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Book Review - The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari


The book “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” is a story of transformation and hope; it
is food for the soul and gives great practical solutions to improving and living better lives
mentally, physically and most importantly spiritually. This is the story of Julian Mantle, an
extremely rich and the country’s most distinguished trial lawyer known for his brilliance and
outrageous courtroom theatrics, who, when he almost loses his life as a result of a heart attack
in the middle of a court case, puts a full stop to the high powered and full throttle life by
selling his million dollar worth earnings and heads to the East, to the mystical land of India,
in search of answers to water his shattered life and soul and to seek inner peace. He goes in
search of the timeless sages who lived in the deep reaches of the high Himalayas, the Sivanas,
known for their and returns as a truly different person, not just physically, brimming in
vitality and life, but also as an enriched person, mentally and spiritually. He shares his
wisdom with his close friend and colleague of 17 years who is not able to recognize his long
lost friend. He brings the ageless and time tested wisdom of the sages of the Himalayas,
which could be applied to the current turmoil and fast-paced life of today, to bring more
vitality and joy and fuller living by faithful practice of those ideals.

The journey:

Julian Mantle travelled to India in search of answers and as he went from one village
to another, on foot and sometimes by train, he began to see the world in a new light, growing
to love the Indian people who radiated warmth and kindness. His journey was an odyssey to
awaken the dormant flame of life that had eluded him during fast paced life. He journeyed far
and wide and met scholars and wise people, and still was unable to find the answers that he
was looking for. Finally hearing about the great sages of the Sivanas, who were rumoured to
have their abode in the deep reaches of the Himalayas, he set out towards the treacherous
mountains with an inner ray of light or intuition to guide him along his way. Several days
later, he happened to come across a figure dressed in a long, flowing red robe, with a dark
blue hood. Upon realizing that he was one of the sages of Sivana, he poured out his previous
life story to him and his desire for finding inner harmony and peace. So thus, the sage agreed
and took him in as a disciple and promised to teach him the ways of enlightenment on one
condition that he, Julian, return to his homeland, the West and pass on this message of
liberation to all that he met.

Julian’s transformation:

Julian imbibed the wisdom of many lifetimes under the able and wise tutelage of the
sage, Yogi Raman, under whose guidance and he spent his every waking moment, whence he
filled the mind of his enthusiastic student with insights on the meaning of life and little-
known techniques that he had mastered for living with greater vitality, creativity and
fulfilment. He also taught him the ancient principles using which one could use to live longer,
stay younger and far happier. Julian realized the twin disciplines of personal mastery and
self-responsibility which, if practiced could keep one from the chaos and crisis of fast-paced
life. Slowly, he came to realize the treasure trove that had lain dormant inside him, waiting to
be awakened and used for higher purposes. He came to appreciating the beauty of even the
simplest of things, and as his mind began the process of healing and enlightenment, his
physical self lost the sickly pallor and was replaced by a shimmer of joy and fulfilment. He
started to cherish life and seek divinity in every aspect. Thus after spending three enriching
and fulfilling years at the tutelage of the sages of the Sivanas, Julian returned to his home
country to fulfil his vow of spreading on this message of enlightenment, and the secret to
better and happier living.

The Fable:

The Sivanian system was built upon seven basic virtues, or fundamental principles
that are the embodiments to the keys of self-leadership, personal responsibility and spiritual
enlightenment and these gifts of inner peace, joy and a wealth of spiritual enlightenment were
contained in a fable in which there is a nine-hundred pound Japanese Sumo wrestler in the
middle of a lush, beautiful and serene garden who is naked except for a pink wire cable
covering his private parts. Finding a shiny gold stopwatch on the ground which was left
behind several years earlier, he slips it on and falls with a thud onto the floor unconscious.
Suddenly, after a while, he wakes up and sees a winding path encrusted with sparkling
diamonds and walks along this path which leads him to never ending joy and eternal bliss.
Though the story, on the surface might look simple, according to the Yogi Raman, contained
all the information and strategies that are essential for the nourishment of one’s life and are
capable of causing profound changes in one’s life mentally, physically and spiritually.

The Mystery Unravelled:

