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PRAISE FOR THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is a treasure — an elegant and powerful formula for true success and happiness. Robin S. Sharma has captured the wisdom of the ages and made it relevant for these turbulent times. I couldn't put it down." Joe Tye, author of Never Fear, Never Quit "A magnificent book. Robin S. Sharma is the next Og Mandino." Dottie Walters, author of Speak and Grow Rich "Novel approach to self-help makes advice easy to take." The Liberal "A wonderful story sharing lessons that can enrich your life." Ken Vegotsky, author of The Ultimate Power "Filled with insights about following your passion and living your dream. A good read!" Justine and Michael Toms, cofounders of New Dimensions Radio and coauthors of True Work: The Sacred Dimension of Earning a Living "Robin Sharma has created an enchanting tale that incorporates the classic tools of transformation into a simple philosophy of living. A delightful book that will change your life." Elaine St. James, author of Simplify Your Life and Inner Simplicity "A fun, fascinating, fanciful adventure into the realms of personal development, personal effectiveness, and individual happiness. It contains treasures of wisdom that can enrich and enhance the life of every single person." Brian Tracy, author of Maximum Achievement "Robin Sharma has an important message for all of us—one that can change our lives. He's written a one-of-a-kind handbook for personal fulfillment in a hectic age." Scott DeGarmo, past publisher, Success magazine "A captivating story that teaches as it delights." Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist PRAISE FOR MEGALIVING! "MegaLiving! teaches you how to make your life MEGA- MAGNIFICENT in only 30 delightful days." Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul "I highly recommend this remarkable book to anyone truly inter- ested in personal excellence and successful living." Peter Hanson, M.D., author of The Joy of Stress "MegaLiving! 80 Days to a Perfect Life is perhaps the ultimate in self-improvement books." Northwest Arkansas Times "A brilliant book! Follow its wisdom for personal and spiritual success. Your life will change." Ken Vegotsky, author of The Ultimate Power "Robin S. Sharma . . . has collected the best life strategies from mystics and wise men alike." Family Circle "For over ten years Robin Sharma has studied the success strategies of people leading unusually satisfying lives. He's culled their routines and stories into a 30 day program which promotes lifelong success." Reviewer's Book Watch "The perfect blend of East and West." The Kingston Whig-Standard "Change your life in 30 days!" Eastern Eye "MegaLiving! is a gem—a great book for those who want to discover the power within." Investment Executive The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny Robin S. Sharma HarperSanFrancisco A Division of HarperCollins Publishers THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny. Copyright © 1997 by Robin S. Sharma. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022. HarperCollins books may be purchased for educational, business, or sales promotional use. For information please write: Special Markets Department, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022. HarperCollins Web Site: http://www.harpercollins.com HarperCollins®, and HarperSanFrancisco'" are trademarks of HarperCollins Publishers Inc. All characters in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. FIRST HARPERCOLLINS PAPERBACK EDITION PUBLISHED IN 1999 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Sharma, Robin S. (Robin Shilp), 1964- The monk who sold his Ferrari: a fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny/Robin S. Sharma. — lst ed. p. cm. Originally published: Toronto: Haunsla Corp., 1996. ISBN 0-06-251560-S (cloth) ISBN 0-06-251567-5 (pbk.) I. Title PR9199.3.S497M6 1998 813'.54—dc21 98-13247 CIP 03 •RRD 20 19 To my son, Colby, who is my daily reminder of all that is good in this world. Bless You. www.read.forumsplace.com ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari has been a very special project, brought to fruition through the efforts of some very special people. I am deeply grateful to my superb production team and to all those whose enthusiasm and energy transformed my vision of this book into reality, especially my family at Sharma Leadership International. Your commitment and sense of mission moves me. I express special thanks: • To the thousands of readers of my first book, MegaLiving!, who graciously took the time to write to me and share how it changed their lives. I also thank all those who have attended my public seminars across North America as well as Sharma Leadership International's many corporate clients, who have been such wonderful sponsors of my speaking programs for their employees. • To my editor, John Loudon, for your belief in this book and for your faith in me. Thanks as well to Margery Buchanan, Karen Levine, and the rest of the superb team at HarperSanFranciseo for investing your energies in this project • To Brian Tracy, Mark Victor Hansen, and my other colleagues in the self-leadership field for your kindness. • To Kathi Dunn for your brilliant cover design. I thought nothing could top the Timeless Wisdom for Self-Mastery cover you did for us. I was wrong. • To Satya Paul, Krishna, and Sandeep Sharma for your constant encouragement. • And most of all, to my wonderful parents, Shiv and Shashi Sharma, who have guided and helped me from day one; to my loyal and wise brother Sanjay Sharma, M.D., and his good wife, Susan; to my daughter, Bianca, for your presence; to my son, Colby, for your spirit, and to my wife and best friend, Alka. You are all the light that shows me the way. www.read.forumsplace.com Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. George Bernard Shaw www.read.forumsplace.com CONTENTS 1 THE WAKE-UP CALL 1 2 THE MYSTERIOUS VISITOR 8 3 THE MIRACULOUS TRANSFORMATION OF JULIAN MANTLE .. 