Friday, January 16, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 3.33: Precepts Four to Seven - No Lying, Gossip, Hurtful Words, or Slander

an-Rtam jagaada na ca kash cid
Rtam api jajalpa n'aa-priyam
shlakSHNam api ca na jagaav a-hitam
hitam apy uvaaca na ca paishunaaya yat.

Nobody told an untruth,

Nor made true but nasty gossip,

Nor spoke slick but hurtful words.

The speaking of beneficial words, again,
was free of slanderous intent.

This verse seems to contain nos. 4 to 7 of the ten precepts referred to in 3.37, viz:
No. 4: Not to lie
No. 5: Not to gossip
No. 6: Not to speak hurtful words, and especially not to speak or write in a slick, urbane manner words whose real effect is hurtful.
No. 7: Not to disparage A even in the attempt to clarify something for the benefit of B.

an-Rta: untrue
jagaada = perfect of gad: speak articulately, say, tell
na: not
ca: and
kash cid: anything

Rtam: true
api: even
jajalpa = perfect of jalp: speak inarticulately, chatter, prattle, gossip
na: not
a-priya: unpleasant, nasty, disagreeable

shlakSHNa: slippery, smooth, polished, gentle, tender, slick
api: even
ca: and
na: not
jagau = perfect of gai: sing, speak or recite in a singing manner
a-hitam: unfit, improper; unfriendly; not beneficial; hostile, noxious, hurtful

hitam: beneficial, advantageous, good advice
api: even
uvaaca = perfect of vac: speak
na: not
ca: and
paishunaaya (dative): for the purpose of malignity, slander; out of spite
yat: that

EH Johnston:
No one said what was untrue or, if true, was unpleasant. No one spoke smooth things which were to the disadvantage of others. They spoke only to the advantage of others, avoiding backbiting.

Linda Covill:
No one told an untruth, and even if something was true, no one made it nasty gossip. No one, even slyly, said anything hurtful to others, and even when speaking to others' benefit, no one told tales.


Mike Cross said...

I'm relegating the following from the post to the comments section, where it will remain, along with how many other tens of thousands of words that would have been better left unwritten, but were in fact written:

In endeavoring to tell my students the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I speak these words:

Let the neck be free, to let the head come forward and up, to let the spine lengthen and the back widen, sending the knees away from the pelvis.

It is the speaking of words in order to clarify a unity of purpose which is beyond words. In Canto 17 Ashvaghosha describes this kind of effort as part of the second realisation.

The first realisation has to do with relying on reason as opposed to that instinctive end-gaining associated with stiffening of the neck. The second realisation has to do with a certain unity of purpose, or direction of energy, led by the head.

The truest speech, in the end, may be no speech. But on the way there, there is inevitably the speaking of true words.

Dirk said...

as I read this I realized just how tightly my neck was held!

Thank you for this work! I'm not going to pretend i get everything (tad dense in a way), but I take what I can from your efforts. Sorry I have nothing to give back as of yet

Gassho, Dirk