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."

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