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."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Namdev Says Your Home Has Little Less Gold and Cash नामा म्हणे तुमचे घरी थोडे कमी सोनें दाम...

On January 22 /23 2013 Marathi newspapers and TV channels have reported about the government of Maharashtra's  audit report on missing jewellery of Lord Vitthal at Pandharpur (पंढरपूर) temple. The value of  'missing' jewellery reportedly runs into millions of rupees.

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
 खरडावी बाराखडी; 
आणि बोलावी उत्तरें
 टिनपट वा चोमडी."

(What poor me
scratching alphabets
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.