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."

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.