Friday, October 19, 2007

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is not just an ordinary book, but a book that has a lot to offer in terms of wisdom without being preachy. I have read this book 7 times and every time I read it, I found something new and inspiring. This is one book which I would recommend every human being, living on this planet, to read it atleast once and experience the difference in their thoughts and life due to it.

The Alchemist is a beautiful story of a Spanish shepherd boy called Santiago whose purpose in life was to travel. He left his home much against his father's wishes to become a shepherd so that he could travel and see new places and meet new people. He believed that its the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.Santiago had a recurrent dream of finding hidden treasure near the Egyptian pyramids. He decides to go in search of that hidden treasure. He first meets the Gypsy woman who can interpret dreams. She tells him "It's the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary, only wise men are able to understand them." Then he comes across an old king who tells him that to fulfill one's dreams one does not have to wait for the right time as what matters is to know what one really wants and they should act towards it. He tells him "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of."Santiago goes to Tangier after selling his sheep's and there he gets robbed of his money. He realizes that he like everyone made the mistake of seeing the world in terms of what he would like to see, not what it actually is. Being left with no money, he decides to work with the crystal merchant so that he can go back to Spain and start living like before as a shepherd.On the day of his leaving Tangier, he realizes that just as he conquered this place, he could conquer the world. His experience at Tangier had made him more wiser. He did not want to be like the crystal merchant whose dream was to go to Mecca but refrained himself from going because he was scared that if he fulfilled his dream he would be left with no purpose in life and was therefore scared to fulfill his dream. The merchant was like those people who are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don't deserve them, or that they'll be unable to achieve them. He made a decision to go to Egypt in search of treasure instead of going back home so that atleast he would not feel guilty of not giving himself a chance to realize his dream. The closer one gets to realizing his destiny, the more that destiny becomes his true reason. People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.He comes across the camel driver who believes in living in present. "Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, & live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children."He falls in love with a girl called Fatima who lives in the desert and decides to give up his search there, just then the alchemist tells him "If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil and one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return." Fatima tells him to carry on with his journey and assures him that she will wait for him. Real love never stops one from growing.When his journey comes to an end, Santiago realizes that life really is generous to those who pursue their destiny. The experiences and encounters with various people during the journey made Santiago realize that he was capable enough to achieve back whatever he had lost. As they say, its the journey that matters and not the destination.Coelho equals fulfiling one's dream with coming close to God. He says through this book that it is important to listen to your heart as it is there where you will find your treasure.

About The Author
The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before dedicating his life completely to literature, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist and journalist. His fascination with the spiritual quest dates back to his hippie days, when he travelled the world learning about secret societies, oriental religions, etc.
In 1982 Coelho published his first book, Hell Archives, which failed to make any kind of impact. In 1985 he contributed to the Practical Manual of Vampirism, although he later tried to take it off the shelves, since he considered it “of bad quality”. In 1986, PAULO COELHO did the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella, an experience later to be documented in his book The Pilgrimage.In the following year, Coelho published The Alchemist. Slow initial sales convinced his first publisher to drop the novel, but it went on to become one of the best selling Brazilian books of all time.Other titles include Brida (1990), The Valkyries (1992), By the river Piedra I sat Down and Wept (1994), the collection of his best columns published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo entitle Maktub (1994), the compilation of texts Phrases (1995), The Fifth Mountain (1996), Manual of a Warrior of Light (1997), Veronika decides to die (1998), The Devil and Miss Prym (2000), the compilation of traditional tales in Stories for parents, children and grandchildren (2001), Eleven Minutes (2003), The Zahir (2005)He also adapted The Gift (Henry Drummond) and Love letters of a prophet (Kalil Gibran). In 2006, PAULO COELHO launched a compilation of tales, opinions and ideas called Be Like a Flowing River, based on his weekly columns. This book will be launched in most countries only in 2008, since his new book The Witch of Portobello, will have a worldwide release in 2007.

1 comment:

Paula said...

Dear Sav,

Paulo Coelho got wind of your blog through aart hilal and wants to post this article on his blog.
Paulo Coelho's blog
In case you have any restrictions, do not hesitate to write me on my email :
Have a wonderful day!
And here's a quote to ponder:
No one knows what is going to happen
in the next few minutes,
and yet people still go forward,
because they have trust,
because they have faith.
(Brida) Paulo Coelho

Sav's Book Club