12 4 A MAGICAL MEETING WITH THE SAGES OF SIVANA 24 5 A SPIRITUAL STUDENT OF THE SAGES 27 6 THE WISDOM OF PERSONAL CHANGE 32 7 A MOST EXTRAORDINARY GARDEN 41 8 KINDLING YOUR INNER FIRE 72 9 THE ANCIENT ART OF SELF-LEADERSHIP 93 10 THE POWER OF DISCIPLINE 144 11 YOUR MOST PRECIOUS COMMODITY 159 12 THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE OF LIFE 173 13 THE TIMELESS SECRET OF LIFELONG HAPPINESS 181 www.read.forumsplace.com The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari CHAPTER ONE The Wake-Up Call He collapsed right in the middle of a packed courtroom. He was one of this country's most distinguished trial lawyers. He was also a man who was as well known for the three-thousand-dollar Italian suits which draped his well-fed frame as for his remarkable string of legal victories. I simply stood there, paralyzed by the shock of what I had just witnessed. The great Julian Mantle had been reduced to a victim and was now squirming on the ground like a helpless infant, shaking and shivering and sweating like a maniac. Everything seemed to move in slow motion from that point on. "My God, Julian's in trouble!" his paralegal screamed, emotionally offering us a blinding glimpse of the obvious. The judge looked panic-stricken and quickly muttered something into the private phone she had had installed in the event of an emergency. As for me, I could only stand there, dazed and confused. Please don't die, you old fool. Its too early for you to check out. You don't deserve to die like this. The bailiff, who earlier had looked as if he had been embalmed in his standing position, leapt into action and started to perform CPR on the fallen legal hero. The paralegal was at his side, her long blond curls dangling over Julian's ruby-red face, offering him soft words of comfort, words which he obviously could not hear. I had known Julian for seventeen years. We had first met when I was a young law student hired by one of his partners as a summer research intern. Back then, he'd had it all. He was a brilliant, hand- some and fearless trial attorney with dreams of greatness. Julian was the firm's young star, the rain-maker in waiting. I can still remember walking by his regal corner office while I was working late one night and stealing a glimpse of the framed quotation perched on his massive oak desk. It was by Winston Churchill and it spoke volumes about the man that Julian was: Sure I am that this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond my endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an uncon- querable will to win, victory will not be denied us. Julian also walked his talk. He was tough, hard-driving and willing to work eighteen-hour days for the success he believed was his destiny. I heard through the grapevine that his grandfather had been a prominent senator and his father a highly respected judge of the Federal Court. It was obvious that he came from money and that there were enormous expectations weighing on his Armani-clad shoulders. I'll admit one thing though: he ran his own race. He was determined to do things his own way — and he loved to put on a show. Julian's outrageous courtroom theatrics regularly made the front pages of the newspapers. The rich and famous flocked to his side whenever they needed a superb legal tactician with an aggressive edge. His extra-curricular activities were probably as well known. Late-night visits to the city's finest restaurants with sexy young fash- ion models, or reckless drinking escapades with the rowdy band of brokers he called his "demolition team" became the stuff of legend at the firm. I still can't figure out why he picked me to work with him on that sensational murder case he was to argue that first summer. Though I had graduated from Harvard Law School, his alma mater, I certainly wasn't the brightest intern at the firm, and my family pedigree reflected no blue blood. My father spent his whole life as a security guard with a local bank after a stint in the Marines. My mother grew up unceremoniously in the Bronx. Yet he did pick me over all the others who had been quietly lobbying him for the privilege of being his legal gofer on what became known as "the Mother of All Murder Trials": he said he liked my "hunger." We won, of course, and the business executive who had been charged with brutally killing his wife was now a free man — or as free as his cluttered conscience would let him be. My own education that summer was a rich one. It was far more than a lesson on how to raise a reasonable doubt where none existed — any lawyer worth his salt could do that. This was a lesson in the psychology of winning and a rare opportunity to watch a master in action. I soaked it up like a sponge. At Julian's invitation, I stayed on at the firm as an associate, and a lasting friendship quickly developed between us. I will admit that; he wasn't the easiest lawyer to work with. Serving as his junior was often an exercise in frustration, leading to more than a few late-night shouting matches. It was truly his way or the highway. This man could never be wrong. However, beneath his crusty exterior was a person who clearly cared about people. No matter how busy he was, he would always ask about Jenny, the woman I still call "my bride" even though we were married before I went to law school. On finding out from another summer intern that I was in a financial squeeze, Julian arranged for me to receive a generous scholarship. Sure, he could play hardball with the best of them, and sure, he loved to have a wild time, but he never neglected his friends. The real problem was that Julian was obsessed with work. For the first few years he justified his long hours by saying that he was "doing it for the good of the firm", and that he planned to take a month off and go to the Caymans "next winter for sure." As time passed, however, Julian's reputation for brilliance spread and his workload continued to increase. The cases just kept on getting bigger and better, and Julian, never one to back down from a good challenge, continued to push himself harder and harder. In his rare moments of quiet, he confided that he could no longer sleep for more than a couple of hours