An old parable? Nyet! An 'un-parable'

Rao Veluri (rveluri@smtpgate.anl.gov)
Thu, 09 Oct 97 11:46:20 CST


     
     
     Once upon a time (I love a story that starts like this!) there was a 
     poor brahmin (some how it is always a poor 'brahmin' in these old
     stories, as if, there aren't others who are poor!!) who had nothing
     to eat, not even a little bit of rice, ghee, dahl and curds. He went 
     into the dark forest, prayed until that easily gullible god, the one 
     and only Eshwara, jagadeeshwara, shiva appeared! 
     
     The poor brahmin narrated his plight and asked the lord to bless him 
     with the best poem ever written; such that he could recite the poem in 
     the presence of all the great scholars, pundits, poets and critics at 
     the king's court and get a permanent deed for some fertile land such 
     that he will never have to starve again! The king is a connoisseur of 
     poetry, a prevalent affliction borne out of affluence with many a king 
     of yore, enjoys a good poem once in a way, more so, if it is written 
     in praise of him or one of his concubines!
     
     The lord god took pity on the poor brahmin and was taken aback at his 
     stupidity(who doesn't? if god himself appears before you, would you 
     ask for a poem or for half of Bill Gates' wealth?)and gave him a poem, 
     an erotic poem, in deed,(nah! I am not going to give you the poem!)the 
     best of them all! It must be the best one, since the lord god himself 
     has penned it! At least, we the believers think so!
     
     The poor brahmin took the poem to the king's court and recited it. 
     Now, the trouble started! A poet/critic, well-read in the classics, 
     the aesthetics and the classical poetics, vehemently objected to the 
     poem. Others didn't bother; but he was the only one who adamantly 
     objected and rejected it as a 'poem,' for the mere reason that the 
     poem describes the woman's hair as having a natural fragrance!(a la 
     kastoori or CK parfum!) The poor brahmin, who is not educated in the 
     art of cutting and pasting erotic poetry according to set prescriptive 
     rules was aghast! He confessed that the poem was penned not by him, by 
     the lord god jagadeeswara! The critic didn't give in even a bit!
     
     The lord god Eshwara, who was watching this hiding somewhere in the 
     court(gods have this innate ability to observe everything without 
     being noticed by humans!) appeared in his full form, -- a la ravi 
     varma's tri-color-calendar form -- and told point blank to the court 
     poet/critic that he was jealous and hence did not like the poem! The 
     lord god challenged the entire court to show why the poem was 
     unacceptable; 'is it the _form_? is it the _sentiment_? is it prosody? 
     or is it the _content_?' 
     
     The entire court remained mum. But, our court poet/critic said without 
     any fear: 'My dear lord god jagadeeswara! The woman's hair in the poem 
     was described as having a fabulous fragrance; it is ridiculous Sir! I 
     have read all the classics and the theories of poetics! Never at any 
     place there was a semblance of such a laughable description of woman's 
     hair! I do not consider this piece, even if it is by penned by you 
     dear lord god, as a poem! 
     
     But the lord god insisted that his beloved paarvati's hair always 
     smelled fabulous! And, it is his personal experience!! The poet 
     laughed derisively again and said,'may be so! But it is unacceptable 
     in a poem! It does not obey the already established canons of poetry!! 
     How many times have I to repeat?'
     
     The lord god Shiva got incensed! He opened his most feared third eye! 
     The flaming red third eye that burnt our poor Eros (no! not the son of 
     Aphrodite; it was our own manmadha, for Christ's sake!) to ashes. The 
     poet/critic did not relent. He said, he doesn't care if the lord god 
     has a thousand eyes!! He stuck to his guns! 
     
     Now, the lord god cursed the court poet/critic to suffer from leprosy, 
     and quickly disappered. The king abandoned the poet, sent him to the 
     dark forests! Who wants a leper in the court? 
     
     The poet/critic was lonesome in the dark forest. Lo and behold to add 
     to his misery, a huge ugly demon, a cannibal at that, found the 
     poet/critic, and carried him off to his den. The demon was dreaming of 
     having our poet/critic for the next day as breakfast. Now, our 
     poet/critic sensed the real impending danger! After all, he could live 
     as a leper and remain a lonesome poet/critic! To become a piece of raw 
     meat on the demon's breakfast table!
     
     The poet/critic prayed our lord god jagadeeswara to save him from 
     death! As it is usual with the benevolent lord god Shiva, the 
     poet/critic was spared of his life, cured of his leprosy in a jiffy, 
     and the poet/critic sang the praises of the lord god jagadeeswara (may 
     be of paarvati too!) for the rest of his life!
     
     kathakaMcikee; manamiMTikee.
     
     Best wishes.
     
     V R "the un-parable(?)" Veluri