily agreed to change them with notes. So today I got rid of all the coins. Continue reading
Over the last few months we came across several news items one after another related to what could be called as ‘parallel’ religion. The enormity of the issues was such great and the coverage in media was so exhaustive that not much is left for me to add. In addition to reporting the developments in the cases, there have also been thorough analyses and commentaries on various aspects of the issue. Continue reading
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