without waking up feeling guilty that he was not working on a file. It soon became clear to me that he was being consumed by the hunger for more: more prestige, more glory and more money. As expected, Julian became enormously successful. He achieved everything most people could ever want: a stellar profes- sional reputation with an income in seven figures, a spectacular mansion in a neighborhood favored by celebrities, a private jet, a summer home on a tropical island and his prized possession — a shiny red Ferrari parked in the center of his driveway. Yet I knew that things were not as idyllic as they appeared on the surface. I observed the signs of impending doom not because I was so much more perceptive than the others at the firm, but simply because I spent the most time with the man. We were always together because we were always at work. Things never seemed to slow down. There was always another blockbuster case on the horizon that was bigger than the last. No amount of prepa- ration was ever enough for Julian. What would happen if the judge brought up this question or that question, God forbid? What would happen if our research was less than perfect? What would happen if he was surprised in the middle of a packed courtroom, looking like a deer caught in the glare of an intruding pair of head- lights? So we pushed ourselves to the limit and I got sucked into his little work-centered world as well. There we were, two slaves to the clock, toiling away on the sixty-fourth floor of some steel and glass monolith while most sane people were at home with their families, thinking we had the world by the tail, blinded by an illu- sory version of success. The more time I spent with Julian, the more I could see that he was driving himself deeper into the ground. It was as if he had some kind of a death wish. Nothing ever satisfied him. Eventually, his marriage failed, he no longer spoke with his father, and though he had every material possession anyone could want, he still had not found whatever it was that he was looking for. It showed, emotionally, physically — and spiritually. At fifty-three years of age, Julian looked as if he was in his late seventies. His face was a mass of wrinkles, a less than glori- ous tribute to his "take no prisoners" approach to life in general and the tremendous stress of his out-of-balance lifestyle in partic- ular. The late-night dinners in expensive French restaurants, smoking thick Cuban cigars and drinking cognac after cognac, had left him embarrassingly overweight. He constantly complained that he was sick and tired of being sick and tired. He had lost his sense of humor and never seemed to laugh anymore. Julian's once enthusiastic nature had been replaced by a deathly somberness. Personally, I think that his life had lost all sense of purpose. Perhaps the saddest thing was that he had also lost his focus in the courtroom. Where he would once dazzle all those present with an eloquent and airtight closing argument, he now droned on for hours, rambling about obscure cases that had little or no bearing on the matter before the Court. Where once he would react grace- fully to the objections of opposing counsel, he now displayed a biting sarcasm that severely tested the patience of judges who had earlier viewed him as a legal genius. Simply put, Julian's spark of life had begun to flicker. It wasn't just the strain of his frenetic pace that was marking him for an early grave. I sensed it went far deeper. It seemed to be a spiritual thing. Almost every day he would tell me that he felt no passion for what he was doing and was enveloped by emptiness. Julian said that as a young lawyer, he really loved the Law, even though he was initially pushed into it by the social agenda of his family. The Law's complexities and intellectual challenges had kept him spellbound and full of energy. Its power to effect social change had inspired and motivated him. Back then, he was more than just some rich kid from Connecticut. He really saw himself as a force for good, an instrument for social improvement who could use his obvious gifts to help others. That vision gave his life meaning. It gave him a purpose and it fuelled his hopes. There was even more to Julian's undoing than a rusty connection to what he did for a living. He had suffered some great tragedy before I had joined the firm. Something truly unspeakable had happened to him, according to one of the senior partners, but I couldn't get anyone to open up about it. Even old man Harding, the notoriously loose-lipped managing partner who spent more time in the bar of the Ritz-Carlton than in his embarrassingly large office, said that he was sworn to secrecy. Whatever this deep, dark secret was, I had a suspicion that it, in some way, was contributing to Julian's downward spiral. Sure I was curious, but most of all, I wanted to help him. He was not only my mentor; he was my best friend. And then it happened. This massive heart attack that brought the brilliant Julian Mantle back down to earth and reconnected him to his mortality. Right in the middle of courtroom number seven on a Monday morning, the same courtroom where we had won the Mother of All Murder Trials. CHAPTER TWO The Mysterious Visitor It was an emergency meeting of all of the firm's members. As we squeezed into the main boardroom, I could tell that there was a serious problem. Old man Harding was the first to speak to the assembled mass. "I'm afraid I have some very bad news. Julian Mantle suffered a severe heart attack in court yesterday while he was arguing the Air Atlantic case. He is currently in the intensive care unit, but his physicians have informed me that his condition has now stabilized and he will recover. However, Julian has made a decision, one that I think you all must know. He has decided to leave our family and to give up his law practice. He will not be returning to the firm." I was shocked. I knew he was having his share of troubles, but I never thought he would quit As well, after all that we had been through, I thought he should have had the courtesy to tell me this personally. He wouldn't even