Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Monk who sold his Ferrari.

No, I’m not talking of Julian Mantle, the millionaire lawyer turned enlightened monk. No, I haven’t read the book. Yes, I’ve heard of it from people who swear by it. I’m merely referring to the idea embodied in the six words. “Enlightened monk” = Sage, wise person. “Sold his Ferrari” = Got rid of his expensive possessions. I’m sure he had acquired the made in Italy gas guzzler long before he became “enlightened”. Had he been wise to begin with, he would never have acquired it in the first place. Think of all the headaches he would have spared himself by doing so. No drain on his bank account caused by enormous fuel bills, service expenses, insurance, chauffeur’s salary, fines for traffic law violation, the aftermath of accidents, and so on and so forth. Why not just use public transport or hail a cab? Or, take a walk when you’re not in a hurry. But if you’re a Somebody like the aforesaid JM (or think you’re a Somebody), then you must reach the court house in a Ferrari. Else, people will think you’re a nobody. It's all about validation. You must not look small in people’s eyes. Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion. Or, the famous story of how Sita had to undergo a trial by fire just to prove her purity after her return from Lanka to Rama’s subjects, led by a washer man who, for maybe professional reason, was fond of washing dirty linen, real or imaginary, in public. I recently heard a friend of mine calling over his cellphone one of his associates and telling him that he would like to disassociate himself from him. Because he, his associate, was picking fights at their common workplace, the home of a sage where a daily satsang happens. This apparently was hurting his, my friend’s, image. When I asked him why he was doing this, he explained his pre-emptive step using what amounted to the Caesar’s wife thesis. Incredible! Coming back to the point I was making earlier, less is more. The fewer possessions you have, the fewer worries you have, the more peace you have. This is not spirituality. This is pure common sense. I saw my father who was a successful criminal lawyer practising it in his later life without realising what he was up to. So stupid of me, I realise now. A bit too late in the day.

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