At 19:31 1.11.99 -0500, Harsha V. Dehejia wrote:
The edifice of Hindu thought rests on the primacy of the oral word and even more on non-cognate realisation. Our Gods therefore do not have to be literate or be able to send electronic messages.

Isn't the resilience of Hinduism based also on its being built to be flexible, fluid, ever changing and ever ready to include new ideas? I do believe the icons presenting Hindu gods/goddesses with attributes of written word (Ganesa's pen, Sarasvati's book, etc.) reflect well this readiness to accept change.

The same idea can be found in the charming little Hindi song that I quote below (I apologize for the quality of translation). It seems to say: "If this is to be the price for your staying among us, do not hesitate - just get rid of the old attributes and become whatever modern times demand. You will be always recognized".

BholAnAth bhaGg choR hviskI jamAye~ roz /
bhasm choR bhAl nity pauDar lagAiye //
ChoRiye baghambar bichauna ab he vizAl /
plas aur kArpaiT uttam bichAie //
AyA sabhyatA kA yug choRie asabhy bAte~ /
nagn rahiye na ab sUT-bUT lAiye //
MAni kahI merI choR kand-mUl au dhatUr /
cAkleT biskuT Ti aur TosT khAiye //

"Bholanath, leave bhang, drink whisky every day;
Leave ashes altogether, keep applying powder.
Leave tiger-skin bedspread now, o Boundless One;
Spread exquisite velvet and carpet.
The era of civilization has arrived, leave uncivilized words;
Do not stay naked now, wear suit and shoes.
Mind my word - leave forest-roots and dhatura;
Consume chocolate, biscuits, tea and toasts."

(From: "CAro~ dhAm bhajanamAlA" - a collection of devotional songs compiled by ZrI VizAlmaNi ZarmA of NArAyaN KoTi, GaDhvAl, 1974.

With kind regards,

Artur Karp
University of Warsaw

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