Gita in the Underpass

1 February 2016 – I didn’t expect to find chapter 3, verse 35 of the Bhagavad Gita in a Dupont St. underpass. Who would? Nor would I have known I had found it, but for the fact that I did my Saturday walk with my friend Gauri, just back from a month visiting family & friends in India.

We don’t start the walk on Dupont, we’re up on St. Clair West near Dufferin. I have food slightly on the mind. Before we set off, Gauri shows me some photos from her trip, including a close-up of a succulent dish traditionally prepared for Marathi weddings, but — because she loves it so — prepared in her honour during her visit.

Perhaps that’s why I interpret the central image in this street-corner montage as a jar of jam.

Lauder Av at St. Clair West

It seems singularly drab, compared to the Marathi feast. Still, the two heads are lively enough …

We walk, we talk, we laugh, we stop for coffee a bit farther west & finally head south, angling across Davenport to Lansdowne. More laughter as we go, being with Gauri involves lots of laughter, but we fall silent at the intersection.

Davenport at Lansdowne

We contemplate the “ghost bike,”  a white bike marking the spot where a cyclist has died. This young man died in November 2012; the bicycle has been here for years, but these are new floral tributes.

Down Lansdowne, more public art, yet another mood. These graphics swoop along the underpass that guides us all beneath railway tracks. It’s another StART (Street Art Toronto) project, perhaps a commentary on the construction above?

Lansdowne n of Dupont

We defy death — death, I tell you — to scamper across Lansdowne in order to see that graphic as a whole. “I’m just back from India,” boasts Gauri. “This is nothing!” I scuttle along in her wake.

Barely through the underpass, and we see another image, this one small enough that we consider recrossing the street to see it up close. Then we assess the increased traffic, plus the jump involved in getting ourselves down to street level — and chicken out.

So here is Green Lady. From afar. In the gloom. (Sorry.)

Lansdowne n of Dupont

Now we’re at Dupont, and I drag Gauri westward. There’s a small gallery along here I like to check out — and another much-decorated underpass along the way.

I know this underpass, I’ve seen these images before, but … wait a minute … is this something new?

Right here next to an EGR face … is that an Anser tease? Just a few elements of his distinctive flowing face-graphic, woven into somebody else’s design?

Dupont w of Lansdowne, n side

Not sure, but what do you think? Here, for comparison, is a full-blown, for-sure Anser (photographed a year ago in the Distillery District).

Anser face, Distillery District

I’m still squinting at the maybe-Anser on Dupont. Gauri has moved on, very slightly. I join her. She reads a dramatic triangular panel, and says: “Gita!”

Pardon?

Bhagavad Gita,” she says.

Dupont underpass w. of Lansdowne

It’s a translation of a verse, she explains, and then quotes the Sanskrit. (“My grade 10 Sanskrit!”)

I demand a transliteration, which she supplies right there on the spot — and later supplements with the bhagavad-gita.org link for this verse online, complete with quotation, transliteration, anvaya and translation, all four.

Gauri’s transliteration is very good indeed. Let’s hear it for grade 10 Sanskrit classes (and her excellent memory).

The online translation is rather more fulsome than the Dupont St. version.

Performing one’s natural prescribed duty tinged with faults is far better than performing another’s prescribed duty perfectly; even death in performing one’s natural prescribed duty is better; for performing prescribed duties of others is fraught with danger.

An advantage of the online version: it completes the final thought, blanked out by someone’s aluminum paint on the Dupont St. version.

After this, the gallery show is an anticlimax.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Wonderful wandering so as always and your friend Gita sounds a lot of fun 🙂

    Reply

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