domenica 3 giugno 2018

Yajnavalkya and the rat-girl

File:Shri Surya Bhagvan bazaar art, c.1940's.jpgOnce on the Holy Ganges the wise man Yajnavalkya was bathing when a little mouse, escaping from the beak of a bird, dropped into his hand. By the power of his austerity the mouse changed in a little girl and Yajnavalkya gave the girl to his wife and said to her: “Take this little girl and bring her up with care as though she were our own daughter.”
The girl grew up and reached a marriageable age. 
Yajnavalkya wanted an important and powerfull husband for her, but he wanted she were to choose his own man.
The wise man thought give her to Surya God of Sun.
“This is the Sun - Yajnavalkya said to his own daughter - who lights the three worlds, will you  choose him?” 
The girl answered: “Surya is too hot, I don’t want him.” 
Then Yajnavalkya said to the Sun. “Surya, is there any other more powerful then you?” 
“The Cloud is more powerful then me – Surya answered – when it cover me, I become invisible.” 
“Do you like the Cloud?” the wise man asked to girl. 
“I don’t – she answered – the Cloud is too cold and black.”
“Is there any other more powerful then you?” Yajnavalkya asked to the Cloud.
“The Wind is stronger then me – the Cloud answered – when the Wind blows I scatter in the sky.” 
Therefore Yajnavalkya proposed to her daughter the Wind, but she refused because the Wind was too variable. 
The Wind said to Yajnavalkya the Mountain was stronger then him, because the Mountain could stop him. 
“Give me to some one else – the girl said – the Mountain is too rude and harsh.” 
“But who is greater and stronger then the Mountain?” Yajnavalkya asked. 
“The Rats – the Mountain answered – the Rats can gnaw my body and I cannot prevent it. The Rats are more powerful then me!” 
Yajnavalkya went to King of Rats and asked her daughter if that was the husband she wanted. 
“Yes – she answered – he is one of my own species, father, change me again into a mouse and give me to the Rat." 
And so it was.




Yajnavalkya e la topolina

File:Shri Surya Bhagvan bazaar art, c.1940's.jpg
Surya, Dio del Sole
Un giorno il saggio Yajnavalkya stava compiendo le personali abluzioni nel sacro Gange quando dal cielo cadde nelle sue mani una topolina che si era fortunosamente liberata dal becco di un uccello rapace. 
Con la forza delle proprie austerità e grazie ai poteri che aveva accumulato, il saggio trasformò la topolina in una bellissima bambina. 
Yajnavalkya tornò a casa e consegnò la piccola alla moglie che non riusciva ad avere figli e le disse: 
“Ecco, prendi questa bambina, accoglila e crescila come se fosse nostra figlia.” 
La bambina crebbe serena nella famiglia del saggio e giunse all’età in cui doveva essere data in sposa. Yajnavalkya amava molto quella che era diventata sua figlia e non voleva imporle un marito, ma desiderava che l’uomo scelto fosse di gradimento della ragazza. 
Il saggio pensò subito a una marito bellissimo e soprattutto potente e si rivolse a Surya, il Dio Sole, che si dichiarò disponibile. 
“Surya è troppo ardente – disse però la ragazza – non posso accettarlo.” 
Yajnavalkya allora chiese a Surya: 
“O venerabile Dio del Sole chi è più potente di te?” 
“La nuvola è più potente di me – rispose Surya – infatti quando giunge lei, io divento invisibile.” 
“Ti piace la nuvola?” chiese allora il saggio alla figlia. 
“No – rispose la ragazza – la nuvola è fredda e buia.” 
Yajnavalkya si rivolse allora alla nuvola e le chiese: 
“Potente nuvola, chi ti è superiore?” 
“Il Vento – rispose lei – quando spira il Vento io vengo spazzata via.” 
Ma alla ragazza non piaceva neppure il vento, “è troppo instabile” disse. 
“Oh Vayu, potente Dio del vento – chiese allora Yajnavalkya – chi è più forte di te?” 
“Il Dio della montagna è più forte di me – rispose il vento – quando lo incontro non riesco mai ad oltrepassarlo e la mia corsa si deve fermare.” 
 “Dammi un altro marito – disse però la ragazza – la montagna è troppo aspra e dura, non voglio sposarla.” 
Ma chi ci poteva essere di più potente di una montagna? 
Yajnavalkya chiese allora umilmente alla montagna: 
“O possente, chi è più forte di te?” 
E la montagna rispose: 
“I topi, loro sono più potenti di me perchè scavano fori nel mio corpo senza che io possa farci niente, rivolgiti a loro.” 
Yajnavalkya andò allora dal Re dei topi e chiese a sua figlia se quello era il marito che voleva. 
“Oh sì – disse lei raggiante – finalmente uno della mia specie, padre ti prego trasformami nuovamente in topo poiché è lui il marito che voglio!” 
E così fu.




