Wednesday, 16 September 2009

When Life is Bitter

THE GREATEST MINDS AND IDEAS OF ALL TIME is compilation of Will Durant’s essays, compiled and edited by John Little. Following is a beautiful passage from this book on LIFE, RELATIONSHIPS and BOOKS which is worth reading and remembering:

This, then, is our Odyssey of books. Here is another world, containing the selected excellence of a hundred generations; not quite so fair and vital as this actual world of nature and human enterprise, but abounding nevertheless in unsuspected wisdom and beauty unexplored. Life is better than literature, friendship is sweeter than philosophy, and children reach into our hearts with profounder music than comes from any symphony, but even so these living delights offer no derogation to the modest and secondary pleasures of our books.

When life is bitter, or friendship slips away, or perhaps our children leave us for their own haunts and homes, we shall come and sit at the table with Shakespeare and Goethe, and laugh at the world of Rabelais, and see its autumn loveliness with John Keats. For these are friends who give us only their best, who never answers back and always wait our call. When we have walked with them awhile, and listened humbly to their speech, we shall be healed of our infirmities, and know the peace that comes of understanding.


  1. Your last paragraph needs to be a poem - it is SHEER poetry at it's most sublime! I especially love the last phrase - "the peace that comes of understanding."

  2. Akhtar Wasim Dar,

    Do let us know that you are doing well?

  3. Please, more of your favorite poetry Akhtar Sahib and/or your own soon!

  4. @Connie
    Just finished a book by John Hick THE FIFTH DIMENSION, in a chapter 'an activist and contemplative' he quotes a poem of Kushdeva Singh which I reproduce below:

    Some people pray to become immortal
    If they think of becoming immortal
    Along with this mortal frame
    They are aspiring for something which is impossible,
    Because this mortal frame must perish.

    But if however thay want to become immortal
    Through their mortal frame
    That is possible
    Because life led in complete dedication
    Becomes life-eternal, deathless
    It lives on in the infinite

    A life lived for one's self is like a pond
    That stagnates, stinks and dries up
    But a life lived for Him
    Is an ocean, ever fresh and perennial
    That never exhausts.

  5. Touching guidance, this, and I thank you...

    And how would you say, having read the book, that we have this "life led in complete dedication" which "Becomes life-eternal?

    I love to live this way and "for Him" and often sense this "ocean, ever fresh" and know this is the way to live...

    And at the same still the older I get realize that I've got ever so far to go...

    :) This will help be a guide, Akhtar Sahib, and I'd love to know more about the book itself and if you took into yourself any new wisdom or guidelines?

  6. Connie
    THE FIFTH DIMENSION should have contributed something new, but in fact it’s simply are assessment of naturalism, religious experience, mysticism, myths and metaphors. The re assessment was not made on new notions and therefore did not break any new ground for those familiar with these subjects. The only one thing that ultimately interested me, as it was new for me was about an English mystic Lady Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) and her concept of universal salvation and cosmic optimism. One of her saying which is referred as her most famous catches great attention: “ALL SHALL BE WELL, AND ALL SHALL BE WELL, AND ALL MANNER OF THING SHALL BE WELL”- great optimism.

  7. The first time I myself heard of Lady Julian was seeing this very quote on the Bible of a dear friend at a center for displaced people which he helped start. My friend is a courageous "mover and shaker" for peace and doesn't generally get into the mystics deeply. Yet this is one of not the major guiding faith for him - and his life shows great optimism through thick or thin - in ALL manner of political weather.

    This is just the reminder I needed this my am that spirituality doesn't need to be ugly, exclusive or "never the twain shall meet" between the best of the different traditions!

    THANX so much Akhtar Sahib...again and again you are a mentor for me.

  8. Please go to oneheartforpeace the top one on Julian and see also the top comment about you.

  9. Connie,thanks for these enriching remarks here and elsewhere.

  10. I do so look forward to reading from your suggestions for poetry, etc. during a short break. Know that if I'm silent for awhile, I'm still linked to RR, and your beautiful efforts for peace, art, beauty and understanding.