Here are my 3 favorite passages from the book…
“He could long have remained with Kamaswami, acquiring money, squandering money, fattening his belly and allowing his soul to die of thirst, he could long have resided in this soft, well-upholstered hell, had this not occurred: the moment of complete inconsolability and despair, that most extreme moment when he perched above the rushing water, ready to annihilate himself. He had felt despair and deepest revulsion, and he had not succumbed; the bird, the fresh wellspring and voice was still alive within him; this made him feel joy, this is why he laughed, this is why beneath his gray hair his face was radiant.”
“It is good,” he thought, “oneself to sample everything one needs to know. That worldly pleasure and riches are not good I already learned as a child. For a long time I knew it, but I have experienced it only now. And now I know it, know it not only by heart, but also with my heart, with my eyes, with my stomach. Good for me, that I know it!”
“Love, o Govinda, seems to me the matter principal, foremost of all. To see through the world, to explain it, to hold it in contempt, these may be matters for great thinkers. But the one thing that concerns me is the ability to love the world, not to hold it in contempt, not to hate it and myself, to be able to regard it and myself and all beings with love and admiration and reverence.”
I enjoyed this book because the main character went down several different paths before attaining enlightenment. He explored life as an ascetic learning how to think, wait, and fast. He then pursued the art of love making followed by indulging in wealth, gambling, and sex. He finally learned how to love.
After reading this story I feel very strongly that every single one of us has the ability to find peace within. No matter what your past involved, no matter where you are right now, we are nothing but infinite potential.