As the author of the wildly popular spiritual novel The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho is often asked deep, profound questions. What's the meaning of life? What is God? Why are we here? He may seem like the man with all the answers, but Coelho tells Oprah on "Super Soul Sunday" that he's not the spiritual guru many people think he is.
"I'm not a guru. I don't know the answers," he says. "I respect something very important, that's called 'mystery.'"
The trouble with answering complex spiritual questions, Coelho says, is that there can be a myriad of answers. "I can give you, Oprah Winfrey, ten thousand good explanations -- convincing explanations -- about why we are here. But none of them will be truth," he tells Oprah. "The reason that we are here is a mystery and will remain a mystery to the day that we die."
Only coming face-to-face with God will reveal the answers, Coelho believes. At that precise moment, the Brazilian author says that God will ask only one all-important question.
"God is not asking, 'Did you sin a lot? Did you do this? Did you do that?'" Coelho says. "God is going to ask you only one question: Did you love enough?"
How you answer this question, Coelho continues, will determine your place in the afterlife. "If you say yes, welcome to heaven," he says. "If you say no, you're in the limbo."
Oprah finds the question fascinating. "It doesn't just mean, obviously, romantic love," she says. "It means, did you open your heart to fully embrace every single moment and, as you describe in the book, every 'grain of sand?' Did you love fully everybody and everything?"
"Absolutely," Coelho says.