Does one have to be astonished that Ganesh has taken to information technology, exchanging his book for a computer? Certainly not, because Ganesh could not be unaware of the extent to which India has recently developed in this sector, becoming the second exporter of software after the United States, producing a large anglophone work-force qualified in information technology, and accommodating more and more delocalized IT departments of foreign companies. Ganesh, god of knowledge, can be only be at the cutting-edge of whatever is happening, and can replace without complex his elephant-tusk quill with a keyboard. Why a portable computer? Why because Ganesh moves around, and especially in the buses. One cannot doubt besides that this computer is connected to the Internet, in the image of the practices in India, which multiply the uses of the Internet and the accesses to the network. In his case, it is undoubtedly a WiFi connection, without wire and in local loop, conforming to a not very expensive technology developed by Indian professor Jhujhunwalla, of the Madras Indian Institute of Technology, which thus made it possible to connect many villages at lower cost. This new attribute makes it possible for Ganesh to associate his mobility with good telecommunication, and thus to remain close - even in coprésence - to his very many faithful. That should also enable him to take part in the many Hindu pilgrimages which can be carried out today virtually, on line, thanks to interactive sites. These assume again the figure of the pilgrimage but by removing some of the need for displacement, to propose the new rituals, signs of an increasing individualization of the religious practices. One can be simply astonished at the absence of the portable telephone...whose development in India however shows growth rates of 80% per annum these last years. Would it be the so great wisdom of Ganesh which safeguards him from too much intrusion?
Blandine Ripert, "Ganesha has taken to information technology!"
Given the increasing fragmentation and contestation of so much of contemporary human knowledge due to the dissolution of barriers to mass communication among the various religio-cultural traditions—as manifested in and exemplified by the ubiquitous Internet, the modern Tower of Babel—these traditions now need to be systematically juxtaposed, read against the grain, and problematized so as to extract fresh insights and principles for the global future. [...] Through the ‘incongruous’ connections (bandhu) that he repeatedly establishes between things and domains that have (apparently) nothing to do with each other, the (‘great’) brahmin (mahâbrâhmaNa) Fool becomes—as I have shown—the comic expounder upon the world-stage of the (secret of the) Vedic enigma (bráhman). [...] Whereas the brahmin clown drew upon a shared mythico-ritual universe and value system to crack his often unintelligible (sometimes even to the initiated!) jokes on the profane stage, the contemporary confusion and demise of ideologies as a whole is inimical to any form of exposition and dialogue that insists—in the manner of the philosophers—on starting from (supposedly) ‘first’ principles [definitions of 'religion' and dharma?]. More effective is the immediate, abrupt, and elliptical projection of highly condensed cognitive ‘knots’ (bandhu—from badh "to bind") in the form of outrageous questions, improbable analogies, juxtaposition of disparate domains, unexpected turns of thought, reversal of values, and so on, that challenge, titillate, and otherwise engage a most varied audience even if initially (only) because of their (apparent) humor. The ‘joke’ thus becomes the intriguing focus for a collaborative effort in unwinding its multiple strands of meaning through layered commentary that draws upon more conventional (bibliographic, etc.) knowledge resources. Such a practice would renew with an entire Indian tradition—starting from Abhinava’s pronouncements on humor, through the nonsense of the clown and the witty expositions of the riddle play (vîthî), back to the Vedic enigma-contests (brahmodya)—by compressing its history and dissolving the boundaries between genres, even while opening it up to the contemporary and increasingly interconnected world. We thus become active participants in a collective exercise in disjointed, proliferating, open-ended, cumulative, and ‘ever-renewed’ (abhi-nava!) sense-making, that is as entertaining as it is mutually instructive, therapeutic, and self-transforming. The best—and perhaps the only—way to clarify and preserve Indian tradition (and not just in aesthetics), it seems to me, is to keep extending it creatively. As the ‘doctor’ said, "use it or lose it!"
Sunthar V., "Towards an Integral Appreciation of Abhinava’s aesthetics of Rasa" (Sep 2005)
Dr. [AUM Humoris Causa] Sunthar
P.S. Google's garbled English translation has been fixed by Vyâsa's faithful scribe....with a little help at the keyboard from the Prâkrit Fool ;-)
SOURCE: Abhinavagupta Forum