Grounding The World On Earth

October 8, 2012 at 9:15 PMOct (Cinema, Friends, Literature, Media, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Last week we had two days of class with Umesh Kulkarni and Girish Kulkarni. One thing that Girish Kulkarni kept repeating is that one needs to open oneself to the world and then creativity will flower. In different words and in different expressions he kept saying is that one needs to engage with the world and that is primary to creativity.

Interestingly in the very same class Umesh Kulkarni mentioned that the character of Nachiketa in his magnum opus Vihir was inspired by the poet-saint Sant Jnaaneshwar. I found it quite interesting because of an anecdote I had read about the father of Sant Jnaaneshwar. The tale goes like this- The father of Sant Jnaaneshwar deciding to become a nomadic saint left behind his family and went on a pilgrimage. During his tour he meets an unmarried saint who asks Sant Jananeshwar’s father to go back to his family and that real devotion is in engaging with life and not in abandoning day to day life.

Recently I had the opportunity to watch the 1936 Marathi film on Sant Thukaram, a saint-poet like Jananeshwar. The film is titled Sant Thukaram and is directed by Damle and Fattehlal. At one point of the film Sant Thukaram is in a conversation with his wife who dislikes the fact that her husband is lost, always, in his devotion to lord Panduranga and pays no attention to his family. As always his wife picks up a fight with him for obvious reasons. In this conversation she asserts her point that life in the real world is important and Sant Thukaram realizes the importance of it and decides to earn bread and butter for his family. On realizing he says that he has realized that true worship is in living.

That reminds me of a story from the 12th century Vachana movement in Karnataka. Of the many poets (Vachanakaaras) Nuliya Chandayya was also one from that movement. Once while Nuliya Chandayya is indulged in labour the icon/idol of Shiva tied to his arm falls down deliberately to test him. Chandayya leaves it behind and walks ahead. The icon/idol cries to Nuliya Chandayya asking him to carry it. Nuliya Chandayya asks the God in icon/idol to take an oath in the presence of Madiwala Maachayya, another Vacahanakaara, that it will be at the service of Chandayya henceforth. The icon goes to Madiwala Machayya and explains the situation. This triggers a debate between the two as to whether idol worship is important. In the end Nuliya Chandayya declares that if the idol/icon wants to be with him then it must toil with him and engage in day to day life, labour and world. The idol/icon agrees. To be engaged with the world is not important just for creative purpose but to be what one is, also. If one is not engaged in day to day world then s/he will not rise to a higher level and one turns into a negligible stone.

While I am writing this a friend of mine, having no clue about what I am writing, shared his first experience of speaking to a common senior friend of ours. When he shared, in 2009, his desire to get into filmmaking with the senior friend the senior friend asked him, “Are you sure you want to do it at this young age?” and went on to explain that filmmaking can be learnt at a later age also but life needs to be experienced first and that it’s the experience of life which will make one’s films rich and richer.

Interestingly couple of hours before I took the bus to Pune, my mentor over a cup of chai told me something similar. He had asked me to throw myself to life first and that will give strength and depth to any creative work that I love to engage with. “Second hand experience of life through literature or cinema will not enrich any creative work,” he said and stressed on the importance of grounding our individual world on earth.

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