Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.28: Non-Buddhist Virtues (ctd.) -- Confidence & Clarity

rakShaNaac c' aiva shauryaac ca
nikhilaaM gaam aviivapat
spaShTayaa daNDa-niityaa ca
raatri-sattraan aviivapat

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

Under his protection, and because of his heroism,

Seeds were planted over the whole earth;

And by the transparent working of his judicial system,

Sessions were sat into the dark stillness of night.

The 2nd and 4th lines of this and the following verse include the same causitive aorist form, aviivapat, from the root √vap, which means (1) to strew, scatter, or procreate; or (2) to shear , shave , cut off , mow down. In its causative usage √vap means (1) to put or plant in the ground; or (2) to cause to be shorn or cut back.

Not for the first time, and not for the last, this kind of ambiguity calls for us to question what is really being said.

The surface meaning of the 2nd line of this verse seems to be that the king caused agriculture to flourish; but not much digging is required to suppose that the sewing or planting of seed, under a hero's protection, is a metaphor for the instilling of confidence -- as per the metaphor used by the Buddha in Canto 12: Again, I call it the Seed / Since it is the cause of higher good; / And for its cleansing action, in the washing away of wrong, / Again, I call it the River. / Since in the emerging of Dharma / Confidence is the primary cause, / Therefore I have named it after its effects / In this case like this, in that case like that. / This shoot of confidence, therefore, / You should nurture; / When it grows the Dharma grows, / As a tree grows with the growth of its root. [12.39 - 41]

The intention of the 4th line is more difficult to grasp: in the 4th line does aviivapat mean that something was propagated or, conversely, that something was shorn?

Is the surface meaning of the 4th line that the king's diligence in administering the law caused law-courts to remain in session into the wee small hours? Or, conversely, that the transparent working of the king's judicial system enabled judgements to be made promptly and decisively, in the clear light of day?

Is the 4th line saying that seats were planted on the ground for sitting sessions that ran into the dark stillness of the night -- in other words, that sitting sessions that ran into the dark stillness of the night were propagated?

Or is the 4th line saying, conversely, that court sessions were cut back which might otherwise get bogged down in obscurity and drag on into the night?

Is the underlying intention of the second half of the verse, then, that because of the King of Dharma's clarity in matters relating to the Law, round black cushions were put on the ground, and sat upon, during sessions of sitting-dhyana that ran into the dark stillness of the night?

Or is the deeper meaning that because the exercise of intuitive wisdom was in evidence, lengthy deliberation and discussion -- of the kind now under-way -- was cut short?

"Sessions sitting in the dark of night were pruned back."

"Sitting sessions were propagated, in the dark stillness of night."?

In the end the decision inevitably rests on the transparency of the working of a person's judicial system.

EH Johnston:
The entire earth was cultivated through his maintenance of order and was conquered through his heroism ; and he put down nocturnal malefactors by his enlightened administration of justice.

Linda Covill:
He cultivated the whole earth through his protection and valor, and with his transparent administration of justice he fostered overnight sacrifices.

rakShaNaat (abl. sg): n.the act of guarding , watching , protecting
ca: and
eva (emphatic)
shauryaat (abl. sg): n. (from shuura) heroism , valour , prowess , might
shuura: m. a strong or mighty or valiant man , warrior , champion , hero , one who acts heroically towards , any one (loc.) or with regard to anything
ca: and

nikhilaam (acc. sg. f.): mfn. whole, entire
gaam (acc. sg.): f. the earth
aviivapat = 3rd pers. sg. aorist causitive √vap: to sow , plant , put in the ground
√vap: to strew , scatter (esp. seed) , sow , bestrew; to procreate , beget ; to throw or heap up , dam up

spaShTayaa (inst. sg. f.): mfn. clearly perceived or discerned , distinctly visible , distinct , clear , evident , plain , intelligible ; straight (opp. to " crooked ") ; real , true , correct
daNDa-niityaa (inst. sg.): administration of the law
daNDa: m. a stick , staff , rod , pole , cudgel , club ; a staff or sceptre as a symbol of power and sovereignty (cf. nyasta-) , application of power , violence ; the rod as a symbol of judicial authority and punishment , punishment
niiti: f. leading or bringing , guidance , management ; conduct , (esp.) right or wise or moral conduct or behaviour , prudence , policy (also personified) , political wisdom or science , moral philosophy or precept
ca: and

raatri-sartraan (acc. pl.): night-sessions
raatri: f. night , the darkness or stillness of night
sattra: n. " session " (from sad, to sit down -- esp. at a sacrifice) , a great soma sacrifice (lasting accord. to some , from 13 to 100 days and performed by many officiating Brahmans ; also applied to any oblation or meritorious work equivalent to the performance of a sattra)
aviivapat = 3rd pers. sg. aorist causitive √vap: to sow , plant , put in the ground

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