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Harmonizing the Mind and Heart

R. Rajamani

By Bhimeshwar Challa
Kalpaz Publications, Delhi, India, 2013, pp. 509, Rs. 500.00


It is difficult to pigeonhole this book as a ‘philosophical tract’, a ‘prophetic discourse’, a ‘journey into the human mind’, a ‘guide for human survival’, a ‘spiritual treatise’. It is an amalgam of all these and more. Embellished with profuse quotations from various sources, modern and traditional, spiritual and scientific, the volume reaches out to those who are already uneasy about the way we on this earth are progressing. C.B. Rao as he is fondly called, an Indian Administrative Service Officer, has not allowed the iron of long years in the bureaucracy to enter his soul or stifle creative thinking. If this sounds like high praise from a fellow bureaucrat, let the discerning reader decide if he is correct in the use of such adjectives!   The author has extensively covered the evils besetting human beings like hatred, malice, jealousy, cruelty and violence. Murder, suicides, wars are common. We vacillate between pleasure and pain, individual and collective identity, the real and unreal like the rope and the snake, spirituality and social responsibility, power, passion and love, science and religion. He finds seeds of self destruction in money, sex, power, violence and failure to distinguish between ends and means. Special mention has been made of the aggression mounted on our natural resources and environment.   Thus, it is argued that, ‘Human civilization is increasingly becoming noxious to Nature. Instead of being caretakers and custodians, we have become predators and exploiters.’ The point is enlarged by pointing fingers at the rampant consumerism which is overtaking humankind. Thus, ‘we must disconnect personal happiness from conspicuous consumption, and “feel-good” feeling from the purchase of material possessions. Frugality has to become morality and respectable, if not hip.’ Yet we cannot ignore the fact that ordinary consumption itself is a must for removing the extreme poverty of over a billion people. A report has been quoted in this context which has said the richest 20 percent of the global population accounted for 75 percent of the total private consumption in the year 2005 and the poorest fifth just 1.5 percent.   Drawing from his experience in the United Nations science and technology office, he deals with the benefits and perils of their use. Hence the discussion on the limits of science and the science of limits. And also on the struggle for supremacy among religion, spirituality and science. An interesting observation is that the largesse of science-based technology has largely bypassed the ...

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