Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dr. H. N. Murthy: Mentor Extraordinary - Tribute Continued.

There is a gnawing silence whenever I think of Dr. H. N. Murthy ever since his death on 22 August 2011 and the tribute I wrote a day after his death has not unraveled enough the meaning of such 'gasping emptiness' I faced with.

I found through him that one can be open to all system and schools of knowledge without being merely 'eclectical' as deep within every discovery of genuine truth there is a common thread connecting all forms,  knowing which makes us more insightful and effective. Once ( may be in the year 1967 )  we were discussing I. P. Pavlov's work. Pavlov had borrowed Hippocrates typology - Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic - to explain his observation of dogs behavior which H. J. Eysenck later borrowed to explain his typology on Personality: Extraversion-Introversion. Both hypothesized on the brain process involved in such Types: Excitatory and Inhibhitory properties of the brain, more specifically, the generation, maintenance and dissipation of those properties in the brain and their relation to Types: excitatory properties generates easily, lasts longer and dissipates slowly in Introverts/Melancholics whereas in Extraverts/Phlegmatic the inhibitory properties in the brain are generated quickly, lasts longer and dissipated slowly. At once Dr. Murthy grew deep into himself, with his eyes in brilliant shine as is the case with him in all such situation, and tells me that it is a very profound observation, the generation-maintenance-dissolution is the rajas-satva-tamas / srushti-stiti-laya / brahma-vishnu-maheshvara in us. It was astounding to me. When I went home later, I rushed to pick up the book of Pavlov, which has already relegated to the back row of my book rack after the Examinations, and read it in one go, the whole work looked differently after Dr. Murthy's remark. In fact my foray into nature and control of arousal in different types and conditions of people (for my doctoral work) drew inspiration from such insights of Dr. Murthy. He always drew such meaning, a breath of fresh air, in the works of almost every shades of great psychologist, be it of a Dynamic, Phenomenological, Behavioral, Cognitive, Biological or Factorial mold including  the ancient Indian Thought.

Dr. Murthy was also a person of great stature.  The mirth and the laughter, the glee and the affectionate mischief on his face, was all pervasive and infectious that it at once put people at ease and to be oneself. He goaded people to go deep into themselves,be hugely broad in outlook and translate all of them into action.  He was ever ready to help people out in such direction. He always looked to the positive side of the people, found some greatness in every being he came across and never missed telling them about it, everyone would come out inspired by him feeling all the same proud and important. Dr. Murthy's strength is more in his personal relationship, glow and glitter he possessed and shared to everyone who came in contact with him and the inspiration provided to be wholesome in their personality than in the outward signs of academic achievement in the sense of papers and publications, presentation and conferences.

The pensive silence felt in me after his death is not because of the grief over the loss of the dear one, it is not even because I hardly seen him after my departure from NIMHANS in 1973. Perhaps, it is because of what governs basically all our sense of loss and guilt: not being lived all our possibilities. Dr. Murthy is the reminder of that for us. Dr H N Murthy was the embodiment of wholesome personality. He attained it in his silence and contemplation - nidhidhyasana - and lived it fully ( materialized/realized/practiced ) in his relationship with pupils and people who came in contact.