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, July 23, 2009

On an Eclipse Day, You can see Jayadratha's Flying Head!

On July 22nd, I went at 6:30 AM on my balcony to see what another solar eclipse meant. It was cloudy and raining. No sun alright but the sky looked weirdly dark. Birds and dogs were curiously quiet.

Slaying of Jayadratha in Mahabharata always puzzled me as a child. What did Lord Krishna do to block the sun?

We know the famous line from Bible:'And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.'

Here god was creating darkness.

"...Then Krishna otherwise called Hari, possessed of ascetic powers, that lord of all ascetics, having taken recourse to Yoga, created that darkness."

I admire the creativity of writers of Mahabharata.

How cleverly they embedded one of the most important celestial event in an animal's life on earth in their immortal tale!

When Arjuna decapitated Jayadratha with an arrow, the sky would have looked weird and animals quiet. What a setting for an unfolding epic tragedy.

"...During that terrible carnage resembling the slaughter of creatures at the end of the Yuga, in that deadly and fierce battle from which few could escape with life, the earth became drenched with gore and the earthy dust that had arisen disappeared in consequence of the showers of blood that fell and the swift currents of wind that blew over the field. So deep was that rain of blood that the wheels of cars sank to their naves..."

(The Mahabharata, Book 7: Drona Parva, Jayadratha-Vadha Parva)

(btw- I don't get to read such graphic violence in Marathi translation of Mahabharata!)

Yesterday we had to turn to TV for a glimpse of the eclipse. I didn't like it.

Should I have gone to a place where I could watch it in the sky?

Therefore I admire the New Yorkers in Alan Dunn's picture below. They prefer the real thing to The Hayden Planetarium.

Artist: Alan Dunn, The New Yorker, July 7 1945