“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



“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





“Apparently you could make friends easily, Uncle Salvatore. Listening to you, I sense that you felt in India as comfortable as in your own country.”
“Benedetto, my country is the world. My hometown is the place where I am at the moment. In other words, if I am in New York, my hometown is New York, if I am in Moscow, my hometown is Moscow, if I am in Addis Ababa, my hometown is Addis Ababa, and so on.”
“I think you were lucky to find a piano academy in India. They play other instruments in Indian music such as sitar or harmonium.”
“Yes, I was lucky. But the academy was different from that in Isola. As soon as I entered there, I saw several musical instruments in one room. I couldn’t expect that they gave lessons for the violin, guitar, keyboard, and piano simultaneously. When I went to the academy for my first lesson two days later, two students were playing the violin, one the guitar, two the piano, and one the drums in the adjacent room. All those sounds didn’t annoy me. On the contrary, there was a delightful harmony of noisy sounds.
“The teacher was a young woman called Swara. She was quite fat, with long wavy black hair down to her shoulders. If she had been less fat, she would have been a beautiful woman, but her fatness made her body look like a wine bag. “I sat down at a black upright piano and started playing by reading the score on the piano. Now and then, the teacher came and checked my practice. If my playing was acceptable, she turned the page of the piano book to a new page.
“At that time, I wondered whether this was useless work. I was too old to learn a musical instrument. But I felt that playing the piano was like a kind of meditation that made me a less cerebral person.
“After I finished the piano lesson at the music academy, I went to Ravi’s home. He showed me his favorite musical instrument, the sitar. ‘The sitar is an Indian string musical instrument used in classical music. The sound box is made from a pumpkin. The strings are supported by two ivory bridges. Sometimes in the cheaper sitars, they use bones of a camel as bridges. The number of the strings ranges from eighteen to nineteen. There are two rows of strings, seven on the upper part of the sitar and twelve on the lower part,’ Ravi explained like a teacher.”
“Uncle Salvatore, it seems that the sitar is similar to the viola d’amore. You’ve already talked about this musical instrument when you met the lawyer Bruno.”
“They are not similar, Benedetto. The viola d’amore looks like a violin or a cello. The sitar looks like a guitar. However, the common thing of these musical instruments is that some strings vibrate though they are untouched. It was the first time that I saw a sitar.
“Ravi went on, ‘When two strings are tuned in the same frequency, it doesn’t matter if the string is in the upper part or in the lower part, whenever you pluck one of them, the other string vibrates.’ ‘Some time ago I heard about vibrations from a friend of mine in my hometown. He said that everything vibrates in the universe. Do you agree with him?’ ‘Yes, I do. Everything in the universe has its own frequency. The frequencies are measured in hertz. For instance, if the frequency of the glass I am holding in my hand now is x hertz, when you produce the sound of x hertz, both frequencies are the same and the glass vibrates. Everything vibrates, both organic and inorganic matter, both material and immaterial. That’s why when beautiful music is played, our whole body vibrates. Our bodies are made of many particles that react to the various sounds.’ ‘Do you believe in the existence of the soul, Ravi? If yes, I want to know whether the soul can vibrate as well,’ I asked Ravi.”
“Uncle Salvatore, I want to know whether you believe in the soul or not.”
“I don’t know, Benedetto. I’m not sure about that.
“Ravi said, ‘The world is made of energy. When a musical instrument is played and you feel well, it happens because the sound contains positive energy. On the contrary, when you hear the noise of the cars and horns in the street, you are stressed. There are two kinds of energy. One is good, and the other is bad. The world is ruled by two opposite energies. Everything is energy, and Einstein proved it by the well-known formula, E=mc2. It means that energy can change into matter and matter into energy.’ ‘Is the soul energy?’ I asked.
“Ravi lit a candle. Then he went on. ‘The human body and the soul are similar to a candle. When the human candle is burned out, it can’t contain the soul, which leaves the body. Stones are also energy, for they are not dead. There are souls in the universe when an embryo enters the womb. It attracts a soul with the same frequency. When you work under pressure or have pain, your body loses its natural positive frequency. That’s why you need good music to harmonize your body. The soul can feel vibrations as well. Body and soul are connected, and both vibrate. Words and thoughts have vibrations, too. If we say something or think of something, our words or thoughts create vibrations. Do you know why we met? It happened because we have the same frequencies. We both love music. If we had had different frequencies, our meeting wouldn’t have been possible. People attract one another according to their frequencies. Among millions of people in the world, you can attract your soul mate who has a frequency similar to yours. It is like playing the sitar. The string that vibrates in resonance must have the same frequency as the string you pluck.’ ‘What is the difference between frequency and vibration?’ ‘Frequency is the number of vibrations in a second. It is measured in hertz. Hertz are the number of vibrations. In other words, one hertz is one vibration, two hertz are two vibrations, and so on.’

