[NetBehaviour] Sentience, Poems and Meters as Organisms

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Fri May 14 05:54:53 CEST 2021



Sentience, Poems and Meters as Organisms

http://www.alansondheim.org/sentience.jpg

>From the Rigveda Brahmanas, Trans. from the Sanskrit by Arthur
Berriedale Keith, Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass from the Harvard
Oriental Series, 1971 First edition 1920

>From the Aitareya Brahmana, The Niskevalya Castra, Adhyaya II,
iii. 24 (xii 13):

He recites the strophe; the strophe is the self; it he recites
with a middle tone; verily thus he makes the self perfect. He
recites the antistrophe; the antistrophe is the offspring; the
antistrophe is to be recited in a louder tone; verily thus he
makes his offspring better than himself. He recites the inserted
verse; the inserted verse is the wife; the inserted verse must be
recited in a lower tone as it were; in his house his wife is not
likely to answer back, when one knowing thus recites the inserted
verse in a lower tone. [...]

>From the Aitareya Brahmana, The Vaicvadeva and the Agnimaruta,
Adhyaya III, iii. 28 (xiii.4) (diacritical marks eliminated):

The other two metres said to the Gayatri: 'Our property, the
syllables have come round with (you).' 'No,' replied the Gayatri,
'ours are they as they were found (by us).' They disputed before
the gods; the gods said 'They are yours as they were found (by
you).' 'Therefore even now in a question of property they say 'It
is ours by right of finding.' Then the Gayatri was of eight
syllables, the Tristubh of three, the Jagati of one. The
eight-syllable Gayatri supported the morning pressing; the
Tristubh with three syllables could not support the midday
pressing; to her the Gayatri said 'Let me come; let there be a
portion for me here also.' 'Be it so' replied the Tristubh, Do
though unite me with these eight syllables.' 'Be it so' (she
said); her she united; thus to the Gayatri at the midday belong
the last two (verses) of the strophe of the Marutvatiya and the
antistrophe. She, having become of eleven syllables, supported
the midday pressing. The Jagati having one syllable could not
support the third pressing; to her the Gayatri said 'Let me come;
let there be a portion for me here also.' 'Be it so' replied the
Jagati, 'Do thou unite me with these eleven syllables.' 'Be it
so' (she said): her she united; thus to the Gayatri at the third
pressing belong the last two verses of the strophe of the
Vacvadeva and the antistrophe. Having become of twelve syllables
she supported the third pressing. Then indeed the Gayatri became
of eight syllables, the Tristubh of eleven syllables, and the
Jagati of twelve syllables. With all the metres of equal strength
and of similar quality he prospers who knows thus. That which was
one became three; therefore they say 'It should be given to one
who knows thus'; for being one it became three.

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(There is a great deal of information on the Gayatri Mantra,
beautiful and profound, online; what fascinates me within the
section quoted (admittedly an older translation) is the
concretization of meter and syllable, as organism and sentient,
more than performative, but actual. Do we approach this in our
music improvisations, speaking thus as we play? Does our poetry
and poetics carry the memory of a truth always in the process of
unveiling? Is there more than meets the senses and conscious and
unconscious processes? Are we the same as we ever were?)

___



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