Saturday, September 4, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 4.23: Sundari's Happiness

kaaraNDava-kliShTam iv' aaravindaM
nandaH priyaayaa mukham iikShamaaNo
bhuuyaH priy"-aananda-karo babhuuva

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Those painted marks were nibbled away
at the edges by her earrings

So that her face was like a lotus
that had suffered the attentions of a karadava duck;

Nanda, by gazing upon that face,

Became all the more the cause of his wife's happiness.

I once asked my old teacher Gudo Nishijima if he didn't feel a doubt about devoting so much energy to his role as advisor to the top management of a Japanese cosmetics company. His answer was along the lines of "When women have consciousness that they are beautiful, they feel happy."

This verse, as I read it, relates to that observation, which was a kind of reflection, as if on a mirror.

When women have consciousness that they are beautiful, they feel happy. When others have consciousness that they are beautiful they feel even more happy. And when a special other has consciousness that they are beautiful, they feel all the more happy.

If previous verses, by repetition of parasparam (each other) and anyonyam (one another), emphasized the mutuality of Nanda and Sundari's love, in this verse the description seems more one-sided. Was Sundari aware that Nanda was comparing her face to anything other than a perfect lotus?

The description of Sundari's bliss is in any case ironic in the sense that she is blissfully ignorant of, but we the reader can guess, what is coming in Canto 6, whose title is bhaarya-vilaapaH, A Wife's Lament.

EH Johnston:
As Nanda looked thus at the face of his beloved on which the lines of paint were rubbed away at the end by her earrings so that it resembled a lotus pressed down by a karadava bird, he became a still greater source of delight to her.

Linda Covill:
Nanda made his sweetheart happier than ever when he watched her face, the edge of its visheshaka smudged by her earrings so that it seemed a lotus nibbled by a karadava bird.

tat-kuNDal'-aadaShTa-visheShak'-aantam (acc. sg. n.): make-up edge nibbled away by her ear-ring
tat: it, that, her
kuNDala: n. ear-ring
aadaShTa: mfn. nibbled , pecked at
aa- √ daMsh: to bite (as one's lips)
visheShaka: make-up
anta: m. end , limit , boundary

kaaraNDava-kliShTam (nom./acc. sg. n.): distressed by a duck
kaaraNDava: m. a sort of duck
kliShTa: mfn. molested , tormented , afflicted , distressed ; wearied , hurt , injured , being in bad condition , worn
klish: to torment , trouble , molest , cause pain , afflict
iva: like
aravindam (nom./acc. sg.): n. a lotus

nandaH (nom. sg. m.): Nanda
priyaayaaH (gen. sg.): f. wife, mistress, beloved
mukham (acc. sg.): n. the mouth , face , countenance
iikShamaaNaH = nom. sg. m. pres. part iikSh: to see , look , view , behold , look at , gaze at

bhuuyaH: ind. all the more
priy"-aananda-karaH (nom. sg. m.): the cause of his wife's happiness
priyaa: wife, mistress, lover
aananda: m. happiness , joy , enjoyment , sensual pleasure
kara: mfn. a doer , maker , causer , doing , making , causing , producing (esp. ifc.)
babhuuva = 3rd pers. sg. perfect bhuu: to be, become

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