Saturday, 24 May 2014

Yojo vs Dhvani

How does the Japanese theory of Yojo- suggestiveness, charm, surplus in meaning, mysterious resonances (especially when linked to Yujen) - relate to the Indian concept of 'Dhvani'?
Take this poem of Basho's-
Chrysanthemum's are associated with the Double Ninth Festival whose ritual seeks to ward off the danger of excessive Yang.  If Yojo is similar to Dhvani, than the poem's system of echoes is predetermined by a particular 'rasa' (flavor) associated with the specific medication or elixir guarding against the accumulated 'dosha' associated with Summer's interminability- when the very excess of Bright Light and Heat seeks out victims like an angry Dragon or implacable Plague.
Causality, or karma, is like that Dragon or unbearable Brightness or scorching Search light. The chrysanthemum flower, even if its petals are floated in wine, is not an escape from that Dragon but part of the same system of dependent origination. Indra is always killing Vritra, but by the same token Vritra never dies.

This haiku  reminds us of Basho remarking a worn out sandal abandoned in Yamaguchi Sodoo's famous Chrysanthemum gardens. The connoisseur, the idle son of an industrious merchant, has arrived at the Samurai aesthetic of asperity in the same manner that the stone-mason has surpassed  Utility on his toilsome path to the same sort of heritable wealth. The Chrysanthemums remain Chrysanthemums whether cultivated in a parterre or not grudged their blooming in a stone-mason's yard. The worn out sandal of the connoisseur has become itself that Chrysanthemum whose petals never wither and the same is true of the gaps the stone mason leaves in his yard so the flower can blossom anew. The idle aesthete of a son is now his industrious father just as much as the father is already his own son. No punitive Messiah is needed to turn their hearts to each other. Whether you wield the Blue Dragon Sword or simply float flower petals in your Wine cup, Heroism is saved. Rejoicing is unconfined; Everything is connected to Everything; Indra's net of pearls glows with Autumnal splendor and that memory withstands Winter, or rather it provides a topos for its salutary purging and shiver of loneliness.

Of course, the above only holds true if Yojo is Dhvani. 
O Lawdy Lawd, say it aint so!



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