In the fable, the garden is a symbol of the mind, which, when well nourished and
cultivated, can blossom like a fertile, rich garden, blossoming far beyond our expectations.
But weeds, if allowed to take root, can wreck havoc in the inner peace and harmony of one’s
life. Worry is like a weed, draining the mind of its power and injuring the soul. Thoughts
have the most profound influenza on one’s mind. Any situation in life gives us an opportunity
to grow and improve and the only difference between happy upbeat people and the depressed
ones is the outlook that they have in life. Every negative experience presents an opportunity
to grow, improve and learn and turn away from the bad influenzes in life. Pain is also an
excellent teacher, but to learn from it, it needs to be experienced and transcended. Also,
words are the most powerful embodiments of our thoughts. And saying positive things like
prayer and mantras creates positive energy which vitalizes the mind and nourishes the soul.
The sages of the Sivanas believed in the power of Satvic or pure thoughts, and along with a
healthy diet and repetitive sayings called mantras, served as the secret to a rich and fulfilling
life. The best way to nourish the mind is by thinking positive and peaceful thoughts. And
since all change is from within, external change will be visible automatically, with a healthier
body and fuller life. All inner changes require time and effort, and do not work like quick-
fixes. To truly liberate the mind, it is necessary to harness the full power of the mind, tap into
its boundless capacity and witness the miraculous results. One of the methods is
concentration, focussing on one single thing. And the true secret of happiness is in finding
out what one truly loves and directing all of the energy towards doing it fully. This is the
secret to everlasting happiness, to find one’s passion. Once one concentrates one’s mind on
the pursuit one loves, then abundance flows into one’s life and all desires are fulfilled with
ease and grace.

The Heart of the Rose:

Heart of the rose is one very powerful technique to tap into the boundless dormant
energy of the mind. If practiced for only a short period of twenty one days, it is assured to
bring astounding results. All that is required for this exercise is a nice, silent place and a fresh
rose. Stare at the very centre of the rose, its heart, noticing its color, texture and design. Savor
its fragrance and think only about this wonderful object. In the beginning, thoughts enter an
untrained mind, distracting it from concentrating on the heart of the rose. Soon, the mind will
grow strong and disciplined making it easier and effortless to concentrate. The heart of the
rose is like a silent retreat, an island of peace and by tapping into the power of silence and
stillness; it becomes the stepping stone in connecting with the boundless source of
intelligence that throbs through every living being.

The secrets of life unlocked:

The secret of the lake is another name given by the sages to the use of the ageless
technique of envisioning positive images in one’s mind’s eye and imagining reality. This
magic of visualization can be used to enhance relationships and to develop oneself spiritually,
and also financial gain if that is of one’s importance. True nobility lies in being superior to
one’s own self and to improve one’s life, one must run one’s race. Also, the true secret of life
lies in constancy of purpose. Also, highly developed actualized people understand the
importance of exploring their talents, uncovering their purpose and applying their minds in
the direction of their calling. The first step in this process is Goal Setting. Mapping out one’s
objectives releases the creative juices that get one onto the path of one’s purpose. The
importance of setting a goal can never be underestimated. Similar to a bull’s eye which
cannot be hit by an expert archer unless he sees it, so can a goal be impossible to reach unless
visualized and properly realized. One very simple and effective way to concretize one’s goals
is to write them down by doing which we tell our subconscious that this thought or goal is
more important than the million other thoughts that occupy our minds. According to the
sages, there is a simple, practical five-step process to achieve one’s goals, and reach one’s
objectives. The first step was to form a clear mental picture of what one desires. The mind is
our ultimate treasure house and this simple act of ‘picturing’ actually opens the gateway to
the actualization of the desire. The second step is to put positive pressure on oneself while the
third step is to set a specific timeline to the goal, which is essential to breathing life into a
goal. The next step is to apply The Magic Rule of 21 to it. This is an ancient belief amongst
the sages that a new habit takes 21 days to actualize and crystallize, while the fifth and the
final step was to enjoy the work that one was involved in.

As already mentioned, outer success begins on the inside and constant improvement is
a key to this success. This is essential in building successful relationships, maintaining one’s
health and also to improve one’s finances. Self, mastery or in another words, kazein, in
Japanese is the DNA of self-mastery. Developing strength of character, mental toughness and
courage were three attributes that would lead to not only a virtuous life, but also one of
achievement and fulfilment. Courage is a quality that pays great dividends in the long run.
Courage allows one to do what is right, to run one’s race, to persist when others fail, and also
determines the degree of fulfilment that one receives. Self discipline also allows one to get
out of one’s comfort zone and tap into the Zone of the Unknown. By pushing oneself beyond
one’s limits, one taps into unknown reserves of potential, both physical and mental that was
previously never known. By daily practice of the art of kazein and by working hard to
improve body and mind and spirit, one starts to live with unbridled energy and limitless
enthusiasm. Facing one’s fears is the most important things that prevent one from living the
life that one wishes. Fear is just a negative stream of consciousness, imaginary monsters that
are creations of one’s own mind. Truly enlightened people live lives by practising the art of
kazein, improving themselves ceaselessly and continuously. According to the fable of the
magical garden and the Japanese wrestler, the pink wire cable represented the wires of self-
discipline and will power. When one liberates one’s will power, one becomes the master of
one’s world. The continuous practice of self-discipline will make surmountable any hurdle or
challenge or crisis. Self-discipline provides one with the mental reserves to persevere when
faced with one of life’s twists. The more mastery that one has over one’s mind and thoughts,
the freer one is from the slavery of weak thoughts and external influences. By applying
positive pressure on oneself to do the right thing, since positive always overcomes the
negative, one can achieve greatness in one’s life. If one’s thoughts are not controlled, then
one comes under the control of one’s mind, which is in turn governed by weaknesses and the
whims and fancies of other people’s minds. Instead of following the path of least resistance,
one should fight the gravitational force of one’s bad habits and weaker impulses and enter the
realm of the heavens. The mantras mentioned earlier help immensely in the practice of self-
control and will power. And by pushing off in the right direction, one by one, all the things
gain momentum like a ball rolling down a slope with increasing speed and momentum.
Ten Rituals of Radiant Living:

