The Eternal Journey

The Eternal Journey

Learnings from 'The Monk who sold his Ferrari'

A dialogue, a conversation between two gentlemen, Julian Mantle and his ex-assistant – a young-old lawyer,  with citations from a couple of other gentlemen Yogi Krishnan and Yogi Raman in between, this is a good read and a nice soul curry. Coming from a western and a highly materialistic background, Julian Mantle, one of the most successful lawyers of all time suddenly collapses to a stroke amidst a courtroom trial. He is somehow saved, however, this incident takes his consciousness to a different level. So, unnoticed and uninformed, he leaves to India and starts his journey in quest of answers to his unanswered questions. He comes across one Yogi Krishnan, who redirects him to Sivana, a village which is supposed to be the home of many mystic sages. Julian travels across the Himalayas and gets to meet one Yogi Raman, the chief of the Sivana sages. What happens post that forms the major part of the story.

The author Robin Sharma has succeeded in leveraging the power of simplicity. The learnings of the book are the teachings of the Sages of Sivana or Yogi Raman, to be particular, which can be summarized in a short story. Here it goes.

You are sitting in the middle of a magnificent, lush, green garden. This garden is filled with the most spectacular flowers you have ever seen. The environment is supremely tranquil and silent. Savour the sensual delights of this garden and feel as if you have all the time in the world to enjoy this natural oasis. As you look around you see that in the centre of this magical garden stands a towering lighthouse, six stories high. Suddenly, the silence of the garden is disturbed by a loud creaking as the door at the base of the lighthouse opens. Out stumbles a nine-foot-tall, nine-hundred-pound Japanese sumo wrestler who casually wanders into the centre of the garden. The Japanese sumo wrestler is almost totally naked but for a pink wire cable covering his private parts.

As this sumo wrestler starts to move around the garden he finds a shiny gold stopwatch which someone had left behind many years earlier. He slips it on, and falls to the ground with an enormous thud. The sumo wrestler is rendered unconscious and lies there, silent and still. Just when you think, he has taken his last breath, the wrestler awakens, perhaps stirred by the fragrance of some fresh yellow roses blooming nearby. Energized, the wrestler jumps swiftly to his feet and intuitively looks to his left. He is startled by what he sees. Through the bushes at the very edge of the garden, he observes a long winding path covered by millions of sparkling diamonds. Something seems to instruct the wrestler to take the path, and to his credit, he does. The path leads him down the road of everlasting joy and eternal bliss.

This story, when you read at first, you might laugh at the stupidity of the author and the millions of readers who made it a best seller. Well, simplicity is always mistaken for stupidity at the first glance. So, when we are about to shut off the book, Julian Mantle makes a heroic entry and decodes the simple story for us and then onwards, the story gets engaging enough. Each portion in the fable has a significance and relates to some aspect of life and also calls for an action to improve.

Master your Mind
The magnificent garden represents the act of cultivating the mind and improving the quality of life by improving the quality of thoughts. It clearly says that negative thoughts can never be removed from the mind, however, can be substituted by positive thoughts. So, there are certain simple techniques suggested in the book, which if followed, can improve our quality of thoughts. The secret of happiness is very simple: find out what you truly love to do and then direct all of your energy towards doing it. Once you do this, abundance flows into your life and all your desires are filled with ease and grace. Don’t fear mistakes because there are no mistakes in life. There are only lessons. See every setback as an opportunity for personal expansion and growth.

Follow your purpose
The Lighthouse represents the clearly defined goals that one should have. These goals may be personal, professional or spiritual, but should be very clear. One should also develop the courage to act on them. The key phrase here says ‘the purpose of life is a life of purpose”. Never forget the importance of living with unbridled exhilaration. Never neglect to see the exquisite beauty in all living things. Today, and this very moment, is a gift. Stay focused on your purpose. The Universe will take care of everything else.

Practice Kaizen
The Sumo wrestler represents kaizen, the act of continuous improvement. Enlightenment and inner peace are products of continuous cultivation of the mind, body and soul. Fear is the biggest hurdle to success. So, do the things that you fear the most and help yourself to keep your fears away. The universe favours the brave. So, when you resolve to lift your life to the highest level, the strength of your soul will guide you to a magical place with magnificent treasures.

Live with Discipline
The Pink wire cable represents a disciplined life. The individual strands in the cable are very weak, but when they are woven into the cable, they become very strong. Similarly, self-discipline is built by consistently performing small acts of courage. The more one nurtures the embryo of self-discipline, the more it will mature.

Respect your time
The Gold stopwatch represents the importance of time. Time is the most precious commodity and it is non-renewable. So, it is most important to focus on the priorities and maintain a good balance of time. Always follow the Ancient rule of 20 (80-20 Rule). Focus on the 20% of your activities that yield 80% of the result. For this, it is very important to learn the art of saying NO.

Selflessly serve Others
The fragrant roses represent the ability to do selfless service to others. The quality of your life boils down to the quality of your contribution. One should live to give. The more we serve others and the more we try to elevate others, the more we get elevated. So, it is important to practice the art of kindness. However, give those who ask. Start focussing on your higher purpose. The noblest thing that you can do in life is to give to others.

Embrace the present
The Path of diamonds represents living in the now and savouring the gift of the present. Live each day as if it were your last. Never sacrifice happiness for achievement. Ultimately in life, some small things do matter. Spend time with family & kids. The best gift you can give your children is your love. Spend adequate time with them and do not make them feel that your professional goals are more important than them. Our future is in our own hands. It is a product of the acts that we perform in the present. So, stop being a prisoner of the past and start being an architect of your future.

With this, I can conclude one thing for sure. This book is not at all worth reading for someone looking for quick-fix solutions to the problems in life. This is also not a suggested read for someone looking for some material gains as the ultimate aim in life.  And this book is definitely not a good read for someone who’s too impatient to practice the methods described in this. And this book is a hazardous read if one is too impulsive and jumps to immediate conclusions on hearing anything and everything.

The methods suggested in this book have to be followed for a certain period rigorously before they start yielding any results. Robin Sharma talks about a rule which says that one must follow a routine for 21 days in succession for it to become a habit. He also talks of a lot of good habits like eating less, sleeping well, getting up with the morning rays of the sun, listening to your inner voice, spending some time everyday in introspect, working on replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones, and many more. It might not be practically possible to implement all of them at once and for all. However, on a need basis, one can start practising them one by one and see the impact of following it. At least, at the first glance, it might not sound so interesting to read through the techniques but gradually, the author manifested each technique logically leaving no stone unturned.

The book claims to have transformed millions of readers worldwide and is said to have added good value in terms of their living. It is not injurious to try some of the good habits prescribed in this book to improve the standards of our living. On the whole, I’d rate this book a FIVE STAR for the logic and practicality of implementation in the approaches suggested. This is a must read for someone who is really keen on adding value to his living and transform the lives of others around.

“There is a huge difference between well-being and being well-off.” So, let us all work towards the well-being of others around us and hence be well-off..

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About Uday Sankar Yerramilli

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