Guest of Honor Karan Singh’s Positivity Formula: “Go Deeper Into Your Own Self and Have a Spiritual Purpose”
Aging has five dimensions: chronological, physiological, emotional, intellectual and spiritual, said Karan Singh, politician and scholar, adding that at 90, he felt stronger in ability than before.
He was speaking at the exit of Mantras for positive aging, an anthology of first-person testimonials from several prominent figures on positive, productive and graceful aging, at the India International Center here Friday.
The hybrid event, coinciding with the International Day of Older Persons, was organized in conjunction with the Service Guild.
Dr Singh, the main guest of the event, elaborated on the five aspects of growth, emphasizing the need for “some kind of spiritual quest in life”. He added that everyone should try to delve deeper into their own selves and have a spiritual purpose. “It’s better late than never,” said Dr Singh, also one of the book’s contributors. He also praised the Service Guild for its wide range of work in terms of “geographic and social coverage”.
Fifty personal mantras
With a preface by the spiritual leader Dalai Lama, the book, published by Pippa Rann Publications, contains fifty personal mantras from people including the late Sunderlal Bahuguna, environmental activist, economist and scholar Devaki Jain, acclaimed theater and film actor Sushma Seth, leader politician and diplomat. Mani Shankar Aiyar and women’s rights activist Syeda Hameed, among others.
Dr Mohini Giri, president of the Guild of Service, who also edited the book with women’s rights activist Meera Khanna, said she was “happy to have a few of the authors in the audience”, but “sad that some are not in the world”. Remembering the late Kamla Bhasin, Dr Giri said she couldn’t say “what she didn’t do” and read one of her poems celebrating death. She also spoke about Durga Deshmukh, one of the contributors, who died just over a week ago.
Although the gathering at the event remained small, given the standards of social distancing, the atmosphere was charged with the interpretation of Sanskrit shlokas and conch blowing to recognize the authors’ presence among the audience. They were also offered shawls and plants.
Virtually joining the rally, public policy professor Guptara, also an editor, said the uniqueness of the book could be understood in terms of the three syllables of the word “Mantra”. He said that “Ma” signified the motto of the book, which was the key sentiment, “N” signified the number of prominent contributors with great variety, and “Tra” signified the tradition with the message of changing traditions if necessary. He added that his role was “superficial” as he was just looking after the finances and the quality of the paper.
Prominent constitutional lawyer Fali Nariman, who also joined virtually, referred to a Japanese book donated by her granddaughter’s husband to stress the need for healthy eating, exercise, and finding purpose. with age. Economist Devki Jain pointed out that “caste, class, genetics and history” all played a role in how one ages and that it was “inappropriate” and “cruel” to talk about mantras of the aging without taking these factors into account.
Diplomat and writer Veena Sikri spoke of the need to build “respect for women” into the value system and grow. She said that the patriarchal mentality prevents women from participating in different spheres and hinders the growth of society as a whole.