CLIMBING ARUNACHALA MOUNTAIN

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We set off at five o’ clock in the morning. It was dark, but it was possible to see people in the street. Apparently, life in India never stops. There were four of us: our guide, a girl from Korea who was also staying in our guesthouse, my wife, and me.
We followed our guide in the darkness and I asked, “Why is this mountain considered holy?”
Our guide answered, “The Hindu trinity is formed by three gods: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer. One day a dispute arose between Brahma and Vishnu. Both of them claimed to be superior. To settle the dispute, Shiva manifested himself as an infinite column of light so dazzling that it was impossible to look at. Brahma and Vishnu prayed to Shiva to take a less dazzling form, so he took the form of Arunachala Mountain. This place is sacred to Lord Shiva, and represents the element of fire.”

While we walked, the magnificent temple of Arunachaleswara appeared in the distance. “What a grand temple! It is one of the five temples associated with the five basic elements: water, air, earth, fire, and sky,” said our guide.
We got to the hilltop at daybreak. I felt as happy as a mountaineer that had climbed the highest peak in the world. The sun appeared faintly on the horizon, and I was a little bit cold. The top was exposed to the wind, but from there I saw a vast landscape that stretched to the horizon. Our guide showed us two footprints that had been impressed by Shiva. There was also a trident to symbolize that the mountain was sacred to Lord Shiva.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

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WHERE IS AUROVILLE?

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Auroville is near Pondicherry, which had been a French colony. The French name, Auroville, means the city of Sri Aurobindo, who is the founder of the community along with a French lady called Mirra Alfassa, and also known as “The Mother.”
Sri Aurobindo invented a kind of yoga called “Integral.” When my wife and I visited his ashram in Pondicherry, we bought a booklet about it. But after having read it, I couldn’t find a method to practice it; in fact, I couldn’t understand what it was. The book talked about the creation of a super mind. Maybe, according to Aurobindo’s Integral yoga, the supermind is intended to transcend materiality and be one with the universe.

I don’t know exactly what the residents did to make a living. I heard that they had some kind of job. Some are teachers, other farmers, and so on. A Korean lady, who now is an Auroville dweller, invented a job to get by. She made and sold kimchi, a traditional fermented Korean health food.
There were neither temples nor churches in the area. Apparently, the founders had intended to prevent the erection of any place of worship that might discriminate against the residents on the basis of their creed. To carry out the ecumenical end, a round gilt building called the Matrimandir had been erected that encompassed all religions. People who are both from Auroville and the outside are allowed to enter just to meditate. But while residents can go in anytime, nonresidents need to make a reservation.

We entered the building and followed a circular walkway. I didn’t see any statues or religious symbols. We were told that we would see a prismatic crystal on the top floor of the Matrimandir that emanated special energy. When we at last reached the top floor, people were meditating facing the crystal. It was dark inside. I didn’t see the prismatic crystal; my wife spotted it, but said she didn’t feel that it emanated any special energy.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

WHERE IS THE HOUSE OF THE SOUL?

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Here in the holy city of Rishikesh, I wanted to try my open-heart meditation again. As soon as we woke up, after having a cup of coffee and eating some bananas, we meditated for fifteen minutes. My wife did her breathing meditation, while I watched my breathing for a few minutes and then tried my open-heart technique. While I was watching my heart, imagining that it was open to everybody, I recalled a statue of Jesus that I’d kept in my room since I was a baby. The statue is around one meter tall. Jesus is portrayed as a master with a white robe and a red tunic, and his heart sticks out of his chest.
Not only is the heart fundamental for Christians, but Buddhists also believe that the mind is located in the heart. They think that the mind is a mental continuum without beginning or end. The Buddhist “mind” may be considered the equivalent of what Christians call the soul. Obviously, when I say that the house of the mind or soul is in the heart, I don’t refer to the physical heart, which can even be implanted from one person to another, but to the spiritual heart, whose house lies close to the physical heart.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

VISITING SAI BABA’S ASHRAM

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We took a bus to Bangalore, and from there another bus to Puttaparthi. As soon as we arrived in town we headed for Sai Baba’s ashram. I had never seen such a large and well maintained ashram. Furthermore, it was the cheapest place I had visited so far. We could have a good meal on ten rupees, the equivalent of a few cents.
People say that Sai Baba is an uncommon man. He has the power to make golden rings and necklaces out of thin air. It was said he was able to create a special holy powder in the same way. At the entrance, a lady who said she was from Switzerland directed us to our room. She asked us not to have sex while we were staying in the ashram. Moreover, she asked me to buy a traditional Indian dress for my wife. In fact, it was not possible for ladies to stay in that holy place in casual Western clothes.
The meeting place with Sai Baba was a large hall that could hold 10,000 or more people. The meeting happened in the evening. Men and women were not allowed to stay together in the hall, so my wife took a seat on the right, while I sat down on the left side of the hall. Sai Baba was sitting in a wheelchair. I couldn’t see him because I was far away, but my wife spotted him and got the sensation of seeing a very weak man.
Later, at lunch I exchanged a few words with an Italian guy whose wife was a devotee of Sai Baba.  “I’ve come here for twenty-five years!” he said. “I have seen Sai Baba’s materializations many times. He gave my wife a golden ring, which she keeps at home in Italy.”
Before leaving the ashram, my wife bought a booklet that described Sai Baba’s teachings. Food is God was the title of the small book. The first line said, “You are what you eat.” By reading that booklet, I learned how to purify my body and mind just by eating natural, sound food, which obviously doesn’t include meat.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

