mohaad yen' aanuvRttena
paratr' eha ca hanyate
= - = = - = = =
- - = - - = - =
= = = = - = = -
- = = - - = - =
What is called dejectedness, conversely,
Is, in connection with an object, a contrary reaction
By going along with which, in one's ignorance,
One is smitten thereafter, and smitten there and then.
My first draft of a comment on this verse consisted of only three words: Quad Erat Demonstrandum.
The teaching of FM Alexander may be regarded as an exercise in finding out how all too true this verse is, on multiple levels.
The challenge in translating a verse like this is to find a translation that is open enough to allow the full range of intended meanings, which may be more numerous than we can imagine.
I associate dejectedness in the first instance with failure to achieve an object in the sense of an ambition, an end, a goal in life. This kind of failure is liable to be followed by a dialectic swing of the kind FM Alexander described in his famous quote pertaining to the middle way: "It is owing to this habit of rushing from one extreme to another -- a habit which, as I have pointed out, seems to go hand in hand with subconscious guidance and direction -- to this tendency, that is, to take the narrow and treacherous sidetracks instead of the great, broad, midway path, that our plan of civilization has proved a comparative failure."
Again, hostility against or 'repulsion' (as per EHJ and LC) from a noxious sensory stimulus, that is, an object directly perceptible by the senses, can also be associated with a kind of dejectedness. The contrary reaction that certain wimpish individuals are liable to experience every time a noisy aircraft flies overhead, might be a case in point. Guarding against dejectedness, in such instances, might mean refusing to let the blighters get you down. Or at least, if they have got you down already, then it might mean starting afresh from there.
On a more subtle level, as a method of working on his own integrity, a person might, say, form the intention to join hands and bow without stiffening the neck and tightening in various joints. In this case, the conscious intention is not to be drawn into end-gaining for a particular object, but rather to attend to the means-whereby of directing muscles not to contract unduly. But notwithstanding this conscious desire, unconsciously a reaction is likely to take place which is contrary to the practitioner's intention. That is to say, when he actually goes into movement, he is liable to do just the opposite of what he was intending. So instead of his head being allowed to release out of the body as he inclines forward, his unconscious end-gaining attitude may cause the person in question actually to pull his head in, like a frightened tortoise. And this contrary reaction may also be understood as a very subtle form of dejectedness.
Lest all this sounds like too much doom and gloom, I'll finish by remembering how Marjory Barlow responded when, called upon to extend my leg on her teaching table while directing my neck to be free, my head to go forward and up, and my back to lengthen and widen, I in fact made a horlicks of it and gained the end of extending my leg only at the expense of stiffening and twisting horribly. "At least you know you made a mess of it!" Marjory said encouragingly. In the same vein, Nelly Ben-Or once told me, when I expressed to her my anxiety about taking people's money for purporting to transmit to them what FM Alexander taught: "As long as you know you are a fraud, you are not a true fraud."
In order not to be a fraud, I begin every day by sitting in lotus and wishing to be free. And the wish has to be real. It can't be just a question of merrily observing how fixed I am. The first thing has to be a genuine wish to be free. Then I observe how fixed I am.
Maybe the most insidious form of dejectedness is that sometimes very subtle fixing which is associated, on so many levels, with trying to be right. In the end, being fixed is the greatest evil to guard against, as the Buddha, if I hear him correctly, indicates from 13.49.
In order to steer an exact middle course, it is no use being fixed: one has to be free to change direction at every moment. And the best way to study this in practice for oneself is to keep totally still, being totally ready to move. (Even in a swimming, I suppose, such a moment might be possible? My brother may confirm.) I first realised this for myself a long time ago in the context of competition karate. But then I got bogged down in a couple of heavy emotional attachments -- I got well and truly smitten, by a double punch -- and it has taken me more than 30 years to come back to this most basic and simple of truths: the best way to study what freedom is, the best way to experience non-dejectedness, is to keep totally still, being totally ready to move.
But what is known as the desire of avoidance is repulsion with regard to any object ; by giving way to it out of delusion a man is ruined in this world and hereafter.
What is termed aversion is the repulsion of a sensory event, to which acquiescence, out of delusion, brings ruin in both this life and the next.
abhidhaanaH (nom): n. telling , naming; a name , title , appellation ,
pratighaH (nom.): m. ( √han) hindrance , obstruction , resistance , opposition ; struggling against (comp.) ; anger , wrath , enmity ; combat , fighting ; an enemy ; opposition , contradiction
viShaya: object, sense object
aashritaH (nom.): attaching one's self to , joining; relating or belonging to , concerning
mohaad = abl. of moha: m. ( √1. muh ) loss of consciousness , bewilderment , perplexity , distraction , infatuation , delusion , error , folly ; ignorance
yena (inst.): by which
anuvRttena = inst. of anuvRtta: obedience , conformity , compliance
anu: after , along , alongside
vRt: to roll along, go
anuvRt: to go along with, follow, obey, assent
paratra: ind. elsewhere , in another place , in a future state or world , hereafter
iha: in this place , here ; in this world
hanyate = 3rd pers. sing., passive of han: to smite , slay , hit , kill , mar , destroy