Thursday, July 29, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.50: When Sperm Met Egg, and Conception Coincided with Dream

svapne 'tha samaye garbham
aavishantaM dadarsha saa
ShaD-dantaM vaaraNaM shvetam
airaavatam iv' aujasaa

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

And so, in a concurrently-conceived dream,

She saw entering her womb

A white six-tusked elephant,

Mighty as Airavata.

The key word in this verse, as I read it, is samaye, which literally means "in a coming together," or "in the coincidence [of two factors]"; and by extension "at the proper time."

The relevance to those of us who sit is that just as the fundamental point of sitting is the union of two factors, namely, body and mind, so also samaye expresses the union or concurrence of two factors -- appropriate time in the queen's menstrual cycle and sex between queen and king; the physical fact of the Buddha's conception and the mental phenomena of the queen's dream; male sperm and female egg; giver and receiver.

Because the essence of sitting-dhyana is spontaneously to become one piece, we do not state in the sing-song manner of the holistic hairdresser that "body and mind are one."

But body and mind are, from the beginning, one. And for that reason, we understand that the physical fact of the Buddha's life and the mental phenomena of the queen's dream were conceived samaye, in a coming together, or concurrently.

For the same reason, the notion of an 'immaculate' conception, along with faith in life after death, we leave to the whacko religious fringe.

EH Johnston:
Then at the due season she saw in a dream a white six-tusked elephant, mighty as Airavata, enter her womb.

Linda Covill:
She in due course saw in her sleep a six-tusked white elephant, mighty as Airavata, entering her womb.

svapne (loc. sg.): m. sleep, sleeping; a dream, dreaming
atha: then
samaye (loc. sg./ ind.): at the appointed time or at the right moment or in good time for
samaya: m. coming together, meeting; intercourse with (instr.); appointed or proper time , right moment for doing anything, opportunity , occasion , time , season;
garbham (acc. sg.): m. the womb

aavishantam = acc. sg. m. pres. part. aa- √ vish: to go or drive in or towards ; to approach, enter ; to take possession of
dadarsha = 3rd pers. sg. perfect dRsh: to see
saa (nom. sg.): f. she

ShaD-dantam (acc. sg.): six-tusked
ShaSh: six
danta: m. an elephant's tusk
vaaraNam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. warding off , restraining , resisting ; m. an elephant (from its power of resistance)
shvetam (acc. sg. m.): white

airaavatam (acc. sg.): m. " produced from the ocean " , N. of indra's elephant (considered as the prototype of the elephant race and the supporter of the east quarter)

iva: like
ojasaa = inst. sg. ojas: n. bodily strength , vigour , energy , ability , power

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