BOOK REVIEW – Life’s Amazing Secrets by Gaur Gopal Das

Book Title: Life’s Amazing Secrets | Author: Gaur Gopal Das | Publication: Penguin Ananda | Category: Self-help

Gaur Gopal Das’s unique wit and humor makes him one of the most followed monks of the present times. Life’s Amazing Secrets is his debut book and he has done it pretty well. The book revolves around Gopal Das’s real-life experiences through which he shares with us some of the most useful, and subtle teachings that we often tend to neglect. The author has a lot to share! And he has beautifully weaved all the lessons into a string of one story in Robin Sharma’s style.

The book intelligently gives insights into the four wheels of life – personal life, relationships, work-life and social contribution. Quite often we tend to focus merely on one or two of these aspects and this is where Gopal Das steps in to narrate how essential is it to maintain a balance between all these sides to live a fulfilling life in his style. The book highlights the message of love, compassion, being sensitive in relationships, practicing the art of forgiveness, competition at work, spirituality at work, sacrifice, discovering self and much more in a captivating manner.

The author illustrates numerous life messages and stories to narrate his idea of the subject crisply. He uses examples as simple as an ice-cream which tells us to enjoy life before it melts and a candle which gives light before it melts. All our actions, thoughts and perceptions rest on the scale in between being an ice-cream and a candle.

You shall laugh, cry, reflect and shall be overwhelmed with emotions as you read this book. It is a rejuvenating experience. Read and decide for yourself.

BOOK REVIEW – be more than what you are taught to be – FLUID by Ashish Jaiswal

Book Review | Book Title: Fluid | Author: Ashish Jaiswal

There’s a widespread myth that once chosen a profession, we need to pursue it for a lifetime and there are multiple factors playing role in deciding this – money, status, and lifestyle being the foremost. The term specialization has been mishandled so often that almost everyone has fallen into the rat race of becoming a specialist ignoring other brilliant opportunities that come their way which is way more fulfilling and aligned with their passion. Fluid shall break all your myths and misconceptions about this subject. Author Ashish Jaiswal has chosen the right blend of storytelling and stating facts to prove his point which shall leave you pondering over the matter.

The author lines up evidence from the lives of your ideal personalities in the book that there is no single way to a career path and the jack of all can also be the master of all. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was not just a painter and sculptor, but an architect, engineer, mathematician as well. He studied anatomy, Latin, geometry, aerodynamics, biomechanics, metallurgy and much more. Issac Newton besides being a great scientist was also a well-built, fashionable man with six-packs; Goethe who struggled at the early stage of his career practicing law became a revolutionary writer of his era whose popularity could easily give complex to the present day most loved Coldplay band; CV Raman the Nobel prize winner in Physics was so keen for music and acoustics that he wrote an intuitive paper on mridanga. Steve Jobs is well-known as an engineer and a college drop-out, but very few know that he studied literature, classics, and music for a year that molded his mind into creativity required to invent the iPhone. The author also takes inspiration from the ancient Indian texts particularly Vishnudharmottaram Purana that aptly narrates the idea of being fluid. The book showcases an interesting comparison of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and the Hans man in the Purana stated centuries before Da Vinci on similar lines.

The current education system that forces the students to take up career disciplines before they even know what they would like to follow is critised. Before the divisions or identifications were made in the educational streams, everyone studied almost everything ranging from science, mathematics, physics, medicine, architecture to fitness, fashion, painting, music, sculpting, and writing. But now the boundaries make it difficult for anyone to think beyond a small box. Ashish has even managed to house a lovely poem ‘Little Boxes’ by Malvina Reynolds in the book in this context.

Fluid is an exceedingly insightful book and shall broaden your perspective beyond imagination. It is an encyclopedia that you must have, read, understand and implement in every walk of life.

Book Title: Fluid | Author: Ashish Jaiswal | Publisher: Wisdom Tree

Book Review – Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

‘Milk and Honey’ is an intrinsic collection of micro poems written by Rupi Kaur who has achieved widespread popularity owing to her instapoems. The book is thoughtfully divided into four sections and with every poem, you shall take back hope, acceptance, self-love, and courage to get going. Every poem is written in an exceedingly simple manner that will strike you somewhere deep within and probably stay with you for a very long time.

