Verse-Seasons 'N Picks 'HENRY DAVID THOREAU'


Henry David Thoreau, Public Domain

Had we began our conservation drive, at least, as early as Thoreau had insisted upon it our young activist Greta Thunberg could have continued attending her school uninterrupted!


Conservation of nature and living responsibly are themes central to the nineteenth century writer Henry David Thoreau's work. In his philosophical work Walden Thoreau's rebuking tone, insisting on the need for every individual to acknowledge the transcendental elements underpinning the human-nature relationship, is distinctive. Often labelled an anarchist Thoreau's role, as an American literary and philosophical writer, in the New England Transcendentalism is significant. Thoreau through his literary work as well as through his own minutely detailed nature-friendly lifestyle has influenced the American thought, to an extent.


Thoreau's philosophical preoccupations was highly influenced by the Bhagavad Gita.


"In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial,"

Wrote Thoreau. However, Thoreau did not agree with Arjuna's conviction, imparted by Krishna, to go to war. He said:


"Arjoon may be convinced but the reader is not."

As a philosophical text, many interpreters of the text have also deduced the Kurukshetra war to be one between the rational and irrational desires born out of the sensory faculties within an individual. However, its literal meaning would evoke responses similar to the one Thoreau has. Thoreau, despite his disagreement with Arjuna's decision to go to war, did not abandon the text. His inimitable ability to empirically approach situations and subjects are irrefutable in his work and in his own life. The assertion to assume responsibility for one's thoughts and actions are recurring in all his literary works. Aged 44, Thoreau died in 1862.

 

You can listen to Thoreau's poem Conscience on O's podcast

 

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