Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Importance of Understanding – Book Review

THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING
AN AMUSING SOOTHING RELAXING BOOK
Book Review
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Book Review 

THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING by LIN YUTANG

Whenever I want to unwind and relax 
 I pick out one of my favorite books from my bookcase  settle down in my easy-chair  put my feet up  open the book to any random page  or thumb through the pages  and dip into whatever arrests my attention.

And  as I begin reading  I experience a soothing feeling and a calm tranquil sensation of absolute and perfect relaxation. 

From time to time  I let myself drift off into sweet slumber  and  when I come around  I begin my relaxed reading again. 

So  the cycle continues  till my mind recaptures the harmony it has lost during the hustle and bustle of daily life  and  my inner self feels soothingly nourished. 

The name of this book is THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING 

The book is compiled by Lin Yutang  who is more famous for his magnum opus  THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVING  the classic seminal philosophical masterpiece on The Art of Living

Do read my book review on the link below:


THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING by LIN YUTANG

I have got a hardcover copy of the book  published by Heinemann London in 1961  which I obtained by a stroke of luck  from a raddiwala a few years ago. 

The book comprises translations from the Chinese. 

There are Essays, Reflections, Poems, Ancient Wit and wisdom, Literature, Writings on The Art of Living, Enjoyment of Life and Zen, Parables, Epigrams and Proverbs. 

The writings focus on the simple joys of living and distinction between the practical and the poetic vision of life. 

There is wit and subtle humor throughout the book. 

Here is a story titled “Prohibition” from the chapter on Ancient Wit and Wisdom.

In the time of the ruler of Shu, Shienchu (third century AD) 
 there was prohibition on wine on account of a drought.

There were people who were arrested for having vats and distillery apparatus in their houses  punishable in the same terms as those actually caught making illegal liquor. 

Chien Yung was driving in the country with the ruler when they saw a young man.

“Have that man arrested...
” cried Chien Yung.

“What has he done...?” asked the ruler in puzzlement.

“He is going to commit adultery.”

“How do you know...?”

“He has the organs of adultery 
 just as those people have their vats...”

The ruler broke out into a loud laugh 
 and  he ordered that the people arrested for mere possession of vats released.

The meat of the book is the section on “Home and Daily Living” 
– which encompasses a wide range of facets of the art of living and enjoyment of daily life. 

I’ll end with an epigram of Yuan Chunglang:

Beware of the man who has no hobbies. 

If he is not sincere in loving what he loves  he is also probably not sincere in hating what he professes to hate. 

Dear Reader. 

First  read The Importance of Living – and then  read The Importance of Understanding  

And  I am sure  you will see life from a different perspective. 

VIKRAM KARVE
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I wrote this book review 16 years ago  in the year 2000  and have I posted it online in my blogs a number of times including at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/lin-yutang-the-importance-of-understanding_261594_blog  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/01/importance-of-understanding.html  etc
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