Nelson Mandela: the Monk who sold His Ferrari

2014-07-12 01:44

On the 15th of December 2013 when we disposed Nelson Mandela's body from our midst, but not necessarily his spirit and ghost, we all had a historical duty. That duty was to pause and consider what his life meant. And the Mandela Day – the 18th July of every year should be a moment of deep silent and quiet spiritual contemplation.

One of the books that I continue to re-read often is The Monk who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma. Every time I read The Monk who sold his Ferrari I often ask myself whether Robin Sharma in writing the book was inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela. Because in some ways, the book is a biographical sketch of Nelson Mandela.

The Monk who sold his Ferrari tells a story of Julian Mantle, a highly successful lawyer who graduated from Harvard Law School. Julian Mantle was “truly successful”, he owned it all, a posh mansion, and driving a red Ferrari.

But in the process of time Julian Mantle abandons all, his flourishing legal career and properties. He sells his red Ferrari and gave away the money.

Julian Mantle then leaves America and went to India to live a secluded life in the forests of the mountains of Himalayas for years. He separated himself from the fashions and “the empty trash that occupies the mind of the modern person”. He lived in quietness and unto himself. He emptied himself from the passing short duration pleasures that occupies the minds of modern people. And as he did that he met the sages of Sivana – which actually here the author Robin Sharma speaks of the spiritual beings that are invisible and they talk with you from within once you have emptied yourself of “all the trash of the world”.

These sages of Sivana or spirit beings, talks and teaches Julian Mantle about authentic living that "most of the people today know nothing about". “People don’t know who they are, they have sold themselves up!” They have lost touch with themselves chasing money, positions, greed that dresses itself as worldly success and lusts.

These spiritual beings then request Julian Mantle to go back to America and guide his fellow humans by teaching a life of authenticity.

We see Julian Mantle leaving the mountains of Himalayas and returning to America where he began his crusade of teaching people this wisdom.

This story of Julian Mantle for me portrays the gist of Nelson Mandela’s life. Julian Mantle, a man who sold his Ferrari is about a one man’s crusade to improve the world.

Nelson Mandela grappled with the arduous, messy, but inescapable process of nation-formation ensuring that we have a country with a shared coherent and organic vision. That was just one piece of the puzzle. His life was not about fun but a sense of mission, the undertaking of it meant self sacrifice and cold hard bitten long walk.

We need to proceed putting more pieces to this jigsaw. Are we? It seems people are relaxed in personal indulgence reaching their cold beers and pieces of kudu biltong, and going into snooze mode;

Others are forever tuning into televised English Premier League soccer matches that runs endless throughout the week, thus enslaving their minds.

Because people are concerned with chasing money, driving expensive cars, positions etc. it is difficult to come across a very genuine down to earth natural person. What you get are people whose artificial smiles have replaced genuine laughter; whose meaningless talk and chatter has replaced genuine heartfelt conversation. Any relationship is motivated by what “I will get from this”, “how am I benefiting here”.

People suffer from defect of genuine individuality. It is the modern culture shared by many. It is a pleasure culture – where “fun” is the god that is worshipped by all participants. The aim is to “have fun and enjoy”; have something new all the time, to continuously live with an open mouth.

We are dealing with a new "normal." The condition is no longer abnormal because the individual shares it with many others, he or she is not aware it is an illness. And his condition and reality is not threatened by the experience of being different, he is simply fitting in with the rest of mankind.

The way to celebrate and honour Nelson Mandela is to make hard choices and stop fitting in. Empty the trash: sell your Ferrari, greed is a bottomless pit.

I have always wondered what would motivate a person to sell his or her conscience and posterity. But lewd money seems to be the answer.

People are ready to do anything for money. And once you do that you are entering the territory of prostitutes, who sell themselves to the guy with the heftiest loot.  People lie through their teeth to gain cheap, transient gain at the expense of their communities and then after that go and celebrate Mandela Day.

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