Do you like pets, especially dogs? I love dogs and I have two pet dogs. In this pandemic, you may have seen people abandoning their pets. Imagining abandoning your pets just because you think that you will get a virus from your buddy? I get so angry with such people!
You may wonder why am I talking so much about pets and dogs today? Today I am going to chat with someone who cares a lot about dogs! And introduce you to a brand new book titled ‘The DOGtrine of Peace,’ written by none other than our own favorite, Manjiri Prabhu.
It was seven in the morning as I rose from my bed. Usually, the time me waking up is 6 in the morning, but on Sundays, I keep an extra hour of nap. The call was at ten in the morning though.
I freshened up and stepped into the kitchen. Early morning coffee is something that wakes me up fully. I made coffee and some breakfast for myself and sat calmly on the sofa.
As I drank my coffee and ate the toast, I thought of what I wanted to speak with Manjiri. There was so much I wanted to ask her about this exciting new book…. I was online at ten and waited for her to join. After about two minutes I could see her picture on my iPad.
“Hi!”, I was quite excited.
“Hi”, she replied, enthusiastically.
I was ready with my questions for Manjiri. It was a unique book for me. The DOGtrine of Peace, an enticing title it is, isn’t it?
Love for Dogs
Being a dog lover, I wanted to know what inspired Manjiri to write about dogs. And why dogs only, why not other animals like cats? I was curious.
“Dogs are an essential part of the book. What is the inspiration behind it?” I asked.
She gave it a thought for a minute. “I have always loved dogs. To me, they are beings of love and light and their unconditional love is legendary. Dogs have been a part of our lives for thousands of years and we have taken them for granted.”
I was listening intently as she continued. “We have never really accepted their due importance in the scheme of the Universe or in the life of human beings. I realized that we were taking this human-dog relationship very lightly and neglected to see its full value and potential.”
As I listened, I was also thinking about the book and the relation of dogs and humans in the spiritual awakening of humans. She explained further, “In our spiritual journeys, our canine friends can play an important role and my book, the DOGtrine of Peace does just that – offers you a genuine, workable alternate path to spiritual awakening which involves serving pets as well as community dogs for the benefit of mankind.
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Through this book, I re-introduce our canine companions in a different light and help the readers understand what an invaluable role the dog plays and will play in our lives if we were only to grasp the depth of this relationship and follow the DOGtrine of Peace.”
As I understood the crux of the book, I was excited and eager to learn more about what’s in the book and how she wrote it. I requested her to share the genesis of the story and some information about the book.
“The DOGtrine of Peace is a unique philosophy which offers an alternate path to spiritual awakening and enlightenment. The book is about love, peace, compassion, the Universe, relationships, and of course dogs.
It not only introduces a blueprint for spiritual awakening but is rich with anecdotes, interviews, and experiences of dog-lovers, scientists, animal communicators as well as therapists, activists, spiritual thinkers & yoga gurus, artists, and environmentalists from across the globe.”
I was intrigued. You would also have been intrigued by now, right? I wanted to know more about the people she met and had conversations with. “If you don’t mind, can you share some of the names of the people you interviewed forthis book?”
She was quick to reply. “I had long and wonderful, enriching conversations with esteemed stalwarts like Dr. Jane Goodall – the eminent Environmentalist, Maneka Gandhi who has slogged for animal rights, Davidji an international Spiritual Teacher who mediates with his dog Peaches, Swami Atmapriyananda of the Vivekananda University, Dia Mirza, Dr. Stanley Coren, a Scientist who has researched on dogs most of his life, Yogacharya Dr. Ananda BalayogiBhavanani, a renowned Yoga Guru and many more and they form an interesting part of the book.”
Is this for dog lovers only?
Till now I was convinced that this book would surely appeal to dog lovers. So, my next question naturally was – “Does it mean that this book is for dog lovers only?”
She cleared my doubt instantly. “This is my humble offering to the world. A theory that is very close to my heart and which I am confident can be a game-changer in the world if followed. The concept is simple and doable yet profound. It is a book for everyone, not just dog-lovers.”
