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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Enjoyment of Aesthetic Experience- Jyotirao Phule ज्योतीराव फुले and Nanasaheb Peshwa नानासाहेब पेशवे

Marathi readers are fortunate that Marathi became the chosen medium for some of the best poetry in the world.

Marathi prose has not scaled the same heights though.

There are some exceptions. Here are two of them.

John Maynard Keynes(1883–1946): “…one's prime objects in life were love, the creation and enjoyment of aesthetic experience and the pursuit of knowledge.”

One of the greatest personalities of India, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule महात्मा ज्योतीराव फुले (1827-1890) knew that well.

Following is one of the most moving passages I have read in Marathi. Its author Phule imagines what our pre-religion-caste ancestors must have witnessed in the nature around them.

The last line reads:
“…looking at this, ancestors of our human brothers who call themselves Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Mahar, Brahmin etc must be feeling so delighted!”

(click on the picture to get a magnified view)
source: शेतकर्याचा आसूड Shetkarayacha Aasud (Cultivator's Whipcord), July 1883

Jyotiba had no respect for Brahmin rulers of Pune- Peshwas. Peshwas, never visionaries like Shivaji or Akbar, were products of their time. But most of them did show some great qualities.

Nanasaheb (1720 or 1721 - 1761) नानासाहेब पेशवे- wrote following letter that brings out the finest qualities of his personality.

Nanasaheb wrote it when Marathas were campaigning in southern India. The letter describes qualities of south Indian landscape and people inhabiting it.

(click on the picture to get a magnified view)
source: पेशवेकालीन महाराष्ट्र Peshwekalin Maharashtra by वासुदेव कृष्ण भावे Vasudev Krushna Bhave, 1936