Saturday, June 19, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.10: The Versatile Hand of Total Acceptance

praNataan anujagraaha
vijagraaha kula-dviShaH
aapaanaan parijagraaha
nijagraah' aa-sthitaan pathi

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

The meek and mild he befriended;

Tribal foes he apprehended;

Sufferers he comprehended;

Waverers he reprehended.

Forgive the sudden outbreak of rhyming metre, but I have tried to reflect the original play on the four words with four prefixes attached to the root √grah, which means to grasp or to take in -- like the Latin root prehendere.

This verse might be intentionally ambiguous but the fundamental basis for understanding it, I do not doubt, is the balanced stillness of accepting the whole self and using the whole self.

Insofar as it sings the praises of versatility, the verse can be understood as presaging Ashvaghosha's praise of the Buddha in 13.3:

Some in soothing tones,

Some with tough talk,

Some by both these means,

He the trainer trained.

At the same time, because each of the four √grah variations includes a meaning of to accept, to include as part of the whole, the verse can be understood as presaging the story quoted in Shobogenzo chap. 64 Kajo, in which Joshu asks a monk who has just arrived at his place, "Have you been here before?"

"Yes," the monk replies.

"Have some tea," says Joshu.

Joshu asks the same question of another monk: "Have you been here before?"

"No, I haven't," the second monk replies.

"Have some tea," says Joshu.

An officer of the temple asks Joshu, "Why did you say 'Have some tea' to the one who has been here before and 'Have some tea' again to the one who hasn't?"

"Officer!" calls Joshu.

"Yes?" the officer replies.

"Have some tea."

EH Johnston:
He favoured those who submitted to him, he waged war on the enemies of his race, he received the unfortunate kindly, he checked those who strayed from the path (of right).

Linda Covill:
He upheld the humble, and held off his family's foes, held his hand out to the wretched, and held back drifters from the path.

praNataan (acc. pl.): mfn. bent forwards , bowed , inclined ; bowed to , saluted reverentially ; bent towards , offered respectfully ; humble , submissive to (gen. or acc.) ; skilful , clever
anujagraaha = 3rd pers. sg. perf. anu- √ grah: to follow in taking or plundering ; to support ; to uphold ; to receive , welcome ; to treat with kindness , favour , oblige ; to foster
anu: ind. (as a prefix to verbs) after , along , alongside
√ grah: to seize , take (by the hand), grasp , lay hold of ; to take possession of , gain over , captivate

vijagraaha = 3rd pers. sg. perf. vi- √ grah: to stretch out or apart , spread out ; to distribute , divide (esp. to draw out fluids at several times) ; to hold apart , separate , isolate ; to wage war , fight against (acc.) ; to quarrel , contend with ; to seize , lay hold of (acc. or loc.) ;
to receive in a friendly manner , welcome
vi: ind. (prob. for an original dvi , meaning " in two parts " ; and opp. to sam q.v.) apart , asunder , in different directions , to and fro , about , away , away from , off ; sometimes it gives a meaning opposite to the idea contained in the simple root or it intensifies that idea
kula-dviShaH (acc. pl.): clan enemies
kula: family, race, tribe
dviSha: m. foe , enemy

aapaanaan (acc. pl.): those who have suffered
aapaana: mfn. - ( from √ aap): one who has reached, suffered etc.
√ aap: to reach , overtake , meet with , fall upon ; to obtain , gain , take possession of ; to undergo , suffer
aapaana (from aa- √ paa ): n. the act of drinking , a drinking-party , banquet
aa- √ paa: to drink in , suck in or up ; to drink in with ears or eyes i.e. to hear or » with attention , hang on ; to absorb , take away:
parijagraaha = 3rd pers. sg. perf. pari- √ grah: to take hold of on both sides , embrace , surround , enfold , envelop ; to fence round , hedge round ; to occupy on both sides ; to seize , clutch , grasp , catch ; to put on , wear (as a dress or ornament) ; to take or carry along with one ; to take possession of , master , overpower ; to take (in war) , take prisoner , conquer ; to take (food) ; to receive , (also as a guest) accept ; to take , adopt , conform to , follow ; to take by the hand , assist
pari: ind. round , around ; fully

nijagraaha = 3rd pers. sg. perf. ni- √ grah: to keep or hold back , draw near , attract ; to seize , catch , hold , hold fast , stop , restrain , suppress , curb , tame , punish
ni: ind. down , back , in , into , within
a-sthitaan = acc. pl. a-sthita: mfn. non-stayers
sthita: standing , staying , situated , resting or abiding or remaining in; being or remaining or keeping in any state or condition (loc. , instr. abl. comp.) ; turned or directed to , fixed upon (loc. or comp.)
pathi = loc. sg. pathin: m. a way , path , road , course (lit. and fig.)


jiblet said...

Very nicely done, if I may so, Mike.

Mike Cross said...

Many thanks, jiblet.

Positive feedback from you is always appreciated... and negative feedback is appreciated even more -- did you have a look at 2.8?

jiblet said...

I'm catching up and somehow missed it, Mike.

Hmm...eyivaan. I'll see what I can find/come up with.