मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

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);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Was Lord Krishna's Panchjanya a Matchless Cone (Conus cedonulli)?

(Today is my mother's 73rd birth anniversary. Thank you, Aai for those wonderful story telling sessions at dinner times. Mahabharata never became boring because of you more than Vyasa!)

I was always fascinated by reading of conch shells that were blown in the battles described in Mahabharata. They seemed to be an important weapon like a mount or a bow.

Thankfully, in real life, I heard them only in temples and a couple of homes.

When did they travel from slaughter-grounds to sanctum-sanctorums?

Are they mentioned in the ancient literature describing battles from outside India?

Each conch had a distinct sound. Like Louis Armstrong's horn sounds different from that of Miles Davis.

"...Krishna blew His conch, Paanchajanya;
Arjuna blew his conch, Devadatta;
And Bheema, the doer of formidable deeds,
Blew (his) big conch, Paundra.

The son of Kunti, King Yudhishthira,
Blew (his conch) Anantavijaya,
While Nakula and Sahadeva
Blew Sughosha and Manipushpaka conches, respectively..."

If you read Marathi, read a page from Vinoba Bhave's विनोबा भावे lyrical Geetai गीताई:

(double click on the picture to get a larger view)

[btw- As on January 2009, Geetai has sold 38,57,000 copies!]

Interestingly, I have never come across conches in battlefields of Ramayana. I wonder why.

Alas, there are no pictures of conch shells from those days.

CORNELIA DEAN has written a wonderful essay on seashells for The New York Times July 12 2010.

courtesy: “The Book of Shells” by M. G. Harasewych and Fabio Moretzsohn

Matchless Cone (Conus cedonulli) was one of the rarest shells in the 18th century. In 1796 a specimen brought more than six times as much as a painting by Vermeer that was sold at the same auction. It is still considered rare to uncommon, and it is prized by collectors for its beautiful pattern. With the advent of scuba diving, it is now found more often. All cone shells are venomous and should be handled with care when alive. The venom of C. cedonulli is not fatal to humans, but its sting may still be painful.