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The Review Par Excellence

Discussion in 'Book Lovers' started by Thyagarajan, May 5, 2024.

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan Finest Post Winner

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    The Review
    Par excellence
    The book revolves around the protagonist Ella Rubenstein, a mother of three children, and a wife, in her late thirties, going through a midlife crisis. She contemplates herself and her life decisions when she comes across a book called “Sweet Blasphemy”. The book speaks to her directly on deeper and emotional levels and gives a new perspective on her life.

    The best part about this book is that while you notice the protagonist shifting her life, you also see yourself changing a bit. The book which the protagonist reads tells us the story of the legend Rumi and his master, Shams Tabriz. It takes us through the transformation of the great scholar Rumi to the legendary poet Rumi. It gives a peek into the mystic’s and his master's life touching upon Sufism. The master, Shams Tabriz, gives forty prudent rules to evoke our conscience. By the end of the book, I found myself much more empathetic and loving towards others (even to those whom I don’t like).

    Here are a few key learnings which I took from the book:

    1. Love, above all, is the greatest religion.
    2. How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.
    3. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.
    4. Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
    5. Real filth is the one inside. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure water, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through fasting, but only love will purify your heart.
    6. The whole universe is contained within you. Everything that you see around, including the things you might not be fond of and even the people you despise, is present within you in varying degrees. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within.
    7. If you want to change the way others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to love yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved.
    8. Fret not where the road will take you. Instead, concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that’s what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.
    9. The world is like a snowy mountain that echoes your voice. Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you.
    10. The past is an interpretation and the future is an illusion. The present moment is all there is and all that there will be. Remain in the present.
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    To be honest, the takeaways from the book cannot be contained in the above points, and I can go on writing more. I would, however, suggest you give it a try and experience it yourself. The book is not an easy read as it is meant to re-wire you. It is full of Sufi practices that will make you think and give you a glass to see life differently. What matters is your readiness to accept and change. If you do, trust me, your life would be a better place.

    All the best and happy reading to you!

    The reviewer is a quoran would love to discuss your take on this book or any other book that you might have read.
     
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  2. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Thyagarajan Sir,

    Thank you for sharing this review. The summary looks quiet interesting! I will definitely give it a try to read this book.
     
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  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Thyagarajan Sir,

    Thank you for sharing this summary about "The Forty Rules of Love" by Elif Shafak. I got the book on Saturday and I couldn't keep the book down. I am half way through the book. After finishing my reading, I will write my view of this book. I am planning to write my understanding about the forty rules here in this thread itself. Is it okay to do so?
     
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  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan Finest Post Winner

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    Am glad that you are about finisg reading the book ibid.
    I can’t wait for long to read your views on the book.

    Once after finish reading ofthe book of around 700 pages that was set in 18th century, i had certain apprehensions and so wrote my views and sought clarification from the author -an Englishman.
    I not only got my questions answered to my satisfaction but also received a copy of his another monumental work that was set partly in 19th century and the beginning of twentieth century. That was also a stout book of 700 pages or so.
    The author is residing in UK - Ken Folett.
     
  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Thyagarajan Sir,

    I finished reading the book in less than three days. This book, "The Forty Rules of Love" written by Elif Shafak is so inspiring. I was not able to put down this book for more than one reason. I ended up reading this through the long Memorial Day weekend even to stay away to finishe a portion of the book. The Love between Rumi and Shams is indescribable resulting in transforming Rumi from a person sitting in a pedastal of a Preacher who could teach Quran to the common man and a wealthy man with a family to someone who gets all his name, fame, and popularity shattered into pieces so that he would truly delve into the Love for God. The man of words become a poet and a man of Love. After so many centuries so many of us ready Rumi's poem awestruck with beauty of his words. But here it is explained he neither had an idea of what he was going to say before nor he remembered what was uttered after the poem. He became a true instrument of God to share wisdom through him.
    In the next few days, I will take one Rule at a time and share what I understand about what was said about each rule by Shams.
     
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  6. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    Source: "The Forty Rules of Love" - Elif Shafak

    "Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Quran on a different level in tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batim - the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribale".

