Friday, May 7, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 1.30: Going Up Altogether

tataH paramam ity uktvaa
shirobhiH praNipatya ca
rathaan aaruruhuH sarve
shiighra-vaahaan alaMkRtaan

- = - - - = = =
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"Yes!" they said to this,

And respectfully bowed, letting their heads fall forward.

Then all went up,

Onto chariots that were swiftly drawn, and well prepared.

In line 1 paramam expresses the giving of consent or assent ("Yes," "Very well") but it might also indicate that the princes recognized the transcendent excellence of the truth just expressed by the sage ("YES!", "Most excellent!").

In 1.28 the sage is described as ut-patya, "going/flying/falling up," from ut (up) and √pat (to fly or to fall). In this verse the princes are described as shirobhiH praNi-patya, lit. "falling forward and down with their heads" -- praNi-patya is from pra (forward), ni (down), and √pat (to fly or fall). And this letting the head fall forward is a prelude to what is expresseded in line 3 as aa- √ruh sarve, "all rising up."

The underlying logic of this verse, as I read it, is that when we recognize some profound truth and are humbled by it, that is a truly uplifting experience. When a person is not genuinely uplifted but is rather puffing himself up, invariably that person is pulling his head back. A preventive direction to help such a person might be "Let your head fall forward and down!" But better still than giving him a direct command, a more indirect and skillful means, might be to imbue him in some way with genuine respect, so that in bowing respectfully he naturally lets the head fall forward.

On this basis, aaruruhuH sarve in line 3, as I read it, describes all going up together.

EH Johnston:
They all bowed their heads to him and, assenting, mounted their ornate chariots to which swift horses were harnessed.

Linda Covill:
"Very well," they replied, bowing their heads respectfully, and mounted their finely decorated chariots drawn by swift horses.

tataH: ind. thence, then
paramam: ind. yes , very well ; mfn. most excellent
iti: "....", thus
uktvaa = abs. vac: to speak , say , tell , utter , announce , declare , mention , proclaim , recite , describe

shirobhiH = inst. pl. shiras: n. the head
praNipatya = abs. pra-Ni- √ pat: to throw one's self down before , bow respectfully to (acc. , rarely dat. or loc.)
ca: and

rathaan (acc. pl.): m." goer " , a chariot , car , esp. a two-wheeled war-chariot
aaruruhuH = 3rd pers. pl. perfect aa- √ ruh: to ascend , mount , bestride , rise up
aa-: (as a prefix to verbs , especially of motion , and their derivatives) near , near to , towards
√ ruh: to ascend , mount , climb ; to reach to , attain (a desire) ; to rise , spring up , grow , develop , increase , prosper , thrive
sarve (nom. pl. m.): all

shiighra-vaahaan (acc. pl. m.): drawn by swift [horses]
shiighra: quick , speedy , swift , rapid
vaaha: mfn. (ifc.) bearing , drawing; m. a draught-animal , horse , bull , ass
alaMkRtaan (acc. pl. m.): mfn. adorned , decorated
alam: ind. enough , sufficient , adequate , equal to , competent , able
kRta: mfn. done, prepared
alaM-kR: to make ready, prepare ; to decorate, ornament

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