Monday, 23 April 2012

Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching is the book of most profound wisdom that has ever dawned upon humanity. Its creator is not clearly known but Laozi, who is also known as Lao-tse is most widely considered to be its author. Laozi was an enlightened master who used to live in ancient China in the times of Confucius. Tao Te Ching means "The Way." It's the foundation of philosophy of Taoism.

I love this book because it's full of most subtle wisdom and seems to be full of paradoxes which cannot be realized unless someone has attained a great degree of realization himself. The book consists of 81 verses pregnant with transcendental wisdom.
The very first verse is exquisite and paradoxical:

Verse 1:

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

In very few words, this book points towards Truth about life, death, politics, skills and so many things of utmost importance. Its comely verses seem like soothing music in the cacophonies of the world. The book has rare quality of conferring meditative bliss upon its readers.
Look at the Verse 9, which so beautifully points towards importance of moderation:

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

This book is indeed for those who like mysticism, philosophy, spiritualism and poetry. This very book is the reason why Laozi is regarded as highly as Buddha or Jesus. This book gives you solace, wisdom and bliss and never ceases to surprise you with its profundity.

I highly recommend this book for everyone.

Let me end with the Verse 2:

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

The translations of verses have been taken from S. Mitchell's work. Today is the International Day of The Book.

See other book reviews here: 
                                                    The Einstein Factor
                                                    The Power of Now
                                                     Guru Nanak--Jairam Mishra 

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