Thursday, September 9, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 4.33: Emotion and the Vestibular-Ocular Motor Reflex Arc

saa vepamaanaa parisasvaje taM
shaalaM lataa vaata-samiirit" eva
dadarsha c'aashru-pluta-lola-netraa
diirghaM ca nishvasya vaco 'bhyuvaaca

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

Shivering, she twined herself around him

Like a wind-stirred creeper around a teak tree;

She looked at him through unsteady tear-filled eyes,

Took a deep breath, and told him:

The movement of Sundari's arms expresses emotional clinging. The movement of her eyes expresses abnormal vestibular function. The suggestion here seems to be that the emotion is the cause of the vestibular symptom.

At the same time, there are cases when unsteadiness in the vestibular system causes labile emotional responses -- and Sundari, aka Sulky Manini (4.3), who sounds like a bit of a drama queen, might also be seen as exemplifying this side of the equation.

What the Buddha calls indriya, the power of the senses, includes both meanings of the word "feeling" -- both emotional feeling and sensory input. So thwarting the power of the senses, the theme of Canto 13, would seem to involve somehow stopping the vicious circle whereby labile emotions trigger vestibular malfunction and vice versa.

The means that the Buddha advocates for this is shiila, or practice of integrity:

Happiness is seated in a freedom from furrowing the heart / Over things done badly or not done. /But the freedom of the mind from remorse / Is seated in pristine practice of integrity. / Therefore, realising that integrity comes first, / Purify the practice of integrity. [13.25 - 26]

EH Johnston:
She clasped him trembling, as a creeper stirred by the wind clasps a shala tree, and, gazing at him with rolling eyes swimming with tears, said to him with a long sigh :--

Linda Covill:
She held him close and shivered like a wind-stirred creeper encircling a shala tree. Looking at him with her rolling eyes filled with tears, she sighed deeply and replied:

saa (nom. sg. f.): she
vepamaanaa = nom. sg. f. pres. part √ vip: to tremble , shake , shiver , vibrate , quiver , be stirred
parisasvaje = 3rd pers. sg. perfect pari- √ svaNj
pari: ind. around, fully
√ svaNj to embrace , clasp , encircle , twist or wind round
tam (acc. sg. m.): him

shaalam (acc. sg.) m. the Sal tree , Vatica Robusta (a valuable timber tree)
lataa (nom. sg.): f. creeper
vaata-samiiritaa (nom. sg. f.): stirred by the wind
vaata: wind
samiirita: mfn. (fm sam- √ iir) stirred , moved , tossed , thrown
iva: like

dadarsha = 3rd pers. sg. perfect dRsh: to see , behold , look at
ca: and
ashru-pluta-lola-netraa (nom. sg. f.): her wavering eyes filled with tears
ashru: tears
pluta: mfn. floated , floating or swimming in (loc.) , bathed , overflowed , submerged , covered or filled with (instr. or comp.)
lola: mfn. moving hither and thither , shaking , rolling , tossing , dangling , swinging , agitated , unsteady , restless ; desirous , greedy , lustful , (ifc.) eagerly desirous of or longing for (loc. inf. or comp.)
netra: m. a leader, guide; (ifc. f(aa).) the eye

diirgham (acc. sg.): mfn. long (in space and time)
ca: and
nishvasya = abs. ni- √ shvas: , to draw in the breath , inspire ; to hiss , snort &c
vacaH = acc. sg. vacas: n. speech , voice , word
abhyuvaaca = 3rd pers. sg. perfect abhi- √ vac: to say to (acc.) , tell

No comments: