No, it is not War and Peace; Anna Karenina or Resurrection…This is an almost unknown book by Leo Tolstoy of exceptional value and beauty which, despite author’s great want, has not made it to a bestseller by now.
Путь Жизни (Path of Lifeor also translated as A Calendar of Wisdom), by Leo Tolstoy is considered to be his most important contribution to humanity, the work of his life’s last years. Widely read in prerevolutionary Russia, banned and forgotten under Communism; and recently rediscovered to great excitement, A Calendar of Wisdom is a day-by-day guide that illuminates the path of a life worth living with a brightness undimmed by time. Unjustly censored for nearly a century, it deserves to be placed with the few books in our history that will never cease teaching us the essence of what is important in this world.
The reader will notice that Tolstoy anticipated many of the ideas presented in contemporary books on spirituality, such as the observation that our thoughts determine our lives. Tolstoy began to write this book in 1910, the last year of his life, when he was 82 years old. Given that he began the book in January and completed it in October of the same year, one would think the writing went quickly; but it only seems that way. Tolstoy actually had been developing the themes presented in Path of Life for the last thirty years of his life.
In Path of Life Tolstoy defines how to find continuous happiness in life and how to die without fear. In presenting his views, he cites his own ideas and includes many quotations from an eclectic collection of ancient and modern philosophers and religious figures. The choice of quotations is a unique reflection of Tolstoy’s view of life reached through his ‘dialogue’ with the world’s best religious minds. Tolstoy deliberately marshals a chorus of religious thinkers who voice similar religious insights. By identifying religious themes that are consistent over time and from country to country, Tolstoy seeks to prove their eternal verity.
Interesting: Because Tolstoy extensively modified the quotations he cited, the author translated all quotations, even those citing well known American and English authors, such as Emerson, Thoreau, Ruskin, and Carlyle directly from the Russian text without seeking to quote the original wording. Most, but not all, unattributed quotations are Tolstoy’s. Tolstoy deliberately used simple Russian words and comparisons to convey his meaning. He believed that truth must be expressed simply and clearly.
Besides frequent quotations from the New Testament, Path of Life includes excerpts from the sacred texts of major religions, including Chinese, Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist writings. His respect for all the world’s religions distinguishes him from many religious teachers whose dogmatic interpretation of their own religion’s sacred texts often leads them to disdain other beliefs and to deny the brotherhood they claim to espouse.
He believed that the only true religion is the one that all humanity can believe in.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
I will order the book in English for my blog postings, so that I can share with my great readership the pearls of the true Leo Tolstoy… coming soon 🙂