On Reading Books “Pothi Padh padh jug mua, pandit bhaya na koi, Dhai Akshar prem ka padhe so pandit hoi” Kabir (Loosely translated- one does not become a scholar by reading many books, one becomes a scholar by learning the meaning of the word PREM (Love) These days, there is so much to read. Whatsapp University is flooding us with all types of Jyana. Facebook and other internet sites including this very group add to our ‘knowledge’. Then, of course, there is Google Baba who has answers to all our queries to satisfy our hunger for knowledge. The question is does it make any difference in our thinking or behavior or we read because we have to obtain some knowledge for performing some worldly activities or simply for time pass or enjoyment? They say you are what you read. Our reading habits change with time. Starting with fairy tales as children, detective stories as teens, romantic novels as young, intellectual, professional and philosophical books as adults and finally spiritual books as seniors, the pattern was quite apparent. There might have been some overlapping in between or maybe happening even now but this, as my experience says, is the general chronology. So as children we believed in fairy tales, as most girls do and in warrior kings and adventure stories as most boys do. As teenagers we were inquisitive to know ‘what next?' in those detective stories and novels. As young, we pretended to be the hero or heroine of the romantic story or novel we read. As adults, we were more in intellectual, professional and philosophical leaning with little room for fairies, warriors, detectives, romantic couples. We started reading serious stuff on history, politics, and sociology and so on. Now as seniors we are more in spiritualism. I am not sure to what extent our reading habits at different stages in life helped us in molding our personality, thinking and attitude. Maybe, we are the sum total of what we read, learned and observed. Maybe, we are what we needed to be to survive and not what we read. Some of us might still be interested in and reading all types of books. Some may be interested in a particular genre of subjects. If that be so, a person reading detective stories may become a criminal or a crime detective or a criminal lawyer. Then there are good books and bad books. One reading good books will be good and others reading bad books will be bad. Or of a person who did not read at all. If reading makes us what we are, what about the person who does not know how to read. There have been many unlettered or not much-educated persons who made this world a better place to live. And there have been many who remained on the other side of the law who make this world a living hell. Reading broadens our horizons but so does traveling. Reading shapes our personality but so does observing. Reading of spiritual books by itself has no meaning if we cannot learn and comprehend and imbibe the in our life what we read.