Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 5.23: Towards Irreligion Beyond Irreligion

saadhaaraNaat svapna-nibhaad asaaraal
lolaM manaH kaama-sukhaan niyaccha
havyair iv' aagneH pavan'-eritasya
lokasya kaamair na hi tRptir asti

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Restrain the restless mind from sensual pleasures,

Which are common, dream-like, insubstantial;

For no more than a wind-fanned fire is sated by offerings

Are men satisfied by pleasures.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics, in observations of the world hitherto, has not ceased to be operative.

That being so, feeding a fire with more fuel in the form of offerings, so long as the fire's supply of oxygen is maintained by such means as a breeze, only causes the fire to keep on burning.

So in the first two verses of his opening address to Nanda, with (1) his personification of murderous Time/Death, and (2) his metaphor of the insatiable fire, the Buddha seems to point Nanda towards the undoing of the two most fundamental of human fetters, by which we enslave ourselves to (1) ideas that have to do with not dying, and (2) experiences that feel good.

Religious types tend to favour the former at the expense of the latter. Irreligious types tend to favour the latter at the expense of the former. But the truest form of irreligion, for which I for one am groping, might be just sitting as the rejection of both the former and the latter.

EH Johnston:
Restrain your restless mind from the unsubstantial pleasure of love, whose enjoyment is shared with others (who may rob you of it) and which is (illusory) as a dream ; for the world no more reaches satiety with love than a fire, fanned by the wind, with oblations.

Linda Covill:
Hold back your restless mind from the sense-pleasures common to all, which are dream-like and insubstantial. For sensual pleasures are no more satisfying for people than oblations are for a wind-blown fire.

saadhaaraNaat (abl. sg.): " having or resting on the same support or basis " , belonging or applicable to many or all , general , common to all , universal
svapna-nibhaat (abl. sg.): dream-like
svapna: m. sleeping; dreaming, a dream
nibha: mfn. ( √ bhaa) resembling , like , similar (ifc.)
asaaraat (abl. sg.): mfn. sapless , without strength or value , without vigour , spoiled , unfit , unprofitable
saara: m. the core or pith or solid interior of anything

lolam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. moving hither and thither , shaking , rolling , tossing , dangling , swinging , agitated , unsteady , restless
manaH (acc. sg.): n. mind
kaama-sukhaat (abl. sg.): sensual pleasures
kaama: desire ; pleasure ; love , especially sexual love or sensuality
sukha: n. ease , pleasure , happiness
niyaccha = 2nd pers. sg. imperative ni- √ yam: to stop (trans.) , hold back

havyaiH = inst. pl. havya: n. anything to be offered as an oblation , sacrificial gift or food
iva: like
agneH (gen. sg.): m. fire, sacrificial fire
pavan'-eritasya (gen. sg. m): excited by the breeze, fanned by the wind
pavana: m. " purifier " , wind or the god of wind , breeze , air
iir: to move, agitate, excite ; to cause to rise ; to bring to life

lokasya = gen. sg. loka: m. the earth or world of human beings &c ; (also pl.) the inhabitants of the world , mankind , folk , people
kaamaiH (inst. pl.): m desires, sensual pleasures
na: not
hi: for
tRptiH (nom. sg.): f. satisfaction , contentment
asti: there is

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