let me see him at the hospital. Every time I dropped by, the nurses had been instructed to tell me that he was sleeping and could not be disturbed. He even refused to take my telephone calls. Maybe I reminded him of the life he wanted to forget Who knows? I'll tell you one thing though. It hurt. That whole episode was just over three years ago. Last I heard, Julian had headed off to India on some kind of an expedi- tion. He told one of the partners that he wanted to simplify his life and that he "needed some answers", and hoped he would find them in that mystical land. He had sold his mansion, his plane and his private island. He had even sold his Ferrari. "Julian Mantle as an Indian yogi," I thought. "The Law works in the most mysterious of ways." As those three years passed, I changed from an overworked young lawyer to a jaded, somewhat cynical older lawyer. My wife Jenny and I had a family. Eventually, I began my own search for meaning. I think it was having kids that did it. They fundamentally changed the way I saw the world and my role in it. My dad said it best when he said, "John, on your deathbed you will never wish you spent more time at the office." So I started spending a little more time at home. I settled into a pretty good, if ordinary, exis- tence. I joined the Rotary Club and played golf on Saturdays to keep my partners and clients happy. But I must tell you, in my quiet moments I often thought of Julian and wondered what had become of him in the years since we had unexpectedly parted company. Perhaps he had settled down in India, a place so diverse that even a restless soul like his could have made it his home. Or maybe he was trekking through Nepal? Scuba diving off the Caymans? One thing was certain: he had not returned to the legal profession. No one had received even a postcard from him since he left for his self-imposed exile from the Law. A knock on my door about two months ago offered the first answers to some of my questions. I had just met with my last client of a gruelling day when Genevieve, my brainy legal assistant, popped her head into my small, elegantly furnished office. "There's someone here to see you, John. He says it's urgent and that he will not leave until he speaks with you." "I'm on my way out the door, Genevieve," I replied impatiently. "I'm going to grab a bite to eat before finishing off the Hamilton brief. I don't have time to see anyone right now. Tell him to make an appointment like everyone else, and call security if he gives you any more trouble." "But he says he really needs to see you. He refuses to take no for an answer!" For an instant I considered calling security myself, but, realizing that this might be someone in need, I assumed a more forgiving posture. "Okay, send him in" I retreated. "I probably could use the busi- ness anyway." The door to my office opened slowly. At last it swung fully open, revealing a smiling man in his mid-thirties. He was tall, lean and muscular, radiating an abundance of vitality and energy. He reminded me of those perfect kids I went to law school with, from perfect families, with perfect houses, perfect cars and perfect skin. But there was more to my visitor than his youthful good looks. An underlying peacefulness gave him an almost divine presence. And his eyes. Piercing blue eyes that sliced clear through me like a razor meeting the supple flesh of a fresh-faced adolescent anxious about his first shave. 'Another hotshot lawyer gunning for my job,' I thought to myself. 'Good grief, why is he just standing there looking at me? I hope that wasn't his wife I represented on that big divorce case I won last week. Maybe calling security wasn't such a silly idea after all.' The young man continued to look at me, much as the smiling Buddha might have looked upon a favored pupil. After a long moment of uncomfortable silence he spoke in a surprisingly commanding tone. "Is this how you treat all of your visitors, John, even those who taught you everything you know about the science of success in a courtroom? I should have kept my trade secrets to myself," he said, his full lips curving into a mighty grin. A strange sensation tickled the pit of my stomach. I immedi- ately recognized that raspy, honey-smooth voice. My heart started to pound. "Julian? Is that you? I can't believe it! Is that really you?" The loud laugh of the visitor confirmed my suspicions. The young man standing before me was none other than that long-lost yogi of India: Julian Mantle. I was dazzled by his incredible trans- formation. Gone was the ghost-like complexion, the sickly cough and the lifeless eyes of my former colleague. Gone was the elderly appearance and the morbid expression that had become his personal trademark. Instead, the man in front of me appeared to be in peak health, his lineless face glowing radiantly. His eyes were bright, offering a window into his extraordinary vitality. Perhaps even more astounding was the serenity that Julian exuded. I felt entirely peaceful just sitting there, staring at him. He was no longer an anxious, "type-A" senior partner of a leading law firm. Instead, the man before me was a youthful, vital — and smiling— model of change. CHAPTER THREE The Miraculous Transformation of Julian Mantle I was astonished by the new and improved Julian Mantle. 'How could someone who looked like a tired old man only a few short years ago now look so vibrant and alive?' I wondered in silent disbelief. 