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."

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Traveller Opens His Cupped Hands: Gaha Sattasai & Jagte Raho

I read some thing from Gaha Sattasai (गाथासप्तशती) for the first time in 2015. My friend Nikhil Bellarykar had always recommended it strongly.

I first bought Arvind Krishna Mehrotra's translation of some its verses- 'The Absent Traveller / Prakrit Love Poetry from the Gathasaptasati of Satavahana Hala', 1991. After that I bought S A Joglekar (स आ जोगळेकर) edited tri-lingual (Marathi, Prakrit, Sanskrit) version of it- there is even some English in it.

Gatha's beauty is ethereal and Prof. Mehrotra's translation perhaps enhances it. 

Here is an example, verse 161:

"As the traveller, eyes raised,
Cupped hands filled with water, spreads
His fingers and lets it run through,
She pouring it reduces the trickle."

I had never read something so simple and that beautiful. 

In my school days, drinking water away from home often meant cupping hands and adjusting the trickle. I couldn't have imagined there existed one of the most beautiful poems in (almost) my own language - Maharashtri Prakrit.

After reading it, I immediately remembered the final scene from Jagte Raho (1956), a song - "Jago Mohan Pyare" (Music: Salil Choudhury, Words: Shailendra / Prem Dhawan).

That song is no less beautiful than Hala's poem.


courtesy: Shemaroo and R.K. Films Ltd.

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