A KILLER IN A SICILIAN TOMB

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I arrived at the tomb of a man who, when he was sixteen years old, killed a boy of his same age with one punch. The killer’s name was Gerlando Sferrazzanetti. He remained in jail for fifteen years. During this time he learned painting. His oil paintings depicted sacred images and traditions of Enna: the procession in honor of Our Lady on July 2, the Good Friday procession, the Church of Valverde, and the like.

Seeing his photo on the altar in his tomb, I had a feeling that he must have been a good man, the murder aside. His feature were gentle and his eyes sweet.

An epitaph had been engraved on his marble niche:

As a rosebud becomes a rose,

And a seed becomes a tree,

So the soul grows and evolves

Up to the last stage, the light of love

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

 

November 2 The Day of the Dead in Sicily

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November 2 is a special day in Sicily. The Day of the Dead is considered an important festival, when children receive gifts from the dead and eat special bone-shaped cakes. Cemeteries are overcrowded with people walking in the avenues, placing flowers at gravesites, and lighting candles in their tombs. Many Sicilian tombs look like small houses: They contain a room, an altar, and marble-walled niches.

Mario Chiaramonte goes to the cemetery on this day. Besides visiting the tombs of his relatives and friends, he strolls throughout the graveyard. On his walk, he stumbles on some special tombs. A few have an epitaph carved on the tombstone or above the altar.

The tombs he visits house the bodies of a Mafia boss, a literary man, a poet, a nobleman, and more. Mario recalls the salient moments of their lives, and at the same time sees himself from a different detached perspective.

Romance, adventure, life, death, the Mafia, good and evil, racism, and impermanence are themes throughout the novel. November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily is thought provoking and captivating from beginning to end.

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

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

MY REVIEW OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE

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Robert Lewis Stevenson studied law at Edinburgh University, but he never practiced as a lawyer.
Like Stevenson, I studied law.
What I have in common with him is trying to understand what is good and what is evil.
Stevenson came to the conclusion that good and evil are inside the human being. Everyone has some good and some evil inside himself. We cannot find a person who is completely good or completely bad.
In his masterpiece Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Stevenson expresses the dual nature of the human being. Good and Evil don’t come from outside, for both of them are innate in every individual.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are just metaphors that symbolize this ambivalence in humans.
By reading this superb book we broaden the horizons of our heart and become more tolerant of others.
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 IDEAS OF AFTERLIFE, GOOD AND EVIL ACCORDING TO AN INDIAN HOMELESS MAN

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“He watched the river and then turned to me. ‘What a beautiful landscape! Once people used to come here and walk along the bank of the river until late at night. Now this river is full of garbage. It flows into another river called Krishna. It is the only river of India flowing eastward before arriving in the Bay of Bengal.’ ‘What is your job?’ I asked. ‘I am a yoga teacher, now! I was rich at one time. Then I lost all my money at the stock market. I just followed the advice of the managers of the bank, but things didn’t go well.’
“I didn’t have any reason to doubt his words. Maybe he was rich at one time. Who knows! It is not unusual to fall from riches to rags. As he said that he was a yoga teacher, I thought he knew something about the relationship between body and soul. So I asked him, ‘Do you think there is life after death?’ ‘After death there is a mutation. It happens because the frequency changes and the wavelength changes, too. Then, resonance takes place according to the whole cosmos. Resonance is everywhere. It can be chaotic or smooth. Human intelligence has to learn to accept the polarity of destruction and creativity, which is one infinite energy. These days women can’t resonate due to the education system. The male scientific mutation dominates the feminine resonance, so we are proceeding toward a global suicide,’ he answered.”

“Did you ask his name, Uncle Salvatore?”
“Yes, I did. ‘My name is Prem. I had my first death experience at the age of eighteen. The second experience came through pranayama, yoga, and long-time vipassana, or cosmic self-love. I was dying during my prayers. My mind stopped slowly, and my body also stopped. No breath, only awareness and cosmic vibrations. Peace, oneness, feeling of being drunk in bliss, freedom, and being in the now and here, no future, no past.’ ‘You said that everything is mutation of wholeness. Trees, animals, stars, the moon, human beings, and so on are mutations. Is wholeness God?’ ‘I don’t use the word God, I use the word godliness. God is a noun, while godliness expresses action, creativity, and quality,’ he answered.
“I wanted to stop the conversation with him. But I continued to talk because I didn’t want to hurt him. So I asked him, ‘Are people with a low intelligence a mutation of godliness?’ ‘They are a mutation of our retarded social system.’ ‘Is our retarded social system a mutation of godliness?’ ‘It is a mutation of the animal kingdom.’ ‘But the animal kingdom is also a mutation of God!’ ‘Look! There are three things: pain, pleasure, and transcendence of both. If there is no pain, there is no pleasure and no transcendence. Godliness means all three: animal, human, and superhuman. Being human means that through the right effort man can transform the inner animal into a superhuman being. If we don’t try to transcend instinct, we are not human beings, yet. We are just animals with contracted hearts or maybe without hearts. We are just robots that act mechanically. Our scientific inventions created by our animal minds are of no avail to go beyond animality.’ ‘Does evil come from godliness?’ ‘Evil means a closed and contracted heart. Good means an open and expanded heart. It depends upon us and our educational system.’”
“This time I agree with him, Uncle Salvatore. His idea about good and evil is unique. Yes, if our heart is closed and contracted, we can be evil, while good is an expression of an open and expanded heart.”

