The Yoga of Max’s Discontent: A Novel. Karan Bajaj. Wisdom Publications MA. May 2016. 336 pp. ISBN#: 9781594634116.
Max is a successful financial analyst on Wall Street. He lives and breathes numbers, whether at work or at home. But upon the death of his mother, he suddenly finds his life is purposeless. He begins to wonder what his mother and other people’s suffering and joy is all about. It strikes him as a noisy, chaotic rat race. Eat, sleep, work and die – is that really what it’s all about? A local street food seller stands outside in the middle of winter without a shirt on and Max questions him about this obviously insane act. It turns out that Max is the one living an in-sane (not sane) life without one shred of letting go and living at oneness with body and mind that this cook has. Little by little, Max begins to read and hear about gurus and ashrams in India where one may aspire to a different experience of life. On one day when he’s being highly pressured to come up with a financial analysis which will dramatically cut costs for his company, he says, “I can’t do this right now,” and quits!
Off to India Max travels; the only thing is he’s arrived in the beginning of winter, not a time to be trying to get to the high ranges of the Himalaya Mountains. However, Max signs on with the right guides and begins a daunting trek up the mountains. Not to spoil the story, suffice to say that he meets teachers and practitioners of yoga who invite him to experience the life he seeks. There he will learn that it is possible to let go of rational thought when necessary and be one with the environment. It’s a brutally dangerous and irrational journey Max takes, one which he almost abandons at times but one in which he finally finds peace, one where he finds himself to lose the “worry” and stress of a lifetime and just “be.”
Nicely done Karan Bajaj! This is a novel that may not drive people to India but just may pose enough questions to provoke a different search for the same ends!