Monday, October 10, 2011

From ‘In Search of the Mahabharata. Notes of travels in India with Peter Brook 1982-1985’ by Jean-Claude Carriere. Translated from the French original by Aruna Vasudev

India …… a place where everything seems to have been foreseen, from one extreme to the other. Anything that one can do with this or with that. Complete. The least boring in the world, that is certain. A meticulous exploration of reality. Continuity of ancient kingdoms, the only one left. A gigantic anomaly: unless all the other countries are shadows of India.

Vyasa, the legendary author of the poem, says that the aim of the Mahabharata is “to inscribe the Dharma in the heart of man”. ……. There is an individual dharma which each one must know and follow, and also a collective, universal, cosmic dharma which one could call the world order. And one depends on the other. If a great number of people respect their individual dharmas, the cosmic dharma will be maintained. ……. Lavastine says that for him the most important sentence of the book is: “The dharma when it is protected, protects. When it is destroyed, it destroys”.

…… Cioran: “Man is a deceitful animal. History is his punishment.”

The African actors who are part of the journey ……….. They all find themselves in India for the first time and their reactions are similar: everything reminds them of Africa. They keep saying: this is like at home, it is like in Africa. Direct and profound links, even with the landscapes. But most of all in the way of thinking, the rituals, the rhythms.

A sentence of Henri Michaux which could be applied to the Mahabharata: “You tell this story to an old stick: it will sprout leaves and take root.”

What has India given us? Impossible to say. A secret dimension that will probably remain forever secret – beyond wonder, charm, irritation, repulsion. The pulsating energy, above all else, and the mixture of things.

As Krishna said to Vyasa, the god to the man: “Which one of us invented the other?”