Sunday, July 12, 2009

Values - The Key to a Meaningful Life

Author: Various
Published: 1996
Publisher: Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai

Values are strong beliefs which guide us in leading a meaningful and ethical life in equilibrium with the society we live in. Each profession has its own set of values which one must abide by. What are these values ?
This is what this book is all about. It is an anthology of short articles by twenty-six select men and women from all walks of life. They share their views, perceptions, insights concerning values in the fields they are actively associated with.
Diverse fields are covered - Society, Family, Education, Administration, Law, Law Enforcement, Music, Cinema, Journalism, Literature, Medicine, Science and Technology, Industry, Business and Sports.
The anthology includes articles by H.H. Dalai Lama (needs no introduction), Nani Palkhivala (an eminent constitutional lawyer) , Julio Riberio ( who as a D.G. of Punjab Police brought the menace of terrorism in Punjab under control), Rajkumar Bharathi ( a well-known Carnatic Classical singer and descendant of famous poet-revolutionary Subramnya Bharathi) among others.
Since I work in the Technology area the article "Values in Science and Technology" by Prof. N.V.C. Swamy a former Director - IIT, Madras was of most relevance to me. When I was pursuing my Ph.D in IIT Madras, I had a privilege of attending Prof. Swamy's lectures both in academic (Fluid Dynamics !) and non-academic (Vedanta !) areas and found them very educative and interesting. I can say the same for his article in this book. Prof. Swamy explains in a very elegant manner with interesting examples how four principal values - Universalism, Communalism, Disinterestedness and Organized Scepticism applies to scientists and technologists.
Most of the articles in this book are easy to understand and will help anyone who would like to create a personal value system capable of facing challenges in day to day life and making him or her a better person.
The articles in this book appeared in 1995 issue of the journal The Vedanta Kesari published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. So some of the articles sound outdated when they discuss values in context with the events impacting the society. This is the only limitation of this book. It would be nice if the publishers bring out a sequel to this book in which the contributors discuss the values in the light of events post-1995.
The book is economically priced (Rs 45 (less than 1 USD) ) and can be ordered online from the publisher.

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