LIFE IN ARAMBOL BEACH, GOA (INDIA)

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The Arambol beach has a different look in the morning than it does in the evening. Usually my wife and I went to the beach at daybreak. The sun had not risen yet behind the hills, and the fishermen strained to beach their heavy boats. Sometimes I helped some of them with that hard effort. Some people enjoyed jogging, while others did Tai Chi. I noticed that a great many had themselves tattooed. An old man even had a tattoo on his face, while other tattoos on his body depicted barbed wire and scenes of violence.
Each person seemed a separate world. It happened that a man who brought his chessboard to the beach invited me to play with him under the scorching sun. I didn’t feel like playing chess at the time and kindly declined his invitation, but I later saw him playing with someone else.
What struck me was the solitude of many people in Arambol. I observed the solitary souls in the early morning at the beach and in the evening at the restaurant.
“I would not be able to spend my holidays alone at a beach resort,” my wife said.
“Me either!” I answered.
Indeed, during my youth it was quite unusual to see a person walking alone in the streets; a lonely person was considered mad. In the summer when I wanted to go to the beach, I was careful not to leave Enna alone. I feared that if someone from the town saw me alone they would have pity and say, “Look at poor Vincenzino. He is alone like a madman.” Therefore, I was never alone, and it didn’t matter if my fellow traveler was smart or cheerful. The important thing was that I had a companion. One year I went on holiday at a seaside resort with a companion who wasn’t very intelligent, just so that I wasn’t alone.
In Goa, I had the opportunity to see the absurdity of my previous behavior. There is a basic distinction between solitude and loneliness. The former is free choice, while the latter is feeling, usually linked with melancholy or sadness. You can be in solitude without feeling sad. Many people in Arambol were living in their freely chosen solitude, but I didn’t get the feeling that they felt alone.
Walking along the beach, I saw a lady that danced before the sea, a man playing the flute, and a group of Indian young men who played cricket. As for us, my wife suggested saluting the rising sun and imagining that its golden light pervaded our entire bodies, healing and purifying them.
In the evening, the atmosphere was completely different. Many people walked along the beach. It was like being at Belvedere in Enna during the summer, where people enjoyed strolling on the crammed public walk. Little by little daylight gave its place to night, and every now and then the disgusting smell of marijuana wafted in the air. It happened that some drug peddlers approached to try to sell us marijuana. I was looking for natural paradise, not an artificial and transient pleasure like that given by drugs, so I refused.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

CROSSING THE HIMALAYAS BY BUS

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There is a mountain pass from Manali to Lee. It is the highest pass in the world  at 5,500 meters above sea level. It is difficult to breathe at that altitude. You have to drink a lot of water. There are also no toilets on the road, so the bus stops from time to time along the way.
“Our bus broke down, and we were given the option of spending the night in a marquee at an altitude of around four thousand meters or continuing our way with another bus that had a few vacant seats. I opted for continuing my journey, because I couldn’t endure the altitude. I was very dizzy and had the feeling that I would collapse at any moment.
“The bus travelled on a vast plateau. No roads or paths were visible, but the driver seemed to know the way very well. I never imagined that there were such vast tablelands in the Himalayas. It was almost like a lunar landscape. The soil was dry, and needles and rocks emerged from the ground here and there—no trees, not a blade of grass. I had the sensation of having landed on another deserted planet in our solar system. Apparently, the monsoons can’t overcome the mountain range. Nevertheless, now and then I spotted some isolated green areas.”
“How is it possible that there are only patches that are green with trees? I asked a person sitting next to me.”
“It is like an oasis in the desert. Somehow there is water underneath the ground. The city of Lee is just an oasis. It doesn’t rain there much, but the area is rich in underground water, he answered.”
“We reached the maximum altitude of the pass and I felt relieved,” the woman continued. “From then on the bus would go downhill. The worst had passed, and gradually  I started breathing normally.”

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

THE OPEN-HEART MEDITATION

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One morning I was watching the ocean when I had the feeling that Jesus was suggesting a new kind of meditation to me. “Open your heart to everybody. That is the best meditation!” he seemed to say.
I tried this new meditation as the days passed, and I can say that it was very powerful. I sat silently on the beach and focused my attention on opening my heart to all living beings, both friends and those unknown to me. After a while, I felt my body and mind purifying. I talked with my wife about this discovery.
“Yes, I agree with you,” she said. “Focusing our attention on opening our heart to everybody makes us realize that God is within every person. It is no coincidence that the Indians use the word Namaste as a greeting, which means ‘the godliness inside me greets the godliness inside you.’”

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo