A LIFE IN BOOKS: Like any true artist, books rank high on Munair Zacca’s list of simple pleasures. Here, the award-winning stage, film and television actor (recently seen in Tartuffe) reveals the five most important titles he’s ever come across.
Essentially, I read biographies, autobiographies, and books on spirituality. I seldom read fiction or novels, but my most favourite novel is Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. This book had a profound impact on my spiritual development and was instrumental in bringing about a major change in my way of looking at people and the world at large. The novel is based on the life of the Buddha, who was born Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince who, as a young man, sets out on a spiritual quest and after many, many years of searching, without success, eventually attains enlightenment.
The biography that provided me with some dynamic insight into the life of one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century was Malcolm X. This individual had two major and crucial transformations in his fairly brief life and provided an invaluable contribution to the history and development of the Black movement in America during the 1960s.
The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda is one of the most amazing books ever written. The accounts recorded in this document are on par with many tales of the Bible, with the raising of the dead as one example. There are other miraculous events described such as the manifestation of objects out of thin air, as well as appearances of already departed souls manifesting themselves once more in the flesh, only to disappear again. There is even the manifestation of a whole castle in one account.
In my opinion, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle ranks among the greatest books ever written. This document was also responsible for another major development and breakthrough in my understanding of the spiritual realm and the precious role we all play, barring none, in both the manifested and the unmanifested universe we are all a part of. Though written with the simplicity and clarity that the average person can follow and understand, it nevertheless expresses the ultimate and profound truths of all time. It also certainly serves to consolidate the adage that there is really "nothing new under the sun." Truth is as true now as it ever was and always will be. It is the same truth as conveyed by Jesus Christ, as well as all avatars and spiritual teachers throughout all time. In this regard we can safely and with surety say "all roads lead to Rome."
My fifth favourite book of all time is none other than The Voice of Knowledge by the Mexican writer Don Miguel Ruiz. This is a work of profundity in simplicity. It interprets the symbolic story of the Garden of Eden so clearly and simply that even a child can follow and understand. It demonstrates, as does the original Biblical account, that all of mankind's troubles stem from their erroneous beliefs and subsequent living in accordance with the original lie about man's true nature or, in other words, their belief in the original sin. Since time immemorial, mankind has not only been born into a world of lies and untruths, but we have also compounded the problem with additional lies of our own.