Saturday, November 27, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 6.43: A Final Call to Cheer Up

atha tv idaaniiM laDitaH sukhena
sva-sthaH phala-stho vyasanaany a-dRShTvaa
viita-spRho dharmam anuprapannaH
kiM viklave rodiShi harSha-kaale

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On the contrary, he is now roving happily,

Meeting no disasters,
but enjoying sound health and a fruitful life.

Free from desires, he is following the dharma:

Why at a time for rejoicing do you,
in a state of consternation, weep?"

In EHJ's Sanskrit version vi-klave in line 4 is in the locative, as per the palm-leaf manuscript; in LC's version, as per the paper manuscript, it is vi-klavaa in the nominative singular feminine.

Either way, the root √klav means to fear, and so the choice of the word vi-klaava as I read it suggests recognition that at the root of Sundari's consternation are unduly excited fear reflexes and emotions.

This is the end of woman number two's exhortation to Sundari that she should pull herself together, stop grieving, count herself lucky, and cheer up. In short, woman number two's advice to Sundari is that she should -- to use a phrase apparently favoured by matriarchs of the British royal family -- "buck up."

But how?

Whereas weeping woman number one seemed to err on the side of carelessness, dizzily blurting out her news in an unthinking way, oblivious of the consequences, woman number two seems to err on the opposite side: she has her eyes firmly on the prize, which is that Sundari should cheer up, but she lacks the wisdom of one who knows a way of getting from here to there.

Woman number two has a good way with words -- she is gifted in speech (vacas" opapannaa; 6.38). But her words are ineffective in bringing about the change in Sundari that she, with the best of intentions, wishes to bring about.

Can words ever be an effective agent of change?

Ashvaghosha apparently thinks so, as indicated by the metaphor in which he likens his own writings to bitter medicine mixed with honey.

How can words be an effective agent of change?

I don't know. But I think the point of these last six verses has been to demonstrate to us "Not like that."

EH Johnston:
But now he has betaken himself to the Law, blissfully joyful, master of himself, assured of the reward, with desire quelled and unacquainted with misfortune. Why do you weep in distress ? It is rather the time for merrymaking.'

Linda Covill:
But now he is following the dharma, light-hearted with happiness, easy in himself, well-placed for a good result, with no accident in sight, and free from longing! Why are you distressed and weeping at this joyful time?"

atha: ind. now, and now
tu: but
idaaniim: ind. now , at this moment
laDitaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. moving hither and thither
laD: to play , sport , dally
sukhena (inst. sg.): running swiftly or easily (applied to cars or chariots); agreeable, comfortable , happy , prosperous

sva-sthaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. self-abiding , being in one's self (or " in the self " Sarvad. ), being in one's natural state , being one's self uninjured , unmolested , contented , doing well , sound well , healthy (in body and mind) , comfortable , at ease ; relying upon one's self , confident , resolute , composed ; self-sufficient , independent
phala-sthaH: mfn. useful (cf. phala-saMstha, bearing fruit)
phala: fruit, result
stha: mfn. standing, being situated in, occupied with , engaged in , devoted to
vyasanaani (acc. pl.): n. moving to and fro; evil predicament or plight , disaster , accident , evil result , calamity , misfortune
a-dRShTvaa (abs. a-dRsh): not seeing

viita-spRhaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. free from wish or desire
spRh: to be eager , desire eagerly , long for ; to envy , be jealous of
dharmam (acc. sg.): m. dharma, duty, practice of the law/teaching
anuprapannaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. following after , conformed to
anu: ind. after , along , alongside , near to
pra- √ pad: to go forwards set out for , resort to , arrive at

kim: ind. why?
viklave (loc. sg.): mfn. overcome with fear or agitation , confused , perplexed , bewildered , alarmed , distressed
vi- √ klav: to become agitated or confused
klav: to fear , be afraid
rodiShi = 2nd pers. sg. present rud: to weep , cry , howl , roar , lament , wail
harSha-kaale (loc. sg): at a time for rejoicing
harSha: m. bristling , erection (esp. of the hair in a thrill of rapture or delight) ; joy , pleasure , happiness
kaala: time

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