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."

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.