In the book Dr. Pillai has carefully brought our twelve chapters with two thought provoking epilogues. It is hoped that this book will be received and read with interest by the public.
His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya Swamigal
Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
An interesting feature of the book is that the author uses dialogue as a route to unfold the vision of the Upanishads to the modern reader. It is an absorbing analysis of the wisdom of humanity accumulated over time through scientific and speculative means and the reader should have the patience and mental make-up to comprehend it. I compliment Dr.Pillai for presenting a masterly study of a highly complex theme and commend it to the inquisitive explorers of knowledge interested in knowing more about the meaning and purpose of life.
Dr. Pillai is a multifaceted personality with degrees in physics, Chemistry, psychology, and economics. His previous book entitled, “ Mystic Awareness for the Modern Mind” has been widely acclaimed as a “ pathfinder to an enriched existence”. He has been conducting interactive session on Stress Management and Spiritual Awareness and intends to set up spiritual awareness centers to restore the moral values that are neglected in our relentless pursuit of material pleasures. This book is primarily addressed to the intelligent youth seeking a rational mode of spirituality that conforms to the advanced scientific knowledge of reality. Sale proceeds of this book will support the rehabilitation of AIDS Victims.
In this book, Dr. Pillai relates the vision of the Upanishads to the spiritual needs of the 21 st century. The stories of the Upanishads are retold to make them intelligible to the modern world. The outcome is a rational worldview that reveals the undeniable presence of an interactive energy in all forms of life.
The Upanishads contain the essence of existential wisdom conceived by oriental mystics about 3,000 years ago. They lead us to the logical inference that the spark of universal energy embedded in us motivates all our worldly deeds and even inspires the spiritual quest to unravel the unknown. The Upanishads give us clear-cut answers to all ultimate questions that science fails to elucidate.
The author suggests that the Upanishads can mitigate excessive violence, unfounded fears, and chronic anxieties that torment the modern mind. The book contains the latest scientific ideas on the mind and it offers effective spiritual solutions to remove undesirable aggressive tendencies. The existential wisdom explained here can hopefully create a compassionate mindset that we sadly miss in the egocentric era of information technology.
The new interest in spirituality that has assumed significance in the west reflects the yearning of modern man to the ultimate reality behind the universe. It is gratifying to note that with all the modern scientific instruments and discoveries, the west is reaching the same conclusions which the seers and sages of our country had reached thousands of years ago simply by their intuition. Their mysticism is still an enigma to the western thinkers.
The more the scientists delve into the mysteries of the matter and mind, the more they admire the wisdom of the Upanishads. One simply wonders how the Vedic Rishis could proclaim that space (Aakash) is all pervasive. Researchers in the atomic field proved this fact only in the 20th Century.
This is the reason why Mahatma Gandhi told us that India might be lacking in the material field, but it has an immense treasure of spiritual knowledge, which will guide.humanity towards a life of contentment and happiness. This spiritual knowledge is the real strength of our country, which has sustained us during many trials and tribulations.
In his book "Mystic Awareness for the Modern Mind"/ Dr. Pillai gives all the spiritual knowledge that a rational man needs for peace of mind. He examines all the scientific explanations to the origin and evolution-of the universe, life and mind. He finds several inconsistencies and inexplicable coincidences in scientific knowledge. After examining the origin of the. Universe and matter, Dr. Pillai evaluates the evolutionary explanation of the diversity of life and the neural basis of the mind.
Dr. Pillai's work is a great effort to link science and spirituality. He does not give any new explanation but a rational perspective is evolved from the existing collective wisdom of humanity. His sincere effort to make "Compassionate Wisdom" the basis for new age spirituality is definitely laudable. I recommend this book to all persons interested in spirituality.
This well-written book is based on a vast wealth of scientific information. The author deserves high acclaim for a noble effort to give a positive contribution to social upliftment.
