Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Principles Taught by Ther Guttila Saga

I was in a meeting today and managed to lose myself in the seemingly meaningless mumbo-jumbo nad ended up thinking about Guttila. For no coherent reason. I swear. The more I thought about it the more the 'righteousness' part of the story make any sense.

Now in a very brief rehash, Guttila taught Musila to rock and roll and Musila challenged Guttila to a musical duel vying for the kings favor. We were taught that what Musila did was wrong and the god punished him for... what? Becoming better than his teacher?

In an outright no holds barred duel, Musila would have won coz he was the better musician, a classic case of the student becoming the master. But Guttila had to CHEAT in order to win. Just becasue the god (Shakra Deva no?) gave him the means and the license to do it doesn't change the fact that it was cheating.

So, were we taught that even if we are better than our elders/teachers in something, we need to shut up and tolerate it and not demonstrate our talents? The 'Guru Mushti' principle seems not to have left that stream of thought eh?

I for one never had a teacher who wished me to be less than him/her. They wanted me to become a doctor (ha!), an engineer (yeesh) or something. And I also had the teachers (bless them) who admitted when they were wrong and wanted to learn the right thing. Whatever it was.

So, coming back to Guttila, isn't the lesson being taught that its ok to cheat simply to beat someone who is better than you? Isn't this a clear violation of the ethical principles that are so prevalent in the 'Jathaka Kathas'?

Random ramblings borne of a boring meeting. Moot points I guess, but I thought it was an interesting kind of 'spin' to put on that story.

Cheers.

3 Comments:

At 6:50 PM, Blogger sittingnut said...

in guttila kavya the poet imo purposely creates that moral ambiguity in us by more or less letting us know that musila is the better musician. it is in a way more complex than the usual run of 'classical' literary works in sri lanka.

i have not read the original jathaka story so i do not know how it was treated there, but i heard that there the emphasize was on musila's ingratitude etc.

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger Chandare said...

Vaathewe Thero wrote Guttila Kavya using the Jathaka Story when he had some trouble with his Student(or was it teacher?holy shit, this is terrible .I have forgotten)Both poets vying for kings (and others scholars)attention at the time.He choose jathaka story to convey the dilema of competing with his student.

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Pradeep said...

It was the other way round Chadare. Vaaththewe Thero did Guttila Kavya after he was mistreated by his teacher, Thotagamuwe Rahula Thero to show that he would never go against his teacher despite the fact he is equally talented. A true masterpiece of classical Sinhala poetry!

 

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