Self-help books on various topics including management, psychology, philosophy and happy living have become popular nowadays. ‘Master the Mind Monkey’ written by management expert Dr. Anand Patkar, has been translated almost literally by Ve Rajagopal in Tamil as ‘Manathenum Kurangai Vellungal’.
This is another attempt to discuss management concepts and problems; the concluding part is on self realisation through a spiritual expedition to achieve excellence both in professional and personal lives. The book is a comprehensive treatise on the theoretical and practical experiences of the author.
Divided into five sections -- Foundation Stones, Applications in Organizational Life, Reality Testing, Anatomy of Mind and Nature of Reality -- each section has been subdivided into several individual chapters. The author has taken special efforts to explain and solve corporate management problems through the methodology and technique he had evolved. His claims are validated by his training sessions for the staff of established companies.
Probably to justify the title the author provides ‘the hundredth monkey phenomenon’ in the course of his narration, where a sudden realisation comes or a miracle happens notwithstanding the fact that the one had faced 99 failed attempts. The author mentions that there are no ‘specific’ or ‘fixed’ rule or path towards success, but one needs to devise one’s own path through experiences.
After the warm-up discussions on management in the first half of the book, the second half deals with mind and memory, the importance of understanding one’s inner voice, argues about the concept of man as a machine, provides the distinction between intellect and wisdom and finally explores how to experience the ‘murti’ (atman) within.
Undoubtedly, the book is a valiant attempt and it tries to discuss almost everything, every act in life. Translation of a book dealing with corporate management from English to Tamil with a philosophical explanation is an unenviable task. Rajagopal has taken immense care to execute this job. One can spot several interesting equivalent words for breakthrough, humility, empathy, experience of harmony in Tamil to cite a few of the lot. Nevertheless, the book has a conspicuous quality; a literal translation and so it has its own unwieldiness. The result is convoluted sentences and usage of English terms in several places.
The context and concept of the book are definitely complex and cannot be explained or understood easily. The meditation exercise the author discusses in the book might be simple to read but is difficult to practise. So were the final chapters which deal with ‘maya’, ‘reality’ and listening to the ‘inner voice’.
The book may serve as a guide to those who are looking to re-evaluate their mundane existence and look for happiness. The author ultimately says that if we understand and accept that every experience in life is a passing phase, life will be a smooth ride. Here I is just another attempt to reinforce the eternal Indian philosophy.
Manathenum Kurangai Vellungal
Translated into Tamil by Ve Rajagopal,
Jaico Publishing House, Rs. 199