Review: Open-eyed Meditations, Practical Wisdom for Everyday Life

As Indian society becomes increasingly materialistic and westernized, often most people find that they have to deal with unpleasant situations as they deal with individuals whose value systems, personal and professional ethics are very different from their own. This can cause a lot of mental stress, anger and can lead to mistakes which can be very expensive in the long term. Open Eyed Meditations, a self help book written by Shubha Vilas is a well written book which provides practical advice on dealing with unpleasant situations, events, and emotions like hatred, jealousy, how to get the most benefit from conditions which most will consider hostile, the importance of wisdom, getting honest advice from a wise person.

Till the fifteenth century A.D, India was widely considered to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and the fabulous wealth of ancient india is confirmed and documented worldwide. In the book Open Eyed Mediations, Shubha Vilas has drawn extensively from ancient indian mythology , specifically the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata, explaining how right values and the wise decisions taken by Rama, Pandavas allowed them to be victorious in the Mahabharat and conquer their rivals their cousins the Kauravas despite having their limitations in terms of their flaws, lesser resources, making ancient India wealthy. Mahabharata and the Ramayana are the most popular stories in Hindu mythology, which most children in India learn in school, and have also been converted into popular television serials.

Shubha Vilas has repeatedly used various events in the life of the most famous characters in Hindu mythology Rama, Hanuman, Krishna, Yudhistir, Arjuna, Karna, Bhima to illustrate the different facets of human life. For example when Rama was exiled to the forest for 14 years in the Ramayana, instead of being upset by the exile, which denied him the rule of the kingdom of Ayodhya, he took it as opportunity to learn about the different kinds of people, make new friends he would otherwise never interact with like Sugriva, Hanuman and others. He also discusses the strategy in defeating Ravana, the ruler of lanka who had abducted Sita, how Rama was able to select the right person Hanuman for getting Sita from Lanka, how Ravana mistreated his brother Vibhishana who later joined Rama.

Though the Pandavas had many limitations, and character flaws, they were able to overcome their faults by having the right attitude to negative events in their life. For example when the Kauravas got Hastinapura, and the Pandavas were given Indraprastha a barren place, they made the most of the opportunities they got, and made Indraprastha a better place than Hastinapura, which made their cousin Duryodhana jealous. It also explains how Karna was not able to match Arjuna, because he was extremely insecure, because of his poor family background, and would constantly boast to hide his insecurities. On the other hand, Arjuna was secure, and spent his time and resources to perfect his skills, to become the great marksman .

Today when data processing, big data and data analytics are widely used, most organizations and government agencies do not care for wisdom, experienced people, getting the right advice . However Shubha Vilas rightly points that having a wise and powerful advisor can be the greatest asset for any organization, how the Pandavas won the Mahabharata mainly because the wise Krishna, was on their side, though only as the charioteer for Arjuna. Before the Mahabharata began, both Arjuna and Duryodhana approached Krishna for help at the same time, when Krishna was sleeping. Duryodhana sat at his head, while Arjuna wisely sat at his feet, knowing that when Krishna would wake up, he would see him first. Krishna offered the cousins a choice, they could choose his army or him as a person. Realizing that the right advice would help them win the war, Arjuna rightly chose the Krishna, the person, who helped them win the Mahabharata.

The author Shubha Vilas, who is an engineer and lawyer, and has written the best selling book “Ramayana the Game of Life” again displays his mastery over ancient indian mythology while writing this book, incorporating incidents from the Mahabharata and Ramayana in the book seamlessly. While dealing with an unpleasant incident or event, many people will get angry, upset, depressed or let it affect their health, decisions and mental peace. This book helps them deal with the unpleasant situations and thoughts that almost everyone encounters daily , how to deal with provocations, solving the problem matrix. An interesting and eminently readable book, to be reread repeatedly especially when faced with difficult problems.

Book: Open-eyed Meditations, Practical Wisdom for Everyday Life
Author : Shubha Vilas
Published by : Fingerprint! Belief
Year: 2016

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