    I compare this with what the ancient wisdom in India talks about how to gain knowledge. There are four methods known as Agamam (Tradition), Upamanam (Comparison), Anumana (Inference) and Pratyuksha (Direct Perception). When scriptures are read or learned through a preacher in a traditional way, literary meaning of what is said taken on the face value without a propery understanding of what is being said. When one dives deeper into the Scriptures, one tends to make comparison with real life experiences and the comprehension of the Scriptures. On the third level where there is a lack of understanding, the divine consciousness helps the mind to infer the meaning of the scriptures at a deeper level. A the fourth level, one can not only comprehend the depth of what is being said in the scriptures but also experience the depth and become one with what is being said. They no longer differentiate the Knower, Knowledge and Known. The True Guru is one who let the students go through all four steps.

    The Science describes them as Knowledge through an expert (Authority or interpreter),
    Empricism (Knowledge through experience), Reason (Knowledge through reasoning) and lastly Knowledge through instinct (Intiution).
     
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    "You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined to mosque, syagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him; in the heart of true lover."

    Source: "The Forty Rules of Love" - Elif Shafak

    When one purifies one's heart, God resides in his heart. When the heart finds the fountain of love for the fellow beings, it becomes a dwelling place of God. Heart is the Bank of Love and one has to remove all the restrains that prevents the heart from distributing the wealth of love to the fellow beings.

    There was a spiritual speaker who spoke sometime back in our spiritual center. When Draupadi was praying to Lord Krishna to save her from the humiliation in the court of Dhirutarashtra when all her 5 husbands were arrested and became a slave of Duryodhana, She was calling for help from everyone in the court but no one did anything to help her. All her cries fuming with anger went unanswered by anyone including Dronacharya and Bheesmacharya. Finally, she reconciled to the fact and unconditionally surrendered to Lord Krishna seeking His help. First he praised Him saying that the one who was raised in Gokul and performed so many miracles. Lord Krishna immediately went to Gokul. Then, she started praising Him for building a beautiful city called Dwaraka for the cowherds. He immediately when to Dwaraka. After that she praised Him for residing in the hearts of Gopikas and then Lord Krishna went to the hearts of Gopikas. Finally, when she prayed, "Oh Krishna! The one who resides in my heart", Krishna immediately rushed to Dhirutarashtra's court to help Draupadi.
     
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  8. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan Finest Post Winner

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    Elif shafak must be very happy to read your paraphrasing as i do.
    Thanks & regards.
     
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  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    Hopefully, this time s a platform for others to read this invaluable book. You probably missed my previous two comments.
     
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  10. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    "The path to the Truth is a labor of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge, and ultimately prevail over your nafs with your heart. Knowing yourself will lead to the knowledge of God."

    Source: The Forty Rules of Love - By Elif Shafak

    The source of love is the heart and not the mind. It is always challenge to overrule what our mind tells us using the compassionate heart. When we try to understand God with our mind, it becomes an intellecutal exercise whereas when we try to find God with our heart, it becomes a sincerely effort to love and be loved by God. How do we find that we work with our heart? When we learn to treat every fellow being equally irrespective of their economic or social status? Even those who preach everyday about the scriptures may not be able to realize divinity until and unless they work towards neutralizing their individual existence driven by the body, mind and ego.

    The real test is whether we are able to forgive someone, accept each person the way they are, look at the person deep down in the trenches with compassion and help them overcome their ordeal, provide the necessary help to the elders and children who are in need of help, try to heal those who are sick, and so on. The feeling of all are one is an indication of a strong heart.

    Lord Rama, even after his wife Sita kidnapped by Ravana and was ready to fight with him to defeat him, allowed Ravana to go back home and return again when he lost all of his weapons in the war. That is precisely showing compassion to even an enemy. Prahalatha despite being raised by Hiranya Kasibu who ruled the entire world but did not believe Narayana is God, he believed in Narayana and continued to recite His name continously despite facing a lot of crisis. That is living with a compassionate heart.
     
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