Monday, May 24, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 1.47: Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual

vyastais tais tair guNair yuktaan
karmasu pratiruupeShu
sacivaaMs taan nyayuuyujan

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

Individuals possessed of particular strong points

Such as thinking, talking, and taking steps,

They installed in corresponding offices

As counsellors and ministers.

Again the main verb nyayuuyujan is a causitive aorist form -- the princes caused or compelled the counsellors and ministers to take office.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual is the title of FM Alexander's second book. Using that title as the title of this post is ironic insofar as in FM's title the Individual is the 1st person singular self, whereas the Shakya princes were evidently very much into command, control and coercion of other individuals -- depending on what particular merits those individuals brought to the table.

The three elements in line 2, as I read it, correspond to thinking the thought, talking the talk, and walking the walk.

In Japan I was encouraged not to think the thought but just to walk the walk. Back in England training as an Alexander teacher I was encouraged not just to walk the walk, but first to think the thought. In the middle way, I hope, and certainly arising out of conflict caused by the above dichotomy, are these verses, these madhyama-kaarikaa -- though Ashvaghosha himself didn't call them that. Ashvaghosha's teaching, as far as I know, wasn't explictly recognized as madhyama-kaarikaa, Verses in the Middle, during his own lifetime. Even today people discuss whether Ashvaghosha's verses in the middle are poetry or religious prosletyzing.

A final point that might be made about this verse is that, just as the white watchtowers of Kapila-vastu seemed to borrow a bit of the grandeur of snow-capped Himalayan peaks in the distance, this verse seems to presage an immensely important teaching of the Buddha delivered in Canto 16:

Having given due consideration to the time and place

As well as to the extent and method of one's practice,

One should, reflecting on one's own strength and weakness,

Persist in an effort that is not inconsistent with them.

What the Buddha is pointing to is just Constructive Conscious Control of the 1st person singular Individual; in other words, The Balanced Stillness of Accepting and Using the Self -- or, in short, The Use of the Self.

EH Johnston:
They appointed ministers according to their possession of the various qualities, such as wisdom of counsel, eloquence and courage, to corresponding offices.

Linda Covill:
They appointed counsellors to suitable posts according to their various merits, such as wisdom, eloquence and courage.

vyastaiH = inst. pl. m. vyasta: mfn. cut in pieces ; severed , separated , divided , distinct ; multiplied , various , manifold
tais taiH = inst. pl. m. tad tad: this and that , various , different; respective
guNaiH (inst. pl.): m. subdivision , species , kind (e.g. gandhasya guNaaH , the different kinds of smell) ; the 6 subdivisions of action for a king in foreign politics (viz. peace , war , march , halt , stratagem , and recourse to the protection of a mightier king) a quality , peculiarity , attribute or property ; good quality , virtue , merit , excellence
yuktaan (acc. pl. m.): mfn. yoked or joined or fastened or attached or harnessed to (loc. or instr.); furnished or endowed or filled or supplied or provided with , accompanied by , possessed of (instr. or comp.)

mati-vaag-vikram'-aadibhiH (inst. pl.): judgement, eloquence, valour, et cetera ; thinking the thought, talking the talk, walking the walk, et cetera
mati: f. thought , design , intention , resolution , determination , inclination; the mind , perception , understanding , intelligence , sense , judgement
vaac: f. (fr. √ vac) speech , voice , talk , language
vikrama: m. a step , stride , pace ; going , proceeding , walking , motion , gait; valour , courage , heroism , power , strength
vi- √ kram: to step beyond or aside , move away ; to move on , walk , go , advance ; to show valour or prowess , attack , assail , fight
aadi: ifc. beginning with , et caetera , and so on

karmasu = loc. pl. karman: n. act , action , performance , business ; office, occupation
pratiruupeShu = loc. pl. pratiruupa: mfn. like , similar , corresponding , suitable , proper , fit

sacivaan (acc. pl.): m. an associate , companion , friend, esp. a king's friend or attendant , counsellor , minister
taan (acc. pl. m.): those
nyayuuyujan = 3rd pers. pl. causitive aorist ni- √ yuj: to bind on , tie or fasten to (loc.); to enjoin , order , command , coerce , impel , appoint , instal (double acc.) , trust or charge with

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