Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Book Review: Know Thyself by Gian Kumar

-Deep Jagdeep Singh-

Book Review Know Thyself | Gian Kumar
Know Thyself | Gian Kumar
What is spirituality? Gian Kumar takes us into the world of spirituality, through very simple path, that is called ‘Us’. Word ‘Thyself’, an archaic form of word yourself, is itself a striking word which grabs our attention and takes us deep within our body, mind and soul.  These are the three elements which Gian Kumar, project as the basic foundation of spirituality throughout the book. He emphasizes on the fact that to get through the mystical world of spirituality we need no saffron cladding gurus, mythological mantras or some out of the world practices.  What we need is serious introspection and sincere efforts to know ourselves from within. 
Best part of the Gian Kumar’s philosophy is that he doesn’t suggest ending up at extreme shores of the life. Instead, he suggests having a right balance between spirituality and material necessities. This balance begins from the cover of the book. On the black background embossed laminated feather adds up glistening effect, but pale pages and simple writing inside keeps us glued to the content. Right from the preface, writer directly voices the basic questions out of a common seeker’s mind, such as: Who am I? Where have I come from? Where do we go? And many more such questions, set the goal for the reader that s/he will achieve after reading the book. At the beginning of each chapter, he gives us the essence of the chapter with a simple quotation. When we finish the chapter, the idea gets completely absorbed within the core of our soul. For example, before getting into first chapter titled ‘Knowing the Truth’ we come across and the quotation, “In a gentle manner, be a gentleman; gently dissolve the ‘I, me, mine and myself’ roaring within you.” When the chapter culminates at, “Being true to oneself changes the way we are- our mannerism, personality and our life.” we already know how to be true to ourselves. 
Through the first book of the series, he takes us to the voyage of truth, mind, body and soul, spiritualism, its connection with science and religion and sex and love. Further, we get to know about life, death, consciousness and philosophy of money. Then he comes to most crucial question who is God? And do we need Him? He culminates the book with the power of love, knowing our body and knowing ourselves. 

The most interesting parts of the book are about money and God. Usually, most of the religious preachers lecture us to shun the money and surrender in front of the unknown God. But Gian Kumar, with legit arguments presents the case of money. First, he asks, “Isn’t it a shame that so many of us, instead of respecting money, curse it as evil?” and then he explains how money turns into evil with lack of awareness. He says, “Money is so much like the mind; both are instruments to be directed by our awareness and the witnessing self, but it turns out that both use us.” He further elaborates that any ‘evil’ originates from man’s intentions and the way a man uses his money. Anyone who has earned the money the right way respects it; the man who damns money is either incapable of earning or has acquired it dishonorably.  Thus he concludes by emphasizing that those who understand and control their money, attain the purpose of life.

About God, he begins with the worldly approach, “We are taught about a separate God  to believe in and pray during times of need and fear and to thank Him for all that He has given us.”, then he shares his own idea of God and says, “Please remember, God, does not manifest himself. He is in us, with us, and around us. It is for us to become aware of His presence and divinity, deep within our subconscious mind; to experience and realize Him away from the vanities of this world.” He emphasizes that in total awareness, we are God and in self-consciousness or ego, we are but an object in mind and body as matter. He concludes, “God is infinite and eternal. When your mind and body dissolve in this timeless, limitless and space-less energy, you become God. In body and mind, we are finite; we cannot perceive or conceive the infinite through our limited mind. The mind requires that which can be defined; God, being eternal, cannot be defined, unless the mind dissolves into the infinite.”

Thus, with his simple yet engaging style Gian Kumar takes us to the strange world of spirituality, which seems familiar at the end. He does not use typical jargon of mythology and religions, though he keeps comparing religion, science and spirituality. He draws convincing parallels and remains rational in his approach. 

I must say that this book not only endorses my ideas about the above questions, but also emphasizes on the ways, how to face these questions? It gives concrete answers and throws the light upon how to adapt our life in line of those answers. I would like to recommend this book for the age group of all under-graduate students to youngsters who are still on the way to find the right direction in their lives. Even if you are not interested in spirituality, you will get to know the very basics of life to be successful. And if you have an interest in Spirituality, this book is a sure short guide of the basics. 

The only thing which bothered me was the repetition of few basic concepts again and again in each chapter. It would be more easy and attractive if these points would have been highlighted as bulleted keywords in a text box instead of repeating the whole paragraphs. If done so, it would be a good revision without interrupting the flow of the book. I would like to sum up this review by quoting the last paragraph of the book which in a nutshell, is the essence of book and life itself-

“Last but not least, learn how to love yourself. Love is the truth and reality of life. Love can be obtained only through awareness of our real being. Be aware of the body-the divine resides within. Be aware of the mind, where the consciousness within determines what we are. Be aware of awareness, where our intentions determine the presence of who we are.”

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