Friday, May 28, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 1.51: Structures of the First Rank Physically Go Up

mano-jNaaH shriimatiiH praShThiiH
pathiSh' uupavaneShu ca
sabhaaH kuupavatiish c' aiva
samantaat pratyatiShThipan

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

Rest-houses of the first rank,
welcoming and splendid,

On the roads and in the woods,

Complete even with wells,

They caused to go up on all sides.

Should pratyatiShThipan in line 4 be understood as causative (they caused to go up; they caused to be erected) or not causative (they put up; they erected)?

I would prefer it if pratyatiShThipan could be understood as causative. But that kind of preference or partiality is the cause of much human error, and if I have made such an error I might have to write a long ERRATA at the review stage of this Canto. It may be that, in interpreting all the 3rd person plural aorist forms from 1.44 as causative, I jumped to the wrong conclusion. I am grateful to jiblet, in comments to yesterday's post, for raising the doubt in my mind. For the time being, however, doubt remains doubt -- I don't even know for sure that I got it wrong.

Any way up, line 1 has to do with people's subjective valuation; line 2 relates to geographical location; line 3 has a practical orientation; and line 4 as I would like to read it is suggestive of sitting-zen itself, in which something causes everything to go up.

Just now in Thought for the Day on Radio 4's Today Programme, because people regard today as a special "Buddhist" day, they rolled out a Buddhist to explain why Buddhists today celebrate the Buddha's enlightenment. Obviously an educated and intelligent bloke, with some grasp of psychology, the speaker didn't do such a bad job. But I felt something missing. And that something which is missing from Buddhist psychologists, but which is present in Ashvaghosha, has to do with what is expressed in this verse, as I read it, in line 4.

The Buddha's enlightenment, as I dig for it, is grounded in sitting in the middle way between two opposite responses to gravity, these responses being rooted in primitive vestibular reflexes.

Today, for me, there is no special celebration of enlightened Buddha. There is, as there is every single day, four times a day, just renewed effort to allow sitting-buddha. It is an effort, in other words, to allow something to go up, not only psychologically but on all sides.

EH Johnston:
And all round on the roads and in the groves they set up rest-houses, charming, fine, splendid and provided with wells.

Linda Covill:
On the surrounding roads and in the woods they established splendid first-rate lodges, most welcome, complete even with wells.

mano-jNaaH (acc. pl. f.): mfn. agreeable to the mind , pleasing , lovely , beautiful , charming
shriimatiiH (acc. pl. f.): mfn. beautiful , charming , lovely , pleasant , splendid , glorious ; possessed of fortune , fortunate , auspicious , wealthy , prosperous , eminent , illustrious , venerable (used , like shrii , as a prefix before the names of eminent persons and celebrated works and sometimes corrupted into shriimant) , of high rank or dignity ; decorated with the insignia of royalty (as a king)
praShThiiH (acc. pl. f.) mfn. ( √ sthaa) standing in front , foremost , principal , best , chief

pathiShu = loc. pl. pathin: a way , path , road , course
upavaneShu = loc. pl. upavana: n. a small forest or wood , grove , garden; a planted forest
ca: and

sabhaaH = acc. pl. sabhaa: a place for public meetings , large assembly-room or hall , palace , court of a king or of justice , council-chamber , gambling-house &c ; a house for lodging and accommodating travellers ; an eating-house
kuupavatiiH (acc. pl. f.): with wells
kuupa: m. a hole, a pit well
vant: (possessive suffix)
ca: and
eva: [emphatic]

samantaat: ind. on all sides , all around
pratyatiShThipan = 3rd pers. pl. aorist pratishthaa: to put down , place upon , introduce into (loc) ; to set up , erect (as an image) ; to establish in , appoint to (loc.) ; to fix , found , prop , support , maintain

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