Lyndon Hood - eclector

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Hood: Light Verse Versus Politics

You'll notice none of those are of the form
da dada dada da Sir Ed
da dada dada dada dead,
da dada dada to be said.
and, when we discovered late Friday morning what our lead was going to be for the rest of the day, I also didn't immediately start a column to the effect of
God "Knocks Bugger Off"
"Because he was there," says quietly triumphant deity.
I am glad of both these facts; I just thought I'd share how my mind sometimes works.

BTW, if you've got this far you almost certainly won't be offended if you read the comments on Fark. Which lead, in time to a page on Snopes dicussing how Hilary Clinton said (she was told) she was named after Sir Ed, which, among other things, doesn't work timeline-wise.

During the course of the tributes on the radio (perhaps it's in this RNZ documentary) somebody said that people in India tended to compare him to Arjuna. This seems fair enough to me. Arjuna is, if not the most awesome, surely the coolest of the Pandavas, the brothers at the centre of the vast Hindu story-cycle the Mahabharata.

I note that Arjuna, famous as a warrior, did indeed

climb up into the Himalayas, where he spend some time with the gods and came back even more unstoppable.

But, being only slightly familiar with the Mahabharata, the story the radio put me in mind of actually centres around the eldest of the Pandavas, Yudhisthira: less cool than Arjuna but probably the most awesome one.

In the words of Donald A. MacKenzie's translation/plot summary:
Vyasa, the sage appeared before them, and revealed that [the Padnavas'] time had come to depart from the world.

Then Yudhishthira divided the kingdom... The Pandavas afterwards cast off their royal garments and their jewels and put on the garb of hermit, and the bright-eyed and faithful Draupadi did likewise. Yudhishthira departed first of all. and his brethren walked behind him one by one, and Draupadi went last of all, followed by a hound.They all walked towards the rising sun, and by the long circuitous path which leads to Mount Meru, through forests and over streams and across the burning plains, never again to return.

One by one [for various moral imprefections] they fell by the way, all save Yudhishthira.


When he drew nigh to sacred Mount Meru, the world-spine, Indra, king of the gods, carne forth to welcome him, saying: "Ascend, O resolute prince."

Said Yudhishthira: "Let my brethren who have fallen by the way come with me also. I cannot enter heaven without them, O king of the gods. Let the fair and gentle princess come too; Draupadi hath been a faithful wife, and is worthy of bliss. Hear my prayer, O Indra, and have mercy."

Said Indra: "Thy brethren and Draupadi have gone before thee."

Then Yudhishthira pleaded that his faithful hound should enter heaven also; but Indra said: "Heaven is no place for those who are followed by hounds. Knowest thou not that demons rob religious ordinances of their virtues when dogs are nigh?"

Said Yudhishthira: "No evil can come from the noble. I cannot have joy if I desert this faithful friend."

Indra said: "Thou didst leave behind thy brethren and Draupadi. Why, therefore, canst thou not abandon thine hound?"

Said Yudhishthira: "I have no power to bring back to life those who have fallen by the way: there can be no abandonment of the dead."

As he spake, the hound was transformed, and behold Dharma, god of justice, stood by the rajah's side.

Dharma said: "O Yudhishthira, thou art indeed mine own son. Thou wouldst not abandon me, thy hound, because that I was faithful unto thee. Thine equal cannot he found in heaven."

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