Book Review: UnMind - A Graphic Guide to Self-Realization by Siddharth Tripathi
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- ISBN: 9354402917
- Publisher : Fingerprint! Publishing
- Genre: Nonfiction/ Spirituality/ Graphic Novel
- Price: INR 299/-
About the Book
All human pursuit is born out of a longing for happiness. Yet, this feeling is universally elusive and when attained, it is ephemeral. Why is it so hard to find happiness? Is there a way to make it last? If Sri Ramana Maharshi was asked this question, he would say, “Yes, there is a way. But to get there you must first find out who you really are.” Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) and Ramesh Balsekar (1917-2009) are two of the greatest mystics of modern India.
They taught non-duality (or advaita) as a way to Self-realization. Their teachings didn’t advocate a complex practice or a long path to enlightenment, instead, they simply pointed out that we needed a correct understanding of our identity in order to be happy. unMind is a pure, succinct graphical retelling of some of the most powerful spiritual teachings that have emerged from India in the last century.
About the Author
Siddharth Tripathi was born in Allahabad and schooled in Banaras. He is a BE from NIT Trichy and an MBA from MDI, Gurgaon. The Virgins, published in 2013, is his first novel. Blowfish, his second novel, was published by Bloomsbury in September 2017. His first two books are now being adapted for a serialized OTT release. For the last five years, Siddharth has been a practitioner of the non-dual path to freedom and has extensively researched the Advaita teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi and Sri Ramesh Balesekar. This book is a culmination of that journey.
If there is one thing I carried forward from 2020, it was my reading slump. The pandemic had left me with severe anxiety (like many others) making it impossible for me to focus on reading. At a time like that, a graphic novel on my favourite subject of self-realization and spirituality felt like a gift!
There is something exceptionally stellar about this book. For starters, it is minimalist in every aspect - from the cover design to the blurb to the actual content of the book. Secondly, it has chosen a subject which is considered to be very complex - Advaita philosophy - and made it so simple to understand that reading it feels like a breeze. The simple black and white colour theme even when it comes to content and graphics denote the black and white shades of everything in life, with grey portions in between.
However much we grow up in life, at the core we always are seekers/students of life. The language of this book is exactly the type that makes you feel like a student. It soothes you, calms you, answers all your queries and then makes you think for a while before leaving you in a better state of mind than what you were when you started the book.
I will be honest, I started this book with mixed feelings. One can never associate spirituality with Graphic novels. Moreover, how does one simplify it to an extent that just a few dialogues are enough to communicate it all? In the past, I have read books on spirituality where even a 300-page book did not feel enough to do proper justice to the topic and here we were talking in graphics. My fears were not exactly wrong, to begin with.
But this book, not only does justice to the topic but also does it exceptionally well. Now I am spoiled enough to look for graphic books for all the topics of spirituality. This is such a fun way to learn, evolve and stay engaged.
I used this book as a Q and A as I read a few pages every day. I would keep my hands on the closed book and think of a question bothering me. And then open a page and start reading from there. More often than not, this was actually a sign or an answer to that question. The best part is, the way it helped me sleep better at night as it calmed my fraying nerves.
Ramana Maharishi is a highly acclaimed mystic of modern India and his teachings are something I have always been fascinated with. It needs a lot of in-depth analysis and understanding to follow all his teachings. Furthermore to be able to bring them out in such a simple language for the masses is a huge feat. Must say Siddharth Tripathi has done a stupendous job.
My favourite part is the recommended reading list towards the end shared by the author which is a subtle way of pushing us to know more, ask more and explore more. I gifted this book to a friend who has been following the Advaita philosophy for a while now and they simply loved it. I have read the author's previous works and would like to add here, he has grown as a writer.
I would like to take a line from the introduction of the book to capture how it made me feel-
This book was able to plant a tiny seed of understanding that helps me with my seeking.
This book is a brilliant way to start the journey of discovering Who am I!