Sunday, October 4, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 14.33: Allowing a Possibility of Sleep

dakShiNena tu paarshvena
prabodhaM hRdaye kRtvaa
shayiithaaH shaanta-maanasaH

= - = - - = = =
- - = = - = - =
- = = - - = - =
- = = = - = - =

On your right side, then,

Remaining conscious of light,

Thinking in your heart of wakefulness,

You might with peace of mind fall asleep.


This is an image of the Buddha lain down to die, practising what he preached. The sculpting is thought to have been done between 100 and 300 AD in ancient Gandhara, in present-day Pakistan. (I took the photograph yesterday at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.)

My understanding of the gist of the verse is that the Buddha is encouraging us to tend away from darkness ( = unconsciousness) and towards light ( = constructive conscious self-control), twenty-four hours a day.

The use of the optative in the fourth line in shayiithaaH (you might fall asleep) seems to suggest the allowing of a possibility of sleep -- as opposed to the thirst for sleep which sometimes (speaking from personal experience) confounds the insomniac.

EH Johnston:
Lie with tranquil mind on your right side, keeping present the idea of light and bearing watchfulness in your heart.

Linda Covill:
Lie down on your right side, remaining conscious of the idea of light, maintaining awareness in your heart and with your mind at peace.

dakShiNena = inst. of dakShiNa: right
tu: then, but
paarshvena = inst. of paarshva: n. the region of the ribs (pl. the ribs) , side , flank (either of animate or inanimate objects)

sthitayaa = inst. sg. f. of sthita: standing , staying , situated , resting
aaloka: m. looking; light , lustre , splendour
saMjNayaa = inst. of saMjNaa: f. consciousness

prabodham (acc.): m. consciousness; wakefulness
hRdaye = loc. hRdaya: n. the heart (or region of the heart as the seat of feelings and sensations ; hRdaye- √kR , " to take to heart ")
kRtvaa = absolutive of kR: to do, make; to direct the thoughts; to think of (acc.)

shayiithaaH = 2nd person optative of shii: to lie down to sleep , fall asleep , sleep
shaanta: mfn. (fr. √sham) appeased , pacified , tranquil , calm , free from passions , undisturbed
maanasaH = ablative / genitive of manas: mind

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