Thursday, April 15, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 1.8: Fluent Friends Bearing Lotuses

shucibhis tiirtha-saMkhyaataiH
paavanair bhaavanair api
bandhumaan iva yas tasthau
sarobhiH sa-saroruhaiH

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

Pure, esteemed for their sacred presence,

Edifying, and promoting happiness --

Like friends, were the lakes it stood among,

Fluent, and bearing lotuses.

The forest stream is a constant friend. It is always totally pure, having no agenda of its own. Its sacred healing presence is profoundly appreciated; it never breaches trust. Constantly burbling intuitive wisdom, it speaks, to a lengthened and widened ear, with the lengthened and widened tongue of non-Buddha. Flowing spontaneously in this non-Buddhist world, it never falters in its speech. It comes constantly bearing lotuses.

When the Sung poet called in Japanese So Toba (1036 - 1101) sang that the voices of the river-valley are the Buddha's wide and long tongue, his voice, in my book, was just a faint and distant echo of the non-poet Ashvaghosha.

Not only in this verse, but throughout the whole work, EHJ totally failed to do justice to Ashvaghosha's words and intention. So too did LC fail. And so too am I failing. But it is an effort worth failing in.

EH Johnston:
It was, as it were, surrounded by friends who were pure, recognised as objects of veneration, holy and promoters of others' welfare, in the shape of lotus ponds, clear, purifying, salubrious and famed as places of pilgrimage.

Linda Covill:
The ashram stood, as though with kinsfolk, amid lotus lakes famed as sacred bathing places, clear, pure and wholesome.

shucibhiH (inst. pl.): clear , clean , pure (lit. and fig.)
tiirtha-saMkhyaataiH: considered to be a sacred bathing place (lit.); esteemed as a venerable person (fig.)
tiirtha: a passage , way , road , ford , stairs for landing or for descent into a river , bathing-place , place of pilgrimage on the banks of sacred streams , piece of water; an object of veneration , sacred object ; a worthy person
saMkhyaata: mfn. reckoned up , enumerated , numbered , counted , measured ; estimated by ; considered (» comp.)
saM- √ khyaa: to reckon or count , up , sum up , enumerate , calculate

paavanaiH (inst. pl.): (from √ puu) purifying , purificatory ; pure , holy ; living on wind
√ puu: to make clean or clear or pure or bright , cleanse , purify , purge , clarify , illustrate , illume (with kr/atum or maniiShaam , " to enlighten the understanding " ; with hiraNyam , " to wash gold ")
bhaavanaiH (inst. pl.): promoting or effecting any welfare
api: also

bandhumaan (nom. sg. m.): mfn. surrounded by relations
bandhu: m. connection , relation; a kinsman ; a friend
mat: (possessive suffix)
iva: like, as if
yaH (nom. sg. m.): which
tasthau = 3rd pers. sg. perfect sthaa: to stand

sarobhiH = inst. pl. saras: n. " anything flowing or fluid " , a lake , large sheet of water , pond , pool ; speech
sa-saroruhaiH (inst. pl.): having lotuses
sa: (possessive prefix) with, having
saro-ruha: n. " lake-growing " , a lotus

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