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."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Water Saw Her Lord and Blushed: Dnyaneshwar and Richard Crashaw

Dnyaneshwari ज्ञानेश्वरी(c 1290) is the first great book written in a modern European or an Indo-Aryan language.

Dante’s “Divine Comedy” (c 1308-1321), Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” (1380-1400), Sarala Dasa’s “Mahabharat” in Oriya (second half of the 15th century), Madhava Kandali’s “Ramayana” in Assamese (14th century), Tulsidas’s Ramacharitamanas in Hindi (1574-1577) all came later.

Dnyaneshwar ज्ञानेश्वर (1275-1296) writes:

"आणि गंगा शंभुचां माथां। संकोचली जेवि पार्था।
तेवि मान्यपदे सर्वथा। लाजनें जें॥" (16-203)

It describes the feelings of river Ganga as she landed on Lord Shiva's head on her way to the earth from heaven. She first felt very shy and then she blushed.

Cana is best known as the place where, according to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus performed his first public miracle, the turning of a large quantity of water into wine at a wedding feast.

Richard Crashaw(c.1613-1649), English poet, describes it thus:

"The conscious water saw its God, and blushed (original in Latin: Nympha pudica Deum vidit, et erubuit)."







'Ganga' in Bengali, Art by S S Havaldar

courtesy: Amar Chitra Katha