Book Review: Open-Eyed Meditations

Book:  Open-eyed Meditations

Author: Shubha Vilas

Publisher: Fingerprint publishing (2016)

Paperback: 280 pages

Genre: Spiritual/Self-help


Book Review: Open-Eyed Medtitations

Book Description:

Open-eyed Meditations is a beautiful compilation of thoughts wherein each meditation takes you on a journey to the past, bringing a secret herb to heal a problem of the present.
A true distillation of ancient wisdom tips for modern lives, this unique self-help book uses the wisdom of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to solve your everyday problems.
Beyond the storyline, something deeper is waiting to be discovered from these ancient texts. This book is an attempt to uncover the hidden layer of wealth that is cleverly packaged within the commonly known storylines.


Yoga has become the trend of today’s age. However, yoga isn’t just for health, and the peace of mind. Yoga can also help in improving our relationships, and other aspects of life. Open-eyed Meditations talks about practical spirituality useful in daily life. In closed-eyed meditation, we focus on our inner self; this book contemplates life problems through the understanding offered by the ancient texts.

Open-eyed Meditations isn’t the kind of book that serves as light reading to pass your time. You need to read each chapter, ponder about it, assimilate the thoughts, and try to apply them in your life.

Open-eyed Meditations covers almost all aspects of modern lifestyle like stress and anger, relationships, leadership and success, avoiding hurt, and letting go. The book doesn’t just brush the superficial layers, but explores deep within every aspect, and discusses them in detail. For example, when discussing about leadership, it talks about core values like mistakes—accepting your own mistakes, owning them, and learning from them—contribution, being title-less, and so on instead of only about fame, power, and leadership skills. When the book deliberates about decision-making, it not only talks about when, and how to make decisions, but also when not to make them.

There are total sixty-four chapters in the book. The chapters are really short; it might take about 10-20 minutes maximum to read a chapter. But condensed within the small chapters is immense wisdom. At the end of each chapter, is the summary of salient points. The heading of the chapters is either a question like “Can your talent be your enemy?” or a tip like “7 secrets of innovation”. So, you can easily identify the problem you want to tackle, and read the chapter directly. Small chapters make for an easy read in the morning, and leave ample time to mull it over during the rest of the day.

The author, Shubha Vilas, writes in simple, straightforward language without the use of flowery speeches, which provides distraction free reading. Instead of bland advice or endless prosing, the author makes judicious use of episodes from Ramayana, and Mahabharata to drive home his point.

We have a tendency to believe that ancient wisdom is outdated, forgetting that wisdom is timeless. Open-eyed meditations scours through the ancient texts for gems of knowledge, and applies it towards understanding, and solving modern problems.

I love his use of the commonly known and revered epics—Ramayana, and Mahabharata—for two reasons. Firstly, the characters he talks about are familiar, which helps in relating, and understanding the issues better. Secondly, people are apt to read, and follow the advice better when given the example of someone they idolise.

However, the use of these two epics has also some drawbacks. Though the epics are extensive, and lengthy (especially the Mahabharata), they still have limited number of episodes, and characters. This confines the scope of writing when sharing anecdotes. It is tedious to read the same incident again and again, even if it gives different insight in different chapters. Some analogies, like the example of an eagle flying high to avoid the attack of the crows, are also repeated.

Quotes from the book:

“When a bad problem comes in contact with good attitude, the result is an inspirational story.”

“Analysis is strength, but over-analysis is a blemish.”

The Verdict:

Open-eyed meditations has some novel concepts, and ways of tackling life problems. If you love reading self-improvement books, you should definitely read this book.


This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!


8 thoughts on “Book Review: Open-Eyed Meditations

  1. I don’t read self help books but with the language and easy length of chapters, I think I can try this one. Plus, the topic is interesting. Great review, Kiran.

  2. It seems like a wonderful book, Kiran! The way you have described it to be unraveling the strengths within ourselves and the talk about the overall development and that 64 chapters are small but have immense wisdom is luring me to read it! The title about the talent being your enemy is barbed enough! Kudos to the writer for that! As a child, I read somewhere that at times your talent is the biggest baggage you have and the title seems to analyze that thread of thought!
    I would definitely like to read it!:)

  3. Loved the review of this book on holistic development. Particularly your mention of the way in which each chapter starts with a question or a tip, and reference to mythology in the relevant context. Similar to Devdutt Pattanaik’s approach I think.

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