These are a few of my favorite things: #9 (How much land does a man need? by Leo Tolstoy)

"Lev Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana", 19...

‘How much land does a man need?’ is a very profound story, a timeless classic by Leo Tolstoy. It’s a commentary on the human greed & it’s futility. It tells the story of a Russian peasant Pukhom who declares at the beginning of the story  that if only has a little more land he’d be content & happy. Eventually he learns about a village where a person would be allotted as much land as he can cover by walking in a single day from dawn to dusk. The only condition is the person must return back to the point  where he started. This is dream come true for Pukhom. He loses no time in going to this place & grab the land by walking. But as he walks his greed gets better of him & he walks & walks & walks. In the end he collapses as he reaches the starting point. & he is buried in six feet of land. Apparently that is how much we actually need.

In a way this story captures the essence of human greed, the greed that spans 60-80 years of our life is condensed in a few pages. That’s why it becomes a powerful mirror to us. It’s very easy for us to see that Pukhom suffered ‘cos he got too greedy. But isn’t it how people are in today’s world? They don’t know where to stop running the rat race. They can’t seem to define their enough. They get caught in the pursuit of more & more. When they buy a car they are happy for about two months, then they are already bored with it and are onto the race to acquire something new. New cars, new phones, new vacations to exotic destinations, new posh homes, vacation homes, retirement homes…phewwwww…the list is rather endless. & before one finishes this bucket list of endless wants they are DEAD, without having really lived, without appreciating the peace, quiet, tranquility, beauty, poetry, that is all around us. SAD

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January 27, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , . Books, Quitting the Rat Race, Reading, Reflections/Musings.

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