Thursday, December 18, 2008

SAUNDARANANDA 3.4; No Certainty Out There

sa vicaarayan jagati kiM tu
paramam iti taM tam aagamam
nishcayam an-adhigataH parataH
paramaM cacaara tapa eva duSH-karam

When he mentally scoured the world, however,

For the most solid
among this and that tradition,

Certainty was not to be found out there.

He entered, after all, into ascetic practice
that was most severe.

What and where is certainty?
"You cannot do an undoing," for example, is a very solid principle on which to base mindfulness of breathing. But no reader of this blog can find this certainty by reading this blog. The possibility of arriving at this certainty lies only within each person's making of his or her own mistakes -- a.k.a "learning the self" or "working on the self".
Now, free your neck!

sa: he
vicaarayan = from the verb vi + car: reflect, investigate, consider
jagati: (locative) the world
kiM tu: however

paramam: the highest, the greatest, the most [solid], the best
iti: thus [he asked -- which was the greatest]
tad tad: this and that, various, different
aagamam: received wisdom, tradition

nishcayam: certainty, conviction, ascertainment
an-adhigataH: not found, not obtained
parataH: from others, elsewhere

paramaM: the greatest, the [harsh]est
cacaara = from the root car: do, effect, move
tapa: ascetic practice
eva: (emphatic) that same [practice] after all
duSH-karam: difficult to practise

EH Johnston:
After considering which of the various sacred traditions in the world was the highest, and failing to obtain exact knowledge from others, He entered after all on austerities of extreme difficulty.

Linda Covill:
Of the many doctrines in the world, he pondered, which one was supreme? Not meeting with answers elsewhere, he began strenuous ascetism after all.

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