Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 4.32: Begging Leave

kRtv" aaNjaliM muurdhani padma-kalpaM
tataH sa kaantaaM gamanaM yayaace
kartuM gamiShyaami gurau praNaamaM
maam abhyanujNaatum ih' aarhas' iiti

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Bringing to his forehead
hands joined in the shape of a lotus bud,

He then begged his beloved to be allowed to go:

"I would like to go and pay my respects to the Guru.

Please permit me, this once."

Some say that fingers meet in front of the forehead, some say that fingertips should meet in front of the nostrils. Either way up, to stiffen the neck and pull the chin in is to be failing to grasp the most important point.

The Guru means the One who is Heavy, Weighty, Important, Full of Gravitas, Full of Meaning.

This morning's Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 was delivered by Jonathan Sachs, a person whose capacity for deep thinking I generally admire. Today, when entering the debate stimulated by Stephen Hawking's comments on the redundancy of God, Sachs argued that science is concerned with explanation, whereas religion is concerned with meaning. But this is not how I see it. For me science is concerned with discovering the truth in spite of what one previously believed, whereas religion is concerned with defending irrational beliefs irrespective of evidence. Sachs finished his Thought for the Day on what sounded to me like a triumphalist religious note, saying empires have come and gone but.. what exactly he said I can't remember but it featured the words "the love of God."

I cannot say that I share Hawking's view of the Universe, because I do not begin to understand it, and even if I did understand it, practice would require me to drop it off. But what I do understand, particularly from Canto 12, is that the Buddha as I hear him, as Ashvaghosha quotes him, praises as the primary thing not belief but confidence.

What the Buddha praised Nanda for was not religious belief but confidence in the Guru, the Meaningful One, and confidence in the Guru's Dharma, the meaningful teaching.

EH Johnston:
Then joining his hands like a lotus bud and raising them to his head, he asked his beloved for leave to go, saying ' I want to go and do reverence to the Guru ; please give me leave for this '.

Linda Covill:
Putting his hands together in the shape of a lotus, he raised them to his forehead and asked his wife if he might leave. "I would like to go and pay my respects to the guru. Will you let me?"

kRtvaa = abs. kR: to do, make
aNjalim (acc. sg.): m. the open hands placed side by side and slightly hollowed (as if by a beggar to receive food ; hence when raised to the forehead , a mark of supplication) , reverence , salutation , benediction
√ aNj: to apply an ointment or pigment , smear with , anoint ; to decorate , prepare ; to honour , celebrate
muurdhani = loc. sg. muurdhan: m. the forehead , head in general
padma-kalpam: in the form of a lotus
padma: a lotus
kalpa: m. (ifc.) having the manner or form of anything

tataH: ind. then
sa (nom. sg. m.)
kaantaam (acc. sg.): any one beloved , a lover , wife
gamanam (acc. sg.): n. going
yayaace = 3rd pers. sg. perfect yaac: to ask , beg , solicit , entreat , require , implore

kartum = infinitive kR: to do
gamiShyaami = 1st pers. sg. future gam: to go
gurau (loc. sg.): to the guru
praNaamam (acc. sg.): m. bending , bowing , a bow , respectful salutation , prostration

maam (acc. sg.): me
abhyanujNaatum = abs. abhy-anu-√jNaa: to assent to , approve , allow , permit , concede ; to allow one to depart , dismiss ( Inf.) to take leave , ask for leave to depart)
iha: ind. in this case, now
arhasi: you should
iti: "....", thus

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