Kathasaritsar!

1. I began reading the new book in Hindi. It was written about 900 years ago! Author is unknown but it seems to be either Somdev or some contemporary. Who Somdev is…is a matter of investigation at present.

2. Stories are intriguing. They’ve magic, reincarnation and many classes of beings including gods, demigods, goblins, ghosts and humans.

3. Stories have references to Shiva, his consort Parvati and their son Kartikeya along with references to Kubera: the lord of wealth in Hindu mythology and others.

4. The very first story goes like this:

Parvati is fond of listening stories from Shiva. Once, upon his demand Shiva tells her a story about reincarnations. She gets bored and asks to tell her a fresh one. Then Shiva considering them valuable, asks his mount Nandi to guard the door.

As he begins to recite; one of his attendants named Pushpadanta reaches there. Nandi halts his advances. Then Pushpa using yogic powers enters surreptitiously into the citation hall.

Later he tells these stories to two ladies. These two ladies, unable to keep these gems of stories as secret tell about them to Parvati when they visit her.

This makes her furious. She first interrogates her husband about why he told her tales which were already known to many. Using his Samadhi Shiva comes to know about Pushpadanta : he is summoned. Parvati curses Pushpadanta and the two ladies to be born as goblins.

They beseech for her pardon. She melts but unable to completely undo her curse tells them about alleviation.

The next story is based on their births.

5. As might be clear to you by now: emphasis on importance of stories, morality and storytelling is apparent right from the beginning of this book.

It can be compared to Arabian Nights in this regard. The preface tells us that storytelling first evolved in India and then was taken to Persia and the rest of the world. The Sanskrit literature is rich with such stories. This book has been translated from Sanskrit to Hindi. I would try to share some stories here.

#book-recommendation, #books, #kathasaritsar, #stories

Nagananda!

1. To complete reading a short book within a few minutes is an achievement i feel proud of. Though I can do that everyday : something or the other holds me back.

2. The book only had 30 pages.

3. It’s a translation of essence of Sanskrit book into Hindi with the same name. Its author was Harsha.

4. The story begins with renunciation. Enters into the dimension of romantic love, then again enters into sacrifice and renunciation and ultimately melting of heart of the mount of lord Vishnu Garuna who was eating up nagas one by one until one human decided to sacrifice himself in place of Shankhachurna when it was his turn to offer himself as sacrifice to save random killing of nagas.

The story finally enters into the dimension of miraculous : Indra and Gauri bring dead Mootvaahan(the king of Vidyadharas) and other nagas back to life. Every lives happily ever after.

#books, #sanskrit-literature, #stories

Recent Stories!

1. I recently read a letter by Rabindranath Tagore. It was from a book of his collected letters. This letter was written when he was aboard a ship. It began to rain. He was laying quietly in his bed. Indifferent. He was hearing the ocean. Its waves crashed with one another, creating a roaring sound akin to a lion’s who is tied at a zoo inside a cage. The metaphor of ocean’s immense energy being limited to a cage like structure where it roars and might consume us if released, in case of a tsunami was fresh in my reading. I liked it. I was captivated by Tagore’s imagination in his letter and the way he addressed his reader.

2. Recently read a tsunami warning in some news.

3. Registered many titles in the last two days. Watched the rehearsal of the play The Tender For Tajmahal, which is ongoing in the library hall.

4. Read a travelogue by Vikram Seth in which he paints a clear picture of streets of Katmandu streets. The extract was from a title Heaven’s Lake. He was fascinated by a flute seller who was stalled near a fruit seller and they talked a bit. The flute seller enjoyed playing more than selling. I learned the name of the Japanese flute Sakuhachi.

5. I sat under the eight petalled lotus of Ku Klux Klan, listening to some nostalgic romantic songs from Hindi movies-shedding a tear or two for sheer vividness with which the poet had captured the profound mystery of romantic love and its entanglement.

6. As I was playing the vocabulary jams: i paid attention to the meaning of word solicit. It meant : to pursuade someone to do something illegal or unrighteous. I recalled that i had recently used the word in one of my articles published here in another sense. Was i wrong? No. I had used that by emulating the usages I had seen. I recheck it now: that sense does exist.

7. Yesterday, I was asked this question by someone: “if you are asked to live one day from your life, which day would it be?”

The clear answer was: I neither want to live nor want to die. The limitations that I see: I want all of them to end and for good.