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

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TO BE AND TO BEHAVE

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“Yes, gibberish helped me to clean my mind and meet my authentic being. Not only by doing gibberish, but also by studying, traveling, and attending religious meetings, I realized that what I am and how I act are not the same thing. You can be a good person but sometimes act badly, and vice versa, good actions can come from a wicked person sometimes.
“Therefore, don’t try to change your nature, rather change your actions! Accept whoever you are and don’t suppress your nature. Instead, try to act well. Your shortcomings are a part of yourself. ‘What I am is nothing, what I do is everything,’ someone said. What a person is and what a person does can be likened to the fruits of a tree. It is not important that a tree is good or bad, short or tall, upright or bent. What matters is that it brings forth good fruits.”
“Your opinion, Uncle Salvatore, doesn’t match with Jesus’s teachings. According to Matthew’s Gospel, it seems to be impossible that a bad tree can produce good fruits, and vice versa. Do you agree with Jesus?”
“Not much. Despite the great love I have for Jesus, I want to keep my opinion intact. On the other hand, all good masters set their disciples free to think in their own way. I think Jesus also allows me to express my opinion.”
“So, don’t I need to change myself?”
“Don’t change yourself, Benedetto! You must accept yourself as you are. A human being is like a beautiful painting with a variety of gradations and a myriad of colors. For instance, if you don’t like the color black and cut it off from the painting, it loses its originality and harmony of colors. If you change your nose, teeth, shyness, impulsiveness, and so on, you will be a different person, quite different from the original yourself.”
“I think the same goes for society.”
“Yes, Benedetto! The world is like a gigantic tapestry. Its weaving shows all the figures existing on Earth. There are vicious and meek animals, all kinds of plants, good and wicked people, and so on. Seen from the sky, the tapestry is fantastic. When you cut out what you dislike, for instance, mice, spiders, wild animals, bad people, and so on, many figures will disappear from the tapestry. It will be a different tapestry and will lose its unique beauty and splendor.”

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

MY MEETING WITH THE INDIAN HOMELESS

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“Uncle Salvatore, can a homeless person be educated? I can’t understand why a learned person becomes homeless.”
“Sometimes life makes a person fall into the worst situation. Benedetto, you can find a golden ring in the garbage by chance. Although he was homeless, Rajan was smart and extraordinary.”…

… “I felt that I had hurt his pride. He winced and answered quietly, ‘I live my life. I do my regular things.’ ‘What things?’ ‘Eating food and sleeping.’ ‘Just eating and sleeping? I don’t think it is enough in life. There are moments of life that you can’t live, such as traveling, dancing, working, drinking a glass of beer at a pub, loving a woman, and so on.’
“My remark was too obvious, so he couldn’t help agreeing with me. ‘Yes, you are right. But I want to focus on a particular job, a search for God. For the sake of my quest, I gave up certain aspects of life.’ ‘How do you lead your search?’ ‘Mostly, studying and learning from the environment and life itself, not from books. The most important aspect of the environment is people. A person’s behavior is different when he works.’ ‘Rajan, I think if you want to study people when they don’t work, you will always meet people like you. There are some groups of people that you can’t analyze. So there will be something missing in your quest.’
“I didn’t feel like continuing to talk about his private life. So I diverted the discussion to another topic. ‘Rajan, have you ever watched a burning corpse?’ ‘Yes, many times. I came here fourteen years ago. I sleep here in the shed provided for the homeless.’ ‘Have you ever asked yourself what will happen after death while watching a burning corpse?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And what is your conclusion? Does life after death exist?’ I asked him at that time, and still now I ask myself the same question.”
“Uncle Salvatore, still you wonder whether there is life after death or not? You have sifted this topic for a long time! You couldn’t find an answer, and you won’t find it as long as you are alive. After you die, you’ll be able to know the truth!”
“Benedetto, I have to search for an answer while I am alive. When I am dead, I can’t do anything.”
“I hope you can succeed. Now let’s go on.”
“Rajan answered, ‘Man gets many chances to purify his soul during his life. The Christians believe that they will go to heaven. Eastern religions believe that man will become one with God. Does life after death exist? Yes. Life is indestructible from alpha to omega, from beginning to end. No destruction. We are all children of God. He appears in human form to purify himself. He wants to separate good and evil, light and darkness.’
“Uncle Salvatore, God is perfect. He doesn’t need to get purified. It’s the first time that I’ve heard such a completely ridiculous statement. It is absurd what Rajan told you. Don’t you think so?”
“Yes, I do. But Rajan seemed to be sure about his ideas. He said, ‘I believe that God and Satan are the same being. In every man good and evil coexist. The creation was made to separate Satan from God.’ ‘How can you prove this assumption?’ ‘I can’t prove anything. This is just my insight, my intuition. It comes from my inner world.’ ‘How can you know whether your insight is right or not? It may be wrong and lead you astray,’ I said.”
“Uncle Salvatore, only you could lend your ear to that homeless man. Is it possible that God and Satan are the same being? Of course not. They are different.”
“Benedetto, I am open to all ideas. However, I, too, have some doubts about the oneness of God and Satan, or no separation between them. I have read Job’s story in the Bible. God conversed with Satan, as if they were sitting at the same table. They were discussing Job’s destiny!”
“It is interesting! I didn’t know about this passage of the Bible.”
“Rajan kept talking and asked me, ‘In the Bible it is written that God created the stars, the earth, the universe, and everything. Who created Satan? Tell me.’ I answered, ‘Satan was an angel of God. Later he betrayed God.’ ‘There is no mention in the Bible about Satan as an angel that betrayed God.’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Yes, I am one hundred percent sure! I have read the Bible, and I can assert that there is no mention about Satan as an angel in the Bible.’
“The long conversation with Rajan made me recall the days I had spent in studying the issue of good and evil. Many times, broaching this difficult topic, I had the insight that good and evil may come from the same source. Anyway, having an open mind and respecting others’ ideas are my strong points.

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