5 stars, Book reviews

A Letter to a Hindu by Leo Tolstoy

imagesDate Published: 1908
Pages: 17
Source: Amazon Kindle – Own copy

Goodreads Synopsis: About the subjection of India, its cause and cure, with an introduction by M.K. Gandhi.

Buy it here – Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart | The Book Depository | Add on Goodreads

My View:  In my search for ‘Eleven stories by Leo Tolstoy’, I stumbled upon this treasure. The title intrigued me. I am a Hindu after all. Seeing a personal letter (well, almost) from no less than Leo Tolstoy will get anyone’s heart beating faster and me being an ardent fan, ‘ahh’ is the word. I might have had too much on my to-do list but then this short little letter somehow made some time for itself to be read and I have no idea how everything else shifted to the back burner. 😉

An introduction by Mahatma Gandhi gives way to the book. On a personal note, I am not a big fan of his actions. His beliefs, possibly, but some of his actions just didn’t go down well with me and few of his words in the letter found their way to despise me. But I carried on.

And then came Krishna and Tolstoy, two of my very favorite people or perhaps a semi-God and an author but well who goes by the decree. I love them both! And I completely agree with their beliefs. The quotes by Krishna reminded me why He was the one who had inspired my pen name while Tolstoy’s writing reminded me why Anna Karenina is my all time favorite book and he my all time favorite author.

His words rang true to me and I found myself nodding  in agreement. His letter written in 1908 still holds true to this day. But it now assimilates the whole world and is not limited to a Hindu or an Indian. It might well include Israel and Russia and Ukraine and the entire world population. ‘Love’ is the word. Violence and war should give way to love because that’s what is natural and pervasive.

This little letter might hurt a few sentiments because at a point, it even questions one’s beliefs in Gods and religion but all for one’s belief in an even higher aim of life – love. I somehow agree with all that Tolstoy has to say because God is a belief but love is natural. God one learns about but love is an instinct, something we are born with.

I wish Tolstoy was alive. He seems like my dream man. 😉 On a serious note, I realised why I had fallen in love with him years ago when I read Anna Karenina. And it’s time I pick up more of him. I’m craving now.

5/5 stars – Absolutely fantastic. Loved it!

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Author Bio:

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider Tolstoy to have been one of the world’s greatest novelists. Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.

His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

12 thoughts on “A Letter to a Hindu by Leo Tolstoy”

  1. “Violence and war should give way to love because that’s what is natural and pervasive.” YES. It’s hard watching the news and keeping up with world events because of all the horror that’s going on but there’s also so much good — that’s what I focus on (or try to).


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