'Was it some magical drug that had allowed him to drink from the fountain of youth? What was the cause of this extraordinary reversal?' Julian was the first to speak. He told me that the hyper- competitive legal world had taken its toll on him, not only physi- cally and emotionally but spiritually. The fast pace and endless demands had worn him out and run him down. He admitted that his body had fallen apart and that his mind had lost its lustre. His heart attack was only one symptom of a deeper problem. The constant pressure and exhausting schedule of a world-class trial lawyer had also broken his most important—and perhaps most human—endowment: his spirit. When given the ultimatum by his doctor either to give up the Law or give up his life, he said he saw a golden opportunity to rekindle the inner fire he had known when he was younger, a fire that had been extinguished as the Law became less a pleasure and more a business. Julian grew visibly excited as he recounted how he sold all his material possessions and headed for India, a land whose ancient culture and mystical traditions had always fascinated him. He travelled from tiny village to tiny village, sometimes by foot, some- times by train, learning new customs, seeing the timeless sights and growing to love the Indian people who radiated warmth, kind- ness and a refreshing perspective on the true meaning of life. Even those who had very little opened their homes — and their hearts — to this weary visitor from the West. As the days melted into weeks within this enchanting environment, Julian slowly began to feel alive and whole again, perhaps for the first time since he was a child. His natural curiosity and creative spark steadily returned, along with his enthusiasm and his energy for living. He started to feel more joyful and peaceful. And he began to laugh again. Although he embraced every moment of his time in this exotic land, Julian told me that his journey to India was more than a simple vacation to ease an overworked mind. He described his time in this far-away land as a "personal odyssey of the self". He confided that he was determined to find out who he really was and what his life was all about before it was too late. To do this, his first priority was to connect to that culture's vast pool of ancient wisdom on living a more rewarding, fulfilling and enlightened life. "I don't mean to sound too off-the-wall, John, but it was like I had received a command from within, an inner instruction telling me that I was to begin a spiritual voyage to rekindle the spark that I had lost," said Julian. "It was a tremendously liberating time for me." The more he explored, the more he heard of Indian monks who had lived beyond the age of a hundred, monks who despite their advanced years maintained youthful, energetic and vital lives. The more he travelled, the more he learned of ageless yogis who had mastered the art of mind-control and spiritual awakening. And the more he saw, the more he longed to understand the dynamics behind these miracles of human nature, hoping to apply their philosophies to his own life. During the early stages of his journey, Julian sought out many well-known and highly respected teachers. He told me that each one of them welcomed him with open arms and open hearts, sharing whatever gems of knowledge they had absorbed over lifetimes spent in quiet contemplation on the loftier issues surrounding their existence. Julian also attempted to describe the beauty of the ancient temples which were strewn across the mystical landscape of India, edifices which stood as loyal gate- keepers to the wisdom of the ages. He said he was moved by the sacredness of these surroundings. "It was a very magical time of my life, John. Here I was, a tired old litigator who had sold everything from my racehorse to my Rolex, and had packed all that remained into a large rucksack that would be my constant companion as I ventured into the timeless traditions of the East." "Was it hard to leave?" I wondered aloud, unable to contain my curiosity. "Actually, it was the easiest thing I have ever done. The decision to give up my practice and all my worldly possessions felt natural. Albert Camus once said that 'Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present.' Well, that's exactly what I did. I knew I had to change—so I decided to listen to my heart and do it in a very dramatic way. My life became so much simpler and meaningful when I left the baggage of my past behind. The moment I stopped spending so much time chasing the big pleasures of life, I began to enjoy the little ones, like watching the stars danc- ing in a moonlit sky or soaking in the the sunbeams of a glorious summer morning. And India is such an intellectually stimulating place that I rarely thought of all I had left." Those initial meetings with the learned and the scholarly of that exotic culture, though intriguing, did not yield the knowledge for which Julian hungered. The wisdom that he desired and the practical techniques that he hoped would change the quality of his life continued to elude him in those early days of his odyssey. It was not until Julian had been in India for about seven months that he had his first real break. It was while he was in Kashmir, an ancient and mystical state that sits sleepily at the foot of the Himalayas, that he had the good fortune to meet a gentleman named Yogi Krishnan. This slight man with a clean-shaven head had also been a lawyer in his "previ- ous incarnation," as he often joked with a toothy grin. Fed up with with the hectic pace that personifies modern New Delhi, he too gave up his material possessions and retreated to a world of greater simplicity. Becoming a caretaker of the village temple, Krishnan said he had come to know himself and his purpose in the larger scheme of life. "I was tired of living my life like one long air raid drill. I realized that my mission is to serve others and somehow to contribute to making this world a better place. Now I live to give," he told Julian. "I spend my days and nights at this temple, living an austere but fulfilling life. I share my realizations with all those who come here to pray. I serve those in need. I am not a priest. I am simply a man who has found his soul." Julian informed this lawyer turned yogi of his own story. He spoke of his former life of prominence and privilege. He told Yogi Krishnan of his hunger for wealth and his obsession with work. He revealed, with great emotion, his inner turmoil and the crisis of spirit he had experienced when the once bright light of his life began to flicker in the winds of an out-of-balance lifestyle. "I too have walked this path, my friend. I too have felt the pain you have felt. Yet I have learned that everything happens for a reason," offered Yogi Krishnan