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



“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



“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



I stood in front of the gilded dome for a short while and then entered the temple. At the entrance, a man asked me to take my shoes off and wash my feet. He picked up a reddish headscarf from a large basket and wrapped it around my head. At last, I was allowed to go in. There were two prayer rooms; the floors were covered with white sheets and no chairs. I noticed that the best places to sit down were by the pillars because I could lean my back against the pillar while sitting on the floor. I chose one of those places and sat down. I turned my head slowly to one side and then to the other side to see what kind of people were sitting there. The women were on the left side; the men on the right. Between the two groups, a long central space was left clear. Opposite me, on the left side, there was a window divided into three smaller ones. Three women, each in one of the small windows, seemed to be reading a book. At the center, I saw a lectern with a book on it. (Later, I knew it was the holy book of the Sikhs.) Standing behind the lectern, a man slowly waved a fan made of feathers over the holy book. Every about ten minutes, the person behind the lectern alternated. On the right side, there was a wooden platform with a small harmonium and a man was playing it.
Close to me, there was an olive-skinned man with a white turban and a graying, long beard. He looked quite relaxed while waiting for the ceremony to start. From time to time, he turned to me and looked at me in the eyes. Obviously, he wanted me to ask him something.
“In which town are we?” I asked.
“Is this a Hindu temple?”
“No, we are Sikhs.”
“Our religion was revealed to Guru Nanak Dev by God; then, the precepts were handed down to other gurus and collected in our holy book.”
“I am looking for a guru, a spiritual master. Can I find a guru in this temple?”
“Why do you think a guru is helpful to you?”
“I would like to progress in my spiritual path and know whether everything ends or whether there is something that survives the annihilation of the body when a living being dies.”
“To know the answer there is only one way. You have to ask God for help. Our religion is based on praising God and calling for his help. Do you expect that the human being can progress in his life without God’s protection and guidance? Reflect upon it for an instant! There is only one guru indeed. Life itself is the real guru or master. Live your life intensely. It will be your best guru. No guru is greater than life. Who taught you the way to arrive at this Sikh temple?”
“Circumstances, chance, fate!”
“In a sense, it is true. Man deceives himself about having his own willpower. One believes he is capable of making decisions, but actually the individual has no decision-making power. Only circumstances take the lead. We are like flags blown by every wind. Everything is fortuitous — to be born in that town and not in another place, to have those parents, families, and friends, not others. Even the encounters we make in the course of the day depend upon fortuitousness. You can make all the efforts you can and read as many books as those kept in the Library of Alexandria, but if the circumstances are not favorable for you, your efforts and knowledge will remain a dead letter. It is up to you to establish if there is mere chance or something else, some entity behind the happenings. In my opinion, the one who creates the circumstances is only God. Since God is the one who controls the events, it is natural that we invoke Him. But you, as a Christian, can invoke your master, Jesus. The result is the same.”
At the end of the ceremony, everyone was handed a bit of sweet, purplish pastry. Then, in a little procession, the holy book was carried along the central aisle and placed in an adjacent room. The man whom I had talked to before busied himself in tidying up the prayer room, folding the sheets, and cleaning the area where the holy book had been exposed.
When I was about to leave the temple, a man came up to me and asked me to accept the food that was being offered in the dining room. So, I entered a room where there were a few long carpets for people to sit down and eat the meal offered by the community. The food was vegetarian, abundant, and tasty. Each one took his own metal tray, which had four or five sections, and got in line to receive his ration. When my turn came, they put yogurt, some well-seasoned rice, and other spicy, Indian specialties, typical of the cooking of the Sikhs, in each section of my tray. Moreover, they gave me some soft bread similar to our dough for pizza.
I took my tray full of food and sat down at one side of those carpets to eat my meal. A man close to me talked about the meaning of that food, which was so abundant and free.
“Sikhism,” he said, “has eliminated castes and discriminations among the people who belong to different social levels or classes. We are equal before God. Eating together strengthens the feeling of equality.”…

