Published by Jaico Publishing House
Travel and transform
Being a writer and a voracious reader, regular self-help fare leaves me unimpressed. Therefore, when I began reading Robin Sharma’s latest book, I was sceptical. The temptation to prejudge was huge, but I gently prodded myself to be open. Even then, I was expecting little more than good-natured, well-intentioned advice packaged attractively by a celebrated author.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sharma’s The Secret Letters…is refreshingly different. For one, it’s not a monologue of self-empowering virtues. For another, the story is set in so many different countries, that by the time I finished reading the book, my knowledge about those countries [and their respective cultures] went up many notches.
Yes, you will meet Julian Mantle, the monk. But he is mostly in the background, while the protagonist is his nephew Jonathan, who is as entwined and engulfed by material success as Julian was before he turned into a monk. Then, one day Jonathan’s mother makes a strange request to him—something he can’t refuse.
What follows is a journey that, albeit extremely strenuous and long, is nevertheless his best. As Jonathan travels from one country to another, he meets wonderful people, each with a story of their own. His task is to collect some rare letters of Julian, along with some powerful talismans. With every new letter and talisman, Jonathan finds himself transforming a little.
Even as he travels, we learn more about Jonathan through his reflection on some key episodes of his life. He is, like most people, enamoured by a hi-flying career, blinded by material success, tortured by relationships, fearful of failure and completely unaware of his own magnificence.
The writing is plain, simple and vivid—occasionally, a little monotonous and verbose. But the places explored and the people met are beautiful. The Secret Letters…is a self-help book disguised as a travelogue—or may be the other way around.
Whichever way you look at it, Sharma takes you along on a powerful outer journey that has the potential for an inner transformation.