Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 6.26: Withered Lotuses

saa padma-raagaM vasanaM vasaanaa
padm'-aananaa padma-dal'-aayat'-aakShii
padmaa vipadmaa patit" eva lakShmiiH
shushoSha padma-srag iv' aatapena

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

Wearing clothes dyed in lotus colours,

With her lotus face and eyes as long as lotus petals,

She was like Lotus-Hued Lakshmi fallen from her lotus.

And she withered like a garland of lotuses in the sun.

Aside from the many poetic allusions in this verse to lotuses, which come in beautiful colours, which symbolize beauty itself, which have petals shaped like beautiful eyes, and which are used to form pedestals for beautiful statues of the goddess of beauty (Lakshmi), what has this verse to say to somebody who is mainly interested not in poetry but in practice?

Energetically, having experienced a surge of energy that caused her to jump up, then clasp herself and scream, Sundari is now experiencing a kind of equal and opposite reaction -- she is withering or fading.

In terms of her direction, her direction is down. Briefly stimulated by the delusion that Nanda was on the stairs, she sprang up. And at the initial shock of receiving the bombshell, she again jumped up. But now she is down again. So her behaviour is a bit yo-yo-like.

Again, the counter-image might be the Buddha sitting like the king of mountains, or the ancestors Dogen described in Fukan-zazengi as passing away while sitting or standing (ZA-DATSU RYU-BO).

At time of writing I am on the road, in a French public library with fluorescent lighting and many distractions and irritations. My own state feels closer to that of restless Sundari than that of the steadfastly directed buddha.

EH Johnston:
Wearing lotus-coloured clothes, with lotus-face and eyes long like the petal of a lotus, lotus-coloured like a fallen (statue of) Laksmi without her lotus, she withered like a lotus-garland in the sun.

Linda Covill:
Clothed in garments of lotus hue, her face a lotus, her eyes extended like lotus-petals, she was like a fallen Padma Lakshmi without her lotus, like a lotus-wreath withered in the hot sun.

saa (nom. sg. f.): she
padma-raagam (acc. sg. n.): lotus-coloured, dyed in lotus hues
padma: lotus
raaga: m. the act of colouring or dyeing
vasanam (acc. sg.): n. clothes, dress
vasaanaa = nom. sg. f. pres. part. vas: to wear

padm'-aananaa (nom. sg. f.): lotus-faced
padma: lotus
aanana: n. the mouth, the face
padma-dal'-aayat'-aakShii (nom. sg. f.): her lotus-petal-long eyes
padma: lotus
dala: n. " unfolding itself. " a small shoot , blade , petal , leaf (often ifc. in names of plants)
aayata: mfn. stretched , lengthened
akShi: n. eye

padmaa (nom. sg.): f. " the lotus-hued one " , N. of lakShmii
vi-padmaa (nom. sg. f.): mfn. deprived of a lotus-flower
patitaa (nom. sg. f.): mfn. fallen down
iva: like
lakShmiiH (nom. sg.): f. good sign; beauty , loveliness , grace , charm , splendour , lustre ; N. of the goddess of fortune and beauty

shushoSha = 3rd pers. sg. perfect shuSh: to dry , become dry or withered , fade , languish , decay
padma-srak: a garland of lotuses
padma: lotus
srak (nom. sg.): f. a wreath of flowers , garland
iva: like
aatapena (inst. sg.): m. heat (especially of the sun) , sunshine

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