Title: Equations of Being: A Being who Gathered Moss
Author: Ashutosh Gupta
Publishing date: 8th August 2017
Genre: Non-Fiction, Philosophy
Format: Paperback, Kindle
“Life is random and only through our randomness, we can catch up. If equality is intrinsic to life, then randomness will let it unwind itself.”
Of life and human beings, much has been predicted, preached and proclaimed. The physical and metaphysical of our consciousness and unconscious has been rummaged to discover the essence of who we are and what we are to know our ultimate life plan on earth, to make meaning of the meaninglessness. Writers, thinkers, philosophers have foraged into the random universe and uncovered pearls of wisdom but much needs to be explored yet. In Equations of Being: A being Gathering Moss, author Ashutosh Gupta takes up a similar venture, but in his idiosyncratic way.
The Fragmented ‘Equations of All Beings’
Written in form of little snippets of thoughts about myriad topics, both abstract and tangible ones such as kindness, art, time, life, society, conversations, women, feminism, the power of conversations, beauty versus sensuality and other socially relevant ones. As the reader embarks on this journey, the words on the page blossom into a number of meanings, open to various interpretations. For instance, one of the titular words ‘Being’ has been explored in all of its implications: to be, a person and the spiritual being within.
The Kafkaesque Musings
The book begins with a preface where the authorial intention is presented, which is to share epiphanies and revelations with the postmodern ‘crumbling human race’ and help them ‘cognize their (own) equations’ to discover ‘perfection within and without’.
The author highlights that the experiences with the ‘living’ helped him prepare this piece of work, as he stands on the pulpit of his own reflections to preach about physical and spiritual realms-
“In this book, I have tried to weave together the abstract, physical, and somewhat spiritual attributes of life, which comprehensively cover the crests and troughs that a being goes through. I have revealed my realizations that I gathered either out of my solitary indulgence with life or out of my interactions and conversations with the living.”
The first section of the book is dedicated to his soliloquies on Writing. Attributing traits of a muse to Writing, the narrator encapsulates his ups and downs, faced while pursuing this art. Decorated with some of the very beautiful lines like this-
“The process of writing in its purest form is like standing in front of a mirror and making sense of the twisted letters written all over one’s body.”
The writer persona metamorphoses into an artist in the next section titled- Waking Up Being an Artist. Art for art’s sake and art as a tool of self-exploration are some of the thoughts reflected upon. The two consecutive sections talk about the Existence of a person who is constantly ‘seduced by life and time.’
Under the Aegis of Rumi’s Thoughts
In the fashion similar to that of poets, thinkers and spiritual teachers like Rumi and Kahlil Gibran the narrator has articulated the relationship between intellect and emotions and the symbiosis of it-
“Intellectualizing an emotion is an unintentional outcome which is triggered by an act of seeking, by a mind indulged in abstractedness. Emotionalizing a thought is an act of both deceit and desperation to pass one’s wishful thinking as the truth. Truly blessed is the one who is effortless in both…”
The divisions which follow contain topics like the relationship of a man and woman, God, family, virtue and many other evergreen ones.
Circumscribed Notions on Women and Feminism
The writer dedicates two sections to Women and Feminism, making an effort to understand both, much in the vein of Osho’s major ideas on women in the Book of Women: such as the subjugation of women at the hands of patriarchal societal norms and gender role expectations and it’s reflections seen in the Women’s Liberation Movement. The narrator appeals to the readers to change the way of seeing women as an epitome of perfection because we all are imperfect, although this contemporary idea is well articulated, these sections are limited in their approach to women and feminism, pigeonholing the former at times and associating the latter with militant feminism, which was a trait of the first wave of feminism, not the coeval egalitarian one. The narrator reflects thus-
“Women are the harbingers of beauty and such has been their legend. But their oppression has made them spend all their energies to outclass men instead of exuding their essence, which is doing nothing but depleting the reservoir of beauty. They visualize beauty as this secret doorway through which men peep into their mysteries, being ignorant that the very key to this doorway rests within them.”
The section feels a bit disorienting at times due to both, the narrator’s affirming of the stereotyping of women and feminism and negating it as well.
A Being in Society
As we move deeper into the text, the section on God serves to highlight the difference between serving and worshipping God with an example of social service as a greater service to God.
Nearing to the last section, family’s role in the life of an individual is emphasised, ideas on virtue and kindness are shared which leads to the final part called- The Ultimate Dialogue with the Crumbling Humanhood, under this the first person narratorial voice articulates its opinions on social inequality and the cause behind it, animal cruelty, ultimate journey of ‘All Beings’, individuality, randomness of life, freedom in general and freedom of expression in particular. He writes-
“The unsubstitutable freedom of a self-sustaining ocean conserving a world beneath quietly drowns the helpless. The fierce freedom of a storm offers hope for the helpless to land near the shore. Which manifestation of freedom should we patronize?”
An intriguing read, even after one keeps coming across thoughts of great philosophers and preachers, this book has something unique to offer. A variety of time relevant topics are dealt with, in an enlightening manner and others not so exclusively. In its entirety, the book should be read at a slow pace, reflecting on what the writer is trying to say, one thought at a time, and formulate one’s own unique understanding of it.
Price: INR 75 (Kindle) or INR 175 (Paperback) + shipping
Book Cover: 3 / 5
Book Title: 4 / 5
Plotline: 3 / 5
Writing Style: 3 / 5
Narration: 4 / 5
Characters: 3 / 5
Language and Vocabulary: 3 / 5
Grammar and Punctuation: 4 / 5