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Providing Insight to Understand Oneself

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Book Review

By Rati Agnihotri

For anyone not much familiar with Sadhguru and his philosophy, ‘Youth and Truth’ is a good starting point.

When I first saw it on Amazon in the list of latest books, I anticipated something stereotypically spiritual or philosophical penned down by Sadhguru.

But ‘Youth and Truth’ is a different game altogether. It’s a collection of Sadhguru’s interactive sessions with students from universities and colleges. All the chapters are in a question-answer format. Sadhguru is being interrogated by different students and he is on the stage answering their questions. Of course, we have the narrative voice setting the tone and mood for each chapter. There is quite a bit of humour as well which makes the book an endearing read.

Institutions covered in the book are Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University, IIT Bombay, Banaras Hindu University, Regional Institute of Education, Mysuru, and Columbia Business School, New York.

The most interesting thing about the book is that the questions asked by students cover almost every aspect of our lives. No matter what educational or socio-cultural background you are from, there is something in every question you can relate to. Anything that troubles you about career, education, love, relationships, professional goals, happiness, the pursuit of material wealth, desire, or peace, is addressed by Sadhguru in some form or the other. Although the book focuses on issues faced by young people, most of these issues are universal. And youth is a subjective term anyway.

While answering the questions of students, Sadhguru comes down to their level. This is the beauty of these interactions. He doesn’t lecture the students but communicates with them. Often, Sadhguru gives examples from his own life, portraying himself in the shoes of those students. There is a particular question and answer session in which he recalls his childhood, and how he hated going to school and announced to his parents he won’t be going to college. Sadhguru understands the vulnerability of the youth and nudges them to see the errors and inconsistencies in their worldview gently but firmly. And because he doesn’t start answering from a so-called philosophical or spiritual high ground, students listen to him attentively and value his insights.

Youth and Truth is the kind of book meant for an educated reader. By education, I don’t mean advanced education in the typical sense of the word. But educated here refers to someone who has an open, thinking, and critical mind. If you are looking for readymade answers that you can straightaway apply to life’s problems, this book will disappoint. What Sadhguru gives you are insights that will help you understand your specific situations. You can use these insights to gain a better understanding of your issues. But you have got to solve those issues yourself.

The truth in ‘Youth and Truth ‘is not objective or quantifiable. It is subjective depending on your interpretation and understanding. Sadhguru gives the youth all scientific and analytical instruments for measuring truth. How they measure it and what they find is up to them.