Wednesday, May 6, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 16.83: The Non-Compliant Nature of Things That Don't Exist

dante' pi dantaM praNidhaaya kaamaM
taalv-agram-utpiiDya ca jihvay" aapi
cittena cittaM parigRhya c' aapi
kaaryaH prayatno na tu te 'nuvRttaaH

Grit tooth against tooth, if you will,

Press the tongue forward and up against the palate,

And grip the intellect with the intellect --

Keep on trying as you might, they are not compliant.

"Unreal thoughts are not compliant," can be understood as a statement like the grass is green.

In other words, illusions are not subject to being reformed. I cannot command a stupid worry to become a clear decision, though I wish I could. And a misconception is not turned into a true conception, any more than a snake is turned into a mouse.

So my reading of this verse is that the exhortations are all ironic.

Two sayings of FM Alexander that I see as relevant are:

"The most difficult things to get rid of are the ones that don't exist."

"Trying is only emphasizing what you know already."

EH Johnston:
A man may do his best by setting the teeth, pressing the edge of the gums with the tongue and restraining the mind with the mind, but in any case they will not be readily docile.

Linda Covill:
Make an effort -- grit your teeth if you like, press your tongue against the top of the palate, hold your mind with the mind -- but never comply with them.

dante (loc. sg.): to tooth, against tooth
api: even, also
dantam (acc. sg.): m. tooth
praNidhaaya = absolutive of pra-Ni-√ dhA: to place in front; to put down , deposit; to place in , bring into (loc.)
kaamam: ind. (accusative of kaama) according to wish or desire, according to inclination; (as a particle of assent) very well; in any case

taalu: the palate
agram: in front , before , ahead of
utpiiDya = absolutive of ut-√pID: to press upwards or against
ca: and
jihvayaa = instrumental of jihvaa: the tongue
api: even, also

cittena (instrumental): with the mind
cittam (accusative): the mind
parigRhya = absolutive of pari-√grah: to take hold of on both sides, grasp, grip, master, overpower
ca: and
api: even, also

kaaryaH (nom. sg. m. gerundive of kR): to be done, to be made
prayatnaH (nom., sg.): m. persevering effort
na: not
tu: but
te (nominative, plural of sa): they, those [snakes/unreal thoughts]
anuvRttaaH (nom. pl. m. past participle of anu-√vRt): following, obeying, complying; obedience, conformity, compliance
anuvRtyaaH (nom. pl. m. gerundive anu-√vRt): to be obeyed
anu-√vRt: to go after, pursue ; obey , respect ; assent

N.B. EH Johnston proposed te 'nuvartyaaH instead of te 'nuvRttaaH as an alternative Sanskrit reading of the last two words of the verse, and an alternative English translation "but in any case he should not give way to them." Linda Covill went with the alternative reading.

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