I came to know Dr. G.K. Pillai and about his philosophical and intellectual pursuits when I had the privilege of releasing his book Mystic Awareness for the Modern Mind at a largely attended function in Mumbai in July 2001. The present book, which is the result of several years of intensive studies by Dr. G.K. Pillai of the Upanishads in the context of the latest scientific discoveries of the mind, is a welcome addition to his MYSTIC AWARENESS FOR THE MODERN MIND. In his new book he presents a world view of the Upanishads which is not only rational
but aimed at meeting the spiritual needs of the modern century.
It is universally accepted that the Upanishads embody the essence of the wisdom on existence. The Upanishads, rightly described as the greatest Indian heritage, give the answers to many puzzles that science has failed to resolve. An interesting feature of the Book is that the author uses the dialogue route to unfold the vision of Upanishads to the modern reader. Through the interface with a young student from the west, Dr. Pillai tries to unravel the mysteries of the mind and evaluates the contemporary relevance of the Upanishads.
In the first part of the book the author explains how the Upanishads help remove the common misconceptions about the meaning of life. He explains how the wisdom of the Upanishads transcends the conventional boundaries of human thought set by time and space and presents it in an ambience intelligible to the modern
The latter part of the book beginning with chapter six, gives glimpses of the latest scientific knowledge of the brain, consciousness and the mind. Presented in an intelligible conversational style of explanation, these chapters expose the reader to the recent scientific discoveries, which have unraveled some of the mysteries attributed to the mind.
A very valuable part of the book is the conducing chapter that takes us to the ultimate question about existence. The author cogently explains the process of evolution, supplementing it with the insights of the Upanishads. The book answers several existential questions with convincing explanations. I must draw the special attention of the reader to the two interesting epilogues, which considerably enrich the value of the book - the vision of Ashtavakra and Patanjali's pathfinder. Dr. Pillai's penetrating analysis of these works makes them intelligible to the common man.
This book is not meant for light reading. It is an absorbing analysis of the wisdom of humanity accumulated over time through scientific and speculative means and the reader should have the patience and mental make up to comprehend it. I compliment Dr. Pillai for presenting a masterly study of a highly complex theme and commend it to the inquisitive explorers interested in knowing more about the meaning and purpose of life.
"The Supreme Self is the essence oj' existence that shines as pure awareness in all minds. It is beyond our thoughts and actions and is free from evils, desires and death."
"Brahman is the eternal reality of the universe that underlies all visible and invisible beings. It is both the cause and the effect and consciousness dwelling in the core of all existene. "
"The Supreme Lord is pure consciousness embedded in every heart. We experience our thoughts, actions, and emotions only in the presence of that primal cause of creation."
"Isn't it a silly idea?"Asked Mike. "Do you think an ancient piece of oriental thought can change the mindset of hardened hate mongers of the modern world? When they are busy collecting nuclear warheads and biological weapons of mass destruction, how can you preach the message of unity and peace?"
"Our first priority is to beef up global security against such misguided monsters. Then we must catch the criminals wherever they hide and bring them to justice," he concluded with lot of indignation.
Before we proceed further, let me introduce Mike, the agitated anti-terrorist. He is an American student who came to India for a personal experience' on the impact of Eastern spirituality. We spent considerable time discussing the relevance of Vedic thoughts to the modern world. This book is the outcome of our combined efforts, to unravel the wisdom of the Upanishads. While exploring ancient and modern thoughts of the West and the East, we tried to find parallels and points of convergence, for creating a rational worldview on existence.
"Yes," I nodded for a breather, to put across my point.
"It is true that these miscreants immensely hate all the great assets of civilization like democracy, freedom of thought and choice. They exhort millions of gullible youth to sacrifice life for the cause of religion, region or language. Unfortunately, advanced technology puts the entire world at their mercy."
"But can you solve the problem of global terror by killing a few fanatics and their misguided followers? The infection has spread far and wide. Cutting some limbs here and there cannot contain or cure the disease."
