Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mind-blowing quotes from the book "Shantaram"

Hi guys,

I recently finished reading the masterpiece novel called "Shantaram."  I consider it one of the best books I have ever read.  Below are some quotes and thoughts from the author of the book that some of you may find absolutely mind-blowing. They are listed below in order of how they appeared in the book and nicely show you the number of times my mind was blown :-)

Enjoy this collection and let me know what you think.

By Gregory David Roberts

"It was the work of a second, the eye contact between us. It was just long enough for me to decide to trust him-the little man with the big smile. I didn't know it then, but it was one of the best decisions of my life." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"He wasn't going to please with us, or persuade us to take the room. If we wanted it, we took it on his terms. When he looked up from the register, he met my eyes with a frank and honest stare, one confident man to another. I began to like him." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Every day, when you're on the run, is the whole of your life. Every free minute is a short story with a happy ending." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The clue to everything a man should love and fear was there, right from the start, in the ironic smile that primed and swelled the archery of her full lips. There was pride in that smile, and confidence in the set of her fine nose. Without understanding why, I knew beyond question that a lot of people would mistake her pride for arrogance, and confuse her confidence with impassivity. I didn't make that mistake. My eyes were lost, wimming, floating free in the shimmering lagoon of her steady, even stare. Her eyes were large and spectacularly green. It was the green that trees are, in vivid dreams. It was the green that the sea would be, if the sea were perfect." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Ancient Sanskrit legends speak of a destined love, a karmic connection between souls that are fated to meet and collide and enrapture one another. The legends say that the loved one is instantly recognised because she's loved in every gesture, every expression of thought, every movement, every sound, and every mood that prays in her eyes. The same legends also carry warnings that such fated love may, sometimes, be the possession and the obsession of one, and only one, of the two souls twinned by destiny. But wisdom, in one sense, is the opposite of love. Love survives in us precisely because it isn't wise." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"I look back, now, and I know that the naming moment, which seemed so insignificant then, which seemed to demand no more than an arbitrary and superstitious yes or no, was in fact a pivotal moment in my life." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The simple and astonishing truth about India and Indian people is that when you go there, and deal with them, your heart always guides you more wisely than your head. There's nowhere else in the world where that's quite so true." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"When he wasn't smiling his face looked flabby, slack, and pallid grey. He was unwell, but it was the kind of unwell you have to work at." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Civilization, after all, is defined by what we forbid, more than what we permit." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Come, you are not drinking! I hate it when people take so long to drink a single glass. It is like putting on a condom to masturbate." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Let me explain something to you. Look around here. How many people do you count? Sixty, eighty, eighty people? Greeks, Germans, Italians, French, Americans. Tourists from everywhere. Eating, drinking, talking, laughing. And from Bombay - Indians and Iranians and Afghans and Arabs and Africans. But how many of these people have real power, real destiny, real dynamic for their place, and their time, and the lives of thousand of people? I will tell you - four. Four people in this room with power, and the rest are like the rest of the people everywhere: powerless, sleepers in the dream." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"When you judge the power that is in a person, you must judge their capacities as both friend and as enemy." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Never let anyone know what you're thinking - always know what the other thinks of you." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"I told him once he's so shallow that the best he can manage is a single entendre. The funny thing is, he liked it. I'll say this for Didier, you can't insult him." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Friendship is something that gets harder to understand, every damn year of my life. Friendship is like a kind of algebra test that nobody passes. In my worst moods, I think the best you can say is that a friend is anyone you don't despise." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Do you know the story of the scorpion and the frog? You know, the frog agrees to carry the scorpion across the river, because the scorpion promises not to sting him. And then the scorpion stings the frog, half way across the river. The drowning frog asks him why he did it, when they'll both drown, and the scorpion says that he's a scorpion, and it's his nature to sting." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"He drove the cab like a getaway car, slewing left and right to overtake slower vehicles. There was an angry, bullying pugnacity in his attitude to everyone else on the road. He rushed to within centimetres of every slower car in his path, sounding his horn, then all but nudging it out of the way. If the slower car moved a little to the left, in order to let him pass, our driver drew beside it, pacing it for a time and shouting insults. When he spied another slow vehicle ahead, he sped forward to repeat the procedure. From time to time he opened his door and leaned out over the road to spit paan juice, taking his eyes off the traffic ahead for long seconds as we hurtled along in the rattling cab." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"That's how they manage to live together, a billion of them, in reasonable peace. They are not perfect, of course. They know how to fight and lie and cheat each other, and all the things that all of us do. But more than any other people in the world, the Indians know how to love one another." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"I think that we all, each one of us, we all have to earn our future." