Having written several novellas including 40 books for children, over five hundred short stories, various essays and poems, Ruskin Bond is one of India’s most beloved storytellers. He has won a plethora of awards including the ‘Padma Bhushan’ which is the third-highest civilian award in India. He was also been awarded the Padma Shri (fourth highest civilian award) for his contributions to children’s literature.
Growing up in the foothills of the Himalayas, Ruskin grew a fascination toward nature which is amply reflected in many of his books. He believes that nature has the power to heal and transform the human mind. Ruskin is also a great thinker and his views on life and society are very profound and insightful.
This article endeavours to present his insightful views on nature, life, success, money and happiness in the form of his quotes, most of them taken from his books and a few from his interviews.
Quotes on the power of nature
1. Live close to nature and your spirit will not be easily broken, for you learn something of patience and resilience. You will not grow restless, and you will never feel lonely.
2. Live close to nature and you’ll never feel lonely. Don’t drive those sparrows out of your veranda; they won’t hack into your computer.
3. Trees make you feel younger. And the older the tree, the younger you feel.
4. And I knew that as long as I responded, in both a physical and mystical way, to the natural world-sea, sun, earth, moon and stars – I would never feel lonely upon this planet.
5. Yes, I’d love to have a garden of my own – spacious, and full of everything that is fragrant and flowering. But if I don’t succeed, never mind – I’ve still got the dream.
6. For every time I see the sky, I’m aware of belonging to the universe than to just one corner of the earth.
7. The best kind of walk, and this applies to the plains as well as to the hills, is the one in which you have no particular destination when you set out.
8. I feel drawn to little temples on lonely hilltops. With the mist swirling round them, and the wind humming in the stunted pines. They absorb some of the magic and mystery of their surroundings and transmit it to the questing pilgrim.
9. For nature does things in good order: And birds and butterflies recognize No man-made border
10. Animals have simple needs, and all they want is to be left alone. We are the interlopers.
11. Listen to the night wind in the trees, Listen to the summer grass singing; Listen to the time that’s tripping by, And the dawn dew falling. Listen to the moon as it climbs the sky, Listen to the pebbles humming; Listen to the mist in the trembling leaves, And the silence calling.
12. It wouldn’t be much fun living on a planet where grass could not grow.
13. I was never afraid of the dark, and till today I see the night as a friend, giving me the privacy that I find so hard to find by day. Starlight, moonlight, early dawn, all have a special loveliness about them.”
14. Hold on to your dreams and don’t let go, follow the rainbow, the tide in its flow, salute the sun at the break of day, find time for the flowers along the way, follow the birds as they come and go, hold on to your dreams and don’t let go.
15. My inspiration comes from the natural world around me, from he mountains, the trees, the forests, rivers and streams.
Quotes On happiness
16. The first condition of happiness is that a man must find joy in his work. Unless the work brings joy, the tedium of an aimless life can be soul-destroying.
17. A good monk would know that contentment is easier to attain than happiness, and that it is enough.
18. Happiness can be as elusive as a small fish darting away in a mountain stream.
19. Happiness is a mysterious thing to be found between too little and too much.
20. For the most time I’ve followed instinct rather than intelligence, and this has resulted in a modicum of happiness.
21. A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.
On the power of having a dream
22. “Let no man take your dream away. It will sustain you to the end.”
Quotes on achieving success
23. All glory comes from daring to begin.
24. We get out of life what we bring to it. There is not a dream which may not come true if we have the energy which determines our own fate. We can always get what we want if we will it intensely enough.
25. So few people succeed greatly because so few people conceive a great end, working towards it without giving up. We all know that the man who works steadily for money gets rich; the man who works day and night for fame or power reaches his goal. And those who work for deeper, more spiritual achievements will find them too. It may come when we no longer have any use for it, but if we have been willing it long enough, it will come!
26. Every problem has a solution hidden away somewhere, and if only you look hard enough you will find.
27. I knew I was free; that I had always been free; held back only by my own weakness, lacking impulse and the imagination to break away from an existence that had become habitual for years.
28. It’s courage, not luck, that takes us through to the end of the road.
29. Sometimes success comes to you overnight, other times it might take years to come, but I think it’s better if it takes a long time to come, because then you value it more, you appreciate it, and you are also in a position to put up with difficulties and hard times if they come again because you have been through them. (source)
Quote on the conventional way of living
30. The truth is, what we commonly call life is not really living at all. The regular and settled ways which we accept as the course of life are really the curse of life. They tie us down to the trivial and monotonous, and we will do almost anything to get away, ideally for a more exalted and fulfilling existence, but if that is not possible, for a few hours of forgetfulness in alcohol, drugs, forbidden sex, or even golf.
Quotes on solitude
31. That man is strongest who stands alone!
32. There is a distinction to be made between aloneness and loneliness.
Quotes on the mind
33. A Quiet Mind Lord, give me a quiet mind, that I might listen; A gentle tone of voice, that I might comfort others; A sound and healthy body, that I might share in the joy of walking and leaping and running; And a good sense of direction so I might know just where I’m going!
34. We don’t have to circle the world in order to find beauty and fulfillment. After all, most of living has to happen in the mind. And, to quote one anonymous sage from my trivet, “The world is only the size of each man’s head.
35. No life is more, or less, important or interesting than another—much of it, after all, is lived inside our heads.
Quotes on making a new beginning
36. There are no fresh starts in life, but there are always new directions.
37. Bad times are good times to prepare for better times.
On being yourself
38. As children we are all individualists; it is only as we grow older that we acquire a certain grey similarity to each other.
39. Money can’t buy good health or a serene state of mind—especially the latter. You can fly to the ends of the earth in search of the best climate or the best medical treatment and the chances are that you will have to keep flying!
40. We must move on, of course. There’s no point in hankering after distant pleasures and lost picture palaces. But there’s no harm in indulging in a little nostalgia. What is nostalgia, after all, but an attempt to preserve that which was good in the past?
41. Ah, those picnics! They seem to be a thing of the past, now that you can drive almost anywhere and find a line of dhabas awaiting you. Few people today bother to prepare those delicate sandwiches or delicious parathas when packets of potato chips and other fast foods are to be found at every bend of the road.
42. A pen is more personal and that gives me some control over it—a feeling of power as the words flow with the electric thrill that runs down my arm, through my fingers and onto the clean white page. It is a sensuous act, writing by hand.
43. If you are going to be a writer, you also got to be a reader.
44. As a boy, reading was my religion. It helped me to discover my soul. Later, writing helped me to record its journey.
45. A great book is a friend that never lets you down. You can return to it again and again, and the joy first derived from it will still be there.
46. You must not look for perfection in your friends, you must look for affection. (Source)
On having a difficult childhood
47. If you have a lonely or difficult childhood, it would probably make you more sensitive to the problems of other children, especially when you have grown up.
Other quotes on life
48. The world keeps on changing. But there is always something, somewhere, that remains the same.
49. Nothing is insignificant; nothing is without consequence in the intricate web of life.
50. To be able to laugh and to be merciful are the only things that make man better than the beast.
51. In a crowd, everyone plays follow-the leader, even when they don’t know who’s leading.