As I left the counter paying for the book at the airport, my colleague travelling with me in the same flight looking at the book on Gita gestured, “Oh, you read these type of books at such young age!”. I smiled at him a bit surprised at his observation on my choice of book. But his reaction gave rise to a thought that yes we actually have designated different books for different age groups. We have short fairytale or mythological story books for adolescents, superhero comic character books for young children, light romance and mystery books for teenagers, hard romance, spy thrillers and other fiction for young adults and soon. We usually mark the spiritual, philosophical or religious books for old age readers.
My picking up a book on Gita was just an action of mine in general to have spotted a good book and jumped on to acquire it. As I now ponder, I have read hundreds or may be thousands of comic books and other story books in my childhood and teenage days without thinking on whether this pertains to my age. I have even read those Hindi thriller novels which were stacked on the wheelers at railway stations. My father never stopped me from reading a book just because it was having some adult content. In my childhood I have equally read superhero comics, mythology, small Rajan Ikbal novels, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Alistair Maclain, so called adult novels, freedom struggle books, Christian missionary specially the small pocket sized New Testament usually distributed free, books on thoughts by Vivekanand, Mahatama Gandhi, commentaries on Gita and many other books, stories, poems of different genre. I have read Ramayana over about ten times in my life now just like a novel.
Do we need to have books assigned as per age of the reader? I never thought on this, even when my elder son learned reading sentences and one day was reading a book from my personal library of Vivekanand’s lectures. I was overwhelmed and prodded him to read it more often serving the double purpose of improving reading capability and also understanding some good spiritual thoughts when he asked me the meaning of sentences read. Though in my next PTA meeting the class-teacher asked me not to let him read those books as it was higher than his grade and were too spiritual. But I think spirituality is not only for old age people or those who are too disturbed in life. In my view if we start reading spiritual books at a young age we usually grow up more balanced. The view towards life is a much improved vision. The mental disturbances are less likely to disbalance us while handling higher responsibilities. The understanding towards other point of views is clearer. I strongly believe that Gita should be a separate subject in schools to enable young minds to grasp the crux of life and be ready with solutions of every problem life throws at them when they come out of schools to face the world. Gita is not a religious book but a book of solutions to every problem one faces in life.
We do learn a lot during our lifetime and the learning is mostly due to the mistakes we make. We become more developed mentally as per our experiences and experiences are nothing but a collection of solutions of the problems we faced or mistakes we committed in the past. So what we do is that in future when we take a decision we always compare our last similar situation encountered and then take a decision, and doesn’t it the same way as artificial intelligence works today. Among humans different people take different decisions in similar situations because of their own collection of experiences. This theorem is explained in Gita in specic words. “What is happening today has also happened in the past and will happen in future also” – Shrimad Bhagwat Gita- 2:12
Spirituality is not a factor of age but as soon as we start understanding the spiritual part of the nature we live in, the more comfortable life becomes. If we start reading the spiritual books early in life then maybe we will not be required to find answers with others, we might not have to wait the whole life to find peace and who knows we give birth to Buddha- The Self Awakened One, in our own selves quite early in life.