I was a bad guy many years back, unimaginably bad. I was lonely by force & then by will. I was rude whenever the world interacted with me. I reveled in barbarian hierarchies and activities. I believed bruteforce could be a sure-shot solution for anything and everything. I never had a formal guru in my life. I thought all that was spoken to me was truth. At one point of time, no one was talking good stuff and everyone around me was a mere mortal and almost all my friends were pre-occupied with the very common chores of daily life. Together we all believed in flesh & muscle.
But prior to that, there was one good thing that already happened to me by Divine Providence. I was born into a family of teachers and all my elders, though normal, were knowledgeably elite and believed its the ‘reading habit’ that can evolve one’s soul. Its now clear to me that they intentionally provided me with lots and lots of books. As a child I grew up devouring tens of books every month, first they were just baby stories, later mythological and slowly the wisdom books, philosophies, biographies, magazines, newspapers, mysteries, fiction then what not, as I grew. I was not leaving unread even a paper piece that flew to me in a public park. That habit immensely improved my capacity to imagine. I could just close my eyes and see a whole new world in front of me. My teenage dreams were more vivid and colorful every passing day and I used to have saints, kings, queens and brave soldiers frequenting my sleepy realms. Animals and birds were talking to me and levitation was a common practice. I often had dreams which were sequential, that they end at one point this day and continue from the very point later the next week. Each dream was so involving, that I maintained a diary to write up my dreams as soon as I wake up. An intense desire to record all tiny details but the fear of losing them made me sometimes write blindly in the diary without even opening my eyes, without even waking up from my bed.
Later, as fate would have it, I lost my family and was drawn into a different world of wildly beasts. As fragile and vulnerable a mind in its late teens could be but with enormous imaginative skills and with a huge cerebral bed of vast bookish knowledge, I ventured into a contrasting world of pure muscle power… None of the books I read till that date were holding true. Not a single verse I read till then was helping me confront the hard reality. I was all alone fighting and I started failing to imagine something that is not hungry, not rude, not brutal. But the reading part never subsided and I indulged in stuff that kept me going.. stories that talk of beastly achievements, the folklores of brunt killings.. the hard triumphing over the soft.. dragons and draculas, blood and gory tales.. oh! it is in this phase, that I later realized there are more narrations in this world to divert a mind completely to a wrong point than the right one. So, in this phase, like the stuff i was reading and was living, I also reached the nadir of my fall too as a person.
I then started realizing that my biggest problem was not anyone else but my own self. One divine day, when realization dawned on me, I abruptly left all the dungeons behind and decided to fly away to distant places where there is abundant light and where there is knowledge. I have flown so hard that I was out of breath but the dark seas below kept me going, I was out of energy but the silver shores kept me inspired, I was out of money but the musty smell of books pushed me forward. Yes, I stand where I am because I have decided to come back by ‘reading’.. I did my Post Graduation that gave me new opportunities, it may sound more academic, but behind the scenes, it was my habit that changed my life back to better shapes again. And of course, the invaluable people who pour life into you and show you direction.
Now, standing here, I believe in the power of mind than the muscle. I still have a few issues with myself even today.. but I started shedding all that is bad and I stand a much cleaner person now. I attribute all this to those wonderful books I read:
Some books, you have to read early in life..
Some others, you have to read again when you are old…
And some more, you have to read once every decade and see how different they are to read again..
But the morale of the story is that you have to be ‘reading’ all the time.. and constantly try to implement the good stuff you learnt, flounder in your efforts, make mistakes, become a fool, go back to your books, reread and try again.. all this in cycles all your life.. 🙂
Nowadays there are many authors who spew venom in the form of refined words than writing something in a neutral way.. we should be choosy in what we read or at least be able to discern good from bad. But, falling back to the ancient wisdom is always safer. ‘The Holy Gita’ is a management master piece, before the commercial TV channel publicized it. Every time I read a page from this spiritual epitome, I wonder how magnificent the verse and meaning are. I believe ‘The Holy Bible’ has an answer for everything. I keep reading excerpts from ‘The Holy Quran’ that describe the subtlest beautifies in living a fruitful life. And to the innumerable scripts out there, its only for the reader to pick them up and change his own life. We as a modern civilization is not giving due respect to the ancient wisdom and truly missing the essence that is already available condensed, there by continue to wait for answers when life makes it complex. May be its time we encourage each other, every family member and all our friends to go back to this wonderful habit of ‘reading’… say one hour a day? Read whatever you want but remember ‘you are what you read‘ 🙂
I still have the wolves inside me run in Brownian motion.. and the swans graciously moving in peaceful waters on the other side.. But there is one thing in common to both of them… ‘reading’. And I picked up the ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ for the third time and its a different book than what I read a decade ago.
thanks for coming here and patiently reading it all,