Tuesday, September 22, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 14.21: Being Sceptical in the War Against Sleep

hRdi yat saMjNinash c' aaiva
nidraa praadur-bhavet tava
guNavat-saMjNitaaM saMjNaaM
tadaa manasi maa kRthaaH

Since even when you are conscious

Sleep might be holding out in your heart,

Consciousness properly revealing itself

Is nothing to be sure about.

If I have understood this verse at all, it is not only because I sit four times a day but also because the FM Alexander Technique is all about consciousness. People think the Alexander Technique is all about posture, but it relates to posture only very indirectly. It is all about Constructive CONSCIOUS Control of the INDIVIDUAL.

In our everyday life we use words like "consciousness" and "sleep" all the time. But who really knows what consciousness is? Who even knows what sleep really is? Not me, for one. On a good day, somewhere from the inside of sitting, the question might ask itself.

What is it, deep within, that seems not to want to become conscious, but which seems rather to want to draw the covers over the head and say: "Leave me alone!"?

As I write, there are tumultuous unconscious reactions going on among a group called "Dogen Sangha." What can I do, as one individual, not to make things worse?

The true struggle, as I see it, for an individual as he or she goes into movement, is to be conscious, not to react unconsciously. And in this, we all fail. FM Alexander failed, in one particular episode that Marjory Barlow was reluctant to talk about, and subsequently, for the last six years of his life, Marjory never again spoke to her beloved uncle. My Zen teacher Gudo Nishijima failed in similarly spectacular fashion in 1997, after which our relationship never recovered. And I also fail, all the time.

When we meet a guru who seems to be capable of properly conscious action, it may always be wise to exercise a healthy scepticism -- especially if the guru in question is oneself.

EH Johnston:
And do not deem your consciousness to be then properly conscious, when during that consciousness drowsiness may make itself felt in your heart.

Linda Covill:
Don't assume that your consciousness at this time is a high quality consciousness, since when you are thus conscious, drowsiness may take shape in your heart.

hRdi = locative of hRd: the heart (as the seat of feelings and emotions) , soul , mind (as seat of thought and intellectual operations) , breast , chest, stomach , interior (also in older language , " interior of the body ")
yad: since, because [with correlative tad, therefore]
saMjNinaH = gen. sg. of saMjJin: mfn. having consciousness , conscious of (comp.); having a name , named , termed , that which receives a name or has a term given to it in grammar
saMjJaa: consciousness
-in: suffix indicating possession or presence
ca: and
eva: (emphatic)

nidraa (nom. sg.): f. sleep , slumber , sleepiness , sloth
praadur: ind. forth , to view or light , in sight (with √ bhuu , to become manifest , be visible or audible , appear , arise , exist)
bhavet (3rd pers. sg. optative of bhuu): might become, be
tava (gen. sg. of tvam): of you [being conscious]

guNavat: endowed with good qualities or virtues or merits or excellences , excellent , perfect
saMjNita: mfn. made known , communicated ; apprised by a sign or gesture ; called , named , termed (generally ifc.)
saMjNaam (acc.): f. agreement , mutual understanding , harmony; consciousness , clear knowledge or understanding or notion or conception ; direction (in a-kRtas° , " one who has received no direction") ; (with Buddhists) perception (one of the 5 skandhas)

tadaa: at that time , then , in that case (often used redundantly)
manasi = loc. of manas: mind; manasi with √ kR , to bear or ponder in the mind , meditate on , remember
maa: a particle of prohibition or negation , most commonly joined with the Subjunctive i.e. the augmentless form of a past tense
kRthaaH = 2nd pers. sg. subjunctive of kR: to make
manasi- √kR: to determine , purpose [ind.p. °si-kRtvA or °si-kRtya]

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