The next question was: “if you were to choose from a day when you were happy or a day when you could have corrected mistakes: which one would you choose?”

The answer : though such a thing as happily correcting mistakes does exist: I would choose a day where there was scope for rectification. It would help make this existence a perfect one in the long run.

8. A rare conjunction of six planets in the sign of Capricorn took place when Moon joined five other planets.

9. I read the story of Cleopatra and his relationship with Julius Caesar in brief as an introduction to a novel titled Cleopatra. Out of Western figures of importance from fair sex in history: Hypatia-the Greek genius, Helen of Troy and Cleopatra stand out to my imagination. Mary Magdalene or mother of Joshua Ben Joseph is more from hagiographies than from a critical literature.

10. My rankings on vocabulary.com have slumped a bit because of my being busy with other stuff. Yet: I find satisfaction in the fact that I am still one of the top scorers in jams this month:

As you can observe: I have been second most jam team leader in the jams this month, behind only to Stephen D of Japan.

The second screen shot indicates that I have been third player to be in a winning team most often this month.

My ID is 10. I invite you to play vocabulary jams with me on vocabulary.com.

Featured image credit: Self

#logos, #reading, #stories, #vocabulary, #words

Evening stories!

1. Giridhara Kaviraay wrote verses in Hindi in a format known as Kundali. It’s similar to Hindi word for horoscope and might have a connection with Kundabuffer or kundalini.

2. He was born in Vikram Samvat 1717. There’s an interesting story behind the origin of his verses:

3. A carpenter who was his neighbor had a fine inventive mind. He invented a bed which automatically fanned whoever sat on it. The bed was gifted to the king of the state who was very pleased and ordered for another piece. The carpenter had some buff with the poet. He posed a condition for working on second bed.

He told the king that bed would be made only with the wood from the tree which was planted in garden of the poet. The king ordered for the tree to be chopped. It was such a tragedy for the poet that he left his home and began wandering from state to state–composing verses based on what he considered to be worldly wisdom.

4. I came across a book on his verses as I was registering books this evening. It didn’t take long to complete reading most of the verses from the book as I had studied them in my school textbooks. They were so apt that they entered deep and remained there because they rang with conventional truth like popular sayings and folklores.

5. Another book I came across this evening was Munshi Premchand’s collection of 12 stories on village life. It had Poos Ki Raat in it. That one was a brilliant rendition of a poor watchman of crops who surrenders before the harsh winter and lets crops die.

6. The story read in the class was ‘If I Were You.’ Not very shocking or brilliant or moving for me yet it had a little element of surprise in the conviction with which Vincent Charles or Gerrard convinces the intruder about their kinship. It tells about how good of an artist he’s.

7. Gandhi Smarak Nidhi pays 18 rupees per hour or 150 rupees per day to daily wage earning labourers. The market standard is 300 rupees per day. These details are being given after I tried to apply as a freelance labourer after a trial period in all seriousness. The same non government organisation sells wheat at 1000 rupees higher per quintal compared to market rates. Why not? Very sweet pigeon pea and chickpea. Unforeseen, unprecedented! Gandhi’s name is being used like in most other places without any attention to poor or downtrodden in any earnest sense. The people living inside campus who take care of cows or work in other capacities are easily denied milk while those with rank and approach can get it anyday at ease.

8. I could have avoided the point number seven. The wife of one of the trustees(not secretary anymore: there are three trustees) offered me a tuition job which gave me some pocket money while countless manipulative attacks of all types kept happening day-in and day-out. Her demeanor wasn’t that of utter honesty since the day one. People embezzle and prevaricate. Big people commit big mistakes. Who am I to question Big People, especially with no grounding or backing?

9. Gandhi is a joke. The principles of Gandhi might have been relevant to Gandhi. I see these people swearing, mocking, backstabbing and consistently manipulating each other like in every family, society and country while singing ‘Vaishnava jana to tene kahiye..’ Their prayers lack musicality, their integrity has always been dubious and their fawning support to politicians makes them almost a government organisation. They’re not a non-government organisation. They’re not Vaishnavas. Who are they? Let them discover it for themselves. I know clearly who they aren’t and it’s enough for me. I am at peace with myself.

Featured image(Bagula Bhagats!) credit: Self

Courtesy: Gandhi Smarak Nidhi Chhatarpur Madhya Pradesh 471001

#gandhi-is-irrelevant-today, #gandhi-smarak-nidhi, #library, #nongovernment-organization, #stories