It is always rewarding to go through an intelligent bunch of worldly advice. Here we see one such bunch. It is followed by a hilarious spoof of the same. Both seem to have an input for those who wish to lead a cheerful life governed by wisdom.

During the last century, a wise man wrote a collection of well-meaning advice to guide us on to leading a meaningful life. This has been published under the heading ‘Desiderata’ and publicized over the last fifty years or so. The reader is probably familiar with it as it shows up in quite a few bookshops. As one would quickly notice, the items mentioned in that presentation reflect a bunch of carefully chosen suggestions that can help one meet life with some maturity. By clicking the link given by Reference 1 below, the reader can enjoy going through Desiderata. One of the reassuring items there says, “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.”

Some jovial person who chanced to read ‘Desiderata’ came up with a hilarious parody of it. He called it ‘Deteriorata’. It does make us laugh but, strangely enough, some items there too seem to hit the nail on the head with regard to leading a good life. You can enjoy Deteriorata by visiting the link given by Reference 2 below.

While Desiderata makes us look carefully into some essential items for good living, Deteriorata moves us towards a laid-back attitude imbued with nonchalance. Perhaps, applying ourselves to the two together we may head straight to Liberation! In any case, someone who has gone through a Near Death Experience (NDE) would surely appreciate both of those presentations.

Ironically, the punch line of Deteriorata clicks with what J.Krishnamurti says in a small booklet entitled ‘Conversations’. The line is “Give up.”! This may sound strange. The point is that the ‘giving up‘ is not in terms of any practical responsibility but in regard to the ego’s stronghold. The release from the ego begins to take place from our understanding of how our conditioned mind keeps us arrested in its vortex of thought. Then the ‘giving up’ takes place effortlessly and there is freedom from attachment to people, things and ideas. The usual expression ‘I love you’ is indeed a matter of emotional attachment rather than be one of impersonal and universal love implied in near death experiences.

As we all know, two of the major messages from NDE are: Unqualified compassion towards everybody (irrespective of religion, nationality etc) and a laid-back attitude towards life. Whatever helps us imbibe the spirit behind those messages can take us to higher levels of living. In that respect, reflection on the two presentations mentioned above would play a role. When we apply ourselves to leading a well-ordered and useful life, circumstances gear around to help us move in that direction. It is up to us to appreciate and cooperate with them.

It is sad to see the large number of suicide cases in many countries of the world. If this unfortunate state of affairs is to change, we must direct our attention to the young people and expose them to deeper issues of life instead of letting the conventional neurosis of the society capture them. Schools must make provisions for this instead of dumping a lot of unnecessary knowledge on the children. We should ask “Is it the education for the child or is it the child for the education?”

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Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.

Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.

Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy who also received her doctoral degree from the North Carolina State University, in Organic Chemistry. Now they are both retired and currently involved in developing a fruit farm at a village 20 km from their residence. They have a daughter and son who are both married and settled.