ye mRgyamaaNaa duHkhaaya
rakSyamaaNaa na shaantaye
bhraShTaaH shokaaya mahate
praaptaash ca na vitRptaye
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The chasing of which leads to trouble,
The keeping of which does not conduce to peace,
And the losing of which makes for great anguish --
Securing them brings no contentment.
The Buddha's intention might be that the way to deal with poisoned snakes, and equally with troublesome desires, is just to leave them be.
If anything needs to be cut out, or killed off, it might be my idea that I need to do something about them.
Even in the matter of trying to secure objects of desire by chasing, keeping and not losing them, the principle holds of "stop doing the wrong thing, and the right thing does itself."
When the right thing does itself, the essence of the right thing might be nothing but desire. And a golden key to stopping the wrong thing might be contained in the title that Ashvaghosha chose for this canto, which is not kaama-chid, Cutting Off Desire: It is vitarka-prahaaNa, Giving Up an Idea.
They lead to suffering in the quest for them, but not to tranquility in their retention. They lead to great grief in the losing, but to no satisfaction in the consummation.
When the passions are hunted there is suffering, but no peace in their conservation. Losing them brings great grief, but acquiring them no satisfaction.
ye (nom. pl. m.): [those desires/snakes] which
mRgyamaaNaaH = nom. pl. present passive participle mRg: to chase , hunt , pursue
duHkhaaya (dative): is for suffering
rakSyamaaNaaH = nom. pl. present passive participle rakSh: to guard , watch , take care of , protect , save , preserve
na shaantaye (dative): is not for peace
bhraShTaaH = nom. pl. bhraShTa: mfn. fallen , dropped , fallen down or from or off; broken down , decayed , ruined , disappeared , lost , gone
shokaaya (dative): is for sorrow , affliction , anguish , pain , trouble , grief
mahate = dat. sg. mahat: great
praaptaaH = nom. pl. praapta: mfn. attained to , reached , arrived at , met with , found , incurred , got , acquired , gained
na vitRptaye (dative): is not for satisfaction
vi-: (intensifier, or prefix without meaning)
tRpti: f. satisfaction , contentment