Sunday, September 13, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 14.12: To Bear a Material Burden...

bhaarasy' odvahan'-aarthaM ca
rath'-aakSho 'bhyajyate yathaa
bhojanaM praaNa-yaatr"-aarthaM
tadvad vidvaan niShevate

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Just as, to ready it for bearing a burden,

The axle of a wagon is greased,

So, in order to journey through life,

The wise man utilizes food.

Hail to the bowl of brown rice topped with grated radish from the garden. Hail to the bacon butties my grandma used to make for breakfast. They let the spirit be willing (14.11), and prevent the flesh from becoming weak (14.12).

On the present subject of eating food, the three metaphors of verses 14.11, 14.12, and 14.13 seem to make up a mind-matter-reality triangle.

The previous verse is more white collar; it has to do with healing and with willing freedom -- the most mental thing there is. This verse is firmly based in working-class material practicality. And the next verse presents a human situation which, transcending collar-colour or creed, is desperately serious and real.

EH Johnston:
And as the axle of a chariot is greased to enable it to bear a load, so the wise man employs food to enable his life to continue.

Linda Covill:
As a cart-axle is oiled to allow it to bear a heavy weight, so a wise man takes food to enable him to journey through life.

bhaarasya = gen. bhaara: m. (√bhR) a burden , load , weight
udvahana: n. the act of lifting or bringing up ; carrying , drawing , driving
artham: for the purpose of
ca: and

ratha: m. (√R) " goer " , a chariot , car , wagon, cart
aakShaH (nom. sg.): m. an axle , axis
abhyajyate = 3rd pers. sg. passive of abhy-√aJj: to smear , anoint
yathaa: just as

bhojanam (acc.): n. the act of eating; a meal, food
praaNa: breath, life
yaatraa: f. going , setting off , journey; support of life
artham: for the purpose of

tadvad (correlative of yathaa): so, in like manner
vidvaan = nom. sg. m. of vidvas: one who knows; a wise man , sage , seer
niShevate = 3rd pers. sg. of niShev: (with acc.) to frequent , inhabit , visit , serve , attend , honour , worship , follow , approach , enjoy (also sexually) , incur , pursue , practise , perform , cultivate , use , employ

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