Title: Chicken Soup For The Indian Soul: A Book Of Miracles | Authors: Raksha Bharadia, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen | ISBN: 9789381626368 | Binding: Paperback | Publisher: Westland | Pages: 295 | Language: English
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
Do you believe in magic? Do you think miracles really happen? Well, whatever your answer, I’m sure that each story from this collection will leave you believing in magic in people, miracles in day to day life and most importantly, in a power that guides each one of us through seemingly difficult times. I’m a practical person who tends to see the logic and reason behind things, as I’m sure most of you are. I’m not necessarily a religious person and while I don’t trust the Ganges’ power to wash away all my sins, I do believe in a higher power that is with me all the time. You may choose to call it God, the universe or your guardian angel – this power is with us to steer us through rough times, to hold our hand for support or just to make us stronger. And every story from Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul: A Book of Miracles has reinforced this believe in me.
It is a collection of 101 true stories shared candidly by people, about amazing coincidences, rediscovered faith, and the serenity that comes from believing in a greater power. And these people sharing their personal experiences with us are not the so-called spiritually enlightened yogis or the always meditating saffron wearing sadhus, but regular people like you and me who go to work for a living, love their families to bits and constantly struggle to make life a little better. Some stories are really relatable, and had me see a few incidents of my own life in a new light.
The stories have been divided into 12 sections. Signs From Above is where the contributors tell us about the signs – powerful or subtle, but enough for them to spot – they received from the supreme power. The stories talk about signs that we are not alone in distress, about gaining knowledge and belief that it only gets better from here and about coming at peace with the situation. ‘The Tacky Label’ is the one I found endearing. The healing Power Of A Prayer tells us about real life experiences of prayers that have saved the day, the situation and even life. Love From Beyond has many stories that brought tears to my eyes – narrating experiences where help was showered from the other side of existence. These are stories of how our loved ones, people who are no longer with us, make their presence felt and speak silently to us, directing us, taking care of our needs, ensuring out wellbeing and making us feel loved in moments when we require it the most. This is probably the biggest brush with the surreal, transcending all logic and judgement. His/Her Messenger is all about helping strangers or angels that came in the lives of people and assisted them in various ways. ‘Aasman Se Aaya Farishta’ and ‘Cup of Coffee’ tell the tales of much needed yet unexplained help that will enrich your faith in miracles. His Saving Grace, as the name suggests, is a section devoted to God’s direct intervention in saving these contributors from grave dangers. ‘The Mystery Man at Milestone 5’ is similar to what a friend of mine, a fellow Army Wife stationed in the North East, had experienced. It was enough to give me Goosebumps. Angles Amongst Us is about how people have received help from totally unexpected directions, recounting the terrors of the Gujarat earthquake, Mumbai terror Attacks and other incidents where the authors were offered help by strangers. Answered Prayers and Everyday Miracles will strengthen your faith in the supreme power. Divine Appointment is about God’s call and how listening to it can change your life, give you inner peace. The Magic of Faith is perhaps the most important section, because it talks about faith. I’ve always felt that a man without faith can never be strong; our faith holds us together and keeps us going. Our Guardian Angle is dedicated to stories about receiving help in times of need, almost like a direct intervention from heaven. Finally, Call From Within focuses on learning and acceptance, listening to your inner voice and rising above fears because you know there is help available to each one of us.
Nearly all stories are written in a simple narrative style, with an exception of a few. The fact that the stories are all short makes it an easy read, like all other Chicken Soup collections. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I was moved by this book and its stories. Some anecdotes tugged at my heart because of their sheer simplicity and intense emotions, like ‘Aur Ek Cup’, ‘Caring Still from Beyond…’, ‘A Prayer Answered’ and more. Some of the pieces show how help from above was recognized by the authors in situations that a practical mind would most likely dismiss as chance – ‘The End of a Beginning’ and ‘Presence’ for example.
When you read these stories, no matter if you believe in God or not, I’m sure you will realize that faith is of immense importance in life. Sometimes we place our faith in people whom we love and trust, sometimes in Him or The Universe – and the magic about Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul: A Book of Miracles is that it tell us that both are indeed the same; that our guardian angel can be someone as ordinary as we ourselves are, that our “intuition” or “direct knowledge” without any reasoning can help us through the bleakest hours, and that the real miracle lies in our ability to react pertinently to the messages we receive from above.
Like the Joan Osborne song, also mentioned in one of the stories, this book made me wonder – “What if God were one of us, just a stranger on the bus…” And in the end, all I can say is that miracles do happen, and each story in this book will convince you of that! So drop your guards of logic, reasoning and practicality and immerse yourself in these thought provoking collection of 101 real stories about hope and warmth.