Thursday, 29 May 2014

Auto Biographies (சுய சரிதைகள்)

A biography gives us insight into the person behind the personality. Of the biographies/ auto biographies I have read, I would like to share my opinion on the following three.

My Experiments with Truth, M.K. Gandhi - Other than the children's books on young Gandhi, I have not done any serious reading on Mahatma, until my 9th grade. At that time, our Head Mistress picked a few students to appear for a test on "Father of the Nation" commemorating his birthday. We were all given an abridged version of 'My Experiments with Truth' and were asked to appear for the test the next day. This book kindled my interest to read the original version. I would say 'My Experiments with Truth' belongs to the 'must read' category. Gandhi narrates his life with utmost honesty. One could relate to his vulnerabilities, dilemmas and his deep attachment to his family. In spite of his political prominence, his spiritual side would strike the reader the most. His simple way of life and dietary practices, as well as his belief in ahimsa and sathyagraha are relevant even today.

Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda - This book was recommended to me by a well meaning friend. This autobiography captures your attention throughout. The life of a spiritual teacher is narrated in a captivating manner. Yogananda recognizes his destiny early and his efforts to take the chosen path are detailed in a beautiful way. You would reconnect with your belief in 'karma' as you read how destiny/ higher power shapes his personality and life trajectory. In his search for a teacher, you get introduced to several enlightened souls. While reading the book, it is inevitable for the reader to be inspired by the rich spirituality of our land. I would recommend this book for a better understanding of our innate spiritual nature.

Freedom in Exile, Autobiography of Dalai Lama - I was intrigued by the title, when I stumbled upon this book in the library. In his autobiography, His Holiness Dalai Lama talks candidly about his spiritual and political life. Chosen as a child to be the 14th Dalai Lama, his spiritual and educational training at Lasha make a fascinating account. Narratives of life as a monk gives us insights into the customs and practices of monks in Tibetan monastery. Chinese invasion, subsequent exile and related political developments are detailed in this book. Dalai Lama discloses his personality, emotions, clarity of thought and philosophies in this interesting book.

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