sympathetically. "Every event has a purpose and every setback its lesson. I have realized that failure, whether of the personal, professional or even spiritual kind, is essential to personal expansion. It brings inner growth and a whole host of psychic rewards. Never regret your past. Rather, embrace it as the teacher that it is." After hearing these words, Julian told me that he felt great exultation. Perhaps, in Yogi Krishnan, he had found the mentor he was searching for. Who better than another former hotshot lawyer who, through his own spiritual odyssey, had found a better way of living to teach him the secrets of creating a life of more balance, enchantment and delight? "I need your help, Krishnan. I need to learn how to build a richer, fuller life." "I would be honored to assist you in any way that I can," offered the yogi. "But may I give you one suggestion?" "Sure." "For as long as I have been caring for this temple in this little village, I have heard whisperings of a mystical band of sages living high in the Himalayas. Legend has it that they have discov- ered some sort of system that will profoundly improve the quality of anyone's life — and I don't just mean physically. It is supposed to be a holistic, integrated set of ageless principles and timeless techniques to liberate the potential of the mind, body and soul." Julian was fascinated. This seemed perfect. "Just exactly where do these monks live?" "No one knows, and I regret that I'm too old to start search- ing. But I will tell you one thing, my friend; many have tried to find them and many have failed — with tragic consequences. The higher reaches of the Himalayas are treacherous beyond compare. Even the most skilled climber is rendered helpless against their natural ravages. But if it is the golden keys to radiant health, last- ing happiness and inner fulfillment that you are searching for, I do not have the wisdom you seek — they do." Julian, never one to give up easily, pressed Yogi Krishnan again. "Are you certain that you have no idea where they live?" "All I can tell you is that the locals in this village know them as the Great Sages of Sivana. In their mythology, Sivana means 'oasis of enlightenment'. These monks are revered as if they are divine in their constitution and influence. If I knew where they could be found, I would be duty-bound to tell you. But honestly, I do not know — no one does, for that matter." The next morning, as the first rays of the Indian sun danced along the colorful horizon, Julian set out on his trek to the lost land of Sivana. At first he thought about hiring a Sherpa guide to aid him in his climb through the mountains, but, for some strange reason, his instincts told him that this was one journey he would have to make alone. So instead, for perhaps the first time in his life, he shed the shackles of reason and placed his trust in his intuition. He felt he would be safe. He somehow knew he would find what he was looking for. So, with missionary zeal, he started to climb. The first few days were easy. Sometimes he would catch up to one of the cheerful citizens of the village below who happened to be walking on one of the footpaths, perhaps searching for just the right piece of wood for a carving or seeking the sanctuary that this surreal place offered to all those who dared to venture this high into the Heavens. At other times he hiked alone, using this time to silently reflect on where he had been in his life — and where he was now headed. It didn't take long before the village below was nothing more than a tiny speck on this marvellous canvas of natural splendor. The majesty of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas made his heart beat faster and, for one long moment, took his breath away. He felt a oneness with his surroundings, a kind of kinship that two old friends might enjoy after many years spent listening to each other's innermost thoughts and laughing at each other's jokes. The fresh mountain air cleared his mind and energized his spirit. Having travelled the world many times over, Julian had thought he had seen it all. But he had never seen beauty like this. The wonders of which he drank at that magical time were an exquisite tribute to the symphony of nature. At once he felt joyous, exhila- rated and carefree. It was here, high above the humanity below, that Julian slowly ventured out of the cocoon of the ordinary and began to explore the realm of the extraordinary. "I still remember the words that were going through my mind up there," said Julian. "I thought that, ultimately, life is all about choices. One's destiny unfolds according to the choices one makes, and I felt certain that the choice I had made was the right one. I knew my life would never be the same and that something marvel- lous, maybe even miraculous, was about to happen to me. It was an amazing awakening." As Julian climbed into the rarified regions of the Himalayas, he told me that he grew anxious. "But it was those good kind of jitters, like the ones I had on prom night or right before an excit- ing case began and the media was chasing me up the courtroom steps. And even though I didn't have the benefit of a guide or a map, the way was clear and a thin, lightly travelled path led me higher into the deepest reaches of those mountains. It was like I had some sort of inner compass, nudging me gently towards my destination. I don't think I could have stopped climbing even if I had wanted to," Julian was excited, his words spilling out like a gushing mountain stream after the rains. As he travelled for two more days along the route that he prayed would take him to Sivana, Julian's thoughts wandered back to his former life. Though he felt entirely liberated from the stress and strain that personified his former world, he did wonder whether he could really spend the rest of his days without the intellectual challenge that the legal profession had offered him since he left Harvard Law School. His thoughts then wandered back to his oak-paneled office in a glittering downtown skyscraper and the idyllic summer home he had sold for a pittance. He thought