By Ayush Sinha
One of the most beautiful memories of my boyhood is my being confined to bed reading the genres I have always loved the most. It was not that I couldn’t go out and sit around with the ones I then looked upon as my friends; it was just that I never liked anything as much as digesting literature, that I was a real bookworm.
Those memories have been with me ever since, especially those of the amorous and soothing months of spring putting its feet in my land in March. Here are a few books that day in, day out remind me of that time.
- The Brothers Karamazov: The brothers Karamazov is one of the masterpieces of Fyodor Dostoevsky. It casts light on the inner world of man, and the political condition of the Russia of the nineteenth century. A philosophical story based on a patricide, and revolving around Alexie Karamazov, who is the central character of the novel, The Brothers Karamazov has so far touched millions of hearts.
Dostoevsky spent about two years writing this last masterpiece of his. One of the most interesting facts is that the central character of the novel, Alexey, had been named after one of the children of Dostoevsky himself, who had died of epilepsy. The demise of his son had undoubtedly left an indelible mark on his psyche.
- The Dead Souls: The Dead Soul is another masterpiece of Russian literature, written by Nikolai Gogol, the erudition of Russian literature itself. Having been written in Russian at the outset, it was later on translated into tens of other languages. It went places, bringing to light the mentality of the Russians of his time and the meaning of the word “soul” in the Russia of the nineteenth century. It shows how the number of souls one owned then was related to the reputation and status of one in Russian society. On the other hand, it also depicts the circumstances the peasants of Russia were forced to live in, by their masters.
What makes this work even more special is the peculiar, elusive style of Nikolai Gogol, setting him apart, in his era, from all the other geniuses of Russian literature. Perhaps that is why it is said that he was not only a great observer, a genius capturer of human emotions, but also a great portrayer of the world around.
- The Discovery of India: The Discovery of India, written by Jawaharlal Nehru, is a historical account of the Indian subcontinent. He worked on it in prison, and got it published in around 1946, as per ground sources. The work is considered as a classic among Indians now. It gives us a wide account of India’s grandeur, her being the cynosure to the rest of the world for more than four thousand years.
Anyone interested in the history of the ancient civilizations, and the relationships that existed, at some point in the past, between them, cannot miss to go through it at least twice.
- The Awakening of Intelligence: The Awakening of Intelligence is the congregation of metaphysical and philosophical conversations between Jiddu Krishnamurti and Jacob Needleman, Alain Naude, and Swami Venkatasanand. In this eye-opening work Krishnamurti goes into a deep inquiry as to religion, rituals, the Upanishads, and meditation. Apart from that, he also casts light on the relationship between an observer, the thing observed, and the process of observation.
Throughout this whole work, Krishnamurti tries to point out the truth of intelligence, fraining what intelligence is all about.
- Man’s Search for Meaning: Man’s Search for Meaning is a small, yet magnificent, work written by Victor E. Frankl, one of the luckiest ones to have survived the Holocaust. He was one of the most renowned psychologists of his time. Being a psychologist, he meticulously looked into the mental conditions of the victims he sojourned with, in prison. It may be an eye-opener to anyone curious to know about the facts relevant to the Holocaust and the Nazi atrocities.
According to a survey by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Library of Congress, Man’s Search for Meaning belongs to a list of “the ten most influential books in the United States.”