And Girija and Jayamma lived happily thereafter

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And Girija and Jayamma lived happily thereafter

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Tue Sep 07, 2021 2:46 pm

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Many years ago when I visited an old 11th century temple near my home town in a rural village I was very much disturbed by the inscription of names of the people on the beautiful walls of the temple. Incidentally this happened well before we got independence, around 1940s. The temple is now well protected by archeology department but the damage was done, long ago, at least that is what I thought when I visited the temple many years ago. I did not even open my camera bag then to photograph these otherwise beautiful temple walls.

A month ago I visited this place again. This time I went there to photograph those inscription of the people who made themselves immortal by carving their names on the walls.

This time I had a different thought. Why would a king build a temple?

There could be many reasons, devotion being just one of them. Little bit of searching the google gives many answers - temples were symbol of their valor of winning a war, they were often built to make their name immortal in the history of the mankind, temples served as significant social platform, temples/monuments were built to remember the near and dear ones of the kings and queens and this list goes on. Of course one of the reason is also to express their devotion and religious standings but then people who devoted themselves fully also built 'temple' under the trees this way. Of course no one knows who made them. That was not the objective, just the devotion was.

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Summary being, the reasons go well beyond just the spiritual attitude of kings and queens who built them. Now, poor Girija and Jayamma could not have built a temple. Yet they were humans with the same basic instincts as of those kings who wanted to stay immortal. Girija and Jayamma too wanted to live for ever, if not at least their names. From this perspective the scribbles on walls appeared more like a philosophical study of human nature. I am not at all justifying their act but to me it is an interesting study of raw human behaviour.

As a nature photographer I am undecided between quarrying stones/mountains and building a 'work of art' vs. leaving it as is and worshiping the mountain of stones.

Like Girija and Jayamma, this potter wasp does not know it is building its home on a 'work of art' of another species in nature. It also wants to ensure its progeny continues..

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It appears mother Nature provides space for living and ego of all, including us, the Nature Photographers. After all it is Nature's own creation!! Seeing it in a perspective may help at times.
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Re: And Girija and Jayamma lived happily there after

Postby Adithya Biloor » Tue Sep 07, 2021 5:07 pm

Ganesh,

This is a very deep philosophical touch to nature photography, photography, and life. And you have so well connected all this.


With all our worldly problems, desperation to continue progeny, desire to express our emotions- egoistically or humbly, it's not easy to fully digest and agree with what you are saying.
How to come out of
1. I am a photographer
2. I am a nature photographer
3. I care for nature
4. My photography cares for nature etc and be one with nature or at least look at nature with awe? And even if, at some point, I could attain this knowledge will there be any meaning for my photography?

Aren't we all - like those kings and girija/jayamma - just trying to etch our names on some wall?

Probably I need a few more years to fully comprehend this.

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Re: And Girija and Jayamma lived happily there after

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Tue Sep 07, 2021 5:23 pm

Aren't we all - like those kings and girija/jayamma - just trying to etch our names on some wall?


Yes, Adithya, We do! (at least I think so). Now I know one more person who agrees with me?! (of course it does not matter either way :) )

The next logical, philosophical question this thread might lead to is "What is the meaning of life?"

I find this view interesting. Not sure whether Einstein answered this question when he said (quoting from the book "The World As I see It")

What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow-creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life


It is not very clear to me what he meant by the word "religion" here. Later in the book he talks about religion based on fear, based on morality and what he calls cosmic religion, where he says "religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law". Probably he might have used the word "religion" in the latter sense.
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Re: And Girija and Jayamma lived happily thereafter

Postby Rajkumar » Thu Sep 09, 2021 8:15 am

Interesting change of thoughts over a period.

Not to remove the romance out of the temple building. Few other important reasons to build temples are
- Critical one is to spread the wealth to the people,, provide employment and development of an area Purely an economic endeavor. Followed to this day
- Promote arts and artisans
-In later years in an indirect way to glorify the king and make him god-like..some iconographic or names commonality will be developed to glorify the king

Power and economics are good drivers for anything and everyday jobs. But also turns artistic. Same as the Wasp? Everyday job but turns artistic for us?

If I were to sit and wonder and go back in time I would meet the Artist / Artisan ....his skill, his motivation, his spirituality they are the underplayed stars I would say another choice if I know the wasp I can know the world ...
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Re: And Girija and Jayamma lived happily thereafter

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Thu Sep 09, 2021 11:33 am

If I were to sit and wonder and go back in time I would meet the Artist / Artisan ....his skill, his motivation, his spirituality they are the underplayed stars I would say another choice if I know the wasp I can know the world ...


Raj, I agree - artist/sculptor is an important part of the equation. The work irrespective of kings’ intents gave sculptors a living. We also can be fairly sure looking at the end result that they poured their heart into it and were oblivious to the larger intent.
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Re: And Girija and Jayamma lived happily thereafter

Postby Madhav Jois » Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:32 pm

Ganesh,

The first image reminds of "cuckoo". Intention is the same, to leave offspring or to be immortal (sort of), but methods are different as it resorts to other birds nest for depositing egg. Similar behaviour can be seen at many places.. ex.


When we witness such behaviour outside our species, we deem them intelligent, but when it occurs in our own clan, it is not welcomed. To me, it is not clear what is right or wrong.
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Re: And Girija and Jayamma lived happily thereafter

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Fri Sep 10, 2021 6:52 pm

Interesting video, Madhav. Thanks for sharing.

I think we have overlaid ‘ethics/morality’ on our fabric to live and let live, which of course is imperfect. I think lapses in its practice also gives rise to various art forms..
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