Saturday, March 6, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 17.53: Giving Up a Movement & Moving On

yatr’ eNjitaM spanditam asti tatra
yatr’ aasti ca spanditam asti duHkhaM
yasmaad atas tat sukham iNjakatvaat
prashaanti-kaamaa yatayas tyajanti

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

In moving there is interference,

And where there is interference there is suffering,

Which is why, insofar as it is movement,

Strivers desirous of quiet give up that ease.

I could spend all morning chewing on the meaning of iNjitam and spanditam, and as a matter of fact I already spent a chunk of time doing just that -- reading on Wikipedia about wave propagation and interference, and looking up in the dictionary terms like motion, agitation, vibration, reverberation, repercussion, and so on.

On one level, this verse stands with the previous verse for stillness or non-movement. But really this whole series of verses might be about moving on, not getting stuck in perfectionist striving for rightness, but moving on in the direction of the fourth dhyana, which for Nanda is not the end of anything but a kind of new beginning.

Verse 17.42 describes the first dhyana as kaamair viviktam, free of desires, separated from desires. But realisation of the fourth dhyana, evidently, requires a striver to be prashaanti-kaama, desirous of quiet.

Should we pause at length to ponder and discuss this contradiction, desiring a definitive understanding?

No, it might be better to move on.....

EH Johnston:
Seeing that where there is alteration there is motion and where there is motion there is suffering, ascetics who long for tranquillity give up that bliss because it brings about alteration.

Linda Covill:
Where there is fluctuation, there is motion, and where there is motion, there is suffering. Because of this fluctuation, ascetics who strive for peace give up that bliss.

yatra: ind. in which, where, wherever
iNjitam = nom. sg. iNgita: n. (from iNg, to go, move, agitate) palpitation; change of the voice, internal motion, motion of various parts of the body as indicating the intentions; hint, sign, gesture; aim, intention, real but covert purpose
spanditam (nom. sg.): mfn. (from spand, to quiver) quivering , trembling; n. pulsation, throb; movement or activity (of the mind)
spand: to quiver , throb , twitch , tremble , vibrate , quake , palpitate , throb with life , quicken (as a child in the womb) ; to kick (as an animal); to make any quick movement , move , be active ; to flash into life , come suddenly to life
asti: there is
tatra: ind. there, in that

yatra: ind. where
asti: there is
ca: and
spanditam (nom. sg.):n. quivering, pulsation, [mental] commotion
asti: there is
duHkham (nom. sg.): n. suffering

yasmaat (ablative of ya): because of which
ataH: ind. for this reason, from this, which is why
tat: that
sukham (acc. sg.): n. ease, happiness
iNjakatvaat = (?) iNgakatvaat: ‘because it brings about alteration’ (EHJ)
inGa: moveable, locomotive
ka: (?)
tvaat (ablative of abstract noun suffix -tvam): because of X-ness, because of X-tion, because of being X

prashaanti: f. sinking to rest, rest, tranquillity (esp. of mind), calm, quiet, pacification, abatement, extinction, destruction
kaamaaH (nom. pl. m): mfn. wishing , desiring
yatayaH = nom. pl. yati: m. (from yam) "a striver ," an ascetic, devotee, one who has restrained his passions and abandoned the world
yam: to stretch out, give oneself up to, exert oneself
tyajanti = 3rd pers. pl. tyaj: to leave , abandon , quit; to let go, give up

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