Hinduism has a rare quality not often noticed, and that is of having its Gods appearing on the planet and living a human life.
Wisdom that most other religions offer is through a Messiah, a messenger of God dropping in to tell us how to live. Hindus on the other hand, can learn directly from human lives of Ram or Krishna.
This model offers a huge advantage, as the wisdom has very human quality as it has to accommodate for trials of a real life and is thus useful for regular people like you and me.
Of all the champions of pragmatic wisdom, Krisha is my favourite as he manages to mix finest intellectual musing about the nature of reality with completely human conflicts and confusions.
Gita, a book authored by Shree Krishna Vasudev Yadav, thus remains a rare self-help book to live life for an average person written by a God!
A book launch I attended last week reminded me of not just the power of this ancient book, but how badly we need to resurrect it.
Written by Anju Sharma, a senior bureaucrat who has lived a life in close proximity of extremely successful people, “Corporate Monk” is a book that explores the latest self-induced crisis that intelligent and successful humans face today.
Life lived as a successful person comes with almost a standard template.
It leads you to material success but forces you to forgo simple pleasures of family life. Addicted by success, even a small setback leads to a crisis of self-worth and cascades a person down the predictable path of self-abuse through materialistic pleasures, a collapse of personal relationships, an affair to seek solace and then deep life-destroying depression.
It is a life lived by millions in modern society and will be lived by many more in future.
What the book attempts to do is to link the seemingly unlink-able, i.e. wisdom of ancient Indian scriptures, mainly Gita to this brand new way of life.
Though Corporate Monk is not the first book to do so, what is interesting is that, instead of becoming a morality rhetoric, it tries to be a pragmatic narrative of a life lived by a normal person and explores how introduction of philosophical wisdom can help in actually solving the real problems.
More than the content, the tool of narration used is what prompted me to ponder over the book as it is a very brave idea many of our ancient scriptures have explored.
When you try to force a moral or a philosophical idea into the mould of reality, it becomes extremely challenging because conflicts are bound to emerge. It is not attempted often because rhetoric holier-than-thou preaching mode is lot easier to carry through.
The book also forced me to realise that we, in India are on a trip to get more and more biased and thus are rejecting to ancient India wisdom without giving it a try. So, there is a huge repository of knowledge that remains neglected, possibly for the absurd reason that we have now an intellectual peer group that is critical of anything-Hindu.
I hope other intellectuals look at Corporate Monk as an invitation to explore Indian wisdom to find a way of life. It opens up a new avenue for solving a crisis that is now leading some really smart people to live a really unhappy life.
Discovery of self is a path recommended by Hindu philosophies, and it is worth looking at it as even if it may not be an ultimate solution, it makes the journey of life more peaceful.