In quest of happiness
by Inderdeep Thapar

An Interview with Self
by J.L. Dhar. Wisdom Trees. Pages 202. Rs 145.

An Interview with SelfThis book is an attempt to introduce the reader to an existence which is outside his usual humdrum one. The first chapter brings out the universal truth expounded by Buddha that the root of all problems is desire and the only way out is to let go of desires. In the next chapter the writer says that to be conscious of one's desires one requires introspection which is really a review of one's day-to-day activities. His views on health and happiness are expounded under four headings, Aahaar (food), Vihaar (relaxation), Vichar (thinking) and Aachar (conduct), and their interconnectivity.

The chapter on husband, wife and children is a sermon on how modern-day strains can be resolved by giving space and freedom to each other and communicating effectively. The author then goes on to endorse the law of Karma: "As you sow so shall you reap". This is the only explanation why some are born rich and some poor. The book concludes with advice to old people that "age is the quality of mind", and one's twilight years can be gainful and if one leads a virtuous life.

The subject needed a little more original handling. It is replete with worthy quotes and interesting little stories which the author uses to emphasise his points but a pattern fails to evolve as too many things are said together. However, the readers are able to identify with the problems discussed in the book and the author succeeds in making one realise that one's desires are not the be all and end all of existence, human relationships have to be nurtured, happiness is because of one's attitude and not circumstances and true freedom is the freedom to be oneself. The language is simple and the expression direct.