I can’t remember the first time I heard of this book- it was that long ago. It was one of those books that I always longed to read but never really had the chance. So this time when my friend was talking about it, I didn’t miss the chance to grab it from her and read it! It’s a book by Paulo Coelho, a widely renowned Brazilian novelist and lyricist. The story is about a shepherd, Santiago, who roams around the city, from one point to another. He has a recurring dream of getting to visit the pyramids of Egypt someday and finding a treasure at a specific one. He is very fond of traveling but has no financial supremacy to do so, hence getting in the occupation of being a shepherd whose job is to tend sheep seemed most logical to him. Not to give away much, I would not reveal the whole story but I would surely write about why I loved this book so much. There is a beautiful statement that repeated several times in the book and I couldn’t stop appreciating the true sense of it: “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream”.
The book will keep you hooked as the story gradually unfolds and the shepherd takes you along his journey. He sees new things and learns more about his purpose of life. Throughout the story you will be forced to think about the same things that the main character thinks about- the writing style of the book is that vivid. For example, when Santiago gets employed by a crystal merchant in Saudi Arabia- he thinks of quitting his job a number of times- something that you would feel too if you were continuing to live your life in a same manner for days with no hope. He doesn’t quit anyway because he is reminded of his purpose of life, that when you want something too badly, you cannot let minor challenges divert your efforts from your ultimate goal. He keeps on working for the crystal merchant till he earns enough to find a way to get to Egypt.
There were certain statements in the book that would force you to think about the purpose of your life more seriously. I found these very inspirational and would love to share a few with you:
- “People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
- “I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.”
- “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
- “Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked.
“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.”
- “If you start by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work towards getting it.”
- “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
I’m pretty sure that most of you have already read this majestic novel but if there’s anyone like me who hadn’t, I would strongly suggest to not to miss the opportunity to enlighten yourself with the vast pool of wisdom that this book has got to offer. These wisdoms will not only enlighten you but also give you immense knowledge and guidelines of leading a meaningful and purposeful life. I would like to end with a short story that was featured in the very beginning of the novel and that kept me awestruck till the very end. This is quoted from the book:
The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned. At the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called the narcissus.
But this was not how the author of the book ended the story.
He said that when Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.
‘Why do you weep?’ the goddesses asked.
‘I weep for Narcissus,” the lake replied.
‘Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus,’ they said, ‘for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.’
‘But… was Narcissus beautiful?’ the lake asked.
‘Who better than you to know that?’ the goddesses asked in wonder. ‘After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!’
The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:
‘I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.’