Sadiq Shaban / 10 October 2014
Best-selling author of In the Sphere of Silence Dr Vijay Eswaran discusses his book, philosophy and travels in a freewheeling chat
In the Sphere of Silence, Dr Vijay Eswaran’s bestseller, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The compact book, filled with anecdotes, distilled wisdom and thoughtful anthology, has been translated globally into seven different languages, including Arabic. He has three other books to his credit — In The Thinking Zone, 18 Stepping Stones and On the Wings of Thought.
An accomplished writer, Dr Eswaran dons many hats. Hailed as a motivational speaker, public intellectual and business tycoon, the author handles themes like devotion, the quest for equilibrium and the enemy within with great dexterity. In the Sphere of Silence majorly highlights the role of silence in our daily lives, calling it the single most powerful thing any person can do to succeed in life.
“The book outlines the value of silence. Within its pages, you will know how to be still and examine what is within ourselves. By the simple practice of getting into the sphere of silence, we acquire an intense insight into everything we do. It marks the beginning of a compelling journey towards our innermost selves,” says Dr Eswaran, who is also the co-founder and Executive Chairman of the QI Group of companies.
“The book helps the reader make positive changes in his or her life through self improvement, knowledge and goal setting. In the Sphere of Silence is derived from personal experience and ancient philosophy, which is suited to the day-to-day practicality of modern life.”
When asked if he sees himself as a polymath, Dr Eswaran cautions that labels could be limiting. “The skills we are able to develop as human beings depend on the time that we devote to it. In today’s time, the movers and shakers of the world — despite being the minority — are the ones who decide the boundaries we live by. If you look at them, you shall observe that none of them are purely what they seem to be. They transcend who they are.”
A prominent philanthropist, Dr Eswaran was listed by Forbes Asia in the annual list of Heroes of Philanthropy for 2011. Most recently, he was awarded the lifetime achievement award in regional philanthropy by Asian Strategic Leadership Institute in Malaysia at the 3rd World Chinese Economic Forum. The Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has conferred him with the International Leader in Global Business Strategies award.
Narrating a tale that had a profound impact on his life, Dr Eswaran quips, “After I completed my university in London I hitchhiked from the UK to Greece and ended up in Assisi in the province of Perugia, Italy. I was quite fascinated with Franciscan monks (who adhere to the spiritual teachings of St Francis of Assisi) because of their simplicity, dedication and discipline. I spent some time with the Franciscans as a lay monk and observed a vow of silence. While I found it extremely difficult to begin with, I soon came to like the tranquility and peace. It was a life-altering experience, one that changed me for good. It made me sit down and evaluate my priorities.”
Dr Eswaran dedicates an entire section to love in his book. Dubbing it a desirable way for the world to exist and function in harmony, he writes that in its deepest form, love can only be detached. “Attachment to something is more of an obsession and possession. To truly love something, you must be prepared to let it go and come back to you. As such, detachment becomes a critical component of life. Remember, love in its finest form has to be detached.”
Extending on the theme of love, Dr Eswaran continues, “It must be felt. Love does not operate in straight lines; nor is it organised. You will find love in the most unusual places — in airports where people meet and leave, in the intensive care of hospitals, in cemeteries when they bury their dear ones, in dargahs and temples. Love, when we look at it closely, is an implosion. It can never take a structured form. You cannot compartmentalise or constrain this emotion.”
Source: Khaleej Times, UAE