Friday, May 15, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 16.92: Working to Principle

yaM vikramaM yoga-vidhaav akurvaMs
tam eva shiighraM vidhivat kuruShva
tataH padaM praapsyasi tair avaaptaM
sukh'-aavRtais tvaM niyataM yashash ca

The prowess they have shown
with regard to the principle of practice,

Be quick to do the same, working to principle.

Then your realisation of the step that they took,

And of the splendour that adorns those ease-filled ones,
will be assured.

Courage displayed in practice, as I see it, is absolutely no guarantee of any kind of splendid result, unless that practice is carried out according to the means-whereby principle. So for me the key word in this verse is vidhi.

Vidhi, as I read it, expresses the means-whereby principle which stands in opposition to blind end-gaining. Courage in blind end-gaining is the last thing we need to emulate. What we should emulate is prowess in working to the preventive principle.

According to the preventive principle, the first thing we attend to, rather than grasping unconsciously for an end in view, is cutting out faults. The most basic of these faults are, on the one hand, over-excited energy, hyper-tension, fixing, postural stiffening; and, on the other hand, weak energy, lack of tone, irresolution, postural collapse.

Considered in these terms, in terms of energetic tone, with this verse the pace seems to switch from the calming stimulus of running through a long list of names -- which is as exciting as conjugating French verbs or counting sheep -- to the garnering stimulus of being exhorted to lively up ourselves, quickening the conscious mind and showing manly endeavour in working to principle.

EH Johnston:
The courage which they showed in the practice of Yoga do you also display quickly in proper form. Then you will certainly reach the stage and the glory those... ones reached.

Linda Covill:
that courage which they showed in the practice of yoga, be quick to do the same, as instructed. Then you will certainly attain the state, and the glory, that those blissful ones reached.

yam (acc. sg. m.): [that] which
vikramam (acc. sg.): m. a step , stride , pace; going , proceeding , walking , motion , gait ; course , way , manner ; valour , courage , heroism , power , strength ; force , forcible means
yoga: practice, formal practice
vidhau = locative of vidhi: rule, direction; use , employment , application ; method , manner or way of acting , mode of life , conduct , behaviour; work ; any act or action , performance , accomplishment , contrivance , work , business (ifc. often pleonastically e.g. mathana-vidhi , the [act of] disturbing)
akurvan = 3rd person plural, imperfect of kR: to do, make
vikramaM- √kR: to display prowess , use one's strength

tam (correlative of yam): that [which]
eva: same, very
shiighram: quickly
vidhivat: according to rule , duly
kuruShva = imperative of kR: to do

tataH: in that case, then
padam (acc. sg.): n. step
praapsyasi = 2nd person future of praap: to attain to ; reach , arrive at , meet with , realise
taiH (inst. pl): by them
avaaptam (acc. sg. n.): attained, reached, obtained, got

sukha: ease, happiness
aavRtaiH (inst. pl. m.): filled with , abounding with
tvam (nominative, singular): you
niyatam: decidedly , inevitably , surely
yashaH = acc. sg. yashas: n. beautiful appearance , beauty , splendour , worth ; honour , glory , fame , renown

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