The 282 page book, published by Excel Books, New Delhi (2010, reprinted 2013) is designed as a textbook for human values course. The contents of the book that are presented systemically challenge the very human life in several fronts: need of the body-physical facility; need of the self-happiness; an absolute necessity to have right understanding of the human reality; co-existence between self and body; co-existence with rest of the nature; so forth.
The fundamental human aspiration is “Continuous Happiness and Prosperity”. In other words the book discusses what nurtures self to be happy and what nurtures body to be healthy and attain prosperity. The ultimate human goal has four aspects: (1) Resolution that there is Right Understanding and Right Feelings (Happiness) in Every Individual; (2) There is Prosperity in Every Family; (3) There is Trust/Justice in Society and (4) There is Co-Existence in Nature and the whole of Existence (Universe).
The authors also remind us that a human being, “Myself” is the Co-Existence of the Self and the Body. It is imperative to understand the differing needs of Self and Body. For instance Trust, Respect, Happiness are needs of Self and these needs are continuous in time, qualitative in volume, and conscious in type. On the other hand Food, Clothing and Physical Facility are needs of the Body. They are temporary in time, quantitative in volume and physico-chemical in type.
As I was reading my attention was drawn by Chapter Ten, page 179-197: “Harmony in Nature-Understanding the Interconnectedness and Mutual Fulfillment”. The book intelligently presents four orders in nature as Material Order (Eg. Soil, water, air); Plant/Bio Order (Eg grass, plants, trees, flowers, fruits); Animal Order (Eg. Animals, birds); and Human Order (Human Beings). Material order is the largest and occupies the biggest land mass of the existence, whereas Human order is smallest and is supposed to occupy the least landmass. The three Orders of Material, Plant, and Animals are performing their duty for co-existence and mutual fulfillment but it is the Human Order due to greed and selfishness disturbs the co-existence and ecological balance. Therefore Human Order need to have right understanding and right feelings and play their moral roles. As much as the material order, plant order and animal order give and nurture the human order we have existential duty for mutual fulfillment.
Finally I am tempted to share the review surrounding a question, “what is naturally acceptable to you?” In other words we talk about how to exercise self discipline as a moral tool to becoming better human beings. Be true to yourself and ask these questions:
Is it naturally acceptable to tell lies?
Is it naturally acceptable to beat/hit someone?
Is it naturally acceptable to steal?
Is it naturally acceptable to eat meat?
Is it naturally acceptable to kill another life?
Is it naturally acceptable to take drugs?
Is it naturally acceptable to drink alcohol?
Is it naturally acceptable to cheat on others?
Is it naturally acceptable to smoke tobacco?
Is it naturally acceptable to go against the law?
Is it naturally acceptable to gossip and waste time?
Is it naturally acceptable to be unpatriotic?
Some of these questions relate to your Self whereas others are for Body. If these habits and manners are not naturally acceptable to you, yet you do them make resolution to minimize and stop them some day. You make like to list more questions and assess yourself whether they are naturally acceptable to you.
HAPPY READING, although it is possible some of you may have already read the book or attended workshop on Universal Human Values.
Reviewed by Dr Singye Namgyel
August 23, 2015