Sunday, August 29, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 4.12: Lending Loveliness to Lingerie

vibhuuShayaam aasa tataH priyaaM sa
siSheviShus taaM na mRj"-aavah'-aarthaM
sven' aiva ruupeNa vibhuuShitaa hi
vibhuuShaNaanaam api bhuuShaNaM saa

- = - = = - - = - = -
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= = - = = - - = - = -
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Wishing to cherish his beloved
he bedecked her there in finery,

But not so as to make her beautiful --

For she was so graced already by her own gorgeousness

That she was rather the adorner of her adornments.

Remembering the importance of silk as a commodity whose trade was instrumental in the spread of the Buddha's teaching through lands we now call Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, et cetera, I guess what Ashvaghosha might have had in mind here by vibhuuShaNaanaam (items of ornamentation) was not only jewels but also silk accessories -- what we would call lingerie.

For the translation of the last line of the verse, "it was she who lent loveliness..." is a lovely turn of phrase by LC, elegant poet that she is, and I am tempted to borrow the phrase. On second thoughts, though, I probably would not have thought of the phrase myself and so I will stay with EHJ in the somewhat stilted and wooden non-poets' camp, mirroring the grammar of Ashvaghosha's original Sanskrit.

EH Johnston:
Once he covered her with ornaments, not that she should be decorated, but simply in order to serve her ; for she was so adorned by her beauty that she was rather the ornament of her ornaments.

Linda Covill:
At one time he arranged her jewellery on her, not to make her lovelier, but to do her a service; for she was so adorned by her own beauty that it was she who lent loveliness to her jewels.

vibhuuShayaam (acc. sg. abstract noun from vi- √ bhuuSh: to adorn , decorate): decorating, adornment
asaa = 3rd pers. sg. perfect as: to be (used as copula to form periphrastic perfect)
tataH: ind. thence, there, then
priyaam (acc. sg. f.): mfn. beloved; f. wife
sa (nom. sg. m.): he

siSheviShuH (nom. sg.): mfn. (from desiderative sev) wishing to serve
sev: to remain or stay at , live in , frequent , haunt , inhabit , resort to (acc.); to serve , wait or attend upon , honour , obey , worship ; to cherish , foster (a child) ; to enjoy sexually , have sexual intercourse with (acc.) ; to devote or apply one's self to
taam (acc. sg. f.): her
na: not
mRj"-aavah'-aartham: for the purpose of bringing a pure skin
mRjaa: f. wiping , cleansing , washing , purification , ablution ; purity , cleanliness ; a pure skin , clear complexion (= chaayaa)
chaaya: n. shading or blending of colours , play of light or colours , lustre , light , colour , colour of the face , complexion , features ; n. gracefulness , beauty
aavaha: mfn. bringing , bringing to pass , producing ; what bears or conveys
artha: mn. aim, purpose

svena (inst. sg.): by her own
eva: (emphatic)
ruupeNa (inst. sg.): beauty
vibhuuShitaa (nom. sg. f.): mfn. adorned , decorated
hi: for

vibhuuShaNaanaam = gen. pl. vibhuuShaNa: n. decoration , ornament ; n. splendour , beauty
api: (emphatic)
bhuuShaNam (nom. sg.): n. embellishment , ornament , decoration
saa (nom. sg. f.): she

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