sabato 19 maggio 2018

Rudraksha, meditating cat

Mahabalipuram, The birth of Ganges
the cat is under the elephant  tusks
There once in India a very smart cat who, to catch mice without too much effort, pretended to be a sage in meditation.
The cat then - imitating the great Rishis of Hinduism - was standing on one leg with its own legs raised and the 'hands' clasped.
The cat was named Rudraksha, because he had also the traditional Hindu rosary, the japamala which consists of rudraksha seeds, the tears of Shiva.
The news spread quickly and everyone, men and animals, went to pay homage to the 'holy'.
Even the rats, won their initial fear, they went to worship the cat.
But after a while time, the mice began to realize that their number decreased as the cat gained weight more.
Discovered the trick, the cat Rudraksha had to emigrate and went to deceive other mice in other places.
Of this story we also have the narrative in a beautiful sculpture. In fact in Mammalipuram (or Mahabalipuram) near Chennai on the southeastern coast of India in the wonderful bas-relief about the birth of the river Ganges, we can see Rudraksha, the cat in meditation.
In India cats are considered unreliable and hypocritical so that the Manusmriti (Laws of Manu) suggests wise man "not to offer even a bit of water to the one who acts like a cat," and then explains that "who is covetous, displays the flag of virtue, treacherous, hypocritical and swindler, he acts like a cat "(Manusmriti IV, 192).






Rudraksha, il gatto in meditazione

Particolare del bassorilievo di Mahabalipuram,
il gatto è sotto le zanne dell'elefante
C’era una volta in India un gatto molto astuto che, per poter catturare i topi senza troppo sforzo, fingeva di essere un saggio in meditazione. 
Il gatto quindi – imitando i grandi rishi dell’induismo – stava fermo ritto su una gamba con le zampe anteriori alzate e le 'mani' giunte. 
Lo chiamavano Rudraksha, perchè aveva anche il tradizionale rosario induista, il japamala che è formato da semi di rudraksha, le lacrime di Shiva.
La notizia si diffuse rapidamente e tutti, uomini ed animali, si recavano a rendere omaggio al ‘santo’. 
Anche i topi, vinto il loro iniziale timore, si recarono a venerare il gatto. 
Ma dopo un po’ di tempo i topi cominciarono a rendersi conto che il loro numero diminuiva mentre il gatto ingrassava sempre più. 
Scoperto il trucco, il gatto Rudraksha dovette emigrare e andare ad ingannare altri topi in altri luoghi. 
Di questo racconto abbiamo anche la narrazione scultorea. Infatti a Mammalipuram (o Mahabalipuram) vicino a Chennai sulla costa sud orientale dell'India nel meraviglioso bassorilievo che narra la nascita del fiume Gange possiamo vedere Rudraksha, il gatto in meditazione.  
In India i gatti sono considerati animali inaffidabili ed ipocriti tanto che il Manusmriti (Le Leggi di Manu) suggerisce all’uomo saggio di “non offrire neppure un po’ d’acqua a colui che si comporta come un gatto” e poi spiega che “chi fa della religione solo apparenza, chi è avido, infido, ipocrita ed imbroglione, chi è disposto a stringere alleanze con chiunque è uno che si comporta come un gatto” (Manusmriti IV, 192 ss.).


martedì 1 maggio 2018

Il credo più profondo dell'India

"Il credo più profondo dell'India è la ricerca dell'unità nella molteplicità, dell'unità nella diversità.
L'India non ammette la diversità sia un motivo di conflitto, né vede un nemico in ogni straniero.
Quindi non respinge nessuno, non distrugge nessuno e si sforza di trovare un posto per tutti in un vasto ordine sociale. Riconosce ogni sentiero e riconosce la grandezza ovunque si trovi.
Poiché l'India ha questo predisposizione all'unificazione, non dobbiamo temere nemici immaginari.
Possiao guardare avanti alla nostra espansione come risultato finale di ogni nuova lotta.
Induisti e buddhisti, musulmani e cristiani non devono morire combattendo sul suolo indiano; qui troveranno l'armonia.
Quella armonia non sarà 'non-hind'; al contrario, sarà particolarmente induista. E per quanto cosmopolite possano essere le varie membra, il cuore sarà ancora il cuore dell'India ".