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"If you could be happy, really happy, for just a while, but you knew from the start that it would end in sadness, and bring pain afterwards, would you choose to have that happiness or would you avoid it?" - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The real trick in life is to want nothing, and to succeed in getting it." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"It wasn't paradise. Some of the men exhausted themselves, after their work in the collective fields, trying to wring profits from a cash crop of cotton on a private patch of rocky ground. Rains came early or late. Fields flooded, or succumbed to the predations of insects and crop diseases. Women, with no outlet for their special creativities, endured the long, quiet ruin of their talents. Others watched the slow waste of bright children who could've been more and done more in some other, busier place, but never would know more than the village, the fields, and the river. Sometimes, rarely, a man or woman was so wretchedly miserable that the night for all of us, listending in the village dark, was ragged with sobbing. The people did sing almost every day." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Dream is the place where a wish and a fear meet. When the wish and the fear are exactly the same, we call the dream a nightmare." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The sound of it came from deep within his chest; a laugh from the heart." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"We say that a face, when it is sleeping, is the friend of the world." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men, he said. It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men - it is what they do or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"If you know bikes at all, you can tell a lot about a man by how he rides. Abdullah rode from reflex rather than concentration. His control of the bike in motion was as natural as his control of his legs in walking. he read the traffic with a mix of skill and intuition. Several times, he slowed before there was an obvious need, and avoided the hard braking that other, less instinctive riders were forced to make. Sometimes he accelerated into an invisible gap that opened magically for us, just when a collision seemed imminent." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"But I knew. It was one of the things that prison taught me. Prison pulls the masks away from men. You can't hide what you are, in prison. You can't pretend to be tough. You are, or you're not, and everyone knows it. And when the knives came out against me, as they did more than once, and it was kill or be killed, I learned that only one man in hundreds will stand with you, to the end, in friendship's name. Prison also taught me how to recognize those rare men when I met them. I knew that Abdullah was such a man." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Justice is a judgement that is both fair and forgiving. Justice is not done until everyone is satisfied, even those who offend us and must be punished by us. You can see, by what we have done with these two boys, that justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. It is also the way we try to save them." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Poverty and pride are devoted blood brothers until one, always and inevitably, kills the other." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"After Poonam is married, there are two other sisters who must be married,' he explained, smiling and wagging his head from side to side. 'They must be first. In this, our Bombay, the poor man must look for husbands before he looks for a wife." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Some of our strength comes from suffering. That those of us who have never known a real hardship, and true suffering, cannot have the same strength as others, who have sufferend much." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Nothing ever fits the palm so perfectly, or feels so right, or inspires so much protective instinct as the hand of a child." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"We have a saying, in the Pashto language, and the meaning of it is that you are not a man until you give your love, truly and freely, to a child. And you are not a good man until you earn the love, truly and freely, of a child in return." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The only victory that really counts in prison is survival. But survival means more than simply being alive. It's not just the body that must survive a jail term; the spirit and the will and the heart have to make it through as well. If any one of them is broken or destroyed, the man whose living body walks through the gate, at the end of his sentence, can't be said to have survived it. And it's for those small victories of the heart, and the spirit, and the will that we sometimes risk the body that cradles them." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"We concentrate our laws, investigations, prosecutions, and punishments on how much crime is in the sin, rather than how much sin is in the crime."" - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The universe that we know, began in almost absolute simplicity, and it has been getting more complex for about fifteen billion years. In another billion years it will be still more complex that it is now. In five billion, in ten billion-it is always getting more complex. It is moving toward....something. It is moving toward some kind of ultimate complexity. We might not get there. An atom of hydrogen might not get there, or a leaf, or a man, or a planet might not get there, to that ultimate complexity. But we are all moving towards it-everything in the universe is moving towards it. And that final complexity, that thing we are all moving to, is what I choose to call God. If you don't like that word, God, call it the Ultimate Complexity. Whatever you call it, the whole universe is moving toward it. This process will always continue. We are part of the process. And if we die, the process will be duplicated somewhere else. Anything that promotes, enhances, or accelerates this movement toward God is good. Anything that inhibits, impedes, or prevents it is evil." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"There is nothing so depressing as good advice, and I will be pleased if you do not inflict it upon me. Frankly, I am shocked at you. You must know this, surely? Some years ago I suffered such an offensively gratuitous piece of good advice that I was depressed for six months afterward. It was a very close call - I almost never recovered." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"For all his wisdom, he did not know that love cannot be tested. Honesty can be tested, and loyalty. But there is no test for love. Love goes on forever, once it begins, even if we come to hate the one we love. Love goes on forever because love is born in the part of us that does not die." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

