Thursday, December 17, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 15.54: Warning: Death Kills

balastho 'haM yuvaa v" eti
na te bhavitum arhati
mRtyuH sarvaasv avasthaasu
hanti n'aavekShate vayaH

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

That "I am young," or "I am strong,"

Should not occur to you:

Death kills in all situations

Without regard for sprightliness.

Speed Kills, road signs warn us. And in some situations speed clearly does. But Speed Kills seems to invite the assumption that if I drive nice and slowly, then I might be able to avoid either suffering or causing death -- which is by no means true.

Similarly, when cigarette packets announce Smoking Kills, there is something faintly reassuring about this statement for a non-smoker.

With Death Kills (mRtyuH hanti), in contrast, the Buddha offers us here no wiggle room at all. I may be a sprightly non-smoker who has not yet turned 50 but one of these days, as sure as eggs are eggs, death is going to kill me.

Q: What is the biggest killer of Zen bastards between the ages of 50 and 60?

A: Death.

EH Johnston:
Do not reflect that you are strong or young. Death strikes on all occasions and is no respecter of youth.

Linda Covill:
The thought that you are young or strong should not exist for you; death kills in all circumstances, without noticing a person's age.

balasthaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. " being in strength or power " , strong , powerful , vigorous
aham (nom. sg. m.): I
yuvaa = nom. sg. m. yuvan: mfn. young , youthful , adult (applied to men and animals) , strong , good , healthy
vaa: or
iti: ".... ", thus, that

na: not
te (gen.): of/for/in you
bhavitum (infinitive bhuu): to be, exist, occur
arhati: it should not

mRtyuH (nom. sg.) m. death, dying
sarvaasu (loc. pl.): all
avasthaasu = loc. pl. avasthaa: f. state , condition , situation

hanti = 3rd pers. sg. han: to strike , beat (also a drum) , pound , hammer; to smite , slay , hit , kill , mar , destroy
na: not
avekShate = 3rd pers. sg. avekSh: to look towards , look at , behold
vayaH = acc. sg. vayas: n. energy (both bodily and mental) , strength , health , vigour , power , might ; vigorous age , youth , prime of life , any period of life , age

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