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."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Poor Horse Didn't Cause Violence: Ashvamedha


I often read about horse of Ashvamedha in my childhood. My idea of it was close to the picture below. "The hose was then let loose and the army followed it."
But it was confusing...surely the empire building did not depend on the random horse movements.

Karen Armstrong in her latest book clarifies it:

"...A stabled horse will always make straight for home, however, so the army was in fact driving the horse into territory that the king was intent on conquering. Thus in India, as in any agrarian civilization, violence was woven into the texture of aristocratic life..."
('Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence', 2014)

So the poor horse was not really free to roam but was being driven  "into territory that the king was intent on conquering".

A load was lifted off my mind.

It's also important to add that sanitized versions of stories I read did not mention the horse slaughter ritual at the end.


courtesy: Amar Chitra Katha title 'The Sons of Rama'

1 comment:

Encounters with Reality said...

When this horse used to be killed, there were certain body parts of the horse, which the King was supposed to eat. I do not recollect the reference.
It is true that the way I had visualized 'Ashwamedha' was exactly like cartoon you have put in the post. A quite benevolent image of quite a violent process!!