The book takes you on a journey of determining yourself. Dealing with heartache, pain, suffering, and damage done by love, sexual assault, domestic violence; the book initially captures your attention and makes you read ahead in finding a cure. The poems in the next segment will make you fall in love with yourself and teach you to survive in a subtle yet bold way. It houses the poems of healing, forgiving, rejuvenating and transforming in its last segment. Rupi directly connects with her readers through her heartfelt love letters at the end of the book. You cannot just put it down once you start reading.

This is a highly illustrious book as every reader shall be able to connect with almost every poem in the book. The author has given a voice to feminism through her valiant writing. It is a call to celebrate, to liberate. This is a perfect book you could take as a company on a date with yourself over a muffin and a cup of coffee.

Book Title: Milk and Honey | Author: Rupi Kaur | Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Book Review – Inner Engineering – A Yogi’s Guide to Joy by Sadhguru

Most of the time yoga is associated with twisted asana and postures. I always understood yoga as a way of life until Sadhguru went several miles ahead in explaining how to pursue this way of life to heal and rejuvenate the inner self. He rightly calls this the art of Inner Engineering. Sadhguru is a celebrated spiritual master who spreads yogic wisdom across the world employing discourses, debates, and discussions. He is the founder of the Isha Foundation NGO that runs several programs on meditation, yogic asanas. kriyas and mudras. Inner Engineering, which later took the form of a book, is one such guiding program run by Sadhguru’s foundation.

As the name suggests, the book right in the beginning directs the readers to look within, and understand self by focussing on three important aspects – mind, body and life energies. Sadhuguru then goes on to explain the importance of each of these in great detail, enlightening the readers to follow a lifestyle in terms of quality food, good thoughts and unleashing the power of meditation. Every yogic approach highlighted in the book in backed by scientific evidence which leaves little room for arguments in any context and shall drive the readers in the world of mysticism.

Sadhuguru’s style of writing is unique and captivating. He uses the right concoction of stories not only from the Vedas but writes down hilarious Akbar-Birbal episodes as well to put his idea across the readers who get to know the humorous side of the author too. The book is divided into two parts – the first part emphasizes on why one should adopt yoga to engineer the inner self and the second part answers how to do it. After each chapter, it is suggested to follow a ‘Sadhana’ that would enable the readers to contemplate the subject in depth. It also gives an insight into Adiyogi, Shiva as the pioneer of yoga and elaborates numerous facets of his character. Besides, you shall come across some rich philosophies of koshas, body chakras, Ayurveda, Nadi shodhan and much more.

All in all, the book is not limited to preaching but it is more likely related to practicing the craft. The book is a great source of motivation and you can seek its guidance at any point in life. It’ll not just help in clearing your mental clutter, but also grant you a new perception towards life.

Book title: Inner Engineering – A Yogi’s Guide to Joy | Author: Sadhguru | Publisher: Penguin Publication

Book Review – The Upside Down King by Sudha Murthy

Often we try to find science in mythology to satisfy our internal battles and keep juggling between the two. But mythology itself has something peculiar which at times draws ardent disbelievers through its gripping stories strikingly weaved some hundreds and thousands of years ago, in the contexts as fresh as dew even today.

Simple writing is the toughest and I admire Sudha Murthy as an author who has been able to carry this craft with sheer grace. The Upside Down King is a book of stories related to the two most renowned and revered mythological characters – Rama and Krishna, both considered to be the reincarnated avatars of Lord Vishnu. Born these characters were not just born in two different eras but were also quite different than each other as well. Sudha Murthy exquisitely writes down these stories highlighting their dissimilarities, their associations with their families, friends, society, kingdoms, and world at large. The book will surely carry you to the times when Gods and Demons visited humans on the earth quite often, when animals talked and curses and boons had an immediate effect.

The book will also make known to you to a wide range of mythological characters, sages, time travel and the lineages of Rama and Krishna in the form of fascinating stories. My favourite ones being – The Power of a Name, where Narada tricks Sage Vishwamitra and Anjana leading to a futile battle between Rama and Hanuman; Krishna’s Consorts which tells us of Krishna’s wives Rukmani, Jambuvati, Satyabhama and many more and their relations with each other; Three and a half diamonds again describing a mischief played by Narada Muni leaving Duryodhana, Bhima and Balarama transfixed and Rukmani and Satyabhama who were tired of Narada’s usual stories entertained. The stories related to The End of Rama and The End of Krishna are touching but comes with a strong message which I leave for you to discover after reading the book.

This book is apt for children’s bedtime stories but adults shall enjoy it likewise. If you pick this book to read, you won’t be able to stop until you finish reading its last page, that’s the beauty of this author.

Review by: Nazneen Kachwala