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

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