Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Alchemist

"WHEN YOU REALLY want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true."

These words echo throughout the novel "The Alchemist", by Paulo Coelho. The author suggests that we all need to be aware of our personal calling. Personal calling is in fact Allah’s blessing, it is the path Allah chooses for us here on earth. However, we don’t all have the courage to confront our own dreams. There are four obstacles, which obstruct us.

We are told from the very childhood that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea and the time comes when our personal calling is deeply buried in our soul.
2 Love:
Secondly, we know what we want to do but we don’t want to hurt our loved ones. We don not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent us going forward.
Defeats which comes on the path are more discouraging for those who are following their dreams because they cant say, “oh I did not want it anyway”
The fear of realizing the dream.

Once these obstacles are surmounted, one becomes an instrument of God and the whole world conspires in his favour.

Apparently, the story is of Santiago, a Shepard in Spain, who has the courage to follow his dreams. He travels from Spain to Egyptian dessert in search of treasure buries in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets the Gypsy woman, a wise king, his love and an alchemist all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is or if the Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find a worldly thing turns into a discovery of the treasure within.

The story of Santiago is an eternal treatment to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our heart. The novel appeals because we can easily identify with the protagonist: as all of us have dreams. Santiago, the Shepard symbolizes Man and his travels are in fact journeys of life. Moreover, the novel skillfully combines words of wisdom, philosophy, and simplicity of meaning and language, which makes it particularly readable and more so enjoyable.

Reader learns that it doesn't matter if one is searching for buried treasure, or for love, or for the secret of turning lead into gold. It doesn't matter if one dies trying, never reaching one's goal. It doesn't matter if one doesn't find what one is looking for, once one gets there. What matters is what one has brought with him on the way, and what one has learned along the way. The people one meets, the hardships and heartaches one goes through, the lessons one experiences has taught him.

The Alchemist tells us how to turn lead into gold. It tells us of the wonder and the uncertainty of change and evolution, the secret of enjoying the beauty of life without becoming hardened by the harshness of reality, the art of living in the moment without worrying about the past or the future, and most importantly, the ultimate secret of the universe, that we are all interconnected. We are all one. With this symbolic masterpiece author has stated that we should not avoid our destinies, and has urged people to follow their dreams.

My favourite quotes:

"We have to be prepared for change." (Page 8)

It is the simple things in life that are the most extra ordinary; only the wise men are able to understand them. (page 15)

“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” (Page 15-16)

“Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realise their Personal legend... (Page 21)

It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your destiny. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth… To realise one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one. And when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” (page 22)

“When people consult me, it’s not that I’m reading the future; I’m guessing at the future. The future belongs to God, and it is only he who reveals it, under extraordinary circumstances. How do I guess at the future? Based on the omens of the present. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity… The camel driver had asked what the circumstances were under which God would allow him to see the future. “Only when he, himself, reveals it. And God only rarely reveals the future. When he does so, it is for only one reason: it’s a future that was written so as to be altered.(page 108-109)

1 comment:

  1. I liked your review--are you a big reader? Lately I have been submerged in Indian and Chinese writers like Vikram Seth and Ha Jin. If you like book reviews, or just interesting reading, do come by and say hello and leave a comment at my blog, Reflections upon the Water @