Today is World Book Day. The books shape us and our thinking. They help us grow and learn.
First and foremost let me state emphatically that am an avid reader. Was exposed to books at a very small age as was a loner in my childhood days. Loved to live with myself and so my best friends at that time were books. Read a lot of Champak and Chandamama, which people of my genre will recall. The early 80’s were the beginning of Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha for me. Shikari Sambhu was my favourite at that time. So was Supandi. The characters portrayed by Amar Chitra Katha were the guiding force at that time. I still remember reading Sons of the Pandavas with Abhimanyu and Ghatotkacha covered in them. There were small libraries being run at every nook and corner of the main roads of Mumbai and I very vividly remember kids thronging them to borrow books.
I frequently visited the school library after Standard 6th. Our School Librarian was very helpful. Our library had a vast collection of books covering topics that my generation would need, from Study books to novels to fiction to mythology and philosophy. Out teachers used to coax us to read a book a week and I am grateful to them. The books I read in those years includes the Hardy boys, Famous Five, Agatha Christie and Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Lest I forget I should also mention Noddy, which we read in School in our library period in Standard 3. The Adventures of Tintin also played a very important part in my life. Still recall Snowy, his dog, the absent minded Professor Calculas, the twin policemen Thompson and Thomson and the bold and courageous Captain Haddock and his phrases like Ten Thousand Thundering Typhoons and Blistering Barnacles.
As age passed by I was more inclined towards history. Reading Indian History of Indian Independence and learning from the people who fought for our independence is what attracted me the most. Subhashchandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Vasudeo Balwant Phadke, Chaphekar brothers, Lokmanya Tilak, Veer Savarkar, Senapati Bapat, Sardar Patel, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Mahatma Gandhi are still the bright lights of my life. Very little was available about the revolutionaries then or maybe I knew little but tried and still try to gather from wherever and whomsoever I could and read.
Then when I came in contact with Swadhyay, my reading took another turn. Took to reading philosophy and trying to understand the meaning of life. It attracted me the most as the way Dadaji (Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale) expounds the concepts of Vedas and Upanishads logically and based on reason. The best thing about Him is that He made me learn to look at both the sides of the coin. That slowly broadened my way of looking at the world. And through His lectures was tempted to read more and more books related to History, Philosophy and Psychology and different studies. And so it continues till today.
Today am making a list of books which I have read. The list is quite huge but am sharing the books which made impressions on my life… Am just sharing their titles with you all..
1. Geetamritam – A treatise on the Shreemad Bhagwadgeeta by Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale
1.a. Bilvapatra, Pandurangashtakam, Madhurashtakam, Shree Krishnashtakam, Homage to Saints Part 1/2, Shree Krishna Jeevan Darshan, Valmiki Ramayan Darshan, Rishi Smaran, Dashavataar, Divine manifestations of Lord Shiva, Murtipuja, Ganga Lahiri, Vedsaarshivastav, Anandlahiri, Thoughts on Ancient Indian Heritage, Geeta Simhaavalokan, Sanskruti Pujan – all by Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale.
2. Geeta Pravachane – Shri Vinoba Bhave
3. Geeta Rahasya – Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak
3.a. Orion, The Arctic Home of the Vedas – Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak
4. Raj Yoga and Bhakti Yoga – Swami Vivekanand
5. Manache Shlok – Swami Ramdas
6. Future Shock, Paradigm Shift, The Third Wave – Allwyn Toffler
7. The Tao of Physics – Fritjof Capra
8. Raja Shivchhatrapati – Lokshahir Babasaheb Purandare
9. Shakuntaleya Bharat – Babubhai Vaidya
10. Gujarat no Nath, Patan ni Prabhuta, Jay Somnath, Prithvi Vallabh, Krishnaavtaar Vol 1–8, Bhagna Paduka, Lopamudra, Lomharshini, Bhagwaan Parshuraam – Kanhaiyalal Munshi
11. Parth ne kaho chadhave baan – Pannalal Patel
12. 1857- the first war of Independence, Mazzini, Majhi Janmathep, 6 golden pages of Indian History, Hindu Rashtra – Swatantryaveer Savarkar
13. Yugandhar, Mrityunjay, Chaava – Shivaji Sawant
14. Yayati – V.S.Khandekar
15. Shreeman Yogi – Ranjeet Desai
16. Das Dongari Rahato – G.N.Dandekar
17. Bhedile Suryamandala – Ravindra Bhatt
18. The Fourth Way – Pyotr Ouspenskii (based on lectures by Gurdjieff)
19. The Prophet – Khalil Gibran
20. Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman
21. Deh Jhala Chandanacha – Rajendra Kher
22. My Experiments with Truth – M.K.Gandhi
23. Swami Vivekanand – through his eastern and western disciples volume 1–2
24. Mahaveer meri drishti se – Osho Rajneesh
25. Education and the significance of life – J.Krishnamurti
26. Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-four – George Orwell
27. Madhav kyay nathi Madhuvanma – Harindra Dave
28. Saraswatichandra – Govardhanram Tripathi
29. 12209 BCE Ram – Ravan Yuddh and When did the Mahabharat War happen – Nilesh Oak
30. Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow – Yuval Noah Harari
There are many more but these are a few books which have left an imprint on my life… At the same time do try and keep in touch with the new writers.
Friends on the World Book Day, would be happy if you all can sit back and brood over the books that you all have read. Covid-19 has given all of us a chance to sit back, relax and think.
Wish you all a very Happy Reading Time today.