When I got offered an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this book to review, I was unsure if I should take it up, as it was way out of my comfort zone (so far out that I couldn’t even see my comfort zone from there!).
Books on spirituality and spiritual journeys are not my thing. Not because I don’t believe in a higher spirit. I do. It’s just that most books written on this topic are either immensely dull and boring, or I find them hard to relate to.
So I was extremely wary of this one, but I went for it nonetheless. Best. Decision. Ever.
You can check out the detailed plot summary or blurb over here , but I don’t think it’s necessary (I went in blind, and preferred it that way).
The tale is simple and timeless – it essentially revolves around a man’s search for meaning.
So if there is birth, age, suffering, sorrow, and death, then there must be something that is un-born, un-aging, un-ailing, sorrow-less, and death-less, immortal as it were.
Yet, it’s very difficult to accurately summarize. Mostly because, it’s a journey that can be interpreted in many many ways.
I don’t teach anything, Mahadeva. I just live here. So you alone decide what you want, and understand what you get.
When I started reading this book – I had little to no knowledge of yoga, and had little to no interest in acquiring that knowledge. Also, like I said before, while I do believe in a superior spirit, I was never interested in reading about spiritual journeys, because I used to find them dull, repetitive, predictable, and extremely hard to relate to. This book has made me do a complete re-think of my stance on this.
Firstly, I have a much better understanding of the concept and practice of yoga, and I can’t thank the author enough for this. It was instructive, yet entertaining, and that is such a difficult balance to achieve! It was also easy to follow (even for someone like me, who has very little understanding of this science).
Moreover, every single step that Max took, I could understand, and relate to. Which in itself is saying a lot, because I, and the character Max from this book, couldn’t have possibly come from more diverse backgrounds. His family migrated from Greece to US, and he grew up in the projects in NYC amidst gang wars and drug addiction issues among his peers. I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India (and eventually moved to US), where I have lived a relatively sheltered/protected life. So you see!
And here I also need to mention that while I spent the first 25 years of my life in India, the India that the author took me to, seemed to be another place altogether. I lived in the metropolis of Mumbai; whereas this book took me on a journey across India – from the fleeting sights of Mumbai and Delhi, to a drought prone village in South India, and finally to the majestic Himalayan ranges. It was like seeing a familiar scene through different lenses. And such beautiful lenses they were!
The author’s writing has this quality that breaks through barriers of time and place. It’s like you have apparated (harry potter allusion, yes) over there, and are actually living through the experience.
All in All
The Yoga of Max’s Discontent is a contemporary take on man’s classic quest for transcendence.
It might look like one of those others – westerners looking for Nirvana type things- but it’s not that at all. It has a very authentic feel to it, and that’s pretty difficult to achieve.
I can’t fully express how deeply this book has affected me, but I will say this – it has certainly compelled me to look into yoga as a way of life ( for health and fitness), and for that alone, I am eternally grateful that the author chose to write this book.
Needless to say – I highly recommend it. To everyone. Yes, everyone. Whether you practice yoga, or are only remotely aware of it (like me) – this is one enriching experience you will treasure for a long time.
Rating: 5 Stars
Get a copy and read it now – The Yoga of Max’s Discontent (Amazon)
This book has made me extremely curious about the practice of yoga, but I am lost as to where to begin. I do have some idea (very superficial), and I am aware of the phenomena that is Youtube, but I am looking for some kind of structured program – preferably online, but even a DVD that I can follow, will work. If you guys know of any such channel on Youtube, or a DVD that you have tried and found effective, please do share. It will really help me out.
Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC by the author to read and review (But this is a book that I am going to buy several copies of to gift to some of my friends and family.)
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