Wednesday, September 15, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 4.45: Wishful Thinking Stimulates Progress

tataH kramair diirghatamaiH pracakrame
kathaM nu yaato na gurur bhaved iti
svajeya taaM c' aiva visheShaka-priyaaM
kathaM priyaam aardra-visheShakaam iti

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

Then he walked on with longer strides, thinking

"How can the guru possibly not be gone?"

And "Might I after all embrace my love,

Who is so eminently loveable,
while her face-paint is still wet?"

The vignette presented in this verse presages Canto 10, in which Nanda begins to get into the stride of practice only when stimulated by the illusory prospect of a liaison with the legendary pink-footed nymphs.

Maybe this is a point that aggressive atheists of Richard Dawkins' ilk are prone to fail to appreciate -- that we weak human beings sometimes need our illusions in order to keep going in more or less a right direction, like donkeys who like carrots, and who therefore are willing to walk forward in pursuit of a carrot, even if the carrot is ultimately not an edible carrot but only an illusory carrot.

Even among peddlers of illusion, however, there are degrees of rationality. When I hear of the processes involved in the "beatification" of John Henry Newman, including the committee set up to verify his supposed miracle-working, I want to say more power to Dawkins' elbow. What I really want to say to that German fundamentalist religious type who from tomorrow will be posing in my country as a head of state is: "Get off home to Rome. And take your utter nonsense about miracles with you. If you want to witness a miracle, witness the fact that you eat your dinner and a few hours later take a shit."

EH Johnston:
Then he stepped out with long strides, thinking, ' Perhaps the Guru has already gone ', and ' Perhaps I can manage to embrace my mistress, whose excellencies are so lovable, while the paint is still wet.'

Linda Covill:
Then setting out with long strides, he thought "The guru can't possibly not be gone by now!" and "Perhaps I'll be able to hug my darling girl, whose love is so special, while her viveshaka is still wet."

tataH: ind. then
kramaiH (inst. pl.): m. step
diirghatamaiH (inst. pl.): mfn. longest
pracakrame = 3rd pers. sg. perfect pra- v kram: to step or stride forwards , set out , walk on , advance , proceed

katham: ind. how? sometimes katham merely introduces an interrogation ; katham is often found in connection with the particles iva , naama , nu , svid , which appear to generalize the interrogation (how possibly? how indeed? &c )
nu: ind. indeed
yaataH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. gone
na: not
guruH (nom. sg.): m. the Guru, the weightyimportant/venerable one
bhavet = 3rd pers. sg. optative bhuu: to be
iti: "....," thus

svajeya = 1st pers. sg. optative svaNj: to embrace , clasp , encircle , twist or wind round
taam (acc. sg. f.): her
ca: and
eva: (emphatic)
visheShaka-priyaam (acc. sg. f.): especially beloved
visheShaka: mfn. (ifc.) = vi-sheSha distinction , difference ; mn. a mark on the forehead (made with sandal &c )
vi-sheSha: a kind , species , individual (in comp. often = special , peculiar , particular , different) ; distinction , peculiar merit , excellence , superiority (in comp. often = excellent , superior , choice , distinguished)
priya: mfn. beloved , dear to (gen. loc. dat. or comp.)

katham: how? (introducing question)
priyaam (acc. sg.): f. mistress, wife, beloved woman
aardra-visheShakaam (acc. sg. f.): her painted face-mark being wet
aardra: mfn. wet , moist , damp
visheShaka: (see above)
iti: "....," thus

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