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."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

प्रभाते मलदर्शनम...Was Vinoba Bhave being Funny but Blasphemous?

"कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मी:
करमूले सरस्वती ।
करमध्ये तु गोविंद:
प्रभाते करदर्शनम्।।"

[At the tip of the hand resides (goddess) Laxmi, 
At the root (goddess) Saraswati,
At the centre (god) Govinda, 
In the morning, catch sight of hand.]

The Hindu:

"Census 2011 threw up a malodorous statistic: people in 49.8 per cent of households have no toilet facilities and defecate in the open. In contrast, 63.2 per cent of households have a telephone connection, of which 52.3 per cent have cell phones; as for televisions, almost half of the country’s households possess one."

Jairam Ramesh: 

"toilets are more important than temples. No matter how many temples we go to, we are not going to get salvation. We need to give priority to the toilets and cleanliness" 

Economic & Political Weekly, October 20, 2012:

"But things will change only when Indians decide sanitation is not a dirty word; that
no one group of people is destined to clean up after other people; that toilets can be the temples of a modern, just and democratic country."

My father told us that  Vinoba Bhave (विनोबा भावे) used to say “प्रभाते मलदर्शनम” (In the morning, catch sight of your own feces). I thought it was very funny and very profound.

For me,  in 20th century, Vinoba was one of the greatest scholars of religion  in the world. His knowledge of all religions practised- yes including Islam and Christianity- in India was formidable. And his Marathi (मराठी) expression is so simple, beautiful and direct. I seldom read or hear such Marathi written in present times.

But by saying “प्रभाते मलदर्शनम”, was he- like Jairam Ramesh-  being blasphemous? Some religious fundamentalists would say so.

By building toilets, you will not have to sight somebody else's  feces!

Was Vinoba greeted by his creator in heaven like this:

Artist: Charles Barsotti, The New Yorker, 15 November 1993