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."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Two Women. Two Faiths. Two Prayers.

Today, July 11 2011, is 'Ashadhi Ekadashi' (आषाढी एकादशी).

M V Dhond (म वा धोंड) quotes this beautiful couplet (ओवी) of an anonymous woman worshipper (भक्त ) of Lord Vitthal (विठ्ठल) in his book "Aisa Vitevar Dev Kothe!" (ऐसा विटेवर देव कोठें!), 2001.

पंढरीसी जाता । दुपार टळली ।
विठ्ठलपूजेची जाई । ओट्यात फुलली ॥

(While going to Pandharee, afternoon passed,
The Jai I had collected to worship Vitthal, blossomed in my ocha.)

[There is some confusion about the word 'ota' (ओटा) here. I have presumed that it is actually 'ocha' ओचा. ota means veranda. ocha means a small pocket-like space created in a nine-yard-saree. Women would keep small things in their ocha. I have seen my mother's mother do it. Therefore, I have taken that line as 'Ochyat phulali' (ओच्यात फुलली. )]

This lady wants to offer the flowers of Jai to her lord. To fulfil her wish, she has collected the buds in the morning and kept them aside in her saree's ocha.

But she is so busy with the household work that she just can't make it to the temple in time and the buds blossom in her saree-pocket and their fragrance reminds her that she has missed it.

Probably one more time.

If you try, like me, you too will smell fragrance of that Jai!

Like Dhond, I too feel that this small, just eight-words, poem is as good as the best of
Tukaram (तुकाराम) or Dnyaneshwar (
ज्ञानेश्वर). It sums up Bhakti (भक्ति) of India's- especially poor and downtrodden- women, their Karma yoga.

Read about another devotee working at grindstone:

सरले दलन। पुन्हा घेते पायली।
लाख तुळस वाहिली। विठ्ठलाला॥

(finished this lot of grinding, I take another lot,
offer one hundred thousand Tulsi, to Vitthala.)

The back breaking grinding is Bhakti, is Karmayoga, is prayer, is worship...

In fact, Dhond wonders if Dnyaneshwar cut his teeth among such devotees. It's very likely.

Now look at another prayer in another place involving another faith.

Artist: André François (आंद्रे फ्रांस्वा) [I received this picture from Madhukar Dharmapurikar (मधुकर धर्मापुरीकर)]

The lady finishes praying and comes out of church. But it's raining.
She probably has no covered carriage or umbrella. Now what does she do?

She doesn't waste any time. She returns to her prayer!

Apart from being very beautifully drawn, it's funny and yet very moving.