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Authors: Elizabeth Gilbert

Tags: #Autobiography, #Non-Fiction, #Travel, #Contemporary, #Spirituality, #Adult, #Biography

Eat, Pray, Love

BOOK: Eat, Pray, Love
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ALSO BY ELIZABETH GILBERT

Pilgrims
Stern Men
The Last American Man

VIKING

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

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First published in 2006 by Viking Penguin,
a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Copyright © Elizabeth Gilbert, 2006

All rights reserved

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA

Gilbert, Elizabeth, date.

Eat, pray, love: one woman’s search for everything
across Italy, India and Indonesia / Elizabeth
Gilbert p. cm.

ISBN 0-670-03471-1

1. Gilbert, Elizabeth, date—Travel. 2. Travelers’
writings, American. I. Title.

G154.5.G55A3 2006

910.4—dc22

[B] 2005042435

Printed in the United States of America

Set in Italian Garamond with Tagliente Display

Designed by Elke Sigal

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrightable materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

For Susan Bowen—

who provided refuge
even from 12,000 miles away

Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.
*

—Sheryl Louise Moller

*
Except when attempting to solve emergency Balinese real estate transactions, such as described in Book 3.

CONTENTS

Introduction

Book One

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Book Two

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Book Three

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76

Chapter 77

Chapter 78

Chapter 79

Chapter 80

Chapter 81

Chapter 82

Chapter 83

Chapter 84

Chapter 85

Chapter 86

Chapter 87

Chapter 88

Chapter 89

Chapter 90

Chapter 91

Chapter 92

Chapter 93

Chapter 94

Chapter 95

Chapter 96

Chapter 97

Chapter 98

Chapter 99

Chapter 100

Chapter 101

Chapter 102

Chapter 103

Chapter 104

Chapter 105

Chapter 106

Chapter 107

Chapter 108

Final Recognition and Reassurance

Eat, Pray, Love

or
How This Book Works
or
The 109th Bead

W
hen you’re traveling in India—especially through holy sites and Ashrams—you see a lot of people wearing beads around their necks. You also see a lot of old photographs of naked, skinny and intimidating Yogis (or sometimes even plump, kindly and radiant Yogis) wearing beads, too. These strings of beads are called
japa malas.
They have been used in India for centuries to assist devout Hindus and Buddhists in staying focused during prayerful meditation. The necklace is held in one hand and fingered in a circle—one bead touched for every repetition of mantra. When the medieval Crusaders drove East for the holy wars, they witnessed worshippers praying with these
japa malas,
admired the technique, and brought the idea home to Europe as rosary.

The traditional
japa mala
is strung with 108 beads. Amid the more esoteric circles of Eastern philosophers, the number 108 is held to be most auspicious, a perfect three-digit multiple of three, its components adding up to nine, which is three threes. And three, of course, is the number representing supreme balance, as anyone who has ever studied either the Holy Trinity or a simple barstool can plainly see. Being as this whole book is about my efforts to find balance, I have decided to structure it like a
japa mala,
dividing my story into 108 tales, or beads. This string of 108 tales is further divided into three sections about Italy, India and Indonesia—the three countries I visited during this year of self-inquiry. This division means that there are 36 tales in each section, which appeals to me on a personal level because I am writing all this during my thirty-sixth year.

Now before I get too Louis Farrakhan here with this numerology business, let me conclude by saying that I also like the idea of stringing these stories along the structure of a
japa mala
because it is so . . . structured. Sincere spiritual investigation is, and always has been, an endeavor of methodical discipline. Looking for Truth is not some kind of spazzy free-for-all, not even during this, the great age of the spazzy free-for-all. As both a seeker and a writer, I find it helpful to hang on to the beads as much as possible, the better to keep my attention focused on what it is I’m trying to accomplish.

In any case, every
japa mala
has a special, extra bead—the 109th bead—which dangles outside that balanced circle of 108 like a pendant. I used to think the 109th bead was an emergency spare, like the extra button on a fancy sweater, or the youngest son in a royal family. But apparently there is an even higher purpose. When your fingers reach this marker during prayer, you are meant to pause from your absorption in meditation and thank your teachers. So here, at my own 109th bead, I pause before I even begin. I offer thanks to all my teachers, who have appeared before me this year in so many curious forms.

But most especially I thank my Guru, who is compassion’s very heartbeat, and who so generously permitted me to study at her Ashram while I was in India. This is also the moment where I would like to clarify that I write about my experiences in India purely from a personal standpoint and not as a theological scholar or as anybody’s official spokesperson. This is why I will not be using my Guru’s name throughout this book—because I cannot speak for her. Her teachings speak best for themselves. Nor will I reveal either the name or the location of her Ashram, thereby sparing that fine institution publicity which it may have neither the interest in nor the resources for managing.

One final expression of gratitude: While scattered names throughout this book have been changed for various reasons, I’ve elected to change the names of every single person I met—both Indian and Western—at this Ashram in India. This is out of respect for the fact that most people don’t go on a spiritual pilgrimage in order to appear later as a character in a book. (Unless, of course, they are me.) I’ve made only one exception to this self-imposed policy of anonymity. Richard from Texas really is named Richard, and he really is from Texas. I wanted to use his real name because he was so important to me when I was in India.

One last thing—when I asked Richard if it was OK with him if I mentioned in my book that he used to be a junkie and a drunk, he said that would be totally fine.

He said, “I’d been trying to figure out how to get the word out about that, anyhow.”

But first—Italy . . .

BOOK: Eat, Pray, Love
8.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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