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

HUMAN ISLANDS

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Everybody has his or her inner world, but it is different from one another.
The same went for my wife. Even though we had been married for a long time, our inner landscapes differed. My wife had the good habit of keeping a diary since her school days. She writes down everything she sees and what happens to her every day. When we compared our writings about Goa, we discovered that we had written and portrayed different things and situations. I had written about human behavior, while she had focused her attention on love. She had noted down the inscriptions that many lovers drew on the moist sand. There were a lot of details in her diary that I hadn’t noticed.

“I am sure,” I said to my wife, “that if we ask each person in Goa to write their impressions, everyone will note down something different. Some will focus their attention on the sun that dives into the ocean, marking the end of the day. Others will talk about the evening star that gleams a few minutes after the sun has set, or they will describe the ebbs and flows and the small fish that come near the shoreline and then dart towards the ocean. Some will focus their attention on the hang gliders that depart from the hill, or about the sky lanterns that fly across the beach at night, while others will tell of the many stray dogs on the beach that seem to be familiar with tourists.
“Why there is such a difference in the way people see places and situations?”
“It happens because we are all different from one another,” my wife answered. “There is a difference, a veil of incommunicability that separates all living creatures. Love and understanding are the bridge that makes communication and dialog possible.”

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

WALKING ON THE BEACH OF ARAMBOL, GOA (INDIA)

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Many people lay down to get a tan or chatted in the bars in the afternoon. Most tourists were Westerners, many of them from Russia. It seemed to me that they were all leading an existence devoid of goals. They chatted, played on the beach, swam, and took pictures. There were two ladies who enjoyed being photographed close to a bull lying on the beach. Sometimes I asked myself if it was me who was the real outcast, someone who persisted in searching for a goal in life, while life actually has no end.

Over the days, I noticed that not everyone who spent their holiday in Goa was devoid of inner content. In the yoga class there were youngsters who looked very learned in the spiritual field. At the break of day the shore swarmed with people doing meditation, yoga, and other spiritual activities. Some played the flute, others the drum. Others did walking meditation, which is a kind of meditation based on watching one’s own steps. Others did laughing meditation, which is obviously based on laughing. From this I inferred that no one on Earth is devoid of spirituality. Everybody has his or her inner world, but it is different from one another.

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

 

MY REVIEW OF AT THE FEET OF THE MASTER BY J. KRISHNAMURTI

AT THE FEET

When I was a university student, the professor of civil law said, “Don’t take my words as gospel truth! You must check what I say and do your own research.”
Reading At the Feet of the Master, I recalled the words I heard from my professor a long time ago.
In this book J. Krishnamurti answers questions about life, meditation, and the like.
Undoubtedly, he is a great master, but I want to discuss his teachings, instead of accepting them blindly.
A student asks Krishnamurti, “Can you tell us the meaning and purpose of our living?”
The master replies, “What do you mean by life? Does life have a meaning, a purpose? Is not living itself its own purpose, its own meaning? We prefer to run away from ourselves, and that is why we seek the purpose of life away from relationship.”
He may be right, but I think we had better verify what the master, any master, says, living life in our way and searching for the purpose of life!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MYSTERIES BY RUDOLF STEINER

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I used to be a lawyer for thirty-seven years. Every time I faced a case, I took care of supporting my thesis with evidence.
Egyptian Myths and Mysteries by Rudolf Steiner turned upside down my mindset. In fact, the author gives no evidence of what he claims. But, it doesn’t entail that what he writes is pure fantasy.
According to Rudolf Steiner, there was a time when the earth, the moon and the sun were one single mass. Then, the earth and the moon separated from the sun, and finally the moon separated from the earth.
During the evolutive process, man underwent a progressive transformation. He became materialistic and his soul was about to die. To prevent the death of the human soul, Jesus came to the earth and saved humanity through his sacrifice.
I heard about Rudolf Steiner when I was a member of an esoteric group long ago. My brethren considered him a great writer. They said that one must be an initiate to know the occult and esoteric truths. Who knows, they might be right.
I enjoyed reading Rudolf Steiner’s Egyptian Myths and Mysteries. It was easy to read and broadened the horizons of my mind.

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 LOVE?

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When I lived with Sebastiano on the estate in Pollicarini, the farmhand took care of the she-asses that he co-owned with my family. We didn’t have to worry about the condition of the animals, and the farmer looked after them as if they were his family members. He curried them often. You could see their good health from the brilliance of their coats.
Whenever he took one of the she-asses out from the stable, they both brayed, pawed the ground, and got restless. They couldn’t endure being parted. Later on, after they were reunited, they showed their happiness by smelling each other.
Was that love? Why shouldn’t it be considered love? Love for friends or partners belongs to the nature of all creatures. It can be considered a gift of nature. There is no difference between animals and human beings when it comes to love.
In some species love is stronger than humans. There are many animals that are monogamous. The pre-eminent monogamous species is the emperor penguin, but there are many other birds and a few mammals with strong dispositions to love. The mandarin ducks, also called loving birds, have only one union in their life. When one of the mates dies, the other won’t accept a different partner and remains alone for the rest of its life.
The logical corollary of what I expounded on above is that the love we have for our children, our friends, and our relatives doesn’t add any merit to our being, because the feelings we express don’t depend upon our free will and heart. We just instinctively express a kind of love that is not dissimilar to that of animals.
Real love is different…

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

MY REVIEW OF LIVE ZEN BY OSHO

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I have tried to find Zen doctrine, but without avail. Finally, I have come to the conclusion that Zen doesn’t have it.
According to tradition, the first Zen Patriarch was Mahakasyapa to whom Buddha transmitted the wordless dharma, from mind to mind.
Osho explains the reason why there is no Zen doctrine: Words cannot convey the truth. The transmission of truth can happen just from mind to mind, from heart to heart. Since there are no words to explain dharma, Zen masters use paradoxes. In his Live Zen, Osho unravels the meaning of some Zen paradoxes.
What surprised me in this book was his interpretation of the series of paintings called The Ten Bulls of Zen. They are just metaphors. In the pictures, the cowherd is the searcher for enlightenment which is symbolized by the ox. They show the ten stages to enlightenment. Surprisingly, in the last stage the cowherd, after catching the ox, that is, after reaching the truth, goes to the marketplace. He returns to the ordinary life and remains in the world. Enlightenment doesn’t entail staying isolated, but living with others.
In the last chapter of Live Zen, Osho talks about a kind of meditation called no-mind. It consists of three parts. The first part is gibberish, a meaningless language, the second part is sitting silently, the third part is just relaxing.
I enjoyed this book, and I have a plan to experience Zen meditation sooner or later.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo