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."

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."

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."

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!