LIFE AND DEATH IN A SICILIAN CEMETERY AT NIGHT

cemetery-foggy-full-moon-night-street-old-european-43052736

While we were climbing the stairway to my tomb, an owl with a mouse in its claws fluttered its wings towards a cypress tree. Life was suddenly over for the little rodent. That is life! It is based upon violence. Without killing, carnivores cannot survive. The fish in the sea must eat the small ones so as not to depopulate the oceans. The eagles in the sky must bring some small animals to their nests. Otherwise, their species become extinct. There is a fragile balance in nature. The life of one being passes through the death of another. Once, a Jehovah’s Witness said to me that there will come a time on Earth when lions will live peacefully together with lambs; there will be no death, diseases, and violence. When will this time come? Surely not in a world like that in which we are living now. It would be another Earth.

What about human violence? There was a great philosopher named Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel who considered war unavoidable. Was he right? I can just say that wars have never ceased since the world started. Man kills just like animals. There is not much difference between animals’ violence and man’s violence. Both of them kill not only to survive, but also to protect their territories, because of hate, jealousy, and even just for the sake of killing.

At the end of the stairway, we turned left and arrived at my tomb.

This is an excerpt from November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2 The Day of the Dead in Sicily
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

WONDANGAM, A GOOD TEMPLE FOR ZEN MEDITATION IN KOREA

20191006_163725
The Zen Center was in the woods. The drinking water flowed from the ground naturally. There were about ten buildings in the area. All of them were made of wood in traditional Korean style.
My roommate was the only one who spoke English fluently. As soon as I arrived, we met the Zen master. We bowed in front of him and then he started talking, while my roommate translated his words into English.
“I’ll give you something on what to meditate. This something is just a question: “WHAT IS THIS?” said the Zen master.
After the meeting was over, I asked my roommate the meaning of this words.
He answered, “The question “What is this?” implies something or somebody that asks the question. “This” can be considered the original engine of your actions.”
While I meditated by asking myself “What is this?”, I watched myself to find out whether I was made just of flesh, bones, and blood or there was some energy inside me. I couldn’t find the answer, but by meditating on such a question for twenty days, I purified my mind. The question “What is this?” chased away all the thoughts that had crammed my mind for a long time. My mindset changed, and I felt almost reborn.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

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

TWO WAYS TO LIVE LIFE

flying-doves-two-together-harmony-interesting-to-see-similarities-difference-feathers-104346959[1]

There are two ways to live our lives. One is to be content with little, remain confined to one’s own birthplace, and lead a peaceful life. The other is to get out of one’s friendly environment and venture into the unknown for the sake of knowledge and exploration. Opting for one way instead of the other doesn’t depend on one’s merit, but on the inner psychological makeup. As for me, if I didn’t suffer from a pathological anxiety and fear of death, I would never have started my journey around the world in search of a solution to the issue.
My mother always used to repeat that neither bad weather nor good weather lasts long. It was a good lesson, and now the bad weather in Rishikesh seemed to be an allegory of life, which passes through sunshine and storms. Sometimes it flows smoothly and sometimes stormy, but it is worth living to the fullest.

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)

WP_20190225_18_38_49_Pro

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

FEAR OF DEATH

young-woman-experiences-fear-death-18602570[1]

It was the fifth time that I had come in touch with death. My grandfather, Biagio, Pietrino, Vincenzo, and my grandmother had all passed away. What had happened to them? Had they disappeared into thin air forever, or were they still alive in another dimension? What will become of me once I am dead?
The terror of my annihilation grips me day and night. What if there is no life after death? What to do? At the mere thought that I will simply be sleeping forever, I fall into desperation. Is it just delusion to believe in life after death? Does the immaterial world exist? I mused upon my fear of death, and finally decided that I had to do something to better understand the topic. In my opinion, human beings put aside the issue of death and life after death, even though it may be the most important subject to learn more about.
Time flies very fast, and sooner or later we will die. We have to leave our possessions to our heirs. We have to part from the people we love, and we have to quit our identity, our name, and our role in society.
I had no other means to do this kind of research except by using my mind and reasoning, and collecting information from learned people and books. I wanted to know whether or not there is some kind of immaterial entity or energy inside our body. Where does the inner energy go when it leaves the body?

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

DOES DESTINY EXIST?

statue-three-fates-st-stephen-s-green-dublin-irelan-ireland-96378176[1]

In Greek mythology, the Fates, three ladies dressed in white, symbolized man’s fate. The first of them, Clotho, spun the thread of life on her spindle; the second one, Lachesis, measured its length by her rod; the third, called Atropos, cut the thread of life at her will. Nobody was able to oppose them. Even almighty Zeus was powerless against them; he was unable to change the destiny of a person even if he firmly wished it.

The issue about the existence of destiny more or less remains unsolved. People’s lives look like numberless straight lines, each one a different color and nuance, which  emanate from a common center. Like the rails of a railway, they never meet, and each of them follows its own predetermined course. According to many theologians, and even in some passages from Martin Luther and Saint Paul, the trajectories of our lives follow a route already set. They believed that God has prearranged everything. Poets, philosophers, and writers think in the same way.
Free will is just illusion; man cannot act apart from the events that drag him here and there like a flag, which changes direction according to the wind that is blowing. It is as if a great architect had already designed a path for every living being to follow, as a director does when giving the actors roles in a play.

