From the Back of the Book
At whose prompting does the mind undertake its errands? At whose command, does the vital breath-system start functioning for the first time? At whose wish, do people utter this speech? Who is that Lord, the divine that directs the eye and ears as well?
The Kena Upanisad
Who I am? And who are you? What is the place from which I come? Who is my mother? Who my sire?
While man's soul remains in his body, fondly his family wish him well; But when the life breath leaves its dwelling, even his wife will flee in fear.
The scriptures directly declare that all duality is nothing but Maya, the Reality alone is the Absolute Truth.
The Self is Brahma, the Self is Vishnu, the Self is Indra, the Self is Shiva, the Self is this entire universe, Indeed, nothing exists except the Self.
When there is duality because of ignorance one sees all things as distinct from the Self. When everything is known as the Self, not even an atom is seen as other than the Self.
Every man should find and fulfill those actions that will harmoniously develop his material life, his body and mind, and above all, the qualities of his heart and soul. All honest work is good work
. Every man should perform the duties involved in finding God and also the worldly duties necessary to maintain himself and to help others.
Sri Pramhansa Yogananda
From the Jacket
This book looks at the worries, struggles and travails of the common man. It is largely based on author's experiences, both personal and professional. The author has tried to show how most people make themselves miserable for no valid reason.
We all hanker after happiness. We somehow convince ourselves that happiness lies in obtaining wealth, worldly success, etc. in our pursuit of material ends we forget the true purpose of life. This is why as per the author most people suffer from depression, a sense of frustration, restlessness, etc.
According to the author, the key to happiness lies in acquiring the ability to look into our innermost self and to grasp that there is more to man than meets the eye.
The basic message of this book is that man must learn to look beyond this world while very much living within it.
About the Author
P.V. Joshi was born in 1948 in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. After graduating with high honours from the institute of Science, Bombay, he went to Cambridge where he did Tripos in Mathematics. He was recipient of the Tata Scholarship. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1972. He has served with distinction in India and abroad. He was in Guyana from 1998 to 2002 where he was posted as India's High Commissioner.
He was awarded doctorate by the JNU in 1990 in the field of International Studies. Dr. Joshi is keenly interested in comparative study of religions, Hindu metaphysics and spiritualism. His other publications include: Saga of Hinduism, and Vedanta to Modern Science. An accomplished speaker Dr. Joshi has given several talks on spiritual themes. He delivered a weekly discourse on the Gita on the TV while in Gyuana.
It gives me great pleasure to place this book comprising a collection of articles and poems written by me during the last few months before the readers. As its title 'My life, My philosophy' indicates this book attempts to set forth my philosophy and outlook towards life; it portrays my aspirations, my doubts, my turmoil. I am sure many people especially the middle-aged ones will readily share my thoughts.
Last few months were undoubtedly the most turbulent and unsettling period of my life. I faced many problems, both in my professional as well as personal life. It is not for me to say to what extent these problems arose due to my own deficiencies and shortcomings. This I leave to the judgement of posterity.
But what is important and what has a direct bearing on this book is the fact that I underwent what can truly be called a crisis during the days and months which preceded. This was the period during which all the assumptions to which I had merrily clung earlier collapsed.
I had naively assumed, no doubt like many others, that things will always continue in the same way. One is sure that there will always be a job; that there will forever be somebody to look after and care for oneself.
But one fine morning one discovers that things can turn out far different than what one imagined them to be. This is what made me contemplate about the enigma of life and the purpose of my own existence. I began to ask myself: what is it I want? I saw for myself that money and prestige bring no happiness. Naturally, I began to enquire as to what motivates a human being, what attracts him and what repels him, as he goes through life impelled by conflicting desires and passions.
As one grows into middle age death no longer appears a distant prospect, this especially happens after one loses one's parents. What had remained for most of one's life something which happened only to others suddenly turns out to be something which could very well strike oneself too. One realizes that one's savings, the so-called prestige and respect one has enjoyed, will mean nothing in the other world. This naturally makes one more introspective. One starts wondering as to why there is so much pettiness, so much jealousy, why is there so much discord between family members, why are husbands so jealous of their wives and vice-versa.
As one starts thinking deeply over these themes, slowly a realization begins to dawn over oneself that all this is truly a multi- faceted drama whose neither the beginning nor the end anybody knows. One is helpless. One is both a spectator as well as an actor in it. To watch this drama as a dispassionate spectator is perhaps easy. But it is far more difficult to decide what role one should play as an actor. This is because nobody knows the script of this eternal drama. Perhaps even God continuously keeps on modifying it. Moreover, one is far from free to act as one chooses. There are so many constraints on one's actions. But within all these limitations one has some freedom too.
Perhaps the query as to how one should conduct oneself can be answered by turning to Gita: 'Do your duty dispassionately'. But this is more easily said than done. What is one's duty? How does one reconcile one's duty to others with one's duty to oneself? Can one look after one's bodily comforts without being haunted by the thought that one is being self-centred? All these questions defy an easy answer.
All this again reinforces one's search for the meaning of life, for its purpose. As one meditates, one slowly begins to realize, though hazily and fleetingly, that there is indeed some Reality, some Truth, which transcends our world. One learns to flavour and enjoy the bliss of peace in those rare moments when one seems to merge oneself with the cosmos.
But such sensations of utter peace hardly last. One cannot escape confronting the challenges of life, its stresses and strains, as one goes through one's life.
One's search for a direction for one's life is complicated by the course of events taking place around us. One finds usually that it is the crooked and knave who are succeeding. One then has to content oneself with the thought that this material world after all is not that important. But here again the dilemma arising from almost constant defeat of evil in its battle with good is not resolved. One is also an actor in this world. One wants a part of its material resources which the evil does not wish to let go out of its grasp. What does one then do?
How does one confront the evil? Does one surrender before it abjectly or fight it? If one chooses the later option, what does one aim at?
As I pondered over these questions, I found that my perspective towards others, towards life, was gradually changing. I began to understand far better the sublime teachings of Gita, the Upanisads, etc. I understood how casually we use terms like God's transcendence, immortality of Soul, etc. If one truly grasps their meaning even in a very limited way, one can never be unduly enamoured by temptations of life, or fall prey to passions and other frailties of human nature.
If indeed man is far more than what meets the eye, if there is something which transcends the temporal, then one's search for a purpose of life, its meaning, gets facilitated as well as complicated.
Be Free, fly like a bird
If I were a bird
The dilemma of middle age
How to overcome the fear of death
O' Death, Where are you?
Is there God?
Man, a bundle of contradiction
O' Man, who are you?
Quit worrying, be stress free
O' Foolish Traveller
O' God, where are you?
Manifesto of Life
Ego-Man's Worst enemy
Crisis of mid-fifties- Curse of Trishanku
Arranged marriage system-Myth and Reality
How to be enlightened- Part 1
How to be enlightened- Part 2
Message of Scriptures: Fallible or Infallible
The fearful man
The confused man
O' Man, why cannot you be true to yourself?
Soul & Body-strange bed fellows
God & Man
I live for my family
Give up jealousy
Learn to float, O' Man
The Valley beyond
Pounder O' Man, pounder
Where are you, O' God
Know reality, O' Man
My long Journey is over
The Blind Man
Materialism versus Spiritualism
The Purpose of life-Part 1
The Purpose of life-Part 2
Wake up, O' Man, wake up
Turn Inward O' Man
O' Man, how long do you want to be in prison
Turn back, O' Man, turn back
Look Up, O' Man, look Up
Solder On, O' Man, soldier on
From Known to Unknown
The Last Days