Book Reviews

Book Review – The Calling

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Book Title:  The Calling

Author:        Priya Kumar

Paperback:  166 pages

Publisher:    Books That Inspire; 1st Edition (2016)

Language:    English

ISBN-10: 935258970X

ISBN-13: 978-9352589708

 

About the book-

The Calling is a spiritual adventure. It is an encounter with the truth, the wisdom and the force that is innate to us all.

At the brink of a divorce and personal breakdown, Arjun took a trip into the heart of the Himalayas, on the insistence of a sadhu, who predicted that the journey up to Hemkund Sahib would align him to his purpose and change his life forever.

At every turn the mountains hold secrets and tests that urge Arjun to evolve into the person he had denied to be – himself. Pretenses, falsities, confusions and untruths fall apart as Arjun is forced to confront the mess he had created in his life. What started off as an opportunity to escape reality, turned out to be an opportunity to escape from the dwindling spiral of self-created misery. Filled with spiritual insights and sprinkled with light humor, this story will help you find your calling, your voice and who knows, even your true self.

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Review-

Their marriage going through rough times, Arjun and Maya are considering a divorce, and their two young daughters, Sarah and Sasha, are caught in the middle of it. Arjun’s best friend, Jay, a true friend at this trying time in his life, is ever encouraging and supportive of Arjun. He also believes that these two were meant to be together and Maya would see the folly of her ways once she’d had time to reconsider her decision. This gives hope to the disheartened and dejected Arjun, a glimmer of hope in the darkness of his impending life.

When your mind wanders off leaving your body in charge, you end up hurt. This was the first life lesson I learnt while reading this book. Arjun has so much on his mind that his emotions get the better of him and he loses control of the car while driving on the mountain roads. The result is a near fatal car crash. We all are guilty of behaving in this distracted way during stressful times.  The mind races ahead of the physical body trying to come up with a solution to end the anguish and suffering.

We keep hearing this phrase: the journey is as important as the destination. Author, Priya Kumar, has written a story of one man’s spiritual quest and the hardships he suffers along the way. His journey is an interesting one and the people he meets and the experiences he has while on this arduous path make him rethink his choices. But do we need embark on such a difficult road to achieve similar results or can we learn from the experiences of those who have undertaken such quests before us? Every fictional tale is the reality of its writer’s mind, and ‘The Calling’ is one such book. Arjun may not be real but his emotions are, the life lessons he learns while on his trip to the Himalayas are equally valuable to all of us going through turbulent times of our own.

I wanted to talk about all I managed to take away from this story but am restraining myself; wouldn’t want to give away all the secrets in my review. Also, I don’t want to influence your thinking. You could view the story from another perspective, and come to a different conclusion. Regardless, Arjun’s journey is sure to strike a chord. Interestingly, the first point I am talking about deals with perspectives. The author says, “Rise above the pain in life. Change your perspective towards life.”

Another one of my favorites is, “You can’t clean the mess by being in it, get out and see if for what it is.” A dear friend of mine once confided in me that when she is going through difficult times, she exits her body and pretends she is watching a film playing on a screen, with her as one of the actors. Dispassionately viewing scenes like an onlooker makes it easy for her to understand the sequence of events being enacted and spares her the anxiety and stress of being in the middle of things. She is able to find solutions for her problems by being out of the scene (spiritually).

I love her approach and think it is good to get oneself out of the picture and see the movie. Your body plays a part but your soul is out there watching your every move, all the while guiding you responsibly and ably. In the beginning of this story, Arjun has an out-of-body experience after his accident. He watches himself sitting by the side of his damaged car, his disturbing injuries visible to him, but when the sadhu tries to move his injured body around, surprisingly, Arjun feels no pain at all.

Arjun’s journey into the mountains is filled with adventure and thrills; his mind oscillates between wonder and awe mixed with shock and dismay. The important lessons I learnt while on this trek with Arjun are as follows.

Perseverance, hard work and will power are desirable traits to have along with compassion, affection, and patience. You can do anything you set your mind to, accomplish it all. Once you know your purpose in life, there is no looking back. Don’t let the setbacks deter you or the obstacles stop your progress in life.

Listen to your heart but let your mind help in making the right choices. Every problem has a solution and you will figure it out only if you don’t give up halfway through it all. Ride the storm and emerge a stronger, wiser person.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy or Jill a dull girl. It applies to all areas of life; we need to balance our career, family, relations, rest and rejuvenation to stay a happy and healthy person. We hear about balanced diets, a balanced life is equally important.

Arjun found his way, realized where he had gone wrong in his relationship and career but was it enough to turn his life around?

Did his realization come too late in life? Does he get to make amends?

What makes life worth living? Is it money, love or something else altogether?

What is ‘The Calling’? What is your calling?

By Sulekha Rawat

10 thoughts on “Book Review – The Calling

  1. I’ve been hearing rave reviews about this book. I’ve just got one and I would definitely read it asap. The line ‘When your mind wanders off leaving your body in charge, you end up hurt’, is one lesson I can totally relate to.

  2. Sounds like an interesting read. I loved your friend’s way of finding solutions to her problems by stepping out of herself and viewing it from a neutral ground. That’s quite a powerful technique to master.

  3. A very comprehensive review, Sulekha! I found The Calling to be truly an invigorating, stimulating, and a mind-expanding read. This is a book for everyone as with its wise words, it will not only help to ponder on life and the direction in which it is going but also to look within and also to find out one’s true calling in life.

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