Thursday, December 16, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 7.12: Big Desire & Discontentment

sa tatra bhaary"-aaraNi-sambhavena
vitarka-dhuumena tamaH-shikhena
kaam'-aagnin" aantar-hRdi dahyamaano
vihaaya dhairyaM vilalaapa tat tat

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As he burned there
with a fire risen from the fire board of his wife,

With ideas for smoke and darkest hell for flames,

As he burned in his innermost heart with a fire of desire,

Fortitude failed him and he uttered various laments:

The eight truths to which a great human being is awake, as taught by the Buddha on the night before he died, begin with (1) alpecchu (small desire) and (2) saMtuShTa (contentment -- or satisfaction, as expressed in 7.11 by the cuckoos). So what we are being encouraged to study here as Nanda, with his big libido on fire, begins a litany of grumbling laments, is the opposite situation.

Being stupid, one is ever liable to be more interested in enlightenment than in delusion -- "I know all about delusion; I have been living in it for 50 years already. So let's take the first eleven cantos as read, and start at Canto 12."

An antidote to such stupidity might be contained in these verses from Canto 16:

For he who knows suffering as it really is, / Who knows its starting and its stopping: / It is he who reaches peace by the noble path -- / Going along with friends in the good. / He who fully appreciates his illness, as the illness it is, / Who sees the cause of the illness and its remedy: / It is he who wins, before long, freedom from disease -- / Attended by friends in the know.
(16.39 - 16.40)

The other six of the eight great human truths, if I list them off the top of my head, are (3) enjoyment of peace and quiet, as experienced when one lives alone in a quiet place, (4) persistent direction of energy, like the kind of constant trickle of water that can wear away rock, (5) not losing mindfulness, which is like the protective layer of energy that is sometimes imagined to surround one who has eaten his morning porridge, (6) the balanced stillness of dhyana practice, (7) practice of wisdom, which might involve allowing oneself the time and space in which to know what to do next, and (8) cutting out bullshit, or not being wordy.

EH Johnston:
With his heart burning there with the fire of passion, which had his wife for the firestick from which it originated, his thoughts for its smoke and his grief for its flames, he departed from steadfastness and uttered many laments :--

Linda Covill:
Burning in his heart with the fire of passion which arose from his wife as the firestick, which had his fancies as smoke and his mental darkness as flames, he put composure aside and lamented in various ways:

sa (nom. sg. m.): he
tatra: ind. there, in that state
bhaary"-aaraNi-sambhavena (inst. sg.): arising from his wife as the firestick
bhaaryaa: f. wife
araNi: f. " being fitted into " or " turning round " , the piece of wood (taken from the Ficus Religiosa or Premna Spinosa) used for kindling fire by attrition (generally distinction is made between the lower one and the upper one , adhar"aaraN/i and uttar"aaraNi , the former may also be meant by araNi alone without adhara)
sambhava: m. being or coming together , meeting , union , intercourse (esp. sexual intercourse , cohabitation) ; finding room in , being contained in (ifc.= " contained in ") ; birth , production , origin , source , the being produced from (abl. ; ifc. = " arisen or produced from , made of , grown in ") ; cause , reason , occasion (ifc.= "caused or occasioned by")

vitarka-dhuumena (inst. sg.): with ideas for smoke
vitarka: m. conjecture , supposition , guess , fancy , imagination; idea
dhuuma: m. smoke
tamaH-shikhena (inst. sg.): with the flames of darkest hell
tamas: n. darkness , gloom ; the darkness of hell , hell or a particular division of hell ; mental darkness , ignorance , illusion , error
shikhaa: f. a pointed flame , any flame

kaam'-aagninaa (inst. sg.): with the fire of desire
kaama: m. desire, lust ; love , especially sexual love or sensuality
agni: fire
antar-hRdi (loc. sg.): in his innermost core
antar: interior
hRd: n. the heart (as the seat of feelings and emotions) , soul , mind (as seat of thought and intellectual operations); breast , chest , stomach , interior (also in older language , " interior of the body ")
dahyamaanaH = nom. sg. m. pres. part. passive dah: to burn, consume by fire

vihaaya = abs. vi- √ haa: to leave behind , relinquish ; to be deprived of, lose
dhairyam (acc. sg.): n. firmness , constancy , calmness , patience , gravity , fortitude , courage
vilalaapa = 3rd pers. sg. perfect vi- √ lap: to utter moaning sounds , wail , lament , bewail
tat tat (acc. sg. n.): this and that , various things

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