I found my sober counsel on the current reign of terror, had somewhat mellowed his uncompromising attitude. It was evident that deep in his psyche, utter helplessness and confusion prevailed. Behind the brave facade, I knew he had no effective solution, to eradicate the menace of modern terrorism. Similar impotence prevails all over the civilized world, which could be demolished at will by a few trigger-happy tyrants. The immense capacity to create holocaust
anywhere at any time has made them extremely arrogant and unconcerned about the loss of life and the rule of law. The exclusive attention of the global media enhances their sense of pride and invincibility. It inspires the lower cadre to create more devastating catastrophes. Eventually, thousands of innocent lives are lost at the altar of terror. The killers are promised very attractive heavenly rewards for defending the domains of their faith on earth! For them, death is the prelude to an eternal pleasure cruise in heaven.
"It is difficult to find rational solutions when impulsive and emotional responses dictate the course of global events. I am not trying to reform anyone with new ideas or to improve the' level of tolerance. All I wish is, to hold a mirror of wisdom before impressionable youth to make them understand what existence is all about. It is a secular attempt to create a worldview that would enable malleable minds to resist the influence of bigotry and indoctrination."
"Can you achieve this almost impossible goal by simply spreading the message of the Upanishads?" he asked.
"There is no harm in trying. The existential wisdom of the Upanishads can be presented in a contemporaneous format to convince even diehard terrorists that non- violence is a divine attitude."
I added, "The Upanishads give us a unique perception of life that conforms to the latest scientific discoveries: They contain a convincing message of unity that can be easily understood by the modern mind. In fact, the Upanishads support the basic tenets of all religions that repose faith in a supreme entity. It can also give effective spiritual solace even to the victims of AIDS and other
fatal diseases, who live in constant fear of death. I agree it is extremely difficult to convey its ancient wisdom across barriers of inherited and imbibed ignorance."
Having aroused his curiosity, I gave a brief account on the relevance of the Upanishads in the present times. "They give rational solutions to existential enigmas that still confound humanity. The insights of the Upanishads are not attributable to the thoughts of a single individual or to any particular period. Actually, they represent the collective wisdom of many generations of. Thinkers belonging to one' of the earliest known civilizations. The Hindus assume that the Upanishads are the philosophical bulwark of their holy scriptures known
as "The Vedas". But the Upanishads do not support religious practices to propitiate a variety of gods or the division of society on the basis of caste. They present a truly secular worldview that promotes compassionate
wisdom to care for the poor and deprived."
Briefly stated, the Upanishads reflect the highest level of awareness reached by selfless seekers of knowledge in ancient times. They logically remove the misconceptions of the meaning and purpose of life to achieve the correct
perception 'of reality. The mystics who conceived them never claimed any intellectual property rights for their path-breaking inferences nor did they set up institutions to propagate any patented wisdom. They were simple, enlightened teachers. Willing to instruct the inquisitive disciples on the true meaning of existence. With overwhelming realization on the transient nature of the material world, they probably understood the futility of preserving personal identities and achievements. By living up to the ideals of compassion, austerity and humility, they became excellent role models for exuberant disciples.
It is a fact that the insights of the Upanishads scend conventional boundaries of human thoughts beset by severe concept\lal constraints. Since scientific knowledge is solely based on material features of the world. Confirming to definite space-time dimensions, our natural inclination is to readily accept the ideas explained in a modern manner rather than in an archaic context. The Upanishads frequently refer to the life style of an ancient civilization. That would appear mythological to the contemporary world. But if they are consistent with the current level of knowledge, we cannot simply brush them aside as outlandish perceptions.
That is why I am presenting a different version of the Upanishads.
"The objective is to present a rational worldview based on latest scientific knowledge about matter, life, and the mind supplemented by mystic wisdom of existence. It can hopefully; rewire the modem mindset that constantly seeks
more material comforts and .power than peace and contentment. Ample proof is also presented to show that the Upanishads give truly workable solutions for existential enigmas that defy scientific solutions."
- "Yes, you may be right." said Mike.
He added, "The vision of the Upanishads may not require any support of scientific explanations. They may correspond to all scientific knowledge we have on the origin of the Universe and evolution of life. The recent philosophical thoughts in the West, particular after John Locke, ignored altogether the spiritual dimension of human existence. The holistic approach of Plato .and Platinus that integrated spiritual and material worldviews was later abandoned in favour of an uncompromising materialistic interpretation of life propounded by reductionism."
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