This is one of the most fascinating books that talks about different hues of human emotions. Making every sentiment look unexceptional and handling each of one of the queries with absolute sophistication is truly laudable. This manuscript has answers to questions on life, death, defeat, victory, loyalty, miracle, fate, etc., delivered on the eve of a deadly invasion. It was unearthed after over 700 years.
The beautiful articulation of life’s spectacles wrapped in its simplicity with profound examples, catches its readers in awe.
I would like to share some of my favorite quotations from the book.
When talking about Defeat he refers to the cycle of death and resurrection. ‘And within that cycle there are neither winners nor losers, there are only stages that must be gone through. When the human heart understands this, it is free and able to accept difficult times and not be deceived by moments of glory. Both will pass. One will succeed the other. And the cycle will continue until we liberate ourselves from the flesh and find the Divine Energy’.
Then he says ‘Defeated are those who never fail. Defeat comes when we fail to get something we very much want. Failure does not allow us to dream. Its motto is : “Expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed”. Defeat ends when we launch into another battle. Failure has no end: it is a lifetime choice.’
‘For those who feel oppressed by solitude, it is important to remember that at life’s most significant moments we are always alone.’ Precision of this truth cannot be questioned.
He says: ‘Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself: that is enough and that makes all the difference’. ‘Do one thing: Live the life you always wanted to live. Avoid criticizing others and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams. This may not seem very important to you, but God, who sees all, knows that the example you give is helping Him to improve the world. And each day, He will bestow more blessings upon it’. It magnificently opens one up to the idea of channeling the energy in being more constructive and making life more fruitful.
He then comes forth to address the fear of those who are afraid of change. ‘Difficulty is the name of an ancient tool that was created purely to help us define who we are’. ‘We will not fear what happens tomorrow as yesterday we had someone watching over us. And that same Presence will remain at our side. That Presence will shelter us from suffering or give us the strength to face it with dignity.’
Beauty, perfection and attraction are all our own perception of how we see ourselves. This could not have been portrayed in a better way. He elaborates ‘Outer beauty is inner beauty made visible, and it manifests itself in the light that flows from our eyes’. ‘So if a person looking into someone’s eyes has a dark soul, he will see only his own ugliness’. ‘We forget that the world is what we imagine it to be’.
By loving someone, we think that the other person is obliged to love us back the same way as we do. Look at how he counters this belief with this excerpt ‘Love is an act of faith, not an exchange. Contradictions are what make love grow. Conflicts are what allow love to remain by our side’.
He then crafts out his words to warn and caution us about the kind of people one should be friends with. ‘Avoid at all costs those who are only by your side in moments of sadness to offer consoling words. What they are actually saying to themselves is : “I am stronger. I am wiser. I would not have taken that step”. Stay close to those who are by your side in happy times, because they do not harbor jealousy or envy in their hearts, only joy to see you happy’.
“Elegance is accepted and admired because it makes no effort to be elegant”. This is so simple yet so eloquent and expressive.
To indulge in self-pity in difficult times and blame the wheel of fortune being unfair is very common in human beings. He addresses this emotion too with poise as he says ‘Fate is never unfair to anyone. We are all free to love or hate what we do. When we love we find the same joy in our daily activity as do those who one day set off in search of their dreams’.
Someone asked him that why are some luckier than the others. One of the extraordinary excerpts on this subject where he calls success as a consequence and not an end, ‘Success comes to those who do not waste time comparing what they are doing with what others are doing; it enters the house of the person who says “I will do my best’ everyday”’.
Miracle as he says is most commonly understood as an unexpected but pleasant surprise that goes against the laws of nature. He takes the definition further, by saying ‘They allow us to escape unharmed from the valley of the shadow of death, but do not tell us which road led us to the mountains of joy and light’. He then prays very humbly by saying that ‘Therefore, Lord give us this day our daily miracle. And forgive us if we are not always capable of recognizing it’.
Referring to anxiety as being natural and a part of every man’s life he concludes ‘It will never disappear, but the great wisdom lies of life is to realize that we can be the masters of the things that try to enslave us’.
On being asked about what the future holds in it for us, he vivaciously explains the phenomenon of love and faith that leads us to the road of success. One of the citation from this is ‘Our dream, the desire that is in our soul, did not come out of nowhere. Someone placed it there. And that Someone, who is pure Love and wants only our happiness,did so only because he also gave us the tools to realize our dreams and our desires’.
Loyalty, love and respect perhaps have never been expounded with such agility like this one ‘Loyalty has its roots in respect and respect is the fruit of Love, and Love drives out the demons of the imagination – which distrust everything and everyone – and, instead, returns purity to our gaze’. He cites that ‘Loyalty can never be imposed by force, fear, insecurity or intimidation’. ‘And because it is a choice, it will never tolerate betrayal, but will always be generous with mistakes’.
On being being quizzed about who our enemies are, he elucidates an entirely different concept about friends and enemies, much against the conventional definitions. A fragment of that is ‘The world does not divide up into enemies and friends, but into the weak and strong. The strong are generous in victory. The weak gang up on the loser, unaware that defeat is only a transitory thing. From among the loser, they choose those who seem most vulnerable’. He winds up by saying ‘Therefore, your enemies are not the adversaries who were put there to test your courage. They are the cowards who were put there to test your weakness’.