‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho is one of the most celebrated books of our times. The story teaches us some of the very important lessons of life through the story of a young shepherd, Santiago. It is a fable about following your heart and believing in your destiny.
Santiago is in quest for a treasure hidden in the pyramids of the Egypt. While searching for his treasure he meets all sort of people and situations. While some motivate him in his quest for his treasure, others shake his faith in the very laws of the nature. Santiago epitomises the young person within all of us who refuse to give up and is full of optimism. He finally meets an alchemist who teaches him the wisdom for a lifetime. His journey for the treasure is analogous to the journey of life wherein all of us are looking for our treasure i.e. our destiny. Santiago’s doubts, conviction, fear and courage are same as those we battle out in our lives. But he believes in his dream and has the determination to bring it to the reality. In the end he discovers an important truth of life that “treasure lies where your heart belongs.”
Paulo Coelho through this allegorical novel says that ultimately those who listen to their hearts and follow the omens are the happiest people. Some like the crystal merchant in the book refuse to follow their destiny and spend their lives in a sense of loss and regret. He says that the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself and those in search of their destiny seldom suffer. The pursuit for our destiny is the same as the pursuit for God as it gives us the ultimate pleasure and satisfaction.
The essence of the book lies in the dialogue that an old king says to Santiago in his moment of despair that When someone really wants something to happen, the whole universe starts working on it so that his wishes come true. Thus Paulo Coelho gives us the motivation to believe in ourselves. Through many ancient virtues he explains us the Elixir of life.
The Alchemist is an ideal book for people of all age groups. What makes this book special is its ability to connect with the readers as at some age, all of us face the same questions and challenges as Santiago. It teaches us the essence of life in the most lucid and simple manner possible without being like a lecture or monotonous. Through Santiago’s journey, we get a chance to look into our lives and discover our heart’s innermost desire.
The impact of “The Alchemist” can be estimated from the fact that since its first release it has been translated into more than 56 languages and has sold around 65million copies in 150 countries giving it the status of a modern epic.
“The Alchemist”, like very few things in the world helps us realise the spark within us and discover our potential. It makes us believe that we hold the ultimate power to mould our destiny. As the old king had said in the book that it is the biggest lie in the world that at some point of time, we lose the control of our lives and become puppet in the hands of destiny. This book gives us a sense of hope, assurance and encouragement in our moments of despair. It is a masterpiece, bound to touch all of our lives.