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A peep into Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau makes great reading. Am I saying the obvious? Obviously. Idiot. Reading his book, Walden And Other Writings, makes one feel close not only to the author-philosopher, but close to nature as well. One must say, it goes to the credit of the author that one feels as if one were in the lap of nature, forcing one to feel one’s true identity and the purpose of existence. One is compelled to ponder over why, after all, we are in a mad race to live and excel in this so-called civilised world!

india Updated: Feb 02, 2010 00:00 IST
PP Wangchuk

Henry David Thoreau makes great reading. Am I saying the obvious? Obviously. Idiot. Reading his book, Walden And Other Writings, makes one feel close not only to the author-philosopher, but close to nature as well. One must say, it goes to the credit of the author that one feels as if one were in the lap of nature, forcing one to feel one’s true identity and the purpose of existence. One is compelled to ponder over why, after all, we are in a mad race to live and excel in this so-called civilised world!

The author reminds us that the more we are civilised, the more we are removed away from the reality of life. And the reality, as the author points out, is that we ought to understand our inner selves — the soul within.

And that does not come by living in a “civilised world” and by covering ourselves with the best of colourful and costly clothes in layers after layers.

Nature is more colourful and invigorating. Living in it is not only inspiring but it reminds us of our humbleness and the need to be rooted in the “ground.”

Let me chant what Thoreau says, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I want to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life.”

Running away from the reality of life is like running towards the grave, for you are not really living even though you are there.

Until your soul is awakened and you are able to achieve awareness, you are, in Thoreau’s words, among those unfortunate souls who have joined the “false society of men.”