LIFE IN SADHANA FOREST (INDIA)

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Next to Auroville is Sadhana Forest. The word sadhana means spiritual practice. According to the founder, who was an ex-philosophy professor from Israel, the forest should be a place where people spend their time in total contact with nature, far from everything that sounds modern, like electricity, running water, and stone houses.
There were almost 200 volunteers from all over the world in Sadhana Forest, who had come just to spend some time plunged into a primitive environment. Their task consisted of planting trees and preserving the forest from fires, which can break out due to the dryness of the area.
We arrived in the forest by bus in the afternoon. The Israeli professor gave a speech about life in the forest. He said that many families lived there. One of the visitors asked, “What about your children? Do they go to school? Who gives them an education?”
“Our children,” the professor answered, “have home schooling. Then, if they want to go to school they can, but if they don’t want to go we don’t force them to have compulsory education.”
The professor led us around the forest and their tiny village, which was built on pilings. The dormitories for the volunteers were just over the pilings. There was neither running water nor electricity, except in one or two pilings. They produced power by a bicycle and solar panels.
They offered us a vegan meal and showed a film about life in the forest. We also saw how mercilessly they grow chickens and pigs in developed countries, which are fed inside very narrow cages until they are killed.
In the evening, when we got off the bus, a young man gave us a flier. Once at home we read it. The young man complained about having been expelled unjustly from Sadhana. Apparently, despite human endeavors, it is not possible to create a perfect society where everybody can live happily and without conflict, even in the forest.

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

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF LIFE?

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I remember talking once about an existential subject with one of the workers at my father’s company, who looked well educated.
“What is the goal of your life?” I asked.
“I have given up trying to find a goal in life, otherwise I get lost,” he answered. “I pursue small goals like planning an enjoyable vacation, or saving money to buy a gift for my girlfriend. These are my little aims, and have nothing to do with metaphysical speculations.”
Who knows if the worker was right! As for me, I cannot live without asking myself the why of things. It is probably because of my conditioning from my philosophy teacher.

“I’ll fail you, Vincenzino, unless you start to ask yourself why everything exists and happens. You have to ask yourself why the earth is round, why the moon orbits the earth, and why the planets orbit the sun. If you are on the bus, you have to ask yourself why it is moving. In other words, you have to find an answer to everything that happens.”

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

WHO CONTROLS THE MIND?

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All human actions are unintentional. They derive from the frailty of the human being. The external world is like a picture painted by the mind. If it is calm and serene, the painting will be magnificent. Yet, if the mind is uneasy and suffering, it will paint an ugly picture.”
“Do you mean that intentional actions and free will don’t exist?”
“I don’t want to arrive at such a conclusion. Nevertheless, I can say that almost all my clients in the prisons are ignorant with uneasy and dull minds. It is rare to find a scholar in jail. That means that crime is mostly caused by ignorance and fault. Hence, where is the intention? Where is the conscious mind? Everything depends upon our mind. But who controls the mind? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it is I who controls my mind. Or is it my mind that controls itself? If it is so, I want to know how. If the mind is fidgety, how can it calm itself down? And, if it is peaceful, how can it keep itself calm? It is not possible that the controller and the controlled coexist at the same time. Therefore, we can’t think about the mind that controls itself.”
“It is obvious that it is the ego that controls the mind. So, I can say, with absolute certainty, that at this very moment I, Lorenzo, am controlling my mind, keeping it either calm or uneasy according to my will.”
The discussion in the lounge of The Club of the Noblemen became animate. My Uncle Salvatore also joined in.

This is an excerpt from Travels of the Mind 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 THE GRAND BAZAAR IN ISTANBUL

20190614_125515Besides Haghia Sophia, what impressed me in Istanbul was the Grand Bazaar. It deserves to be visited not only for its bigness but also for its architecture, the kind of merchandise the shops display, and the swarm of thousands of people looking into the shops here and there. On the other hand, shop sellers try to allure passersby and ask them to enter their shops to buy something.
Imagining life in the Antique Grand Bazaar many centuries ago, I can see the swarm of slaves sent to the market by their masters to purchase this and that. I imagine patricians in their litters carried on slaves’ shoulders, who look at the comings and goings of people from the litters.
Opposite our room in the hotel, there are the remains of an old Roman aqueduct. Something of the old aqueduct still remains, but now where are those who haunted the Grand Bazaar in ancient times? What’s left of them? Nothing! Life in the Grand Bazaar will continue after us, from generation to generation, but with different characters!
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 THE SUFI CULTURE CENTER OF KARABAS-i VELI, OSMANGAZI (TURKEY)

20190615_233134Touring Turkey, we came across the Culture Center of Karabas-i Veli. It happened naturally, as if a powerful stream of energy had attracted us. The Center looked like the zawiya (Sufi lodge) I had attended in Rabat (Morocco) a few years ago, but unlike there, here the Sufis were the Whirling Dervishes who claimed to be direct descendants of the mystic poet Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi.
While I was waiting for the performance to start, I sat on the floor for men. We waited for three hours. In the building there were two separate areas: the ground floor for men and the loft for women.

