Nov 29, 2023

Book Review: Value of Values by Swami Dayananda Saraswati

 In the course "Foundations of Sanatana Dharma", Prof.Mahadevan mentioned this book title while explaining the principle of Dharma.

K had bought this book many years back and I immediately picked it up from our home library. It has been a thought-provoking read over the last couple of weeks.

Swami Dayananda Saraswati sets the context on how the expression of our life is just the expression of our well-assimilated value structure.

He beautifully explains how we apply values more consistently and more absolutely to others than to ourselves. For eg, we may expect others to be 100% truthful with us, but we may not be 100% truthful to everyone. He calls this a "half-value" where there is a disconnection between what we expect of others (personal value) and what we do (obligatory value).

Whenever we perform an action that is against our values, we create a seed of guilt, that leads to fear and conflict. This also creates a "knower-doer" split. Such a conflicted mind will not be in a state to absorb the knowledge of the self.

In Chapter 13 of the Bhagavad Gita (verses 7 to 11), Bhagavan Krishna lists down 20 qualities that prepare the mind for the knowledge of the self.

Swami explains these 20 qualities, along with their importance and relevance in today's context. Some of them are quite an eye-opener.

Amanitvam indicates the absence of exaggerated self-importance. The demand for recognition and respect from others comes from an inner sense of emptiness or a lack of readiness to accept ourselves for who we are.

Asaktih represents the absence of a sense of ownership, even for our own body. This line struck a chord - "He has the right to maintain it but not to destroy it, a possessive right only to make use of it".

Vivikta-desa-sevitvam is a value that highlights the importance of establishing oneself in solitude. "To be contemplative means to be able to face yourself happily....{if not}, the mind will always require an escape".

Depending upon your life journey, you might observe that you are progressing in certain qualities, while you need to work on certain other qualities. This book provides such clarity and interpretation for us to assess our values in just 150 pages.

Blog Archive

All contents copyrighted by Anuradha Sridharan, 2023. Don't copy without giving credits. Powered by Blogger.