Friday, January 2, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 3.19: A Path with Heart

pratipuujayaa na sa jaharSHa
na ca shucam avajNay" aagamat
nischita-matir asi-candanayor
na jagaama duHkha-sukhayosh ca vikriyaam

Being revered gave him no thrill;

Disrespect caused him no grief.

His own direction was decided,
come sword or sandalwood.

Whether the going was tough or easy,
he was not diminished.

People's opinions are very variable (1), (2), but suffering, along with gravity, are two things that are constant. Gautama's greatness had to do with the resolve with which he counter-acted suffering and, maybe even more fundamentally, to do with the direction by means of which he counter-acted gravity (3).

Having realised the four noble truths, the Buddha had become one of those fortunate people who have not only a sense of mission, as an end, but also a sense of their own direction in life leading towards that end. Gautama had found a means-whereby that would work, for self and for others alike. He had become a realised man, a man of real stature, who knew the secret of keepin his stature, in any circumstance. Hard going and easy going were both grist to his mill(4).

pratipuujayaa: (instrumental) with reverence, with respectful salutation, because of being honoured
na: not
sa: he
jaharSHa: past tense of harSHa (see also 3.8): bristling, erection (especially of the hair in a thrill of rapture or delight); exultation, joy, pleasure, happiness

na: not
ca: and
shucam: (accusative) grieving, sorrowful
avajNayaa: (instrumental) with disrespect, because of contempt
agamat: went, became (with accusative)

nischita-mati: decided in mind, firm in one's direction/thinking, unmoved, unperturbed
asi: sword
candana: sandalwood, luxurious incense
asi-candanayor = genitive/locative, dual of asi-candana.

na: not
jagaama: went, became (with accusative)
duHkha-suKHhayor: (locative, dual of duHka-sukHA) in pain or pleasure, in discomfort or ease, in suffering or happiness, in hard times or in good times, etc.
ca: and
vikriyaam: (accusative) altered, changed for the worse

EH Johnston:
If received with honour He did not feel joy, or if with contempt grief; resolute in mind, He was unmoved equally by threats of violence or by luxury, by pleasure or by pain.

Linda Covill:
He felt no pleasure when revered, nor was he hurt by slights. Unperturbed by violent sword or luxurious sandalwood, he remained unaltered in sorrow or happiness.


Mike Cross said...

I changed this post this afternoon because, while plodding on with Sanskrit study, I realised I hadn't clearly understood the grammar of the 3rd and 4th lines, where the genitive/locative case
is used for sword-sandalwood as one pair, and for hard-going/easy-going as one pair.

Understanding that duHka-sukha is in the locative case, and remembering that the original meaning of duHka is thought to derive from dus (with difficulty) + kha (a wheel going round an axle), I wanted to change the translation and comment accordingly, to give more of a sense of the Buddha as an active agent getting going as the going got tough, rather than him simply being a stoic endurer of suffering.

I could write more, but my wife has just announced that chips are fried for tea.

This is indeed a work in progress.

lxg said...

This is a really beautiful, inspiring depiction of the Buddha.