“Language has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.”

Jay Shetty, 8 Rules of Love

From the author of the international bestseller Think Like a Monk comes this yet another empowering self-help guide that not only allows readers to attain a better insight, understanding, and outlook on life but also provides assistance in being able to achieve a more fulfilling way of living life through wholesome advice that comes from first-hand experience, deep thought, sound judgment and a greater awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings.

The central focus of 8 Rules of Love is to understand the concept of love and how to love, how to find it, nurture it, stay with it, and leave as and when necessary. Love is something that is most sought after in human existence on this planet and it goes beyond just romantic love.

Everyone wishes to feel loved and appreciated and engage their souls with a sense of belonging that makes them feel complete. This book works towards providing step-by-step guidance on the why, when, where, how, and what about love in general and self-love in particular.

All of this stems from the deep realizations that Shetty went through at the age of 20 when he skipped college and joined an ashram in a village near Mumbai. He remained a Hindu monk for 3 years where he learnt meditation and studied ancient Hindu scriptures and volunteered with other Hindu monks. This gave him the hands-on experience that helped him sort out his life with the Vedic concepts that he mentions in this book.

The aim of Shetty is to help readers build love purposefully in their lives and manifest it. This is to be done through dealing with challenges and difficulties, overcoming them, and generating love through attaining higher peace.

Shetty’s ideas stem from the fact that the Vedas describe 4 stages of life which are like levels that tend to get difficult one after the other. Once a level is cleared then there is the attainment of the benefits of that level. These benefits are in the form of lessons, a better capacity to deal with challenges and a more holistic outlook toward living.

These levels are Brahmacharya Ashram, Grihastha Ashram, Vanaprastha Ashram, and Sannyasa Ashram. These correspond to stages that include preparing for love, practicing love, protecting love, and perfecting love. The book also follows the order of these ashrams to present a sequence of thoughts and ideas that serve to guide and instill in readers a sense of understanding of themselves that will help them to face heartbreaks and cope with the challenges of life.

Structurally, the book is divided into 4 parts namely, Solitude, Compatibility, Healing, and Connection. There is a focus on Shetty’s 8 Rules of Love and these rules stress that one needs to stick to them in order to be able to love in the manner that is presented in these sections. The rules begin with the meaning of self-love, the idea of karma, how to define love, meditation for compatibility, addressing your partner as a guru, moving on after a breakup, and finding love again.

These ideas stem from Vedic understanding and are accompanied by scientific and modern explanations. The stress remains on raising false hopes and avoiding falling for false promises by noticing and noting down the red flags before it’s too late.

Each section deals with a certain aspect of love and is followed by a love letter from the author to the reader addressing that specific issue of love as discussed in that section. The idea is to present love as something that is within every individual and can be manifested through practice.

The author also drives home the notion that no matter how much one practices there will be nothing called perfect. Hence, one must learn to live with the challenges of finding and being in love without feeling hopeless or frustrated. This comes with the concept that one must be willing to love, unlove, and re-love as and when needed. So, instead of presenting love as something that is out of this world or an emotional response to external stimuli that sets one to lose touch with worldly life, Shetty is of the view that love is very much a non-ethereal concept that should not make one lose their mind.

The book consists of hand-drawn illustrations mostly in the form of short handwritten observations and pictorial depictions. There are brief flights from certain segments into sections that ask readers to try certain things or check with themselves on the ideas discussed in those sections. All these assist in self-assessment about the reader’s understanding of love and how to make the most of that love which they have felt within themselves by resonating it and sharing it.

This gives the idea that love is a very powerful and all-encompassing feeling that has the ability to provide a strong foundation for daily living. Such a unique approach to an age-old topic followed by an easy-going writing style makes this book a must-read for all.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of 8 Rules of Love right away!