About the book:
In this captivating and surprising novel of spiritual discovery—a No. 1 bestseller in India—a young American travels to India and finds himself tested physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Max Pzoras is the poster child for the American Dream. The child of Greek immigrants who grew up in a dangerous New York housing project, he triumphed over his upbringing and became a successful Wall Street analyst. Yet on the frigid December night he’s involved in a violent street scuffle, Max begins to confront questions about suffering and mortality that have dogged him since his mother’s death.
His search takes him to the farthest reaches of India, where he encounters a mysterious night market, almost freezes to death on a hike up the Himalayas, and finds himself in an ashram in a drought-stricken village in South India. As Max seeks answers to questions that have bedeviled him—can yogis walk on water and live for 200 years without aging? Can a flesh-and-blood man ever achieve nirvana?—he struggles to overcome his skepticism and the pull of family tugging him home. In an ultimate bid for answers, he embarks on a dangerous solitary meditation in a freezing Himalayan cave, where his physical and spiritual endurance is put to its most extreme test.
By turns a gripping adventure story and a journey of tremendous inner transformation, The Yoga of Max’s Discontent is a contemporary take on man’s classic quest for transcendence.
I just finished reading The Yoga of Max’s Discontent by Karan Bajaj.
This book is a fascinating journey from one character’s POV about finding the truth within oneself, peace, and oneness with the universe.
Our main character Max begins the story in New York, and we learn about his life now (mother is dying), and his life growing up (poverty, surrounded by violence). We learn this through “showing” rather than a recap of his life, which makes this backstory information engaging and doesn’t stop the forward moving motion of the story.
Soon, after his mother’s death, Max is lost. He can’t stay in New York, and for some reason he is pulled to India, where he wishes to find a yogi and learn things he’d never considered learning before. He has this deep desire to do this, a determination, that cannot be explained, but it’s compelling to see him go through. As I read the book, I didn’t question his reasoning to make this journey, nor did I feel this story line was forced. It made sense for the character.
Along Max’s journey to find (and possibly become) a yogi he has many ups and downs. He learns early on into his journey and trek in below freezing weather in the mountains that he has the will, but he lacks patience. He believes he has come far (mentally) and is on the right path, but some of the people he meets set him straight. They test him. They know he’s not ready yet, but they give him small opportunities to push him on the path to reach what he is looking for, to reach the teachings of yogi’s who are one with the universe, who are God-like. He isn’t searching for any sort of God-like power, but for understanding.
His journey is intriguing. He takes many different paths and is distracted on more than one occasion, and it all feels very real, very true to self. I enjoyed following Max on his ups, downs, the tests of his will, the confusion, the grief, the content.
In the beginning of the story, it may have taken me a little bit to get fully invested, but by the middle I was completely dedicated to continuing the journey with Max. I enjoyed following him and I grew to him more and more throughout the book. I liked the people he met, and I enjoyed the workings of his mind.
The writing style of this book, as well as the content and mindfulness of Max, made reading this a very calming experience. The writing flows like deep breaths, encompassing the sense of mediation, mindfulness, and oneness that Max is going through. The choices the author made with new characters, interactions, and internal thoughts felt organic—they were all true to the character—making it feel like it was the character’s story and not the author’s.
During and after reading this book, I feel inspired to take a little more time in my day to day life to appreciate moments, to appreciate people and our connection to others, and to also try meditating. I tend to struggle to be “in the moment” during yoga or other times when I want to let my mind relax because I constantly think about the others things going on in my life, conversations I’ve had, and my ever-growing to-do list, but reading this book has inspired me to dedicate more time to my health and well-being and practice something to grow at it, not just to give up because I can’t get it the first or even fifth time.
This is an enjoyable, enlightening book that induces calmness. I recommend it.
About the Author:
Karan Bajaj is a bestselling novelist and striving yogi. Born and raised in India, he has trained as a Hatha Yoga teacher in the Sivananda ashram in South India and learned meditation in the Himalayas. He is the author of the novels Johnny Gone Down and Keep off the Grass, both of which were No. 1 bestsellers in India. He’s been named one of India Today’s Top 35 Under 35. He lives in New York City. Find him at www.karanbajaj.com.