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."

Friday, January 31, 2014

Horse is Always the Foreigner in India: the Chinese Year of the Horse

January 31 2014 Friday marks the Chinese Year of the Horse, which stands for strength, loyalty, boldness and vigour.

Wendy Doniger, 'The Hindus / An Alternative History', 2009

"...It is therefore part of the very structure of history that India has always had to import horses, which became prized animals, used only in elite royal or military circles. And so the horse is always the foreigner in India, the invader and conqueror, and the history of the horse in India is the history of those who came to India and took power. There is still a Hindi saying that might be translated, “Stay away from the fore of an officer and the aft of a horse” or “Don’t get in front of an officer or behind a horse.” It dates from a time when petty officials, especially police, revenue collectors, and record keepers, were mounted and everyone else was not. These horsemen were high-handed (“ . . . on your high horse”) and cruel, people whom it was as wise to avoid as it was to keep out of the range of those back hooves.

The horse stands as the symbol of the power and aristocracy of the Kshatriyas, the royal warrior class; the horse is the key to major disputes, from the wager about the color of a horse’s tail made by the mother of snakes and the mother of birds in the Mahabharata (1.17-23) (an early instance of gambling on horses), to heated arguments by contemporary historians about the seemingly trivial question of whether Aryan horses galloped or ambled into the Indus Valley or the Punjab, more than three thousand years ago. Horses continued to be idealized in religion and art, in stark contrast with the broken-down nags that one more often actually encounters in the streets of Indian cities. Under the influence of the Arab and Turkish preference for mares over stallions, the Hindu bias in favor of stallions and against mares gave way to an entire Hindu epic literature that idealized not stallions but mares. Finally, horses are also metaphors for the senses that must be harnessed, yoked through some sort of spiritual and physical discipline such as yoga (a word whose basic meaning is “to yoke,” as in “to yoke horses to a chariot”)..."




Horse on  the Asoka Column at Sarnath, 250 BCE

Artist: Anonymous
 

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