Pleasures of Reading
“Much study is a weariness to the flesh”, said King Soloman. We agree. But study has its own pleasure too so long as it is not carried to access. Reading gives us a good deal of pleasure, when we read the book for the joy of it, when the thought of the examination does not frighten us or the vain glorious ambition of making a name does not take entire possession of us.
All other pursuits and hobbies offer pleasure to man of particular taste and temperament. Every man cannot enjoy playing cricket; everyone cannot afford playing tennis or indulge in the pleasure of photography. But reading offers pleasure to men of all tastes, temperaments and age groups. There are books for children, books for young men and book for age people.
Nothing is so exciting, so absorbing, so thrilling and Kalidas offers us all the sweetness and beauty of nature. With Coleridge we enter into the world of strangeness, mystery and the supernatural. Keats offers sumptuous feast of sweetness and beauty for our heart, min and all our senses. Every age and country has its great poetry. Then there are great plays, tragedies and comedies. When we read plays written by masters like Euripides, Sophocles or Shakespeare, we forget ourselves and our familiar surroundings. We move with the characters. We feel, think, act and suffer with them. For sometime we become a Caeser. A Hmalet or an Othello. Their problems and experience become our problems and experience. Something similar happens when we read great novels. Tolstoy, Balzac, Harty, Dickens, BalKrishna Sama and the host of other great novelists of the world are there. Their novels make interesting and enlightening reading. In Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” we see the light in Czarist Russia. Who experience the horrors and thrills of the Napolonic wars? In short, reading interesting novels brings us great joy. It releases us from a prison of purely personal problems. It makes us live other people’s lives, without actually suffering any loss. We identify ourselves with the hero or the heroine, sure their pleasures and pains, we can laugh with them learn from their mistakes and yet actually we neither bleed like the wounded hero or die like the heart broken heroine. Pleasures of reading have this uniqueness, that it brings us all the thrill of actual living without the anger of it. All other pleasures involve some danger to our soul and self; but reading, provided it is good reading involves no such dangers.
Through reading we enjoy this world and life with millions of minds, eyes and ears. When we read a great book by a great writer we are looking at life with his eyes. How exciting and pleasant it is to see life with the eyes of the greatest men of all ages. In all other pursuits we find pleasure of our own senses, heart and mind. In reading we see, enjoy and understand life through more sensitive senses, large-hearts and nobler minds. Pleasure of reading is the only greater and more satisfying than this pleasure of self-improvement and self-expansion. Reading is the best recreation; it brings great pleasure and knowledge and wisdom in bargain. Besides physically health, mental and moral health is also important for our happiness. Readings bring this pleasure of mental and moral strength also. Wisdom gathered from books gives us strength to face the troubles and accidents of life bravely.
The pleasures of reading can be had at any time. There is no fixed time for it, and no rigid rule. We can sip the pleasures of reading from a magazine or a morning paper, while sipping our morning tea. We can lie in a bed and keep on reading a novel or a drama, or poetry throughout the night. In a railway compartment we can be deaf and blind to all noise, dirt and crowd, and, be in the company of Socrates, Shakespeare, Shaw, Tolstoy, Wordsworth, Laksmi Prasad Devkota or Keats. We can read all about the exciting adventure of man’s first dating with the moon.
But we should make a wise choice of books; we need not always be guided by the views of learned men. We should read what we like reading. We should have to try our own favorites. Read widely and see for yourself whom you like. Certain writers suit over temperaments, other repel us.
We must not allow our pleasure to be spoiled by anything. The sneer of the scholars need not worry us. Study should be a pleasurable activity. We must remember that there are very few things in life which are as enjoyable as reading the book you like. This pleasure is pure, and is intellectual. It may also be quiet intense. Some books appeal to our softer sentiments or rouse our nobler emotions. They touch what is the best and the highest in us.
Every man should cultivate taste for reading, because it is the least expensive and the most exciting and thrilling means of recreation. On one hand it brings us unmixed pleasure and sense of peace, health and well-being, and on the other hand, it keeps us well-informed and up-to-date.
However much we may pity the scholarly, recluse foe his other worldliness and abstraction, can we deny that he is a very happy man? He does not want glory or gain. To him an obsolete word traced to its original root has a thrill that nothing else can provide. Like Browing’s Gramumarian he is soul with the sacred thirst. For him there is no end to learning. People like him do not want any other pleasure in life. Southey has described such a man for us in his Scholar, and we catch a glimpse of him in Milton’s II Penseroso.
“Let my lamp at midnight hour,
Be seen in some high lonely tower.
With thrice-great Hermes or unsphere
The spirit of Plato……………………..”
Monday, December 10, 2007
Essay – Pleasures of Reading
Pleasures of Reading