Friday, December 17, 2010

Of Wisdom and Enlightenment

Book: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
Genre: Motivation/Self Development
Author: Robin S Sharma
Publisher: Harper Element

“You will experience changes within the workings of your mind, body and even your soul that will astonish you. You will have more energy, enthusiasm and inner harmony than you have had in, perhaps, your entire life. People will actually begin telling you that you look younger and happier.”

A fable and a guide to self-development, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari may sound like one of the many collections to achieving a balance between one’s spiritual and worldly life, thus attaining eternal satisfaction. However, for many readers, this might not be the case. Robin S Sharma has his own way of capturing the attention of readers with his long experience in conducting sessions on personality enhancement. His written words, quite similar to the spoken ones, weave an enigmatic trail, the book claims.
Sharma, the author of 10 bestselling books on leadership and self development, attained a new level of fame with The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, which reached No. 1 on the international bestseller list.
The story revolves around two lawyers, one of whom has an edge on almost everything with regards to money, power, prestige and success. The lawyer, Julian Mantle, leads an extravagant life and his passion for his work speaks of his success stories. Julian suddenly faces a spiritual crisis and his current lifestyle comes to an end. He decides to give away all his possessions, leaving for a voyage to attain a meaningful existence. He sells his valued Ferrari as well. The transformation takes place at the foot of the Himalayas in India, after he realises that he has trailed too far off the spiritual track in his avert for material possessions.
Being mentored by the leader of the sages of Sivana in India, Julians soul undergoes a euphoric change. He narrates all the happenings to his co-worker and his friend John, after he comes back from his journey three years later. Subsequently, John narrates it to the readers. The 13 chapters of the book are written sequentially and give guidelines for step-by-step self-development. It talks about seven virtues enriched with self- contentment and spiritual delight which, if incorporated, give way to enlightened living.
The story is something that most of us can relate to; chasing worldly pleasures while ignoring eternal gratification. The author talks about techniques ranging from learning to mind control, from respecting time to embracing whatever we have at present. The concepts described by the author as the ancient rule of 20 and the vow of silence might sound incomprehensible to a layman but they prove to be worthwhile when read, understood and inculcated. At the start of each chapter, the author has employed notable comments from thinkers like Confucius and William Blake to political figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill pertaining to the themes. I enjoyed reading the book as it proved to be quite inspirational in its selection of themes and, especially, the symbols used as metaphors of the seven mentioned virtues. This made the virtues easier to comprehend and follow. For readers, who have never come across such themes before, it serves as food for thought. I recommend that the book be read in its entirety since the principles are not as simple to digest as they might sound. Happy unveiling the new you.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2010.


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