1. Ritual of Solitude: is a practice of ensuring a mandatory amount of peace and solitude

everyday wherein one can explore the power of peace and self realization in order to
achieve self-renewal. A place of true quiet and beauty is essential that becomes an
abode for one’s mental expansion and serves as a secret sanctum. It is most powerful
when integrated with ritual, or when performed at the same time everyday.
2. Ritual of Physicality: says that one should care for one’s body the same way one cares
for one’s mind. The sages of the Sivanas used the power of yoga to unlock their
physical potential and live a strong, dynamic existence. Also important is the
technique of breathing effectively and fully. To breathe fully is to live fully.
3. Ritual of Live Nourishment: states the importance of ingesting live and healthy food,
that is mainly fresh fruits and vegetables. Live foods are created through the
interaction of sun, water, soil and water.
4. Ritual of Abundant Knowledge: centres around the whole notion of lifelong learning
and expanding one’s knowledge base for the good of oneself and those around.
Knowledge is only the potential power, for the manifestation of which is required its
application. One of the ways of applying this ritual is setting priorities in life and
living according to them in addition to reading at least for half an hour everyday. The
sages of the Sivanas spent their waking hours reading and studying the ancient
scriptures and the teachings of their ancestors. The book is the best friend of the wise.
5. Ritual of Personal Reflection: points to the importance of personal contemplation and
thinking. Taking time to know one self opens up new dimensions inside that you
never knew existed. By contemplation and reflection, and by analysis of our daily life,
we can identify and correct the mistakes that are committed everyday and proceed on
the road to self improvement and betterment.
6. Ritual of Early Awakening: is the ritual of rising with the sun and performing the
day’s duties well. The sages believed that sunshine was a gift from Heaven but they
were careful not to overexpose themselves and this was a key to their longevity and
happiness. Sunlight rejuvenates one’s vitality and restores physical and emotional
vibrancy. Most important is starting off the day with positive and happy thoughts. The
first ten minutes and last ten minutes of one’s day before going to bed have the most
powerful influenza over the day’s activities.
7. Ritual of Music: stresses on the power of music on one’s life. Music is one of the
finest motivators and also provides spiritual boost.
8. Ritual of the Spoken Word: This speaks of the enormous power of mantras which
were a key to keeping one happy and focused. A mantra is a collection of words or
phrases designed to keep the mind free. In Sanskrit, ‘man’ refers to mind and ‘tra’
refers to freeing. It is a method of affirming all that is good in the world. Repeating a
mantra aloud has a wonderful effect on one’s mind. It also talks about the importance
of the effect of words on the mind. Words, spoken or written, have powerful influenza
on one’s mind.
9. Ritual of a Congruent Character: requires one to take daily, incremental action to
build one’s character. Strengthening one’s character affects the way one sees oneself
and the actions that one does. The sages lived a life governed by the following
principles namely, industry, compassion, humility, patience, honesty and courage.
And when all these actions are congruent and aligned with these principles, one feels
a deep sense of harmony and peace. According to Emerson, “Character is higher than
10. Ritual of Simplicity: stresses the importance of living a simple life. Focussing on
one’s priorities, those which are truly meaningful makes one’s lives uncluttered,
rewarding and exceptional. Applying these strategies to one’s life for thirty days has
the potential to change life.

The most Valuable resource:

Time is one’s most valuable resource and efficient time management and prioritizing
one’s activities so as to evolve a better lifestyle and higher quality of living mentally,
physically and spiritually. Doing useful activities and avoiding procrastinations can greatly
improve the life that one lives. Also, laughter opens the heart and soothes the soul. Living
one’s life as if that day was the last, transforms lives, bringing unbridled energy and
enthusiasm into one’s life. This is called the Deathbed mentality.

The true sense of living and happiness in life can be obtained only by considering
happiness not as a destination or a goal, but as a path to be walked on, to experience it on a
daily basis. True passion and love for life and discovering one’s true purpose in life is the key
to fulfilment and a satisfying life mentally, physically and spiritually. A life without direction
is a life without passion. True passion comes not by doing something that we are supposed to
be doing but in fact by something we really would love to be doing and that only comes by
experimenting, examining and analysing various possibilities and realizing what exactly
makes you bring your best for ever. The sages of the Sivanas believed that the ultimate goal
destination of all truly enlightened souls was a place called Nirvana which was a state which
transcended anything previously known. It was considered Heaven on Earth.

From :
Gaurav Prakash (MBA)