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 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

 

AUM, THE BASIC SOUND OF LIFE

violet-aum-om-10911576[1]

“Yes, he was a pure spirit who loved music. I asked him, ‘I want to know something more about the sound OM.’ He answered, ‘AUM, pronounced OM, is the basic sound of life. When you utter OM, your energy level increases. The sound OM creates silence. It’s not a common sound. It’s the sound of silence. When you are listening to good music, it takes you to silence because you feel relaxed. It seems a paradox, but the sound of music takes you to silence. In India, people believe that the sound OM already exists in the universe. You can hear it when you are silent.’
“I asked him, ‘You said that if you tune the C-sharp of the harmonium to OM, the effect is increased when you sing it. Is it right?’ ‘You can use any note, but the lower notes like the C-sharp are better. If you sing the mantra OM every day, you’ll feel energetic and get into silence. When you are silent, you can get rid of what disturbs your mind, and then you can think more clearly. If you are not silent, the clouds and the garbage keep moving in your mind and you can’t think or act properly. First, you have to throw out your inner garbage, and then you can get peace of mind. My teacher who taught me to play the sitar is eighty-two years old, but he looks young and his face radiates good energy, for he plays music every day. If you play music, your heart never gets old.’

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

LIFE AT THE BURNING GHAT

death-corpse-burning-cremation-fire-pashupatinath-temple-kathmandu-nepal-36811851[1]

“I also used to go to the Burning Ghat, a square by the bank of the Mula-Mutha River. Hindus burned the dead bodies of their dear ones in that place. The Burning Ghat was easily accessible from the street with the same name. On the left side of the square was the temple dedicated to Chanchal Das Baba. At the entrance his picture was hung on the wall. In the temple there was also a rectangular pit with ashes and a big log which burned slowly. The person in charge of the temple told me that the fire had been kept lit since Chanchal Das Baba’s dead body was burned there. ‘What was special about Chanchal Das Baba?’ I asked him. ‘He was blessed by Lord Shiva. As such, he was very powerful. He used his powers to help the homeless by providing them with food, shelter, and blessings.’
“The temple was austere, with nearly ten small statues of Hindu gods. It looked like a morgue or a place where the dead rest for some time before continuing their journey toward an unknown world. I had seen something similar at Pashupati Temple in Kathmandu where a special indoor area was provided to dying people.
“Outside the temple, an area had been arranged to provide a shelter for the homeless. There were some steps opposite the pits where the dead were placed to be burned. I guessed that the relatives of the dead used to sit on the steps. At night some tramps slept there. In the square, six pits, all of them approximately thirty centimeters deep, were paved with clay bricks and were iron-edged. The square was surrounded by green benches. Some were made of iron and some of cement. At the back of the pits were water taps placed above a tiled washbasin and connected to a tank.
“I don’t know why, but I enjoyed staying at the Burning Ghat. I felt comfortable there. I watched corpses burning for hours, contemplated death and where we are going after death.”
“Sometimes I can’t understand you, Uncle Salvatore. Instead of enjoying the life in the ashram and making friends, you went to the Burning Ghat to watch burning corpses. I have a feeling that you preferred death to life, didn’t you?”
“No, I didn’t. At that time I speculated about life and death. I tried to see whether the burning bodies released a soul or a kind of energy.”
“How can you see the soul with your eyes? It is absurd.”
“I don’t give up trying until I find the answer to my question. It is my shortcoming and merit too.”
“Did you find out anything about life after death at the Burning Ghat?”
“Maybe not, but the horizons of my insight broadened a lot.”
“Let me know what you learned at the Burning Ghat, Uncle Salvatore.”
“Okay. Usually, after a body has been burned, the ashes and a few bones remain in the pit for one or two days. Apparently not all the bones burn out. Then the families of the dead person take away both the ashes and the bones.
“One day, I saw a few men set a corpse inside a heap of wood and cowpat chapati in one of the pits of the Burning Ghat. They poured some ghee on the pyre and started the fire in two different spots. A man dressed in white filled an earthenware pot with water and stood in front of the pyre for a few minutes. With a special tool, someone made a hole in the pot, and the water started to come out. While the water was leaking from the pot, the man walked around the pit clockwise. Then a second and a third hole were made in the pot, and the man walked around the pit twice more while the water kept leaking. Finally, he got back to the starting point and dropped the pot. The leftover water spilled from the broken pot. The man dressed in white squatted down and broke the pot into tiny pieces.”
“What is the meaning of this ritual, Uncle Salvatore?”
“When the funeral was over, I asked the man dressed in white to explain to me the symbolism of the ritual he had performed. ‘I am the eldest son of the dead man. So, it’s my duty to pay funeral honors to my father, but don’t ask me about the symbolism because I don’t know it. I just follow our family tradition. The ritual is transmitted from generation to generation. However, you can ask Rajan, a good friend of mine about it. He is educated and lives just here in the shelter for the homeless,’ he answered.”

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