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, 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