This is an excerpt from Travels of the Mind
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind




At dawn, I went to the beach for my usual jogging. It was a foggy day, and the sun seemed to be unwilling to rise.

As I jogged on the beach, I felt like running amid the clouds. It was as if maya (illusion) mixed reality with dream.

Then, I recalled an experience that happened to the Chinese master, Chuang-tzu.

Last night,” he said, “I dreamed to be a butterfly. Now, I don’t know if I am a man who dreamed to be a butterfly or a butterfly that dreams to be a man.”

I sympathize with him. We cannot be sure if we are living a real life or we are dreaming.

Anyway, how about following the way our heart directs us? It cannot lead us astray.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind




Walking on the beach in the evening, I saw a small temple that had a festival atmosphere.

Around the temple there were vendors of flowers, bananas, sweets, and toys. There was also music and drum rolls.

Made curious, I walked to the small temple. There was a statue of a god inside.

What is the name of this god?” I asked an old man who looked like a local.

His name is Someshwar.” He answered.

What does Someshwar mean?”

It means ‘protector of the borders.’ All fishermen, whatever religion they have, worship him, because they go far away in the ocean. They believe that Someshwar protects them from the perils of the sea.”


Behind the temple there is a tree. I saw somebody put offerings on it. Is it a sacred tree?” I asked.

Not sacred.”

So, why people put garlands of flowers, coconuts, and bananas on its trunk and light candles in front of it?”


Nobody can see the real God. Anything can become God. If somebody worships a tree and puts offerings on it, other people will follow him and the tree will become holy. All religions are made by followers.” The old man said.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind




A few days ago, I heard of a Russian lady who was jogging on the beach of Arambol when about ten dogs surrounded her. One of them, which was a puppy, jumped up to her arm.

Probably, the puppy wanted to play with her, but it scratched her arm with its sharp canine teeth. She washed the very small wound with sea water and kept jogging. Later, the owner of the guesthouse advised her to go to the doctor.

It was a guy from Austria who told me what had happened. He knows India very well.

He also said that fifty thousand people die every year because of rabies in India. There are many healthy carrier dogs. They look healthy, like the puppy that bit the Russian lady, but they are rabid.

Actually, rabies is widespread in India. Whenever a street dog bites you or even scratches you with his teeth, don’t hesitate to run to the doctor for the full course of post bite injections: five shots.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind




A mandala is a ritual drawing or painting usually round-shaped. It symbolizes the universe.

In some parts of India, every day housewives draw a colorful mandala in front of their house. To make it they use chalk powder which they drop from their hand very skillfully. Over the day the drawing of mandala fades away because people step on it.

Walking on the beach of Goa, I could find somebody who draws a mandala on the seashore. The work will not last long. Soon the tide will erase it.

While looking at a mandala on the sand, I recalled what once happened in an ancient Zen Monastery. A master gave his disciple the task of heaping dry leaves under the blowing wind. There was a deep meaning in that seemingly absurd task?

A mandala drawn with chalk powder or a mandala on the sand has the same meaning of heaping dry leaves under the wind? I think they symbolize our life. Every day we strive to heap dry leaves that the wind will blow away sooner or later. Every day we draw our mandala which will disappear tomorrow like that on the sand.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind