Monday, April 12, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 1.5: Always Looking on the Bright Side?

tasya vistiirNa-tapasaH
paarshve himavataH shubhe
kShetraM c'-aayatanaM c'aiva
tapasaam aashramo 'bhavat

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

He who was steeped in asceticism,

Had, on a bright slope of the Himalayas,

For the practice of austerities,

His site and his very seat, his ashram:

The key word in this verse, repeated in lines 1 and 4, is tapas, whose original meaning is what is hot and which means by extension what hurts, in particular, ascetic practice.

The point of ascetic practice is that it should hurt, it should be painful, and this is a mind-set that the Buddha's teaching invites us to drop off.

The mind-set that practice should not hurt, that is should not be painful, is the opposite mind-set that the Buddha's teaching also invites us to drop off -- as the Buddha will later explain in detail in Cantos 15 and 16.

But our starting point in this opening series of verses has been a description of the first of many -isms that are to be dropped off, and that is asceticism.

EH Johnston:
For the practice of his long-enduring austerities he had on an auspicious slope of the Himalayas his hermitage, the domain and temple of asceticism.

Linda Covill:
On the bright slopes of the Himalayas this sage of extensive austerities had his ashram, the domain and abode of asceticism.

tasya (gen. sg.): of him
vistiirNa-tapasaH (gen. sg.): studded with ascetic practice
vistiirNa: mfn. strewn or covered or studded with (instr. or comp); spread out , expanded , broad , large , great , copious , numerous ; extensive , long (as a tale)
tapas: n. warmth , heat (paNca tamaMsi , the 5 fires to which a devotee exposes himself in the hot season , viz. 4 fires lighted in the four quarters and the sun burning from above ) ; pain , suffering ; religious austerity , bodily mortification , penance , severe meditation
paarshve (loc. sg.): n. the side, flank
himavataH = gen. sg. m. himavat: mfn. having frost or snow , snowy , frosty , icy , snow-clad ; exposing one's self to coldness or enduring it; m. a snowy mountain ; the Himaalaya
shubhe (loc. sg n.): mfn. splendid , bright , beautiful , handsome ; pleasant , agreeable , suitable; auspicious, good

kShetram (nom. sg.): n. landed property , land , soil ; a field ; a place , region , country ; a house ; department , sphere of action ; place of origin , place where anything is found ; a sacred spot or district , place of pilgrimage (as Benares &c) an enclosed plot of ground
ca: and
aayatana (nom. sg.): n. resting-place , support , seat , place , home , house , abode ; the place of the sacred fire, an altar ; a sanctuary, a plot of ground , the site of a house ; (with Buddhists) the five senses and manas (considered as the inner seats or aayatanas) and the qualities perceived by the above (the outer aayatanas) .
ca: and
eva: [emphatic]

tapasaam (gen. pl.): n. austerities, ascetic practices
aashramaH (nom. sg.): m. ( √shram) , a hermitage , the abode of ascetics , the cell of a hermit or of retired saints or sages
√shram: to be or become weary or tired ; to make effort, exert oneself
abhavat (3rd pers. sg. imperfect bhuu): there was [of him]; he had

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