G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Will the President of India Receive Shankaracharya the way the Pope was in US?

George W. Bush and his family never looked happier on TV than when they received the pope at the White House. They celebrated pope’s birthday there. With more imagination, they could have got him to conduct Mass on the lawns.

BBC claimed it was the grandest reception ever seen at the White House.

I wondered if any head of the state in India would receive any religious leader in similar fashion.

I bet even L K Advani would not do it. India’s first prime minister J L Nehru frowned upon the overt religiosity of India’s first president- Rajendra Parsad.

The White House ceremony also partly explained why some of my Hindu NRI cousins and friends have turned rabidly religious since they went to USA.

America is a Christian nation and has been one since its birth. No wonder it’s always working on promising new treatments for what it calls ‘heresies’ around the world.


Artist: Ed Fisher The New Yorker 4 December 1989