Manjhi – The Boatman is not a book on homeopathy and yet I decided to review it here for two reasons. One, it has been written by a homeopath and two, it shows us the path to an inward journey, which is akin to getting to know your own ‘obstacles to cure’ and your own ‘simillimum’.
The book falls under the motivational or self-help genre, somewhat on the lines of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma.
Set in the Indian spiritual town of Rishikesh, this novel is the journey of the protagonist, who during a very turbulent phase of his life, reaches Rishikesh to take a break. There, he meets his guru in the form of a tourist guide. The unassuming guide takes this man on a journey of self-discovery that he had never imagined was possible.
The book is divided into 29 chapters, each chapter taking one further on the path to knowing oneself better and of accepting oneself and others and situations – as they are. This awareness without judgement is the ‘freedom from prejudice’ that we read in the sixth aphorism of The Organon of Medicine.
Each chapter has some wisdom to share, and something to learn from. Some of the lessons that I gathered from this book are:
- To have empathy for everyone. Put yourself in the shoes of the person-in-front, before reacting to or judging someone.
- To drop your ego, to realize the (diminutive) scale of your existence in comparison to the universal scale of time and space. To realize that most of our anxieties and stresses simply do not matter in the larger scheme of things.
- Accepting your natural state and your situation is important. The moment we divert from who we are or who we are meant to be, it creates stress.
- There is something to learn from everyone. If you are a student, then anybody can be a guru. At the same time – when the pupil is ready, the guru arrives!
- We all need some intermittent pauses to reflect on the journey of our lives, to see if the path we have taken makes us happy or not and do we want to continue further on that path or do we need a course correction.
- Keep the child inside you alive…always!
- Sometimes less is more.
There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this book that I can’t list them all here. However, that is not the best part of this book.
The best part is how it has been written. Dr Sankaran has a way with words. He knows how to engage an audience with stories, humour, philosophy and music. If you have attended his seminars, you would know this.
The novel is engrossing. I found it difficult to put it down once I started reading it. The story has many stories within and each story wants you to know more, and read further.
Dry wisdom is very difficult to palate. It is like eating a raw dish. However, when the same wisdom is presented in the form of a well-cooked, well-seasoned story, you do not just enjoy the wisdom, you want more of it! Herein lies the success of this book.
I loved reading it and can read it many more times without getting bored, because every time you read it, you find something new… just like I find it in Organon. I find this book a must-read for everyone!
Launching of the book – ‘Manjhi The Boatman’ by Dr. Rajan Sankaran
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