After two hours, a man wearing a cylinder-shaped red hat and a white beard, who seemed to be a top level Sufi, addressed the audience for more than one hour. He spoke in Turkish. I couldn’t understand anything, but the vibrations of his words seemed to penetrate the innermost layers of my soul. I felt that he was talking about God and the many ways to approach the Deity.
“The Sufi way is mystic,” said a man sitting beside me, when the speech was over.
I turned to him, with eyes full of wonder and kept listening to him.
“Do you know that Saint Francis of Assisi was a Sufi?” he asked.
“How can you know that?”

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“I am sure about Saint Francis of Assisi as a Sufi and I can give you a lot of evidence on that. However, if you want to know more on this topic, read The Sufis by Idries Shah.”
Then, almost ten Dervishes entered the hall, which fell silent. They wore black habits, placed themselves on a raised side of the hall, played their musical instruments, and sang. After they played music for some time, the whirling dervishes came in one by one whirling. Their whirling was amazing! There are no words to describe this fantastic performance. Everything had a symbolic meaning, from the colors of the Sufis’ habits to the position of their arms and hands.
There are many modes of worshiping God, but only a few great spirits can follow the mystic way which is very demanding. The Sufis are among them, definitely.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN INDIA AND SICILY

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“Before leaving Pune, I went to the Burning Ghat again. There was a pyre. This time women were also present at the funeral. They stayed at a certain distance from the pyre except the wife of the dead man, who stood closer. She broke her bangle with a stone. There was also red powder scattered on the ground. ‘Why did she break her bangle?’ I asked a man next to me. ‘From now on, she won’t wear either bangles or colored saris. Moreover, she won’t put the sindoor on her forehead. It is the spot of red powder on the forehead of Indian married women,’ he answered. ‘What color should her sari be?’ ‘It should be white.’
“At that moment, I recalled my grandmother who had worn black clothes since her husband’s death. In India, it was the same. The color was different, white in India and black in Sicily, but the essence of the love toward their husbands didn’t differ.”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition 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

AN INDIAN NATUROPATH TALKS ABOUT VOID AND EVOLUTION

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“Prem introduced me to a friend of his. According to him, he was an exceptional man. Unlike Prem and Rajan, who wore Western style clothes, he wore Indian white clothes. He held his hand out to me and introduced himself. ‘I am a naturopath. My name is Hari. I live in a mountain of the Himalayas. My village is located three thousand meters high.’ ‘What is naturopathy?’ I asked. ‘Naturopathy is body treatment through the five elements: water, earth, air, fire, and void.’ ‘Is void an element? Doesn’t void mean nothingness?’ ‘No, it is not nothingness. Void means nothing and everything at the same time,’ Hari answered.”
“Uncle Salvatore, this third man you met at the Burning Ghat, seems to be a bit more learned than the other two. But I can’t understand his words. What does it mean, nothing and everything simultaneously?”
“He said, ‘Earth, stars, trees, rivers, and everything emerge and submerge in the void. Everything appears and disappears.’ ‘How does the process of emersion and submersion happen? What is the meaning of appearing and disappearing in the void?’ I asked. ‘It is beyond the mind. Nobody can explain it.’ ‘Do I have to believe blindly? Or is there something rational that I can understand?’ ‘Yes, there is something rational. Where does this tree come from? And where does this tree go? How does our body survive, and where does it go after death? This is the void,’ he concluded.”
“Uncle Salvatore, I sense that the void is like a stage. Actors can’t act without a stage. They come on stage, and then they make an exit. The void is like that, I think.”
“You are very smart, Benedetto. I am proud of you!”
“Then I asked him, ‘Is man a fruit of evolution, or a creature of God?’ ‘A human being is made of developed particles. God didn’t create the world. God created only one thing, the first big blast, and then his work was over. After the big blast, there has been the evolution of particles. ‘How did evolution set groups of well-disposed and homogeneous cells and give rise to intelligence? Did it happen by chance?’ ‘Not by chance! Bacteria come from the earth. We eat food, and after digestion we excrete. The excretion produces worms, insects, and then bigger insects, likewise, intelligence develops more and more to create self-consciousness. If you look at a leaf through a microscope, you’ll see the particles moving. This is called chemical resonance, which causes further evolution. Resonance is the movement inside the particles. All particles vibrate. The entire universe vibrates. Okay, now I have to go,’ said Hari.”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition 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