July Read: Man's Search For Meaning and Other Books



The initial plan was to finish them by July only. But July was an intense month for me. I had suddenly turned into a single parent to two children with zero prior experience. So my self-imposed deadline got extended till the middle of August.

When Things Fall Apart was purchased by me in 2017 from Darjeeling. I wasn't doing very well and the book title caught my eye and I thought between the covers was a shortcut solution to my erstwhile miserable state. I was, however, badly disappointed. Who wants to hear that suffering is inevitable when they are, in fact, suffering? I got pissed off and the book ended up with the pile of other unread books. But then my last one and half years of experience made me pick up the book again and urged me to finish it. Thank god I did. Suffering IS inevitable. But that doesn't mean you cannot make the most out of it. I learned two important terms from the book. Tonglen. A meditation technique where one inhales all the sorrow and pain of others and exhales joy and good wishes for them. And Ye Tang Che. The state of being utterly fed up that leads to acceptance. 

My Gita is a comprehensive analysis of the Bhagavat Gita in typical Devdutt Pattanaik style. I have read the translation of the Gita but this one was a different experience. Pattanaik sir never fails to amaze me. Even if you don't read any other book in your entire life, reading the Gita is perhaps enough. It's the Infinity being held within the finiteness of one book. These days my biggest goal is to live by the wisdom of Bhagavan Shri Krishna but it's a long long way to go. A few lifetimes perhaps. But that doesn't mean I cannot try.

I came into the possession of Man's Search for Meaning back in 2017, while sitting on a flight from Calcutta to Delhi. It was from someone very very dear to me. However, despite his several attempts to make me read it I never really had the time. I'm shameless like that. But I finally kept my promise. The accounts of Holocaust have been told and retold several times over the past few decades. But this one hits different as it comes with a beautiful analysis of human psychology in regards to great sufferings. Logotherapy. The Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy was founded by the author who was a Holocaust survivor himself. Human psychology with deep insights into philosophy makes it a profound read overall. Although I preferred the first part better than the second part where Logotherapy is explained using more technical approach.

The first book talks about the inevitability of suffering and the groundlessness of the whole experience. The second one explains the word of the Divine how not to run away from your duties yet stick to the path of Dharma. Bhagavan Krishna did not advise us to renounce normal life like Budhha did. The third one is about an ordinary man's experience through HELL and how to keep hope in tact even in the darkest of times. And most importantly, all the three books have one common point. They all talk about purpose life, fear of death, and most importantly, compassion. Need of the hour, eh? 

p.s. Both my foster babies got adopted to good families last week. I was sad as fuck and yet overjoyed for them. Somehow this whole fostering experience gave me an opportunity to test how much I had learned from my latest reads. And I hope I didn't disappoint the Universe this time. :)

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