Thursday, October 7, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 5.39: Exhortation to Leave Home

bhuuyaH samaalokya gRheShu doShaan
nishaamya tat-tyaaga-kRtaM ca sharma
n' aiv' aasti moktuM matir aalayaM te
deshaM mumuurShor iva s'-opasargaM

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you have experienced the drawbacks of family life,

You have observed the relief to be had from leaving it,

And yet you,
like a man resigned to his death in a disaster area,

Have no intention
of giving up and leaving house and home.

This verse doesn't leave much wiggle room for philosophizing about going forth as the transcendence of this, that, and the other. In this verse going forth means to give up and leave (moktum) one's house and home (aalaya).

I am writing this as one who is presently residing in his house and home. For the best part of ten years, in my 20s, I wrestled with the idea of "transcending family life." Finally giving up that particular idea and deciding to get married is a decision, having been married now for 20 years, that I have never regretted for a moment (though I'm not sure if my wife can say the same). So I am no expert on the subject of transcending family life.

But what I do know fairly well, from constant observation of self and others, is how the faintest trace of an idea, insofar as it is not given up, can trigger the whole gamut of wrong inner patterns that are centred around the infantile fear reflexes.

So all that I would say with confidence about this verse, as I read it, is that the Buddha is NOT exhorting Nanda to wrestle with leaving home as an idea.

EH Johnston:
Again when you consider the evils of a householder's life and perceive the peace of mind to be gained by abandoning it, how can you refuse to leave your home? It is only the man at the point of death who would refuse to leave a plague-stricken country ; why imitate him?

Linda Covill:
What is more, you have seen the flaws of family life, and you have heard of the bliss of giving it up; yet still you have no mind to leave your home, like a death-desiring man who will not leave a place of plague.

bhuuyaH: ind. still more , moreover , besides ; again, once more
samaalokya = abs. sam-aa- √ lok : to look at attentively , inspect , view , behold , regard
gRheShu = loc. pl. gRha: (m. sg. and pl. , in later language m. pl. and n. sg.) a house ; m. pl. a house as containing several rooms; m. the inhabitants of a house , family ; m. a wife ; m. a householder ; n. family life
doShaan (acc. pl.): m. fault , vice , deficiency , want , inconvenience , disadvantage

nishaamya = abs. ni- √ sham : to observe , perceive , hear , learn
tat-tyaaga-kRtam (acc. sg. n.): accomplished by leaving it
tat: it
tyaaga: m. leaving , abandoning , forsaking ; giving up
kRta: mfn. done , made , accomplished
ca: and
sharma = acc. sg. sharman: n. shelter , protection , refuge , safety ; Joy , bliss , comfort , delight , happiness (often at the end of names of Brahmans , just as varman, is added to the names of kShatriyas , and gupta, to those of vaishyas)

na: not
eva: (emphatic)
asti: there is
moktum = infinitive muc: to loose , let loose , free , let go , slacken , release , liberate ; to relinquish , abandon , leave , quit , give up , set aside
matiH (nom. sg.): f. thought , design , intention
aalayam (acc. sg.): m. and n. a house , dwelling
te (gen. sg. m.): of/in you

desham (acc. sg.): m. point , region , spot , place
mumuurShoH = gen. sg. m. mumuurShu: mfn. (from desid. mR) wishing or being about to die , moribund
iva: like
s'-opasargam (acc. sg.): mfn. having or meeting with difficulties or obstacles ; visited by portents or by great afflictions
sa: (possessive prefix)
upasarga: m. addition ; misfortune , trouble , a natural phenomenon (considered as boding evil) ; an eclipse ; (in med.) a fit , paroxysm (supposed to be possession by an evil spirit) ; a disease superinduced on another ; change occasioned by any disease ; indication or symptom of death; = upasarjana, an inauspicious phenomenon

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