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."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The First Great Writer in Hindi was a Marathi?

PAUL GOODMAN: "...For most of its history Islam has been the most relaxed of the three faiths. It neither aches for the coming of a Messiah nor announces that outside the Church there is no salvation. It offers monotheism for all — a kind of Judaism for the masses..." (Spectator, 31 MARCH 2010)

Vinoba Bhave (विनोबा भावे) gives a fascinating account of Saint Namdev (1270-1350?)'s (संत नामदेव) life in his book "Namdevanchi Bhajane" (नामदेवांची भजने), 1946.

(p.s. Please see earlier posts on Namdev here and here.

In this post, I am sharing more information that I have learnt since then.)

Vinoba argues that Namdev spent almost twenty years in Punjab because Islam there was spreading very fast and Namdev wanted to convey to masses how Hinduism too had the same qualities that were attracting followers to Islam...And he succeeded in his mission big time.

Vinoba also argues that Namdev was the first great classical writer in Hindi ('पहिला अभिजात उत्तम लेखक').

Remember, Nanak (1469–1539) came almost two hundred years after Namdev. Guru Arjan Dev (1563–1606) , who followed another hundred years later, edited and compiled bhajans that went into the Guru Granth Sahib.

It means Namdev's bhajans had already lasted for three hundred years thanks to their popularity among masses of Punjab! Today, 660 years later, they are as popular, if not more.

Think about it. Which Maharashtrian celebrity amongst us will be as popular in 2670CE as he/she is today? And then think again of Marathi Bhakti saints!