2 questions to ask before doing something: "One, what would happen if everyone did this thing? Two, would this help or hinder the movement toward universal ultimate complexity?" - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Good soldiers are defined by what they can endure, not by what they can inflict." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"A man has to find a good woman, and when he finds her he has to win her love. Then he has to earn her respect. Then he has to cherish her trust. And then he has to, like, go on doing that for as long as they live. Until they both die. That's what it's all about. That's the most important thing in the world. That's what a man is. Until you do that, you are not a man." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"A mujaheddin fighter once told me that fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The tears, when they come to some men, are worse than beatings. They're wounded worse by sobbing, men like that, than they are by boots and batons. Tears begin in the heart, but some of us deny the heart so often, and for so long, that when it speaks we hear not one but a hundred sorrows in the heartbreak...weeping rips us root by tangled root from the earth, and we crash like fallen trees when we cry." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Praising people behind their back is monstrously unfair, because the one thing you can't defend yourself against is the good that people say about you." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"There's a theory that snoring at night in sleep is a subconscious defence reflex-a warning sound that frightened potential predators away from the mouth of the cave when our lower-paleolithic ancestors huddled in vulnerable sleep. That group of nomads, cameleers, sheep and goat herders, farmers, and guerilla fighters lent credibility to the idea, for they snored so thunderously and with such persistent ferocity through the long, cold night that they would've frightened a pride of ravenous lions into scattering like startled mice." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

Afghan Wedding Custom: "While the foods were being prepared, I watched as men dragged a foot-operated grinding wheel into an open space, and the groom devoted a tense hour to putting a razor's edge to a large, ornate dagger. The bride's father watched that effort with a critical eye. After satisfying himself that the weapon was suitably lethal, he gravely accepted it as a gift from the younger man. The groom has just sharpened the knife that the bride's father will use on him, if he ever mistreats the girl." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"You can't kill love. You can't even kill it with hate. You can kill in-love, and loving, and even loveliness. You can kill them all, or numb them into dense, leaden regret, but you can't kill love itself. Love is the passionate search for a truth other than your own; and once you feel it, honestly and completely, love is forever." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The land matters, at the end. And at the very last, he won't scream of causes. At the very last, he'll murmur or he'll cry out the name of a sister or a daughter or a lover or a mother, even as he speaks the name of his God. The end mirrors the beginning. In the end, it's a woman, and a city." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Salman was a natural leader but, like many men who have the gift of command and the instinct to rule, he was deeply troubled by every expression of the leadership art. He was, at heart, a humble man, and that humility made him an honourable man." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Assassin Grief, he'd once called it, is the kind of grief that lies in wait and attacks from ambush, with no warning and no mercy. I know now that assassin grief can hide for years and then strike suddenly, on the happiest day, without discernible reason or exegesis. The enemy stalks you, step for step, and knows your every move before you make it. The enemy is your own grieving heart, and when it strikes, it can't miss." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"The only kingdom that makes any man a king is the kingdom of his own soul. The only power that has any real meaning is the power to better the world." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"There is no man, and no place, without war. The only thing we can do is choose a side, and fight. That is the only choice we get-who we fight for, who we fight against. That is life." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Luck is what happens to you when fate gets tired of waiting." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

"Every human heartbeat is a universe of possibilities." - Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

- Leon

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