The proverb ‘great minds think alike’ has a straightforward literal meaning. However, the usage is often ironic, that is, it is used when two great minds have the same thought.
I like to bring the thoughts of two great poets who have expressed same thoughts in different occasions. Shakespeare has written a Sonnet ‘Full many a glorious morning have I seen’. In that poem he writes ‘gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy’.
The world which was dark a few minutes earlier starts gleaming and shining, all due to the appearance of the heavenly alchemist, the sun. The alchemist is the one who converts the base metal into gold. Kannada poet D R Bendre makes use of the same thought in his poem, ಮೂಡಣ ಮನೆಯ ಮುತ್ತಿನ ನೀರಿನ ಎರಕಾವಾ ಹೊಯ್ದ Pale streams are converted into golden streams.
Shakespeare never knew about Pampa and Pampa never knew about Shakespeare. But Shakespeare in his poem’ Full many a glorious morning have I seen’, says ‘Suns of the world may stain when the heaven’s son staineth’. The poet’s friend is away from him because of some misunderstanding. The misunderstanding is just like a patch of cloud between the earth and the sun. The poet hopes that when the misunderstanding is clear, his friend will shine again. The same thought was used by Pampa earlier In his epic ‘Vikramarjuna Vijaya’. Pampa did not want to belittle the character of Duryodhana, inspite of the fact that hiding in Vaishampayana lake is a cowardly act. But Pampa saves him by saying, even the sun sets in the west, why not Duryodhana?
The poet excuses his hero by comparing him with the sun.
’ಅರ್ಕನುಮಮ್ ಕುರುಕುಲಾರ್ಕನುಮ್ ಅಸ್ತಮೇಯ್ದಿದರ್’ says pampa. This expression is exactly what Shakespeare has said about his friend the Earle of Southampton. Suns’ of the world may stain when the heaven’s sun staineth.’ this is exactly what Pampa has said about Duryodhana. Hence great minds think alike.
Expressions like, ಕಣ್ಣರಿಯದಿರ್ದರೇನ್ ಕರುಳರಿಯದೇ are found in different languages by different poets. We find the same expression in “Sohrab and Rustum’ of Mathew Arnold.
Literature is the mirror of life. Great minds express the life. It is natural to have similar thoughts.
Literature deals with dominant passions of human beings. Hence it is natural that the great minds think alike as all waters mingle with the ocean.
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