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."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Noah's Ark and Rama's Bridge: Powered by Geology

Today Chaitra-purnima (चैत्र पोर्णिमा) April 15 2014 is Hanuman Jayani (हनुमान जयंती) and the birth anniversary of my aunt Kumud-mavashi (कुमुद-मावशी)

When I lived in Miraj (मिरज), a town of gymnasiums (तालीम), the day used to be very special.

Wendy Doniger, 'The Hindus : an alternative history', 2009:

"..Indeed flood myths are found in most of the mythologies of the world: Africa, the Near East, Australia, South Seas, Scandinavia, the Americas, China, Greece. They are widespread because floods are widespread, especially along the great rivers that nurture early civilizations (and even more widespread in the lands watered by the monsoons). There are significant variants: Some cultures give one reason for the flood, some other reasons, some none; sometimes one person survives, sometimes several, sometimes many (seldom none—or who could tell the story?—though the creator sometimes starts from scratch again); some survive in boats, some by other means. 

In the oldest extant Indian variant, in the Brahmanas, Manu, the first human being, the Indian Adam, finds a tiny fish who asks him to save him from the big fish who will otherwise eat him. This is an early expression of concern about animals being eaten, in this case by other animals; “fish eat fish,” what we call “dog eat dog,” is the Indian term for anarchy. The fish promises, in return for Manu’s help, to save Manu from a great flood that is to come. Manu protects the fish until he is so big that he is “beyond destruction” and then builds a ship (the fish tells him how to do it); the fish pulls the ship to a mountain, and when the floodwaters subside, Manu keeps following them down. The text ends: “The flood swept away all other creatures, and Manu alone remained here.” The theme of “helpful animals” who requite human kindness (think of Androcles and the lion) teaches two morals: A good deed is rewarded, and be kind to (perhaps do not eat?) animals..."

Noah, a Hollywood film, was released on March 28 2014 in US. There is a lot of debate that is going on whether the real life event influenced the Biblical myth.

Smithsonian.com mentions ten such stories from around the world and the geology that may have influenced them.

One of them is Rama setu

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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