Desiderata, the plural for “desideratum” which means “something to be desired or wanted.” Years ago I came across a piece by Max Ehrman titled “Desiderata.” There is a perfection about that piece. Brief and yet packs in a tremendous amount of practical wisdom. Its simple words have the depth to provide perspective to life’s joys, sorrows, trials and tribulations. I have yet to come across any situation that could not have been referred to the piece without insight.

My favorite lines from it: “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

That expresses the same thought as, “The world, Govinda, is perfect at every moment.”


7 thoughts on “Desiderata

  1. Inderpreet Chawla Tuesday July 10, 2007 / 5:38 pm

    Brilliant! Sincere thanks for passing on the wisdom.


  2. Sarat Tuesday July 10, 2007 / 7:27 pm

    Thanks for that.
    Got reminded of Russell’s Liberal Decalogue.


  3. Anuj Tuesday July 10, 2007 / 10:14 pm

    Thanks, Atanu


  4. Pankaj Narula Wednesday July 11, 2007 / 10:28 am


    It is interesting you mention Govinda. I had downloaded Siddhartha in the audio form a year back. Never got around listening to it. These days I am commuting between San Jose and San Francisco via 280. Utilizing the time to listen to it. Thanks for mentioning – I can think, I can fast and I can wait – which got me interested in listening to it.


  5. Inderpreet Chawla Wednesday July 11, 2007 / 1:26 pm

    On 2nd thoughts, I would like to add something:

    It is one thing to appreciate such wisdom at an intellectual level particularly when one is sitting cozy, in a nice, secure environment.

    It is an entirely different proposition and a rather tall order to be able to put such wisdom into practice should one face confronting situations, circumstances, or for that matter, people in life that may evoke our most hidden insecurities and inhibitions.

    So, I wonder what human qualities are necessary to cultivate and practice such wisdom in one’s day to day life?

    My take would be:
    – courage
    – mindfulness



  6. Afromusing Thursday July 12, 2007 / 2:22 am

    My dad had a copy of it in our living room, the quote above is also my favorite. Truly a wonderful piece.


  7. Manoj Friday July 13, 2007 / 1:28 am

    Thanks very much for sharing.


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