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Know Thyself – Unraveling The Mystery Of Mind:
Reviewed by Deb Fowler

“When I was pondering the messages Gian Kumar was attempting to impart to us through
the pages of Know Thyself: Unraveling the Mystery of Mind, the philosophical absurdism
of Camus came to mind. If we are simply living in an ashes to ashes dust to dust world,
what is the meaning of our lives or is our existence simply meaningless? Our world is
changing, seemingly not for the better, and one might think such philosophical musings are
somewhat trite or useless. Kumar states that “It is best to go along life’s journey with a
purpose, not just a goal.” It’s a dog eat dog world with death and destruction lurking
around every corner, yet pausing to read, really read Kumar’s essays may well bring that
purpose to our lives if that is what we are truly seeking.

Kumar’s musings reflect on many aspects of our lives from how science and religious
thought appear to be merging to his philosophy of money. I for one, tend not to be able to
find myself nor am I inclined to ponder the value of money in terms of self-actualization
(other than needing it to survive) so his three essays were browsed rather than taken to
heart. I find that reading books of this nature are not meant to be read progressively, but
rather prescriptively as needed. I was much more enamored with well-written essays such
as the one on Life … A Paradox. In a few short pages we are forced, or should I say
prompted, to look at the paradoxes, the duality of our very existence.

In this chapter Kumar discusses “the mystery of the paradoxical nature of our lives, and the
solution to this.” I found the “solution” to be somewhat elusive, however, unknowingly the
next chapter builds and touches on a possible solution. We do need, as human beings, to
slow down, “find a change, go with the flow of Nature, away from the man made world full
of egocentric desires.” The solution, therefore, is not found in a single essay, but linked
throughout the book in his spiritualistic, philosophical, and religious dialogue with the
reader.

For those who wish to explore and think about a deeper meaning of life and where we have
come from, perhaps reading about Stephen Hawkings’s and Sri Sri Ravi Shanker’s views
on spirituality and our cosmic connections will stir the pot. “The space around us is not
dead space,” claims Shanker, “it is filled with energy and intelligence.” These essays can
be read in a day, if one chooses, or over a longer period of time. I chose the long road and
found some of Kumar’s musing to be quite interesting and very thought provoking.
Thankfully he didn’t discuss such topics as Schrödinger’s cat, but if you do want to be the
beneficiary of a lifetime of Kumar’s exploration of the mysteries of life you will most
certainly enjoy these essays.

Quill says: If you want to seriously ponder the mysteries of the mind, Gian Kumar will help
you explore your own world in a series of short, but mind-boggling essays.”

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