1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

One unknown book by Leo Tolstoy which he himself valued the highest of all his writings January 15, 2010

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.


Unfortunately, Leo Tolstoy is less known for his numerous religious writings, which present a challenging and original point of view.These works have been obviously undervalued.

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 🙂




10 Responses to “One unknown book by Leo Tolstoy which he himself valued the highest of all his writings”

  1. Valusha Says:

    O, it’s my general present to all “deep people” (and yogis, sure) recently!;) The thing that I especially wonder is that Leo Tolstoy puted all parts of his book in order of chakras in our subtle bodies: at first go thoughts about chastity etc.

    • axinia Says:

      thank you, Valusha 🙂
      It was also my recent discovery and the book is also so small! and so much wisdom in there…
      showing the true greatness of Tolstoy!

  2. He believed that the only true religion is the one that all humanity can believe in.

    Beautiful, isn’t it?

    Certainly beautiful, Axinia, but how possible is it 😕

    I think religion is something that is past its time. Religion as an idea does not belong to this age and needs to be done away with 😐

  3. rvick Says:

    I read the “Gospels in Brief” by Tolstoy and had similar feelings. I was referred to it by Semyon, a Russian Sahaja Yogi and a good friend. The understanding of inner religion and true nature of Lord Jesus Christ is amazing. No doubt he was persecuted and they did not allow him to be buried with the rest of his fellow Christians by the Orthodox Church. Great, great realized soul!

  4. Thanks Axinia. The book look very interesting I will pick it up soon. I’ve been meaning to write on teh religious experience and I think this has pushed me forward in the right direction


  5. pooyan Says:

    “He believed that truth must be expressed simply and clearly …”

    Tolstoy is really a great person, he knew what other didn’t, and I think that’s why his words are absolute knowledge, absolute truth.
    Thanks Axinina, I didn’t know about this book, will try to find and read it as it seems to be really worth reading …

  6. mirel Says:

    as far as I know, Tolstoy had the good habit of keeping a diary, in which he used to put down every event and impression in his life, as well as his inner struggles, to the smallest details, we can easily follow his spiritual journey

    His ‘The Kingdom of God Is Within You’ In his autobiography, “The Story of My Experiments with Truth”, in his articles and speeches, Gandhi often mentioned the fact that Tolstoy’s works influenced him a lot, especially his ‘The Kingdom of God Is Within You’!
    In 1908 Tolstoy wrote, and Gandhi read, A Letter to a Hindu, which outlines the law of love espoused in all the world’s religions, and he argued that the individual, non-violent application of the law of love in the form of protests, strikes, and other forms of peaceful resistance were the only alternative to violent revolutionthe notion that only by using love as a weapon through passive resistance could the native Indian people overthrow the British Empire.
    Tolstoy once wrote: ‘“He who lives in love, lives in God and God in him, for God is love. This is the eternal and all-embracing law. Love purifies the individual and is the essence of life. The fruit of love is happiness. Happiness comes not because man loves his fellowmen but because he loves the source of all, namely God. God dwells in all of us and therefore man recognises God in himself through love and extends this love to all men. Man needs to let love in and squeeze out hatred, guile and vengeance from his being.”
    Love is the aspiration for communion with God and solidarity with other souls, and that aspiration always liberates the source of noble activities. That love is the supreme and unique law of human life which everyone feels in the depths of one’s soul.
    best wishes

  7. Georgio Says:

    Leo, ponders a great deal on the following: The absurdity of human existense, because it is so unpredictable; History is pretty much already made, great men don’t change history, but fate does. Love is just another ideal, like patriotism or religiuos faith. However, Leo asserts that compassion is the greatest human emotion. Such an enlightened individual!

  8. Is it possible to have a personal copy.. I feel every s.yogi must have a copy of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s