Book Review: Brotherhood

Brotherhood

'Brotherhood', published in 2013, is a book by the Chopra brothers, Deepak and Sanjiv, about their journey through life, about 'Dharma, Destiny and the American Dream', revealing 'their personal struggles and triumphs as doctors, immigrants, and brothers'. 

In fact, this very gripping, intriguing, stimulating and absorbing tale of two brothers includes their earliest childhood memories, the important lessons they learned, values that they imbibed, education that they acquired, the goals that they pursued, the obstacles that they surmounted and the dreams that they fulfilled. And all along, as the book provides a gripping insight into their lives, it also imparts important lessons to the readers. 

Deepak and Sanjiv together weave the story of their life from early childhood in India to coming to America and making it big here- living the American dream. In the process, the readers live through the various different eras, making the book a very riveting read. Since the Chopra brothers were born in the newly liberated India post 1947, you get a rare peek into the outlook of the people in that era- the personal conflicts that no doubt many felt, torn by the interest in being 'modern' versus the obligation in staying traditional. As the brothers move to America, they provide a window to life of first generation immigrants that moved here in the 1970s. As they achieve success in America, you no doubt feel the sense of loyalty that the American life instills in you, completing the process of becoming American even as you revere your roots.

Deepak and Sanjiv Chopra grew up watching their father practice medicine. Inspired by their father, they both went on to get their degree in medicine in India and moved to America to pursue further education. While one brother attains the status of a world-renowned medical expert, practicing and teaching medicine in one of the most reputable college of America, the other reverts to the ancient Indian form of healing, the Ayurveda, giving up his well established practice and emerging as a global spiritual leader. Through their stories, the readers get a enthralling look at the progress that the field of medicine has made over the past 7 decades. You read of the time when medicine was practiced without the advantage of healing with antibiotic, that was not invented then, to the time when medicine is at the peak of advancement, in a country that is the mecca of modern medicine. This exploration of the history of progress in medicine with the Chopra brothers comes full circle as they take you through times when the western world started taking interest in India's meditation and Ayurveda, and finally to now when medicine has joined hands with complementary medicine, the mind- body connection in healing is an accepted fact, and 'holistic' is a term, medicine practices are proud to use. In this respect, the book is a journey of science and medicine marrying faith and lifestyle to result in healing and good health.

Then again, 'Brotherhood' is about more than even that. It is about family and how the values you absorb from your family stays with you. It is about life- the questions you ask about destiny and dharma. It's about struggles, both within and external, and achievements, both internal and those that the world sees.

The fact that the book is jointly written by the two brothers, where each narrates the events in their life as they unfold, makes it an extremely engaging narrative. The two brothers have a very different style of writing and they provide good breaks to the reader. While Deepak's style forces you to think, reason and question, giving quotes that both touch you and force you to go into a self-exploratory journey of your own (sit with a pen and paper, you would want to jot down lot of those quotes), Sanjiv's style is more facts and events based, giving you good insight and inspiration. The collaboration is clearly an excellent idea.

'Brotherhood' is a must read book. Here are 10 reasons why you should read this book-
If you lived in the India of late 1940s or wish to know about that time, read this book. 
If you immigrated to America in the 1970s, or anytime after that, read this book.
If you live and enjoy the American dream, read this book.
If you come from a family of doctors, you are a doctor or intend to become one, read this book.
If you're into alternative/ complementary medicine, read this book.
If spirituality and meditation interests you, if you seek the answers to questions on life, faith and believe, read this book.
If you are interested in how spirituality and meditation became a part of the western world, read this book.
If dharma and destiny intrigue you, read this book. 
If you want to know about the famous Deepak Chopra's life story, in parallel to his brother's life, told from both their perspectives (which only makes the book even more engaging), read this book. And finally-
If you want to be inspired by the master of inspiration and motivation himself, read this book.
(By Sonal Kulshrestha)

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