As has been often said on this blog, Marathi is such a rich language because of the literature created in it by the saint-poets centuries ago.
A part of B S Mardhekar's (बा. सी. मर्ढेकर) poem reads:
"काय गा म्यां पामराने
आणि बोलावी उत्तरें
टिनपट वा चोमडी."
(What poor me
and giving answers
tinpot or impudent)
Most of what I write on this blog is 'scratching alphabets' and saying something 'tinpot or impudent'.
It sounds even more so after one reads someone like Namdev (नामदेव):
"केशव पुसे नामयासी । तुझी नांदणूक कैसी ।।
नामा म्हणे तुमचे घरी सोनें दाम। आमुचे घरीं तुमचे नाम।। " (1739)
When asked by the god how his life was, Namdev ends his answer to Lord Vitthal with these words:
("At your home there is gold and cash, at our home is your name.")
I have never read or heard simpler and more moving words than these.
I interpret it like this:
"Keshav, that is Lord Vitthal, asks Namdev how his life is. Namdev goes on explaining that it is not easy, comparing in the process many aspects of his life with that of the god. In short, as I read it, Namdev's physical life is quite miserable. Therefore, does Namdev ask his god anything?
On the contrary, he tells his god "You are wealthy alright but I am wealthy too because I have your name on my lips. You own gold & cash and I 'own' you in my heart! I am as wealthy as you without any attendant hassles of lockers, security, alarms, audits etc.""
This is Bhakti at its best. It trumps 'Mukti' hands down. These masters ask : Who wants Moksha when we have devotion?
I have never read what Vithoba's (विठोबा) response was to Namdev's answer but I am sure Vithoba couldn't have been prouder! He would have just moved away...What devotees he has got...No other god is that lucky!
[You may read an excellent essay on Namdev by M V Dhond (म वा धोंड) here]
However, after the alleged scam, Namdev's words have to be slightly modified to :
"नामा म्हणे तुमचे घरी थोडे कमी सोनें दाम। आमुचे घरीं तुमचे नाम।"
Namdev as imagined by renowned artist: Bhaskar Hande (भास्कर हांडे)
Courtesy: the artist and Marathi periodical 'Ringan', 2012 (रिंगण)
Visit here to read the full issue of Ringan
If you read Marathi, I strongly recommend reading Mr. Hande's article there. His explanation of the thought process that went into the making of the painting is an absolute delight.