api ca svato 'pi parato 'pi
na bhayam abhavan na daivataH
tatra ca susukha-subhikSHu-guNair
jahRSHuH prajaaH kRta-yuge Manor iva
What is more, [arising] from self and from the other,
No terror occured; nor from fate.
At that time and place,
by dint of their true happiness
and material plenty and practical merits,
The citizens rejoiced as in the golden age of Manu.
They say that when a person is enlightened, his experience of the world is whole. We who are not yet there, in contrast, in our SUFFERING, continue to experience all things and phenomena as arising either from within or without. When a bright idea arises, it seems to arise from within me. When the sun comes up in the morning, it seems to arise from outside. "From self and from the other," then, can be understood as an expression of the divided view of self and others, which is synonymous with SUFFERING.
A terror arising from self might mean, for example, a pogrom, or similar episode of ethnic cleansing. An terror arising from the other might mean, for example, a terrorist movement, whose grievances I do not understand, bombing the city where I live. That no such atrocity blighted the kingdom of Kaplilavastu was not a fluke. I think Ashvaghosha here may be suggesting the working of karma, that is, CAUSATION, not only at the level of individual observance of the precepts but also at the level of collective responsibility. A terror committed by my community, or against my community, is the work of Mara, and how Mara fares is totally up to me. If I were able, well and truly, to inhibit my own Mara reflex, then people around me might be inspired and guided by my example to inhibit theirs. The point of this line, in other words, is negation of fatalism, and affirmation of the law of CAUSE AND EFFECT: if we believe in cause and effect and attend to our own not doing of wrong, here and now, then there is nothing for any of us to worry about.
In this verse too, therefore, I think the use of the word tatra is not incidental. Tatra indicates the here and now, the stage upon which wrong is INHIBITED. The list of three elements that Asvhaghosha uses to describe the Kapilavastu community is very reminiscent of lists of three or four elements that Master Dogen compiles in Shobogenzo, comprising: (1) something mental, religious, or spiritual, (2) something material, and (3) something to do with INHIBITION, or mundane action. An example might be, in discussing buddha, to list a golden buddha, a wood buddha, and a mud buddha. Or on a bovine theme he might have listed a golden calf, a load of bull, and a ring through the nose. If this all sounds too philosophical, not grounded weightily enough in zafu-squashing, then remember what the ultimate teaching of Zen Master Dogen is: that there is mental sitting as opposed to physical sitting; that there is physical sitting as opposed to mental sitting, and that there is sitting, truly, as body and mind dropping off.
The key word is rejoiced. As we shall investigate shortly, the fourth realisation in sitting practice is realised through non-attachment to joy. But the first steps in sitting practice, as Ashvaghosha is about to describe them, are most definitely joyful steps. And those first joyful realisations, if I understand correctly, depend on the use of reason to discriminate between a pair of mutually exclusive and opposite approaches; namely, end-gaining vs A MEANS-WHEREBY.
api ca: as well, moreover, also
-taH (ablative suffix): from, in accordance with, in respect of
svataH: from the self, from within
parataH: from the other, from without
bhayam (accusative): fear, danger, distress
abhavat: (imperfect of bhuu) became, brought into existence, was
daiva: divine will, destiny, fate, chance
daivataH: from fate, from chance
tatra: there, at that time and place
su- (prefix): good, true, harmonious, great
susukha: great ease, true happiness
subhikSHu: plenty, having abundant supply of provisions
guNaiH (instrumental, plural): with/through/ because of merits or virtues
jahRSHuH(perfect of hRish): rejoiced
prajaaH (nominative, plural): subjects of the king, citizens
kRta: done, perfected
yuga: an age of the world, epoch
kRta-yuge (locative): in the golden age, the first of the four ages of the world
Manor (genitive): of Manu
No one too experienced any danger from himself, from others, or from fate: the people rejoiced there as in the golden age of Manu, in happiness, plenty and virtue.
Nor did anyone fear harm from himself, from others or from fate; the people there rejoiced in great ease, abundant in provisions and virtue, as in the golden age of Manu.