ReadingLet me take this opportunity to thank my friends who send me links to articles, texts and suggestions to read books. I am very much obliged. But that makes me feel a bit sad too. For, I am no more an avid reader. I stopped serious reading in early 1990s, thanks to the eye-abuse done from childhood by the way of heavy-reading.

We had a huge library (Sri Narasimha Vilasom Vayanasala) in our village – I had read almost all the books available there! I used to read a lot from my school days itself.
Almost everything from religion to thrillers or from cartoons to astronomy…I read everything…Whenever I get price money from college level competitions, I used to buy books. When I started earning, my expenditure was limited to buying books. The only asset I had at the age of 30 was a huge a personal library.

Currently, my reading is limited to my job as a journalist – news stories (European finance) that I had to edit for my newsletters- 2 hours a day. Then I glance through the newspaper headlines or TV news just for 10 – 15 minutes. At times, I read small pieces if comebody insists on it That’s all -finished! I don’t do any other serious reading.

Heavy computer usage also has also taken toll of my eyes,so can’t read much. Now I try to justify myself saying “Jnanam Bandhanam” (Shiv Puran) – Knowledge accumulates as information in the brain, it doesn’t transform us. What an excuse!

I donated all my good books to libraries. And sold all those pulp fiction and trash books. Now I don’t have a single book with me – not even Gita… Hence I celebrated the death of a prodigious reader!

So when you talk about new books, new authors and emerging trends, I am totally ignorant. I don’t understand anything… (But I still believe that reading is ofcourse the inevitable and best thing in a human being’s life).

I am writing this as preface to answer few questions that had come to me recently. When I express my ignorance about new books and writers, people ask me: “You don’t know? How come?” When I inform them that I don’t read much, the first question they ask me is: “Then how do you write?”

Simple – You don’t have to be a reader to write anything. (Coming to that, mostly I don’t read even my own article – hence lot of errors – sentence construction, grammar usage, spelling mistakes etc)

“How do you acquire knowledge to write?” another friend asked me: “How do you write about modern things too?”

There is immeasurable collective consciousness. All we have to do is access it. The wisdom or knowledge of ancestors that is stored in our DNA, experiences of mine (this life or previous) and others, observations etc come in handy while writing. The strong foundation established from the past reading also adds to my advantage.

But more than everything, I talk to people. Wherever I go (any country, any city and any village) – be it in air, train, bus, auto or walk- I talk to people. A human to human talk. I prefer heart to heart communication. Communications -verbal and non-verbal – happens at many levels and dimensions when you are close-by in a physical sense.

Usually, I don’t spend time to talk to philosophers or intellectuals. I don’t get time to listen to the great speeches of gurus. Their concepts and viewpoints may be great. I may not have grown up to their level…My gurus are laymen – those who struggle to survive in life; those who find it difficult to meet the both ends of the miserable life; those helpless people who do not get an even a square meal a day; those who are bleeding with miseries and hardships in life. I see my gurus in them. I have learned a lot from them. They are my greatest philosophers in life.

My wisdom comes from the man in the street. This cannot be equated to what we found in any libraries. No gurus can ever teach you this. Interaction with ordinary people or average citizen (like me) provides me immense happiness and excitement!
I also make it a point to visit those who invite me when I travel to cities or places. My friends used to write: “I would like to meet you” or “Please visit my home”. So when I go to their place, I make it a point to meet them and spend time with their family or friends. That’s also a huge learning experience.

I have learned this – when we focus on our karma with sattvik (having a serene, harmonious, balanced mind or attitude) base it becomes dharma (virtuous deed or punya), so 95% of our problems do vanish. It is as simple as that. All we have to do is help our friends to find their actual karma – we don’t need any money or institutional support to do this. Share few moments in your life with your friend – one on one communication. I derive enormous pleasure (more than that I had ever experienced from reading a book) whenever I become instrumental to help people to get better intheir life. We will also feel divine then.

Life itself is a voluminous book of mysteries, and there are a million pages I have not read. Each day is a new page with experiences to be experienced, lesson to learn and good karma to replicate. Some chapters are sad or happy. But if we never turn the page, we will never know what next chapter holds. Let’s read those pages together, as many as we can…Stay blessed

By
Udaylal Pai

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