Sunday, August 1, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.53: A Miraculous Pink Rain

suurya-rashmibhir akliShTaM
puShpa-varShaM papaata khaat
vanaac caitrarathaad iva

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

Unwilted by the sun's rays,

A rain of flowers fell from the sky

As if shaken,
by the trunks of the elephants of the quarters,

From the trees of Citra-ratha's forest.

As the Buddha's birthday is celebrated in May, when blossoms may be falling from big trees -- at least in Japan, England and France -- this verse is open to a literal interpretation as well as a figurative one.

Either way the point is that the birthday of the Buddha, Giver of Confidence, was a great event, worthy of celebration.

When I was in France this spring a friend on his facebook page posed a Zen question: What is the colour of the wind.

My answer was that it is sometimes the colour of my fear: white, or red. And sometimes it is the colour of falling blossoms: pink.

The context was that I had been sitting at the foot of a great big ash tree, under a miraculous confetti of floating petals.

So of the two kinds of miracles -- the miracles like say, photosynthesis, that are studied in science; and the miracles like say, weeping statues, that people make up in their inspired imaginations -- I much prefer the ones that don't purport to defy cause and effect.

Because of the power of his hands to improve people's coordination and thereby indirectly get their natural respiratory, digestive and circulatory mechanisms working, so that various ailments seemed suddenly to clear up as if by magic, FM Alexander was sometimes accused of being a miracle worker. "There are many miracles in nature," FM would soberly reply.

EH Johnston:
A shower of flowers, which faded not in the sun's rays, fell from the sky, as if the elephants of the Quarters were shaking the trees of the grove of Citraratha with their trunks.

Linda Covill:
A rain of blossom unwilted by the sun's rays fell from the sky, as though from the trees of Chitra-ratha's forest when shaken by the trunks of the elephants at the corners of the world.

suurya-rashmibhiH (inst. pl.): by the sun's rays
suurya: m. the sun
rashma: m. a string ; a ray of light , beam
akliShTam (nom. sg. n.): not troubled, not wearied, not wilted

puShpa-varSham (nom. sg. n.): a rain of flowers
puShpa: n. a flower, blossom
varSha: m.n. rain, shower
papaata = 3rd pers. sg. perfect pat: to fall
khaat = abl. sg. kha: ( √khan) a cavity , hollow , cave ; vacuity , empty space , air , ether , sky ; heaven
√khan: to dig , dig up

dig-vaaraNa-kar'-aadhuutaat (abl. sg.): from being shaken by the trunks of the quarter elephants
dish: f. quarter or region pointed at , direction , cardinal point
vaaraNa: elephant
kara: trunk
aadhuuta: mfn. shaken , agitated
√dhuu: to shake , agitate , cause to tremble ; to shake down from (e.g. fruits from a tree)

vanaat (abl. sg.): n. a forest , wood , grove , thicket , quantity of lotuses or other plants growing in a thick cluster (but in older language also applied to a single tree)
caitrarathaat = abl. sg. caitraratha: mfn. relating to the gandharva citra-ratha ; n. (with or without vana) the grove of kubera [the tree Cedrela Toona] cultivated by the gandharva citra-ratha
citra-ratha: mfn. having a bright chariot ; m. the king of the gandharvas
iva: like

No comments: