Monday, January 12, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 3.29: The Readiness Is All

3.29
vijahus tu ye 'pi na gRhaani
tanaya-pitR-maatr-apekSHayaa
te 'pi niyama-vidhim aa maraNaaj
jagRhush ca yukta-manasash ca dadhrire

But even those who did not leave home

Out of regard for children or father or mother:

They also kept the precepts until death.

They took them and kept them, with ready minds.



COMMENT:
Straightforward though the content of this verse is, even these four lines progress in a certain order, which I would like to preserve.

Line 1 introduces the subject, which is people who did not leave home, or men who did not leave their wives -- the Monier-Williams dictionary says that in the neuter gRhaa means wife, rather than home.

Line 2, as usual, includes some objective consideration of facts.

Line 3 has the practical theme of keeping of the precepts -- the key to which, Line 4 suggests, is remaining mentally on the ball.

Order is important.

Order is vitally important in practising body-awareness ('all together, one after the other') of 1. neck, 2. head, 3. back and 4. limbs.

In nature, the emergence and inhibition of primitive vestibular reflexes takes place in a certain order -- 1. Moro reflex, 2. TLR, 3. ATNR and 4. STNR.

In Canto 17 of Saundarananda, Ashvaghosha takes us, progressively, in order, through the four levels of Zen, having to do with:
1. reliance on reason as opposed to passion,
2. physical well-being arising out of clarity/unity of purpose,
3. emotional balance, embracing equanimity and goodwill, leading to
4. a condition of simplicity and lucidity.

I am looking forward to going through the translation of the four levels of Zen, word by word on this blog, in a couple of weeks time. But I have been reading through Ashvaghosha's description already, and chewing it over, in readiness. The secret is truly in the preparation, which gives me a certain strong confidence that I am going to do a good job of spelling out what Ashvaghosha really meant -- because I have spent the last 30 years preparing to do just this job.

VOCABULARY:

vijahuH (from vi + haa): leave behind, quit
tu: but, though
ye (nominative, plural of yaH): who
api: even, also
na: not
gRhaani (accusative, neuter, plural of gRhaa): home, houses, wives.

tanaya: belonging to one's own family; sons and daughters; offspring
pitR: father
maatr: mother
apekSHayaa (instrumental): out of consideration, regard

te (nominative plural of saH): those
api: also
niyama: precepts
vidhim: precept
aa (with ablative): until
maraNaad (ablative): death

jagRhuH (perfect of grah): took, received, accepted
ca: and
yukta-manasaH (genitive): of ready mind, ready-minded; whole-heartedly, assiduously
ca: and
dadhrire: (perfect of dhR): held, carried, kept

EH Johnston:
Those who out of regard for their children or parents were unable to leave their home took on themselves to observe the restrictions till death and kept them with all their hearts.

Linda Covill:
Even those who stayed at home out of consideration for their children or parents accepted the restraints of the precepts until death, and they kept them assiduously.

3 comments:

Jordan said...

1. reliance on reason as opposed to passion,
2. physical well-being arising out of clarity/unity of purpose,
3. emotional balance, embracing equanimity and goodwill, leading to
4. a condition of simplicity and lucidity.


I have to admit I am looking forward to this too.

Keeping on,
Jordan

Mike Cross said...

Thank you, Jordan.

I have to admit that when I wrote this comment this morning, I might have been guilty of "over-exuberance," or hubris, or arrogance.

Anyway, thanks again,

Mike

Jordan said...

I don't know Mike. Could that also be Zeal?