Today I have finished reading The Archer of Paulo Coelho. I started the read yesterday. It’s a small book of around 130 pages with some beautiful illustrations in it. I could not appreciate the full beauty of these illustrations because I had bought this particular print of the book from Nilkhet book market. I purchased it on 23rd January 2021. I have a rather common tendency to write down the date of purchase of a book on the last blank page. I did the same to The Archer. Almost anyone who loves to read book has heard about Paulo Coelho and also about his international bestseller book The Alchemist along with other books. So I would not dwell on writing about the author.
The Archer as the title suggests is not only about archer, bow, arrow, bowstring, and target but also about life. The author has drawn an analogy between life and archery to explore some fundamental philosophies of life-how life should be approached and lived. On the surface level the book is about Tetsuya-the master archer who is also a carpenter-teaching the tactics, techniques, and stratagems of archery to a small boy who has happened to find out Tetsuya’s archery mastery from the archery duel with a stranger archer over a suspended bridge between two hills. On another level, the book is about finding out the purpose-objective-target of life and how this purpose can be achieved. The book invites the readers to explore their own sense of purpose in life and what qualities and attributes one should have to hit that purpose. The book is written in a very simple and lucid language-originally written in Portuguese and later translated in English. In Portuguese the Archer translates Knopf.
Like anyone else, I also mark the places in a book I like the most or I can relate best with my own life or I think the words should be exercised in my own life. When I was reading the book I felt an urge that after finishing it I will share the extracts I liked most with others:
“You have a good grasp of technique and you have mastered the bow, but you have not mastered your mind.”
Master is “someone who inspires the student to do his best to discover a knowledge he already has in his soul.”
“Join with all those who experiment, take risks, fall, get hurt, and then take more risks.”
“You will learn from the farmer to have patience, to work hard, to respect the seasons, and not to curse the storms, because it would be a waste of time.”
“After achieving your objective, you must start again, always using everything you have learned on the way.”
“The intentions must be crystal clear, straight and balanced.”
“In order to understand your bow, it must become a part of your arm and an extension of your thoughts.”
“If you never take a risk, you will never know what changes you need to make.”
“You were the one who chose the target and you are responsible for it.”
“You must have the serenity and elegance necessary to learn how to shoot.”
“Elegance is achieved when everything superfluous has been discarded.”
“On a day when you are out of love with life, your aim will be confused, difficult.”
“Use your bad moments to discover what makes you tremble. Use your good moments to find your road to inner peace.”
“An action is a thought made manifest.”
“Practice is necessary, that is the only way in which he can perfect his instinct.”
“The path is more important than the thing that first set him on that path.”
Tetsuya told the boy his story of how he mastered the art of archery and also of life in the Epilogue-
“I needed to be aware that I was walking along the edge of this abyss and could fall into it at any moment.”
“Every second since then has been a struggle against my vices and against self-pity.”
I personally liked the epilogue most. Here one will find the inspiration behind living the life in the moment with sincerity, truth, honesty and balance despite knowing the death-abyss is always one step away. We should be very careful, thoughtful and mindful while treading the edgy path of life but also mindful of the gifts and miracles life provides.