Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Tukaram and J.E. Abbott

Extraordinary chat with Tony George, SJ, yesterday. He is preparing a paper for a Tukaram symposium at Pune University. He has come up with a wonderfully creative approach.

The background is the usual attitude of Hindus. They feel that people like J.E. Abbott, the one who opened Tukaram to the West, are only subserving their Christian missionary goals. They feel Tukaram opens the way to introducing the gospel in India.

Tony takes a different approach. He begins from Cassirer's idea of 'soul-making.' All great literature is involved in soul-making. Tony's thesis is that the reading of Tukaram contributes to soul-making in the Christian. Abbott, for example, is a Protestant; he does not have much to do or say about the feminine aspects of the Christian mystery, because, being a Protestant, he has no place for Mary. Tukaram, instead, speaks of God as mauli, mother. The Protestant Abbott reading Tukaram is led, therefore, to fill a gap in his own religious experience. The paternal and masculine aspect of God is complemented by the maternal and feminine aspect from Tuka. So soul-making continues.

The Hindu, on the other hand, might find in the West and in Christianity a better appreciation of the social aspects. It is strange, Tony pointed out, that Tuka, despite calling God mauli, despised women. He thanks God for not giving him the body of a woman, for example. Here is something that Hinduism might learn from Jesus, who manifests a deep and extraordinary respect for women...

Wonderfully fresh and creative approach, one that I found very respectful, and yet talking about what two traditions might learn from one another.


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  2. I recently made some points on Goanet suggesting the ability to see Bl. Jose Vaz on the lines of the Maharashrian poet Sants. In brief: It is time for us to really look at the conviction of Joseph Vaz first of all as an Indian among Indians, a figure for the uncolonized mind, Catholicism notwithstanding; and saint for our time. To hold him within us. Not wait for him to be declared one by the Princes. As Indians we should look at him as a sant on the lines of the Bhakti saints.

    Later on:
    Now, I am not telling people to dash off and perform puja. I am here and now suggesting we see parallels towards comprehension; to also see and learn afresh, the bhakti in our Marathi sants -- Dynaneshwar, Namdeo, Eknath, Tukaram, Bahinabai (Bahina bai/Bahini), and others. They range the gamut from Brahmin, to Kunbi to Mali, etc. I frankly and unabashedly find it worthy of our minds, and that the times demand this.

  3. 旁觀自己的悲傷是解脫,主觀自己的悲傷是更加悲傷..................................................

  4. Birth is much but breeding is more. 加油! .........................................