“Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth. – Paulo Coelho”
About the Author
Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian writer who loves to write about spirituality, dreams and every other aspect of life. He is one of the most admired writers and an author of a number of best-selling novels, “The Alchemist” being my all-time favourite. Before being a writer, Coelho perceived his career as a lyricist, a theatre director, an actor and a journalist. He also has a deep interest in archery which he says is like meditation to him. His life changed completely after his pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella in 1986 that brought back spirituality in his life. He portrayed the journey of Compostella in his best-selling novel, ‘THE PILGRIMAGE‘.
The Alchemist and its Plot
‘The Alchemist’ written by Paulo Coelho was published in 1986 and has been a big success with 200 million copies sold worldwide. It has been translated to about 80 languages that hold a Guinness Book record of highest translated novel till date.
The Alchemist is a magnificent novel depicting the journey of a young shepherd Santiago in pursuit of his destiny. Santiago learnt of a hidden treasure in the pyramids through the language of his dreams. And as quoted in the novel, “When you really want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”.
The journey started with Santiago meeting an old king of Salem who taught him about omens and to regard them always. In spite of being lost all his money, his destiny led his way through the endless Sahara desert to the oasis where amidst the tribal wars, he met the woman of his dreams. He learnt that it was the universal language of love that connected him to the nature and his sheeps. The ‘Alchemist’ who lived in the desert showed him nothing is impossible and led him in his way to the pyramids. So did he found the hidden treasure? He did found the treasure not in the pyramids but where his heart lies.
So, the meaning of Alchemy does not limit to transforming lead into gold. It’s about finding one’s destiny just like the destiny of lead that endures high temperatures and finally gets converted to gold.
Everything quoted in the novel is exceptional. The style of writing, the ease and simplicity of exploring the unseen is what makes this novel special. Everyone has a dream in their life. And we let the dream pass on by allowing the external forces to affect our life. Coelho illustrated this simple thing in his novel to never to let go of our dreams. If we stop listening to our heart failing to the present circumstances, we may never be able to realise our dreams. We wander all our life from one place to another in order to find our inner peace and happiness. And we fail to realise that inner peace lies within and not in the external world surrounding us. This is a simple message Coelho wishes to deliver through his novel from the inspirational journey of his life. But as Coelho states in his novel, “It’s the simple things in life that are most extraordinary. Only wise men are able to understand it.”