Friday, November 26, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 6.42: Another Unwise Call to Count Your Blessings

ath' aapi kiM cid vyasanaM prapanno
maa c' aiva tad bhuut sadRsho 'tra baaShpaH
ato vishiShTaM na hi duHkham asti
kul'-odgataayaaH pati-devataayaaH

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Again, had he met with some disaster

-- And may nothing of that sort ever be! --
then yes, tears;

Because there is no greater sorrow

For a nobly-born woman
who honours her husband like a god.

If I could go back sixty years and put myself in the place of the doctor whose duty it was to tell an Alexander teacher trained by FM Alexander, then a pregnant mother, that her eldest son had died as a result of an operation that went wrong to have his tonsils out, I think I would just like to say in the place of that doctor "I am terribly, terribly sorry." To say something along the lines of "Well it's not so bad for you. You won't need to grieve so much since you have got another one on the way...." would be an extreme example of wisdom deficit disorder.

The insensitivity of the woman speaking now is not of that magnitude, but what she is saying strikes me as being along those lines.

Besides that, her register, with its repeated references to noble birth and the lineage of Ikshvaku, sounds somewhat stiff-upper-lipped or stuck up -- as if she is more conscious of class mores than of the human dimension of Sundari's suffering.

So this woman, as she comes across to me, is an example of one who seems, with the best of intentions, to talk a good talk but in doing so without real wisdom is failing to walk a good walk. This is the gap that Dogen cautions against at the beginning of Fukan-zazengi, his rules of sitting-dhyana for people of all classes and none.

EH Johnston:
Or if he had come by some misfortune -- but may that never happen ! -- tears would be in place ; for there is no sorrow heavier than that to a woman of good family whose husband is her god.

Linda Covill:
Or had he met with some accident (and may that sort of thing never happen) then yes, tears! For no greater tragedy befalls a nobly-born woman whose husband is for her a god.

atha: ind. now, then, moreover, rather
api: even, again
kiM cit: some
vyasanam (acc. sg.): n. moving to and fro , wagging (of a tail) ; evil predicament or plight , disaster , accident , evil result , calamity , misfortune
prapannaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. arrived at , come to

maa: a particle of prohibition or negation, most commonly joined with the Subjunctive i.e. the augmentless form of a past tense (esp. of the aor. e.g. tapovana-vaasinaam uparodho maa bhuut , let there not be any disturbance of the inhabitants of the sacred grove)
ca: and
eva (emphatic)
tat (nom. sg. n.): that
bhuut = subjunctive bhuu: to be
sadRshaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn, like , resembling , similar to
atra: ind. from that, then
baaShpaH (nom. sg.): m. a tear, tears

ataH: ind. from this, hence; from this cause
vishiShTam (nom. sg. n.): mfn. better or worse than (abl. or comp.)
na: not
hi: for
duHkham (nom. sg.): n. uneasiness , pain , sorrow , trouble , difficulty
asti: there is

kul'-odgataayaaH (gen. sg. f.): mfn. sprung from a noble family
kula: n. a noble or eminent family or race
ud-gata: mfn. gone up , risen , ascended ; come forth, appeared
pati-devataayaaH (gen. sg.): f. regarding a husband as a divinity , honouring a husband above all others
pati: m. a husband
devataa: f. godhead , divinity (abstr. & concr.); image of a deity , idol

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