Saturday, 14 January 2012



The only grace of the first day of the Film Festival was Nandan Saxena’s Poetry Film ‘Third Removed from Reality’. It was a trilogy of three ‘short’ (adjective) short-films (noun), each one based on three Haikus. It is a pleasure to listen to Nandan. He knows so much about a myriad of subjects, and can present it cogently to his audience, creating natural interest. He was the natural sutradhar of the three-day festival.

My Sanskrit Professor writes Haikus in Sanskrit. Being a dry, and serious research person with an analytical mind, with no room for any kind of imagination, I never showed any interest in any poetry. This time, the filmmaker created an interest on Haiku in me.

So from him, I got to know that of the three lines in a Haiku (always plural), the middle line is the connection between the first and last lines; and unless one understands the middle line, one could be surprised/shocked where one finds oneself to be.

If I understood Nandan correctly, in his trilogy, that was screened, the middle film also was the connection between the first and third. And they (Nandan and Kavita, the Film-makers) had to wait a long time to get the connecting/connectable Haiku to complete the trilogy. Although I enjoyed the presentation, I think it was a challenge to everybody’s grey matter.

So the three films were - ‘I Sit Like Buddha’, O Autumn Winds!, and Nights and Days of the Bamboo Song. The last Haiku that read something like ‘This cold night, -----, the Buddha’s head will make a great fire’, indeed showed the maturity of the religion/culture, that is possible only in Buddhism and Hinduism (as aptly pointed by Nandan). Anywhere else, such a statement will be termed as blasphemy.

In the post-screen discussion, Nirad Mohapatra quoted a familiar Zen - ‘Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself’. Wonderful memory, connection and recollection. Mr. Mohapatra is a great scholar besides being a sensitive and acclaimed film-maker.

Coming home/ashram, I Google the famous Zen saying. It appears to have been hijacked by Osho. Finally I source it to ‘Zenrin Kushu’ = An Anthology of Passages from the Forests of Zen’ 134, 222, assiduously compiled by Toya Echi (1428-1504), and published as late as in 1668.

 Anthology "Zenrinkushu" was compiled by Eicho (1429-1504), a disciple of Secco of Myoshinji. The items (4000 in all) are collected from about two hundred books, including various Zen writings:
"The Analects", "The Great Learning", "The Doctrine of the Mean", "Mencius", "The Odes", "Laotse", "Chuangtse", "The Hekiganroku", "Mumonkan", "Shinjinmei", the poetry of Kanzan,
Toenmei, Toho, Ritaihaku, Hakurakuten. The first 73 of the following are taken from the book:  R.H.Blyth, "Haiku", vol.1, pp.25-33.

Enough research for the day.