Book Review: The Valmiki Syndrome by Ashok K Banker
Pages : 278 pgs
Publisher: Random House
Price: Rs. 250/- ( I got this book for review from the publisher)
Since eternity we have been brought up with certain values deeply instilled where our mythological books and Vedic scriptures play a very important role. As a child I remember being told that the Bhagwad Gita, Ramayana, Vedas, Puranas etc hold all the secrets of life. You name a problem and you will find its solution there. The only thing is it might not be spelled out specifically as your answer. You have to read it, search it and interpret your answers. We the children of the 21st century who are used to having everything "instant" be it food or relationships, found this to be a lengthy process.It was not long before this master key to a healthy living was long forgotten. The Valmiki Syndrome by Ashok K Banker is a book which makes us question a few things about our life and takes us back to our scriptures for their answers.
Behind the Book
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Maxing our career is our "dharma" in this age of Kali. But at what cost? So how do we strike a balance between our careers and our families?
About the Author
Ashok K Banker began his career in market research, advertising and direct marketing before working as a successful journalist breaking front page news stories for Times of India and Outlook, scripting award winning documentaries and television serials before returning to his first love, writing books. The Valmiki Syndrome is the first book in his Vedic Wisdom series that applies the insights of ancient puranic texts to modern day problems. Read more about the author HERE.
The author, Ashok K Banker has merged fiction with non fiction very beautifully giving us a an enthralling read. The book has been divided into five parts:
- A perfect life
- Who am I?
- Whom do I wish to be?
- How do I become that person?
- The Valmiki Syndrome
In the first part the author has described what perfect like means to each one of us in this age. The most notable point in this chapter was Gautam Buddha's story. I agree it is a story known to each one of us but the points highlighted by the author is somethig I never noticed before. For me it was like seeing Prince Siddhartha's story in a new light altogether.
The next three chapters are actually the 3 questions which the author feels need to be answered to lead a perfect life. According to him if you know the answers to these questions there is nothing that can hamper your perfect life. In today's fast paced life we all seem to be running for more. And having achieved that, the yearning still does not die. This endless yearning leaves us feeling very dis-satisfied and dejected in life as a result of which our personal and professional lives get affected.
How many times have we heard the word "work-life balance" and not sighed ? Very rarely... because we all know that it is something we constantly strive for. This book narrates the take of such individuals like us who are striving achieve this. As we go through their stories we realise the mistakes they make , the lessons they learn and how they answer those three important questions to unearth the Valmiki Syndrome. In author's words the Valmiki Syndrome is nothing but this fine act of balancing between work and personal life. Quoting him from the book;
"It is doubtful if there is anyone out there who does not experience the Valmiki Syndrome at sometime or other in their lives. Every person who wants to achieve a complete and fulfilling life must experience some level of Valmiki Syndrome."
And he is right. Each one of us would have faced this at some point of time in our lives when the tussle between the heart and mind seems to be nothing less than a never ending war. In the beginning of each chapter the author has shared some wonderful quotes from the scriptures with the translation reminding us where our roots lay. He has began the book by helping us identify our problem and ended it with the solutions for it.
This book is full of some beautiful quotes and lines written by the author which leave an ever lasting impression on your mind long after you have finished reading it. Sharing some of my favourite lines from the book:
"Where is the question of forgiving when I am but a part of your own heart? How can a heart forgive itself? I love you, Baba." - The beauty of forgiveness was never explained so nicely before!
Happiness and joy will no elude one forever. One must continue to live and sooner or later they will return to one's life. - Valmiki Ramayana
The list is very long but I would leave it at this, letting each one find their own favourites!
Overall a very well written book where the author does not mince with words in giving his opinion. The language is very youthful something which would appeal to the masses. The most noteworthy point was there were absolutely no typos / grammatical errors making it an enjoyable read.
I would highly recommend this book for all those young adults who are slowly being sucked into the abyss of the unknown and losing out on some precious things. This book is like a wake up call pushing us to realise what we are suffering from, the Valmiki Syndrome and urging us to cure ourselves.
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This book is like sheera / suji ka halwa / khara prasar / Satyanarayan ka prasad for many reasons - It is tempting, alluring, delicious and has a divine connection. However big an atheist one might claim to be this is something we all love!
This book has been received from Random House for review.