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Lecture 4

Global Asia Studies Lecture 4.docx

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Global Asia Studies

Global Asia Studies - Lecture 4 o Take up our fourth universal theme: the communication of ideas through words, uttered and written. Also the stilling of that communication. Lesson is divided into four parts which include: (1) proverbs, (2) sayings, (3) folktales, and (4) hero stories o What is a proverb? How is it used?  A proverb is a saying that has a moral to it  There usually ancient sayings that express meaning of life  They are brief and easy to memorize  In theory, it‟s something that you carry – it belongs to the people  It‟s cleaver, and is passed on from generations to generations  It‟s sharp and cut to the chase  Generally passed on orally o What is the “Nitisara” – ‘Niti‟ translates to good conduct, and „sara‟ translates to essence = good essence for good behavior  It‟s not datable, he brings about short collections of proverbs and what they mean to him; text of a generally modern version of old proverbs  The verse is largely of a simple type called sloka. A sloka verse has 32 syllables, on two lines - 16 syllables on each line. It is not grand poetry. Rather, it has a catchy rhythm that is used as a didactic device. It is easy to remember, easy to teach.  It appears to have taken its current shape in late19th or early 20th century.  It‟s a compilation that had gained wide popularity in the state of Kerala  Even to-day it is being sold a low-priced publication in the bookshops of temple towns like Guruvayar, but it does not seem to be attracting the attention of the Sanskrit students or the reading public any more.  The idea was to guide children in the proper direction at an impressionable age  Talking about material of immediate use and is pulling from multiple traditions and all kinds of other interventions  Menon groups the verses thus: 1. Act with care and caution 2. Education and training 3. Greatness of knowledge 4. Nature of the vicious 5. Who is happy? 6. Wealth is to be utilised 7. Always prudent 8. Man and nature 9. Support from the wife o The second reading expands our view of proverbs to the world  Proverb: denotes something that belongs to the people. Something that everyone knows. Public knowledge. Memorable and short. o What are sayings? How are they used?  Sayings are usually something that is offered by an author  It differs from the proverb because it does not belong to the public  It can be little bit longer then a proverb, and can also be unmemorable  It is not necessarily catchy, all of the sayings can be viewed as quiet, brief, spare and very brief  Referred to, looked up, recited, rather than carried around ever in the head of the average person. 1. Sayings of Confucius  It was aimed to modify society, increase good conduct (li), promote harmony in society, etc. There seemed to be an emphasis on: Ren: good conduct, benevolence, harmony, fitting in with society. Xing: human nature, an inborn quality that can be improved upon.
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