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."

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Spell of the House-Breaker may not always Work

Vedas are interesting, lively books. Here is an example.

RIG- VEDA Book vii. Hymn 55. VASTOSPATI AND INDRA:

THE SPELL OF THE HOUSE-BREAKER

[The hymn appears to be made up of three unconnected pieces. The first verse is addressed to Vastospati, the guardian god of the house. Verses 2-4 are addressed by the spirits of Indra's worshippers to one of Yama's dogs who would prevent there entering the home of the pious dead. Sarama, the hound of Indra, was the mother of the two spotted watch-dogs of Yama. Verses 5-8 form a sleep song. It was recited by thieves and house-breakers to put people to sleep.]

5. Sleep mother, let the father sleep, sleep dog , and master of the house.
Let all the kinsmen sleep, sleep all the people who are round about.

6. The man who sits, the man who walks, and whosoever looks on us,
Of these we closely shut the eyes, even as we closely shut this house.

7. The Bull who hath a thousand horns, who rises up from out the sea
By him the strong and mighty one we lull and make the people sleep.

8. The women sleeping in the court, lying with- out, or stretched on beds,
The matrons with their odorous sweets 1 these, one and all, we lull to sleep

('THE RIG- VEDA and VEDIC RELIGION WITH READINGS FROM THE VEDAS' BY A. C. CLAYTON

Author of The Paraiyan (Madras Government Museum Bulletin), Gangai's Pilgrimage, T-he Tamil Bible Dictionary, etc.
CHRISTIAN LITERATURE SOCIETY FOR INDIA, LONDON AND MADRAS, 1913)


Artist: Charles Barsotti, The New Yorker, 6 April 2009, Cartoon Caption Contest #187

My caption:

“Oh, My god! He is either Greek or Roman. 'The Spell of the House-Breaker' recited in Sanskrit has not lulled him to sleep.”