about his old friends with whom he would frequent the finest of restaurants in the most glamorous locales. He also thought about his prized Ferrari and how his heart would soar when he gunned the engine and all its ferocity sprang to life with a roar. As he ventured deeper into the depths of this mystical place, his reflections of the past were quickly interrupted by the stun- ning marvels of the moment. It was while he was soaking in the gifts of nature's intelligence that something startling happened. From the corner of his eye he saw another figure, dressed strangely in a long, flowing red robe topped by a dark blue hood, slightly ahead of him on the path. Julian was astonished to see anyone at this isolated spot that had taken him seven treacherous days to reach. As he was many miles away from any real civiliza- tion and still uncertain as to where his ultimate destination of Sivana could be found, he yelled out to his fellow traveller. The figure refused to respond and accelerated his pace along the path they were both climbing, not even giving Julian the cour- tesy of a backward glance of acknowledgement. Soon the mysteri- ous traveller was running, his red robe dancing gracefully behind him like crisp cotton sheets hanging from a clothesline on a windy autumn day. "Please friend, I need your help to find Sivana," yelled Julian, "I've been travelling for seven days with little food and water. I think I'm lost!" The figure came to an abrupt stop. Julian approached cautiously while the traveller stood remarkably still and silent. His head did not move, his hands did not move and his feet kept their place. Julian could see nothing of the face beneath the hood but was struck by the contents of the small basket in the hands of the traveller. Within the basket was a collection of the most delicate and beautiful flowers Julian had ever seen. The figure clutched the basket tighter as Julian drew nearer, as if to display both a love of these prized possessions and a distrust of this tall Westerner, about as common to these parts as dew in the desert. Julian gazed at the traveller with an intense curiosity. A quick burst of a sunbeam revealed that it was a man's face under the loosely-fitting hood. But Julian had never seen a man quite like this one. Though he was at least his own age, there were very strik- ing features of this person which left Julian mesmerized and caused him to simply stop and stare for what seemed like an eternity. His eyes were catlike and so penetrating that Julian was forced to look away. His olive-complexioned skin was supple and smooth. His body looked strong and powerful. And though the man's hands gave away the fact that he was not young, he radiated such an abundance of youthfulness and vitality that Julian felt hypnotized by what appeared before him, much like a child watching the magician at his first magic show. 'This must be one of the Great Sages of Sivana,' Julian thought to himself, scarcely able to contain his delight at his discovery. "I am Julian Mantle. I've come to learn from the Sages of Sivana. Do you know where I might find them?" he asked. The man looked thoughtfully at this weary visitor from the West. His serenity and peace made him appear angelic in nature, enlightened in substance. The man spoke softly, almost in a whisper, "Why is it that you seek these sages, friend?" Sensing that he had indeed found one of the mystical monks who had eluded so many before him, Julian opened his heart and poured out his odyssey to the traveller. He spoke of his former life and of the crisis of spirit he had struggled with, how he had traded his health and his energy for the fleeting rewards that his law practice brought him. He spoke of how he had traded the riches of his soul for a fat bank account and the illusory gratification of his 'live fast, die young' lifestyle. And he told him of his travels in mystical India and of his meeting with Yogi Krishnan, the former trial lawyer from New Delhi who had also given up his former life in the hope of finding inner harmony and lasting peace. The traveller remained silent and still. It was not until Julian spoke of his burning, almost obsessive desire to acquire the ancient principles of enlightened living that the man spoke again. Placing an arm on Julian's shoulder, the man said gently: "if you truly have a heartfelt desire to learn the wisdom of a better way, then it is my duty to help you. I am indeed one of those sages that you have come so far in search of. You are the first person to find us in many years. Congratulations. I admire your tenacity. You must have been quite a lawyer," he offered. He paused, as if he was a little uncertain of what to do next, and then went on. "If you like, you may come with me, as my guest, to our temple. It rests in a hidden part of this mountain region, still many hours away from here. My brothers and sisters will welcome you with open arms. We will work together to teach you the ancient principles and strategies that our ancestors have passed down through the ages. "Before I take you into our private world and share our collected knowledge for filling your life with more joy, strength and purpose, I must request one promise from you," requested the sage. "Upon learning these timeless truths you must return to your homeland in the West and share this wisdom with all those who need to hear it. Though we are isolated here in these magical mountains, we are aware of the turmoil your world is in. Good people are losing their way. You must give them the hope that they deserve. More importantly, you must give them the tools to fulfill their dreams. This is all I ask." Julian instantly accepted the sage's terms and promised that he would carry their precious message to the West. As the two men moved still higher up the mountain path to the lost village of Sivana, the Indian sun started to set, a fiery red circle slipping into a soft, magical slumber after a long and weary day. Julian told me he has never forgotten the majesty of that moment, walking with an ageless Indian monk for whom he somehow felt a brotherly love, travelling to