Sunday, June 27, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.18: Non-Buddhist Virtues (ctd.) -- True Friendship

maitreShu viguNeShv api
n' aadidaasiid aditsiit tu
saumukhyaat svaM svam arthavat

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

In his kind-hearted iron devotion

Even to imperfect friends,

He had no will to take away from them,
but willingly gave,

Cheerful-faced, to each according to his need.

Sauhaarda (kind-heartedness/friendship) in line 1 derives from su (good/fair) + hRd (heart), and saumukhya (cheerfulness) in line 4 derives from su (good/fair) + mukha (mouth/face), and so a cause and effect relation is suggested between what is going on in the heart and what is reflected in the face -- the kind of cause and effect relation that psychologist, friend of the Dalai Lama, and generally good egg Paul Ekman made a career out of studying.

Provisionally I have understood aadidaasiit in line 3 to be the 3rd pers. sg. aorist desiderative of aa- √ daa, to take away, to detract.

The alternative suggested by EHJ's translation "he would not be dejected" is to understand adidaasiit as deriving from √ dii, to decay or perish.

In that case, the verse might be translated as follows:

In his kind-hearted iron devotion

Even to imperfect friends,

He did not wilt but willingly gave,

Cheerful-faced, to each according to his need.

I would be grateful, as always, for jiblet's input.

Having struggled to understand the grammar of n' aadidaasiit in line 3, I referred to EHJ's notes and was encouraged to find that he also struggled long and hard with the same term -- discussing it in a footnote to his Sanskrit text published in 1928, and again in a later footnote to his English translation published in 1931. The latter footnote says, "The verse remains a puzzle."

Could the key to unlock the puzzle be what Marjory Barlow called the golden key -- being prepared to be just as wrong as one is, warts and all?

Marjory often used to say "Being wrong is the best friend you have got in this work."

Read in the light of Marjory's teaching, today's verse might be understood as presaging the Buddha's teaching 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.

EH Johnston:
Out of firm devotion to amity with those who were his allies by traditional friendship he would not be dejected, even when they were worthless, but out of graciousness would give them his wealth according to their needs.

Linda Covill:
Staunchly loyal and affectionate to his friends, even if they had failings, he did not take from them but cheerfully gave to each according to his need.

sauhaarda-dRDha-bhaktitvaat (abl. sg.): because of being firmly devoted to friendship
sauhaarda: n. (fr. su-hRd) good-heartedness , affection , friendship
dRDha: mfn. fixed , firm , hard , strong , solid ; confirmed , established , certain , sure ; n. anything fixed or firm or solid ; n. stronghold , fortress ; n. iron
bhakti: f. attachment , devotion , fondness for , devotion to (with loc. , gen. or ifc.)
tva: (abstract noun suffix)

maitreShu = loc. pl. maitra: mfn. (fr.) coming from or given by or belonging to a friend , friendly , amicable , benevolent , affectionate , kind ; m. an alliance based on good-will ; m. a friend
viguNeShu = loc. pl. vi-guNa: mfn. without a string ; deficient , imperfect , destitute of (comp.) ; unsuccessful , ineffective ; adverse (as fortune) ; void of qualities ; destitute of merits , wicked , bad
api: even

na: not
adidaasiit = 3rd pers. sg. aorist desiderative aa- √ daa (??): to give to one's self " , take , accept , receive from (loc. instr. or abl.)
aditsiit = 3rd pers. sg. desiderative aorist daa: to give
tu: but

saumukhyaat (abl. sg.): n. (fr. su-mukha) cheerfulness
svam (acc. sg.): mfn. his own; n. one's self; one's own goods , property , wealth
arthavat (acc. sg. n.): mfn. wealthy ; full of sense , significant ; suitable to the object , fitting ; full of reality , real ; ind. according to a purpose


jiblet said...

Hi Mike,

Re aadidaasiit -

I perused my grammar books. Whitney and M R Kale do write, briefly, about the aorist desiderative, but I could find nothing that would confirm or contradict your conclusion - the form is rare, and there are exceptions to the standard conjugational rules. So I can't help you establish which root the word is from, I'm afraid.

Mike Cross said...

Thanks, jiblet.

Then for the time being aadidaasit, or adidaasit, is a known unknown -- better at least than an unknown unknown, but not as gratifying as a known known.

What is a known known? For example, the human tendency to confuse up and down -- to feel that I am directing myself up when, in my human arrogance and ignorance, I am actually pulling myself down.

So, even if the wording of virtue no. 18 remains something of a puzzle, the real content of virtue no. 1 has been clarified, and it has to do with not being a slave to this wrong feeling that I know where up is.

Thanks for your help as always.