So, about a week ago I walked the inner path around the mountain again with a friend, Suzanne from Germany. It was a very pleasant walk. Technically one is supposed to go around in a silent meditative mood but we were talking and sharing our experiences in meditative mood instead.
We set off around 7am and once we had gone most of the way around and hit town we took the back streets instead of the unpleasant main road. It was quite a revelation. It was quite a peaceful village atmosphere, the streets were clean and the people were very friendly. We got accosted several times by groups of young children who were all smiles saying 'hello, how are you?', 'what is your name?' and 'where do you come from?'. I guess that those are the most common converstional english questions they learn in school. Then of course they are very keen for 'one pencil', 'one ruppee' and 'one chocolate please'!
Unfortunately I didn't have anything much to give them other than the first lot who I gave some bananas. Next time I go I'll try to remember to take a bag of pencils and maybe chocolates with me and I'm sure I'll be very popular. Actually it was a very nice experience and the children were very innocent, happy and sweet. They were very keen to be photographed and got a big kick out of seeing themselves on the digi-camera screen. I got some great pictures and have posted a selection on Facebook (hence the invitations to join some of you got).
After coming out of the village back streets we got some delicious freshly squeezed sugarcane juice and then proceeded up and across the side of the mountain towards the back of Ramana Ashram; completing our circuit and again avoiding the busy town. We climbed up to Virupuksha Cave and Skanda Ashram which are the two places where Ramana Maharishi spent much of the first twenty or so years of his time at Arunachala.
Suzanne took me to her favourite contemplation spot under a tree at the back of the small Skanda Ashram complex and we chilled out for a while. There was a band of monkeys jumping around in the trees around us and as I was about to leave a whole pile of very young ones came right up to me and were playing and pulling at me. It was quite special and I managed to take 3mins of video footage as well as some photo's which I will also post on facebook.
If you want to join Facebook then I have put a link on the left hand column of this blog page which will take you directly to the sign-up page. Registering is easy to do and you will have the option of allowing the website to search your email address book to locate friends who are already members and others who you might want to invite. If you don't want to do that there is an option at the bottom to skip those steps. So maybe see you on facebook sometime........