Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.7: Ease Under a Primary Controller

yasya su-vyavahaaraac ca
rakShaNaac ca sukham prajaaH
shishyire vigat'-odvegaaH
pitur aNka-gataa iva

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

Due to his good governance,

And under his protection,
his subjects rested at ease,

Free from anxiety,

As if in a father's lap.

In this verse, as I read it, as in several verses in Canto 1, Ashvaghosha is suggesting the working of a certain hierarchy along the lines of "the head leads and the body follows."

If Ashvaghosha had in mind only some truth in the political sphere, it would be necessary to become the leader of some kind of kingdom in order to verify it. In fact, experience as the head of a lesser group such as a family might lend a kind of verification to the principle that if the head of the family is in good order and knows where he is going, the other family members tend to fit in and all be more or less happy.

But what is more readily open to verification, what is more fundamental, and what Ashvaghosha as I hear him is really more interested in, is the principle that when a person sitting with right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh wears his or her head well, then subordinate body parts all tend to rest easy.

So this verse, as I read it, has to do with the function in governing the working of the organism as a whole, and in preventing misuse, of what FM Alexander termed "the primary control of the use of the self."

Equally it has to do with sitting upright, without stiffening, with right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh -- the samadhi that is king of samadhis.

EH Johnston:
Owing to his excellent administration and efficient protection his subjects reposed peacefully, free from alarms, like children in their father's lap.

Linda Covill:
Thanks to his good government and protection, his subjects slept soundly, undisturbed, like children in their father's lap.

yasya (gen. sg. m.): of whom
su-vyavahaaraat (abl. sg.): because of good governance
su-: (laudatory prefix) good
vy-avahaara: m. doing , performing , action , practice , conduct , behaviour ; practices of law and kingly government ; administration of justice
ca: and

rakShaNaat = abl. sg. rakShaNa: n. the act of guarding , watching , protecting
ca: and
sukham (internal accusative = adverb): easily, agreeably, comfortably, happily
prajaaH (nom. pl.): f. procreation , propagation , birth ; offspring , children , family , race , posterity , descendants , after-growth (of plants); a creature , animal , man , mankind ; people , subjects (of a prince)

shishyire = 3rd pers. pl. perfect shii: to lie , lie down , recline , rest , repose ; to lie down to sleep , fall asleep , sleep
vigat'-odvegaaH (nom. pl. f.): free from anxiety
vigata: mfn. gone asunder , dispersed ; gone away , departed , disappeared , ceased , gone (often ibc.)
udvega: m. trembling , waving , shaking ; m. agitation , anxiety

pitur = gen. sg. pitR: father
aNka-gataaH (nom. pl. f.): being in the lap
aNka: m. a hook, curve ; the curve in the human , especially the female , figure above the hip (where infants sitting , astride are carried by mothers hence often = " breast " or " lap ")
gata: mfn. being in
iva: like

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