Book Reviews : “The Mountain of Gold” by Ramesh Gupta
Albert Einstein is said to have remarked …
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
The Mountain of Gold by Ramesh Gupta is a good read if you enjoy an engaging narrative that entertains and enthrals while offering the more intellectually-mind an opportunity to reflect on the nature of the average man and his capacity for improvement. It is a fairy story of sorts, told in verse, for young adults, adults and all lovers of literature.
A young man sets out to find his wandering father and, at the same time, make his fortune. Driven from his home by his crazed mother he plunges to the depths of destitution before succumbing to temptation and the promise of gold in a fabled mountain from where none are said to return. Not knowing what is more important, the lure of gold or his father, he determines to find both by searching for the mountain. On his way he turns a deaf ear to the multiple warnings of a kindly and loving woodland lady and the heartfelt admonitions of a caring, old man who knows all too well the folly and price of pursuing material wealth.
Preferring instead to follow his own selfish and self-serving ambition, he hardens his heart, stopping at nothing to pursue his quest and realise his ambition. He turns his back on the promise of love and resorts to killing in his zeal to attain wealth. More importantly, he becomes oblivious to his conscious. When he eventually finds his mountain, he comes face-to-face with the greatest liar known to Man. Fortunately, the lady whom he abandoned does not forsake him and, when confronted with Mephistopheles and temptations to which the most holy might succumb, she becomes his saviour at the time of his greatest need.
Escaping the mountain he falls prey to a treacherous and deceitful girl who happily and thoughtlessly betrays him to her master, the Devil himself. Still his woodland lady gives him hope and the moral strength to withstand the worst Beelzebub can do. Once again fleeing the mountain, he discovers the meaning of love and the eternal value of true wealth – the knowledge that we can rise above ourselves to come closer to the Almighty.
Some stories touch the heart; others appeal to the mind.The best provide psychological insights into the nature of humanity, inviting us to self-improvement. The Mountain of Gold is a profoundly revealing exploration of what it is to be an average person facing adversity, subjected to the worst depredations of life and the seductive temptation of power. It is a probing examination of what lies at the heart of humanity and what separates us from God. It is an extraordinarily religious work, articulated in metered, rhyming poetry.The rhythm of the verse imparts a liltingheart-beat that makes it effortless for young adults to read and for adults to retain. That beat gives the poetry a life of its own, carrying the narrative onwards to the story’s climax and beyond, to its epilogue.
The Mountain of Gold gives the casual reader an enthralling story and the discerning literary and theological student an extraordinary overview of deeply religious themes that provoke an almost visceral reaction, probing our dependence on an informed consciousness and our consciouses, represented by a bell whose ringing warns of impending doom. The burning bush at the base of the mountain parallels Moses’ encounter with God on Mount Sinai and the Lady in Green epitomises the sacrifice made by Christ for the redemption of the human soul. There is so much more to The Mountain of Gold than a long poem.
Einstein would doubtless have read The Mountain of Gold to his children.