Writing during the Pandemic
The Pandemic had affected many creative people and I wondered how it had affected Manjiri. I was curious as I asked her – “How did you manage to write this book during these times? How did you deal with the blues, if you faced any?”
“Well, actually the Pandemic seriously did affect me creatively. It was a difficult period for all. For months I couldn’t write as there was no travel and hence no inspiration. So, instead, I watched films and web series and cooked like everyone else. I just allowed my writing muse to return to me, which it gradually did, without rushing or pressurizing it,” she replied.
Research, research and more research
This was not all. She actually began writing this book in 2007! Yes, can you imagine it? 2007! As I discussed further with her, she revealed her expectations and how she wanted this book to be.
“What was the research process like?” I asked.
“I began writing this book in 2007 and it has been a series of challenges from day one…I wanted it to be a complete book, filled with my own experiences with dogs for the past 30 years as well as different voices from different fields across the globe & their experiences. This meant that it had to have 360 degrees coverage – presenting the dog in all its functional glory along with the explanation of the nine sutras of the actual DOGtrine. The research involved was tremendous which included selecting the right voices to endorse the human-dog bond,” she replied.
Experience writing the non-fiction book
Manjiri has written several mystery and suspense novels. 17 in fact….What I was keen on understanding was how this non-nonfiction book was different from her other fiction works.
“What ‘s the difference between this book and your previous books?” I asked.
“The major difference and perhaps the only one is that this book is non-fiction and based entirely on facts. However, I would say the difference ends there. Because despite being non-fiction, The DOGtrine of Peace is experimental in its approach, is filled with intriguing tales of love & loss and relationships, with dollops of mysticism, yet grounded in reality.”
There was news about people abandoning their pets during the lockdown. For me, it is one of the most inhuman things to do. I was glad that Manjiri also opposed this behavior of humans. “What’s your take on the people who are abandoning their pets?” I asked.
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She replied with conviction, “That is the saddest thing to happen. Someone spreads rumors about pets carrying the virus and some irresponsible pet owners abandon their pets.”
“Hmm, hmm,”I nodded in agreement.
She continued, “I read that some even dropped them off from their terraces, thus killing them. Abandoning your pet is the most inhuman and cruel act to do at any time because you are betraying the pet’s trust and love.
A dog completely depends on its human parent, as a child does. Would you abandon your child in case of crisis? Well, why then do it to another being who cherishes you? My book can definitely show such people what a grave mistake they are making and what an enormous loss they are suffering unknowingly.”
My heart wrenched and at the same time, I had an urge to throw these people off of their terraces as they did to their pets! I controlled my urges and focused on the conversation.
Blame it on the weather?
The atmosphere around us is so melancholic and gloomy at present and it is so difficult to stay productive and happy. My question to Manjiri was just that. “How can one motivate oneself and be cheerful in such times?”
“I think the first thing to remember is that everything is transitory in this world. Nothing is permanent. So, this gloomy weather and these harrowing times too will pass. Secondly, life is fluid and change is an important reality, over which you have no control.
Thus, worrying and fretting are pointless when you have no control over anything. So, the best thing to do is to live in the moment, enjoy spending time with your family and friends, do what you love, take long walks, dance, connect with nature, watch films, meditate, listen to music, be in the company of dogs and be kind and compassionate to all.”
I nodded again and poured myself a glass of water.
What is motivation?
I don’t know from where it came, but I couldn’t resist asking this question to Manjiri. “What is motivation and where does it come from”
“Motivation is like a breath of fresh mountain air – invigorating. And it is largely dependent also on your goal – the destination of your life. So, if you fix your goal and are excited about it, motivation will automatically appear. And finally, of course, if you practice The DOGtrine of Peace, motivation will flourish! :)”
Time was running fast and it was around one and a half hours up when we had started our call. I thanked Manjiri for her time and before going offline, I wanted to know if she would like to share some inspiring words with the readers.
“The first and most important – Be kind and loving always because Love and Compassion can solve anything in life. Secondly, read, read and read, discuss books and gift books,” she said smilingly.
I thanked her again and we bade adieu to each other. It was wonderful talking to her. I finished the last sip of water and went offline.