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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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."

Friday, July 19, 2013

Why It's Hard to Compare Dnyaneshwar With Socrates... तो गुण म्हणजे त्यांचे मार्दव

Today July 19 2013 is Aashadhi Ekadashi (आषाढी एकादशी)

विनोबा भावे:

"...पण ज्ञानदेवाच्या या सगळ्या गुणापेक्षा त्यांच्या ज्या गुणावर मी मोहित आहे,  तो गुण म्हणजे त्यांचे मार्दव, त्यांची विनयशीलता, त्यांची अहिंसा होय. या बाबतीत त्यांची तुलना कोणाशी करावी हेच मला समजत नाही. सॉक्रेटीसाची क्षमा, शांती, अहिंसा प्रसिद्ध आहे. पण दुसर्यांना बोचणारा विनोद तो करू शकत होता...."

('विनोबा सारस्वत', संपादक : राम शेवाळकर, 1993)

{Vinoba Bhave:

"...but the virtue of Dnyandev by which I am more fascinated than the rest of his virtues is his leniency, his humility, his non-violence. In this regard, I don't quite understand who to compare him to. Socrates's compassion, peace, non-violence are well-known but he could  humour that could hurt other people..."

('Vinoba Saraswat', Editor: Ram Shewalkar)]

How true!

The Economist, December 17 2009, "Socrates in America/ Arguing to death" says:

"...The trouble was that, although his students, including Plato and Xenophon, who passed on Socrates’s conversations for posterity, saw him as noble, much of Athens did not. Instead, many Athenians detected an underlying arrogance in Socratic irony. Socrates thus resembled, say, the wiser-than-thou and often manipulative comedian-commentators Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in today’s America. Those who agreed with him found him funny and enlightening. The rest found him merely condescending."


Julian Gough  says in his masterly essay 'Divine comedy' ('Prospect', May 2007):

"...Ah well, this praising of comedy at the expense of tragedy has gone on forever. Let us go back to Greece, before Muhammad, before Christ, and let someone else have the last word. In Plato's Symposium, Aristodemus, a bit pissed, has just woken up to find "… there remained awake only Aristophanes, Agathon and Socrates, who were drinking out of a large goblet that was passed around, while Socrates was discoursing to them. Aristodemus did not hear all the discourse, for he was only half awake; but he remembered Socrates insisting to the other two that the genius of comedy was the same as that of tragedy, and that the writer of the one should also be a writer of the other. To this they were compelled to assent, being sleepy, and not quite understanding what he meant. And first Aristophanes fell asleep, and then, when the day was dawning, Agathon."..."

The scene would have looked something like this:







Artist:  David Borchart, The New Yorker, February 2013

Now there must be four of them- Aristodemus, Aristophanes, Agathon and Socrates. We see only three (Socrates sitting extreme right with an empty chalice in hand). Spot the fourth!

After seeing the picture, it's even harder to compare Dnyaneshwar with Socrates!