Placido Domingo prays for his throat
Slaven Bilić kneeling in Vodnjan
He then stayed longer and in conversation with the parish priest expressed how Vodnjan is a beautiful little town. He allowed himself three days, of what he calls an anonymous vacation, looking for solitude and peace because he is otherwise constantly bombarded by telephone calls and journalists. He rides his motorcycle because he easily passes through the busy summer roads and after the conversation he left to visit the Basilica of Saint Fosca to rest and pray.
Author Vesna Krmpotić returns to Vodnjan
The author Vesna Krmpotić, born in Dubrovnik in 1932, visited the Holy Bodies, the relics of the saints and the Basilica of Saint Fosca in Vodnjan. The author who started her career as a noted poet, was one of the first to study and translate Indian literature in Croatia. Together with her husband, a yugoslav ambassador, she lived in Egypt, USA and Ghana, with her most famous book being “The Hill Behind the Clouds”, an original dedication to her son Igor, who fell sick with leukaemia at the age of four. She quietly and curiously, as is her character, strolled through Vodnjan. She was here ten years ago and returned because she has missed this “most mystical place in the world”, she said quietly and with a smile on her face sent off the unwritten words of her rich soul. Let us single out some of her thoughts that she shared during her stay in Zagreb in the editorial offices of the National newspaper, the occasion being the presentation a collection of five volumes containing the world’s fairytales.
Writing is my contact with myself. In other words, a pleasure. And I don’t consider myself especially hardworking. I allow myself many things, I’m not an ascetic, I travel often, I spend a lot of time with people, I sleep a lot. I don’t exhaust myself with work. When they often ask me the question of how do I find the time to do all this, I usually answer that you find the time for the things you love. I write quickly, as if I were copying from a tablet, I don’t return to the “copied words”, I don’t correct anything. This is probably the reason behind it.
Each of the five volumes, what we could call an anthology, is dedicated to one important human virtue. They follow in this order: truth, righteousness, peace, love and non-violence. Why in that order? Because man first needs to discover truth to decide what is good and what is not, what is right and what is wrong. Only when he achieves a harmony between his thoughts, words and deeds, when he achieves the equality between “the starry heavens above us and the moral law within us”, can he experience something we refer to as peace. I would prefer to use the word serenity. In serenity, in the quietness of mind and its storms, man can feel and unclog what is truly important within him, and that is love. The fourth virtue is then, love. The fifth is non-violence, an attitude by which we recognize ourselves in the everything that surrounds us.
A blow to one is a blow to us. And vice versa, bread thrown in the water, returns to us from the spring. It is the law of reciprocation or of the deed that inevitably catches up with the doer. The Indians would call it the law of karma. I don’t think there is a culture anywhere in the world where that law is not known and emphasised, as much in the people’s experience as in the words of wise men and saints. Christ had unambiguously and clearly said the famous sentence about sowing and harvesting.
We did not invent love, truth and serenity, they are given to us as a viaticum. Our school education should place the most importance on the nurturing of virtues and character, because our future depends on this. A man brought up in this kind of spirit will be harder to persuade to endanger a fellow man or rob a bank than someone who has never touched the core of his own being. In some ways, it may be harder for the youth of today, because this hydra of cheap glamour has thousands of mischievous heads. In social realism everything was square and black and white, like a chessboard. Just look how many sneaky antics are being fed through the television and newspapers into our physical and mental bloodstream! How many young girls yearn for a humiliating podium, where they may become miss of this or than product, where they will lose their personality and nature. Where they will rent for money that which is most fleeting in this world, and that is their youth and their bodies. Then also that awful and eradicating subculture of fake folk. A newly composed genocide. Despite the wantonness of life, it seems to me, and I hope that I am not a wild dreamer when I say that more and more there is a visible stronghold in this universe : that is us, our interior life, our spirit, our indigenous humanity. The road to it, our life with it, self realisation, cannot be accomplished by anyone else except us, no society, no institution, no system. If spirituality is man’s true nature, then it has to be nurtured. If religions are outward signs of this vital spirituality, then they should be respected and followed.
Not only should Eastern Christians revere Western Christians, and vice versa, as should all other variants of Christianity, but they should revere and know other far older religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, and those younger, such as Islam.
In the programme we have been discussing this whole time, no religion is undermined nor overstated. They are all petals of the same flower. It is a flower thanks to its petals.
It once happened that I wore a small cross at a dinner reception. There was a big fuss about this small cross. It is funny today, but then it was a slap to the role my husband and all the others played. I didn’t wear this small cross in order to provoke someone, it would be too petty a tale. However, I couldn’t understand how such an important symbol had been banished from our lives. The ideology that wants to sit at the seat of religion is, in the very least, unreasonable. Today, many zealous opponents of that little cross are now zealous church-lovers, and do not wear a small cross but a big one. .