Burma


Cultural differences in the Indian Subcontinent are not that many. In fact there aren’t any differences. The way of life led by the monks of Buddhism is similar to that of the Gods in Hinduism. (Referring to monastery system which is similar to Gurukul type schooling).

The book now I am currently reading is called ‘The Burman’ by Shway Yoe

It is about the life and notions of a Burmese person. The kind of structures he gets born into. The kind of activities he gets involved into are very similar to the rigid structure of a Gurukul. Some of the interesting facts and quotes I came across in the books have been interesting. Like the concept of waking up early in the morning is describe as “Waking up when there is enough light to see the veins on your hand.” – Because of lack of Time keeping clock. But in Hinduism there is a concept of looking at your palms as soon as you wake up and chanting, “Karagare vasate lakshmi, Karamule Saraswati, Karamadhye tu Govindam, Prabhate kara darshanam”. (We’re probably searching for our veins in this scenario as well).

Its interesting how customs that I found silly back in my old teenage days have much more clarity now. When I am in this country finally lost and allowed to be who I am without a pressure of appeasing a ‘partner’ or any kind of human being with my time. Does not mean I hate socialising. Its great to socialise. But even better to disconnect and sit in the library and read and write.

Also, This is a huge paragraph from the book but I would like to share it with you because if you consider Monks and Monasteies or Gurus and Gurukul very uncool (colloquial language but it rhymes!). You ought to read the following,

“I suppose Englishmen will never get rid of the notion that monastic schools must needs be dull and dismal, that hours of study only alternate with seasons of austerity and rough punishments. That unihabited, almost deserted, appearance of the Burmese kyoung; its isolated position; the solemn, restful front which it always preserves, no matter how lightened up by profuse gilding and the carved magnificence of its panels eaves’ boards, or how embowered in rich and waving foliage; the austere aspect and slow paced gait of mendicants in their sad yellow robes– all these things inevitably encourage the foreigner in the belief that the monotony and the discipline must crush all life and light-heartedness out of a young scholar.

 

Nothing, however, can be farther from the actual fact. No Etonian, no old Rugbeian, can look back with greater delight on triumphs on the river or in the football field, than the grown-up Burman does on his early days at the Pongyi Kyaung. … How it relieved the body and freshened the mind after hours of poring over little hand-blackboards, covered with cramped words and letters, in the quiet rooms inside. ”

 

The explanation of the text or of the 40 pages (only? in 4 hours. Come on Sangita lol) need you to read the same. The best quote although is “English schools teach you how to make money. Burmese schools teach you how to be contented and happy.”

So do the Gurus and Gurukuls. That system worked well for a peaceful subcontinent for us. Which is now messed up with the Christian missionary schools and students like me are driven out and made to write and re-discover my own nation from a library at a University so far away from home. Who knew that Socratic definition of the Other life would be so relevant to my life here. But, it is. And I am glad it is.

 

This is me signing off whilst listening to Jagao mere des ko by AR Rahman. 🙂

 

Thank you for reading you lovely readers :*

 

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