Saturday, June 12, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.3: That as well as That

baliiyaan sattva-sampannaH
shrutavaan buddhimaan api
vikraanto nayavaaMsh c'aiva
dhiiraH sumukha eva ca

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

Strong and strong-minded;

Learned as well as intelligent;

Daring and yet prudent;

Determined, and cheerfully so;

The style of this verse is positive, in contrast to the previous verse which was full of negatives, but the intention is the same: to point us -- through the establishment of negative and positive feedback loops, by means of self-administered stick and carrot -- in the direction of the middle way.

Implicit in the four pairs in these four lines, then, as I read them, is an opposition, antagonism, or balance. So line 1 describes the co-existence of physical and mental strength, and line 2 describes the co-existence of acquired and inherent understanding. In line 3 stepping into action is done boldly and yet it is also informed by reason. And line 4 expresses not the unmitigated grim determination of the end-gainer but rather the kind of dogged adherence to a principle that is maintained with a smile behind the eyes.

In the teaching of FM Alexander, as in the teaching of the Buddha, the primary emphasis is negative -- NOT TO DO the wrong thing, so that the right thing might do itself. And the wrong thing, as Alexander saw it, began with a pulling back of the head. So as part of his investigations Alexander formulated the desire not to pull his head back, and found it useful to formulate this desire as a positive -- to let the head go forward. Now any old fool can get the head to go forward, in the manner of a man imparting a Glasgow kiss, but when one drops one's nut in this manner the head goes forward and DOWN, which is the opposite of what Alexander desired. So he formulated the direction "to let the head go FOWARD and UP"...

Let the head go FORWARD and UP;
To let the back LENGTHEN and WIDEN;
So that the whole body has TONE and EASE....
All this to be accomplished with an attitude that is

To sit like this, in the supreme manner, with left foot on right thigh and right foot on left thigh, really is the simplest thing in the world ... which must be why it is so bloody difficult. And when confronted with difficulty, it is all too easy for some people to revert to a default setting, rooted in the Moro reflex, of grim determination. Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

"This work is the most serious thing in the world," an old buddha once said. "But you mustn't take it seriously. It is supposed to be fun!"

EH Johnston:
Strong, resolute, learned in the sacred lore, wise, brave, skilled in counsel, steadfast and gracious,

Linda Covill:
He was mighty, courageous, learned and wise, as well as bold, politic, serious-minded and fair of face;

baliiyaan = nom. sg. m. baliiyas: mfn. (compar. fr. balin) more or most powerful , or mighty or strong or important or efficacious
sattva-sampannaH (nom. sg. m.): endowed with strength of character
sattva: n. being; true essence , nature , disposition of mind , character ; spiritual essence , spirit , mind ; vital breath , life , consciousness , strength of character , strength , firmness , energy , resolution , courage , self-command , good sense , wisdom , magnanimity
sampanna: mfn. endowed or furnished with , possessed of (instr. or comp.); (ifc.) become , turned into

shrutavaan = nom. sg. m. shruta-vat: mfn. possessing (sacred) knowledge , learned , pious
buddhimaan = nom. sg. m. buddhi-mat: mfn. endowed with understanding , intelligent , learned , wise ; humble , docile
api: and, also

vi-kraantaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. stepped beyond , taking wide strides &c ; courageous , bold , strong , mighty , victorious
nayavaan = nom. sg. m. naya-vat [as per 1.62]: mfn. versed in polity , prudent
ca: and
eva: (emphatic)

dhiiraH (nom. sg. m.): steady , constant , firm , resolute , brave , energetic , courageous , self-possessed , composed , calm , grave ; deep , low , dull (as sound)
sumukhaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. having a good or beautiful mouth , fair-faced , handsome ; bright-faced , cheerful , glad
eva: (emphatic)
ca: and

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