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August 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         August 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:August' 2018


A superb guide to life

M. R. Dua

Joy, happiness, or cheerfulness is perhaps the most looked-for and sought-after commodity. It's most diligently pursued by practically every human being in the enormously troubled, chaotic world of today. In fact, 'joy' is a 'state of mind and heart,' and, it is this'understanding'of real 'joy' that the Dalai Lama avers; and that according to the Dalai,'animates our lives and what ultimately leads to a life of satisfaction and meaning.' However, the intriguingly enigmatic question that most human beings are confronted with is: how to find, discover eternal, simple 'Joy'?
The world's two living most prominent angelic spiritual messengers of peace, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have offered some answers in the book under review. The two Nobel Laureates offer some sagacious paths to pursue and to be blessed with joy. Their paths include the following: humility – try to look humble and modest; humour – joking is much better; acceptance – the only place where change can begin; forgiveness – freeing ourselves from the past; gratitude– I'm 'fortunate to be alive'; compassion – something we want to become; and, generosity – we are filled with joy.Archbishop Desmond Tutu opines, "'joy' is much bigger than happiness. While happiness is often seen as being dependent on external circumstances, joy is not." Both the Dalai and the Archbishop, propound their individual intuitive knowledge and understanding of 'joy.' Desmond Tutu clearly asserts, 'The Joy that you are talking about is not just a feeling. It's not something that just comes and goes. It's something much more profound.
And it sounds like what you're saying is that joy is a way of approaching the world. Many people are waiting for happiness or joy. When they get a job, when they fall in love, when they get rich, then they will be happy, then they will have joy.'
In order to elucidate the meaning of joy, the Dalai Lama quotes his reputed 'joy emotions' researcher Paul Ekman, saying that 'joy' is associated with feelings as varied as: pleasure, amusement, excitement, relief, wonder, ecstasy or bliss, exultation, radiant pride, elevation, gratitude.
This book is a compilation of discussion among the notable personages organized in Dharamsala, India, where both the laureates were transported on the occasion of celebration of the Dalai Lama's birthday by Douglas Abrams of California University. Douglas Abrams did an excellent job in editing and making it a lucid read. In a week-long extremely lively, knowledgeable, and soulful discussion, the two shared the trials and tribulations of their life full of struggles and hardships.

The two globally revered spiritual giants dwell upon the elusive theme of 'what's joy', 'where to find it', and 'how to find it' in the vast seas of sufferings and afflictions and adversities that life flings at humans.

The two globally revered spiritual giants dwell upon the elusive theme of 'what's joy', 'where to find it', and 'how to find it' in the vast seas of sufferings and afflictions and adversities that life flings at humans. They suggest and animatedly debate the joy theme to make it intelligible, meaningful; the nature of true joy; the obstacles of joy which they enumerate as – fear, stress, and anxiety; frustrations and anger; sadness and grief; despair; loneliness; envy; illness and fear of death.
They lay down some ways and suggestions to the reader so they can strive to perceive, find, explore, discern 'Joy' for themselves, They prompt the readers to what they call 'the pillars of joy' (listed earlier). These, they elaborate, will provide the foundations for lasting happiness. Engagingly, they tell and share their 'Joy practices' that can empower and embolden the human beings to stride through their emotional and spiritual experiences.
Coursing through the book, we find the Dalai quoting studies and researches by eminent psychologists, noted researchers and scholars on what's joy, what it means to the common people. Both Tutu and the Dalai underline the love and compassion that Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela espoused and endeavoured to spread joy.
The last chapter, 'Joy Practices,' sums up the entire crux and teleology of this excellent volume that provides a rich, abundant and nutritious food for thought – for life. So to say. Finally, here's a poster carrying the message of joy that has been put out by the publishers of this book for popularizing, propagating, spreading and sharing the spirit of 'joy' with all…