Monday, November 29, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 6.45: A Little White Lie

braviimi satyaM su-vinishcitaM me
praaptaM priyam drakShyasi shiighram eva
tvayaa vinaa sthaasyati tatra n' aasau
sattv'-aashrayash cetanay" eva hiinaH

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

"I am telling you, truly, categorically,

You'll see your husband back soon enough.

That guy won't last any longer out there without you

Than a living thing lasts when it loses consciousness.

This woman is lying. She can't truly guarantee to Sundari that Nanda will soon come back to her, any more than....

... any more than the Buddha can guarantee to Nanda that if Nanda practises long and hard enough he will be rewarded by being able to enjoy the sexual favours of the stunning celestial nymphs, the apsarases.

What makes a white lie white? I suppose that whereas lying in general is tainted by greedy end-gaining, in a white lie there is nothing in it for the liar except the desire, informed by wisdom, to benefit the person being lied to.

Hence, what Charles Sherrington called "the convenient fiction" of the simple reflex is also a kind of white lie -- but it is a lie that I find very useful in endeavouring to clarify, for self and others, what it means to defeat Mara (the personification of evil) and his grim unconscious and semi-conscious entourage. It might be the use of a modern scientific white lie to try to clarify the real meaning of an ancient mythical white lie.

EH Johnston:
' I declare the absolutely certain truth to you when I say that you will see your beloved coming here very soon. He can no more remain there without you than an animate body can exists without consciousness.

Linda Covill:
"You'll soon see your husband come back; he can't stay there without you, any more than a living creature exists without consciousness. I am absolutely convinced of the truth of this.

braviimi = 1st pers. sg. pres. bruu: to speak , say , tell ; proclaim, predict
satyam (acc. sg.): n. truth , reality; ind. truly , indeed , certainly , verily , necessarily , yes , very well
su-vinishcitam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. thoroughly convinced
su: well, fully, thoroughly
vi-nishcita: mfn. ascertained , determined , settled , certain
vinishcitam: ind. most certainly , decidedly
nishcita: mfn. ascertained , determined , settled , decided
su-nischita: mfn. well ascertained or determined or fixed or settled; m. a buddha
su-nischitam ind. " most assuredly "
me (gen. sg.): of/for me

praaptam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. attained to , reached , arrived at , met with , found , incurred , got , acquired , gained
priyam (acc. sg.): m. husband, beloved
drakShyasi = 2nd pers. sg. future dRsh: to see
shiighram: ind. quickly , rapidly , fast
eva: emphatic

tvayaa (inst. sg.): you
vinaa: ind. without (preceded or followed by an instr.)
sthaasyati = 3rd pers. sg. future sthaa: to stand, stay , remain
tatra; ind. there
na: not
asau: he (referring to what is not near at hand); that bloke

sattv'-aashrayaH (nom. sg. m.): one endowed with the breath of life
sattva: n. being , existence , entity , reality; spiritual essence , spirit , mind ; vital breath , life , consciousness
aashraya: mfn. ifc. depending on , resting on , endowed or furnished with
cetanayaa (inst. sg.): f. consciousness , understanding , sense , intelligence
iva: like
hiinaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. bereft or deprived of , free from , devoid or destitute of , without (instr.)

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