My dad gave me “Fountainhead” when I was 16. I read it. Then chucked the book in a dark deep abyss of my mind. I read it again when I was 19. It started making little sense. The fog was clearing but still not much. At 24, I picked up the book again, challenging it to defy me with its objectivism. The veil lifted, but my time had not yet arrived. Though I was deeply influenced by Ayn Rand, I did not really practice what she preached.
Now at the age of 33, I am not a religious person. But I like to believe I am spiritual. The last few months have been a kind of a revelation for me. An awareness, a consciousness which was missing, has been enlivened.
I never read self help or spiritual books. Found them too preachy and boring. I diligently search for stories, adventure, thrill and a never land in the books I read. Perhaps, momentarily trying to live the more sensational life of a protagonist than the prosaic one in which I reside. Books have been my best friend. Always. I find solace and assuagement in them. But I underestimated their teachings. Finding solace is different. Acquiring a whole new zeal to see life, to believe in the impossible is one that I never could imagine any book could offer. Temporarily imagining the heroic acts is one thing and to believe that a hero lies within me is another. Right?
Now, you might be wondering which book stirred in the magic potion to awaken my banal life. Well, I believe there comes a time for everything. Nothing is a coincidence. Everything happens for a purpose. My cognizance to this world which co existed with mine all this time, is for a reason. There is just not one book or one person or one situation to change your path. Everything works in harmony. Everything works at a particular time and pace. You might be introduced to just the right mentor, but you need a second sign from another source, and then a third pull from somewhere else, all ultimately leading you on to the same route.
Well, that’s what happened to me. It isn’t just one thing. There have been books, there have been people and there have been incidents which all transpired with nature to appear at similar timings. The impact has been profound. Never have I fallen into such depths of self introspection, never have I had answers to many, if not most, of Life’s Orphic queries. Never have I felt so peaceful. This spiritual odyssey has uplifted my dwindling spirits and released my trapped soul into the infinite ocean of new beginnings and choices.
One of the many books that I have read lately but with a discerning impact is ’40 Rules of Love’ by Elif Shafak.
The book runs parallel in two different time zones. One in the 21st century where a beautiful love story of an American housewife to a modern Sufi living in Amsterdam, is woven. And the other parallel goes back to the 13th century, where, a scholar called Rumi meets a rebellious dervish called Shams E Tabrizi. And how Shams transforms the scholar into the world renowned poetic saint. An American Jew, a Christian vagabond, an Islamic scholar or a wandering Sufi, their lives intertwined and well written.
Here in this book, Shams emphasizes and reaffirms the need for “love”. 40 rules are laid down by Shams to articulate the infinite magnitude of Love, through Sufism. The language is simple and the flow of the book, quick paced.
Another great read is The Fakir by Ruzbeh N Bharucha. Its a beautiful spiritual journey of a hippie guided by a Fakir.
These books address the simple yet life altering philosophy of Love and compassion towards all. They promote the deep doctrine of “nothingness”. Ultimately we carry nothing from here to the higher realms. So the karma that we do daily, needs to be cocooned with the simple axiom of “The Void”.
Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, also essentially said similar things but in different words and contexts. These books probably teach what we already know. But my moment of spiritual awakening is here. I want to live in harmony and moreover, die in peace. I lace my life with affection, humour and an attitude of what I give is what I am going to get.
And in that spiritual vein –
it’s a much better place to live in already.