a place he had longed to find, with all its wonders and many mysteries. "This was definitely the most memorable moment of my life," he confided in me. Julian had always believed that life came down to a few key moments. This was one of them. Deep inside his soul, he somehow sensed that this was the first moment of the rest of his life, a life soon to be much more than it had ever been. CHAPTER FOUR A Magical Meeting with The Sages of Sivana After walking for many hours along an intricate series of paths and grassy trails, the two travellers came upon a lusty green valley. On one side of the valley, the snow-capped Himalayas offered their protection, like weather-beaten soldiers guarding the place where their generals rested. On the other, a thick forest of pine trees sprouted, a perfectly natural tribute to this enchanting fantasyland. The sage looked at Julian and smiled gently, "Welcome to the Nirvana of Sivana." The two then descended along another less-travelled way and into the thick forest which formed the floor of the valley. The smell of pine and sandalwood wafted through the cool, crisp mountain air. Julian, now barefoot to ease his aching feet, felt the damp moss under his toes. He was surprised to see richly colored orchids and a host of other lovely flowers dancing among the trees, as if rejoicing in the beauty and splendor of this tiny slice of Heaven. In the distance, Julian could hear gentle voices, soft and soothing to the ear. He continued to follow the sage without making a sound. After walking for about fifteen more minutes, the two men reached a clearing. Before him was a sight that even the worldly wise and rarely surprised Julian Mantle could never have imagined—a small village made solely out of what appeared to be roses. At the center of the village was a tiny temple, the kind Julian had seen on his trips to Thailand and Nepal, but this temple was made of red, white and pink flowers, held together with long strands of multi-colored string and twigs. The little huts which dotted the remaining space appeared to be the austere homes of the sages. These were also made of roses. Julian was speechless. As for the monks who inhabited the village, those he could see looked like Julian's travelling companion, who now revealed that his name was Yogi Raman. He explained that he was the eldest sage of Sivana and the leader of this group. The citizens of this dreamlike colony looked astonishingly youthful and moved with poise and purpose. None of them spoke, choosing instead to respect the tranquility of this place by performing their tasks in silence. The men, who appeared to number only about ten, wore the same red-robed uniform as Yogi Raman and smiled serenely at Julian as he entered their village. Each of them looked calm, healthy and deeply contented. It was as if the tensions which plague so many of us in our modern world had sensed that they were not welcome at this summit of serenity and moved on to more inviting prospects. Though it had been many years since there had been a new face amongst them, these men were controlled in their reception, offering a simple bow as their greeting to this visitor who had travelled so far to find them. The women were equally impressive. In their flowing pink silk saris and with white lotuses adorning their jet black hair, they moved busily through the village with exceptional agility. However, this was not the frantic busyness that pervades the lives of people in our society. Instead, theirs was of the easy, graceful kind. With Zen-like focus, some worked inside the temple, preparing for what appeared to be a festival. Others carried firewood and richly embroidered tapestries. All were engaged in productive activity. All appeared to be happy. Ultimately, the faces of the Sages of Sivana revealed the power of their way of life. Even though they were clearly mature adults, each one of them radiated a child-like quality, their eyes twinkling with the vitality of youth. None of them had wrinkles. None of them had gray hair. None of them looked old. Julian, who could scarcely believe what he was experiencing, was offered a feast of fresh fruits and exotic vegetables, a diet that he would later learn was one of the keys to the treasure trove of ideal health enjoyed by the sages. After the meal, Yogi Raman escorted Julian to his living quarters: a flower-filled hut containing a small bed with an empty journal pad on it. This would be his home for the foreseeable future. Though Julian had never seen anything like this magical world of Sivana, he somehow felt that this had been a homecoming of sorts, a return to a paradise that he had known long ago. Somehow this village of roses was not so foreign to him. His intuition told him that he belonged here, if only for a short period. This would be the place where he would rekindle the fire for living that he had known before the legal profession stole his soul, a sanctuary where his broken spirit would slowly start to heal. And so began Julian's life among the Sages of Sivana, a life of simplicity, serenity and harmony. The best was soon to come. CHAPTER FIVE A Spiritual Student of the Sages Great dreamers' dreams are never fulfilled, they are always transcended. Alfred Lord Whitehead It was now 8:00 p.m. and I still had to prepare for my court appearance the next day. Yet I was fascinated by the experience of this former legal warrior who had dramatically transformed his life after meeting and studying under these marvellous sages from India. How amazing, I thought, an
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny by motivational speaker and author Robin Sharma is an inspiring tale that provides a step-by-step approach to living with greater courage, balance, abundance and joy. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari tells the extraordinary story of Julian Mantle, a lawyer forced to confront the spiritual crisis of his out-of-balance life, and the subsequent wisdom that he gains on a life-changing odyssey that enables him to create a life of passion, purpose and peace.
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