 Rabindranath Tagore
   (Stato e Società 1904)




The inmost creed of India

"The inmost creed of India is to find the one in the many, unity in diversity. 
India does not admit difference to be conflict, nor does she espy an enemy in every stranger. 
So she repels none, destroys none, and strives to find a place for all in a vast social order. 
She acknowledges every path and recognizes greatness wherever she finds it.
Since India has this genius for unification, we do not have to fear imaginary enemies. 
We may look forward to our own expansion as the final result of each new struggle. 
Hindu and Buddhist, Muslim and Christian shall not die fighting on Indian soil; here they will find harmony. 
That harmony will not be non-Hindu; on the contrary, it will be peculiarly Hinduistic. And however cosmopolitan the several limbs may be, the heart will still be the heart of India."

Rabindranath Tagore
(Society  and State 1904)




lunedì 2 aprile 2018

One who feed Krishna feeds the world

Mahabhalipuram, Tamil Nadu (India)
The twelve years of exile in the forest for the Pandavas were very hard and tiring. They no longer had the command of a flourishing kingdom, no longer lived in sumptuous palaces with servants and maids, but they lived in huts made of bushes and were exposed to the harsh climate and the dangers of the forest.
To make their exile less hard and to enable the five heroic brothers and their wife Draupadi to always have food, the Mahabharata tells us that Surya, the sun God, had given them a copper tray prodigious.
Every time that the Pandavas were hungry, the tray was filled with food and remained full of food until Draupadi had eaten. After the tray remained empty until the next day.
This magic tray made possible not only to the Pandavas to eat, but also to welcome the guests and the wise men who came to visit them with worthy honors. If the hospitality was not worthy and generous, the sages could cast a curse against the Pandavas, and in their situation, they could not afford to be cursed by some ascetic.
One of the most angry rishi was Durvasa. He always pretended to be received with full honors, demanded food for himself and for his many disciples who followed him always, if he had not been satisfied by his guests, he hurled painful curses.
One day, Durvasa went to the palace of Hastinapura where Duryodhana, the evil son of Dritharshtra who had exiled by fraud Pandava cousins, received him with the greatest honors. Durvasa was pleased and said to Duryodhana: "Ask what you want, I will give it."
The evil Duryodhana, who feared the return of the cousins ​​at the end of exile, asked the rishi:
"Oh great and venerable sage, please go to the forest to visit my poor cousins, I are sorry for them and I’m sure they would be happy of your visit."
Duryodhana invited the rishi to go to Pandavas in the evening, after dinner, because he knew that in that way the magic tray would have been hopelessly empty until the next morning.
And so it happened. Durvasa went to the Pandavas and said: "I and my followers are going to do the ritual ablutions, we would like to eat when we come back."
Draupadi was desperate, the tray was empty and she was not able to prepare food in a short time for such a large group. She was terrified, the rishi would hurl a curse against the Pandavas once he was realized that there was nothing to eat. The Queen turned to Lord Krishna, she thought him with all his strength and Krishna appeared to her.
"Hello my Queen Draupadi," said Krishna.
"I need your help, my dear Lord!" Draupadi cried in anguish.
"Wait, I'm hungry, can you give me something to eat first."
"But it is precisely the problem, I’ve nothing to eat," said Draupadi.
"Are you sure? - Krishna insisted - Get the tray and look closely."
Draupadi took the tray and looked into it, it was empty.
"Look closer," said Krishna.
"There is nothing - Draupadi said sadly - there was only a grain of rice and a piece of vegetable."
"Give those to me," said Krishna.
Draupadi gave those to him and Krishna ate two small pieces of food.
"I am satiated - said Krishna to Draupadi - have no concern." And he went.
At the same time, Durvasa and his disciples were returning to the hermitage of the Pandavas and felt incredibly full, satiated, they were no longer hungry, they felt as if they had eaten a large meal.
"Excuse us, Queen - Durvasa said to Draupadi - thank you for your hospitality, but we’ll eat with you another day."
Thus Draupadi and the Pandavas were saved from the curse of Durvasa.
One who feed Krishna feeds the world.