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."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In Upanishads, Signatures too are Abstract!

ईशावास्य-वृत्ति वाचताना झालेली माझी दमछाक

I read Ashok Shahane's (अशोक शहाणे) claim in his book 'Napeksha' 2005 (नपेक्षा) that 'Ishavasya- Vritti', 1947 (ईशावास्य-वृत्ति) by Vinoba Bhave (विनोबा भावे) is the only readable translation of Upanishads in Marathi.

The claim, if true, is shocking because Marathi- considering Upanishad's importance in Hindu scriptures and huge population of Marathi speaking garv-se-kahon-hum-Hindu-hai types- should have at least a dozen good translations. (I think I have also seen Anand Sadhale's आनंद साधले attempt. It made no impression on me.)

Recently, I attempted reading Vinoba's book.

It was very tough for me. At the end, I understood only tiny fraction (->0) of it.

Even a giant like Vinoba is challenged by Upanishad's heights (or depths?).

(As I witnessed Vinoba's struggle, I once again realised how lucky Marathi was that she found Dnyaneshwar (ज्ञानेश्वर) so early in her life. Thanks to that teenager, ideas, worldly observations and very complex thoughts, entered Marathi, riding some great aesthetics, in an easy to understand language.)

I thought I probably understood only this from Ishavasya-Vritti:

ॐ। पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय
ॐ शांतिः शांतिः शांतिः॥

(Om. That is complete, This is complete
From complete, The complete has emerged
Giving completeness of complete
The complete remains. Om. Peace Peace Peace.)

And that too because I kept thinking पूर्ण as zero and not 'complete'!

Is Ishavasya- Vritti indeed that difficult or are my faculties deeming? Am I concentrating hard enough or from now on will it be just 'From zero, The zero will emerge'?

Artist: Steve Duenes, The New Yorker, October 31 1959

In Upanishads signatures too are abstract!