Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Review: PROFILE OF THE PERFECT PERSON: Based on The Bhagavad Gita Chapter II

Author: JAYA ROW
Publisher: JAICO

In an attempt to achieve excellence in all spheres of life we rely on religious or spiritual scriptures which are based on undeniable natural truths. The Bhagavad Gita is more about the proven guidelines to live successfully and happily in modern world than a religious text. “PROFILE OF THE PERFECT PERSON” explores verses 56 to verses 72 of Chapter II which outlines the basis of a perfect person.  Smt. Jaya Row, a commentator of Vedic philosophy, demystifies the versus in common language with perfect analogy and examples.

The Author asks why we are so bored with everything around us. It is because the essential ingredient is missing from our life. Bhagavad Gita is the most important ingredient of life, SALT OF LIFE. Trying to live without Gita teachings is like eating food without salt. The world today is like an enormous ocean with daunting waves. If we wait for the waves to subside we will be waiting forever. Instead we learn to surf them, the experience become enjoyable. In fact the more formidable the waves, the greater the thrill! We need to master the technique of riding the challenges, the world throws at us instead of buckling under pressure. And the first step is knowing ourselves.

Our personality is composed of four entities. The body is our outer layer which receives stimuli from the world and responds to them by way of actions. The mind is the home of emotions and feelings it generates love and hate, creates whims and fancies and function on impulses. Third parts is intellect, which differentiates between pairs of opposites (good or bad, correct or incorrect), it is the abode of rationality, analysis and judgement. Spirit is the fourth entity, referred to as Atman – is your true self. It breathes life into lifeless body, mind and intellect.

The mind is just a flow of thoughts that grabs at instant joy. It is incapable of discerning what is in our long-term interest and what is not. It is the intellect that can set aside the lure of immediate joys and guide us to deferred gratification.

Bhagavad Gita is about tapping the full potential of human being and the source of unlimited happiness. This book elaborates the happiness at 4 levels. Physical level or body level happiness can be achieved by sense-gratification. Our senses (eye, ear, tongue, nose and touch) are attached with their desires and we spend our whole life in satisfying our senses. Are we happy by the satisfying our senses? It is momentary, it is a trap and lowest level of existence. Second level of happiness, which is above the physical level, is emotional level. We have no worth of physical pleasure when we pursue emotional happiness. Strong emotional reasons overpowers the physical conditions. Many sportsmen have proven this in different arenas where emotions played a vital role. Intellectual level drive is the one level above emotional level. If you are driven by an intellectual idea you have access to far greater reserve of energy and vitality than you ever imagined.

The last and highest level of satisfaction is spirit level, the state of realization. When you can touch or access the innermost source then there is no desire left, everything is infinite at this stage.  This is the highest goal of every human being. Moving above the level is the gradual and systematic process which is governed by Yoga.

Chapter II of Bhagavad Gita explains the highest level of perfection in human being. The perfect person is said to be ‘sthitaprajana’ means ‘one established in wisdom’. In Verses 56-59, Lord Krishna expounds on the definition with greater descriptive clarity. Verse 60 is about how the powerful senses attack the mind and lead it astray. In verses 61 to 66 Krishna gives the pivotal role of the intellect. In 67 it says that the mind which has been misled by the senses drags the intellect away. Verse 68 says only the person who has controlled the senses qualifies be a ‘sthitaprajana’.

Second part of the book enlightens the path to be sthitaprajana. A person of steady wisdom is one who totally abandons all desires from the mind which sounds frightening to us. Desire is the function of mind. One can achieve the state of no desire when one has access to his own infinite status, everything else pales into insignificance. When you are captivated by a higher interest your previous desires fade away. Spiritual evolution must be gradual. When you are full of desires you cannot suddenly drop them. In fact you cannot drop desires at all. What you can do is learn to appreciate something of greater values. Something more fulfilling then you are engaged right now. Fear and anger are aberrations of desire. When you are free from desire you are automatically free from fear and anger. The Gita gives us the formula of happiness.

Happiness = Number of Desires Actualized/Number of Desires Harboured

The happiness quotient can be increased either by increasing the number of achievements or decrease in the number of unfulfilled desires.

The language is very simple, precise and honest. It is meant to be thought-provoking and inspiring. The whole book is sprinkled with particle ideas and is exhaustive on the subject.

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