Monday, December 6, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 7.2: All the Sorrows of Spring

sa puShpa-maasasya ca puShpa-lakShmyaa
sarv'-aabhisaareNa ca puShpa-ketoH
yaaniiya-bhaavena ca yauvanasya
vihaara-saMstho na shamaM jagaama

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Amid the wealth of flowers of the month of flowers,

Assailed on all sides by the flower-bannered god of love,

And with feelings that are familiar to the young,

He stayed in a vihara but found no peace.

Just as the previous verse seems to pick up a thread from 6.48, this verse seems to refer back to 5.20: Then the Sage led him, lover of garlands of pearls and flowers, / Whom the month of Spring, Love's friend, had appropriated, / To a playground where women were a broken amusement -- / To the vihara, beloved as a pleasure-ground of learning.

From 7.13 Nanda's laments begin in his own words. Until then Ashvaghosha is going to paint a vivid picture of Nanda's misery, and this verse is part of the beginning of that project, as Ashvaghosha warms again, like a runner setting off on a favourite run, to the topic of the misery of ordinary human existence in the world -- as experienced when we are not on the plane of conscious control but rather running as if on a faulty and crude automatic pilot.

We have heard in the abstract, in dry records of the Buddha's first turning of the dharma-wheel translated from Pali, that separation from a loved one is suffering.

The picture that Ashvaghosha paints here, in contrast, is not at all dry but colourful and evocative.

EH Johnston:
He was living in a pleasaunce with the glory of flowers in the month of flowers, with the flower-bannered god assailing him on all sides and with the feelings customary to youth, and so, though that pleasaunce was a cloister, he felt no peace.

Linda Covill:
With the flowery riches of the month of flowers, with all the assaults of the flower-bannered god, and with the emotions habitual in the young, he lived in a monastery, but found no peace.

sa (nom. sg. m.): he
puShpa-maasasya (gen. sg.): of the month of flowers
puShpa: flower
maasa: m. the moon, a month
ca: and
puShpa-lakShmyaa (inst. sg.): with a wealth of flowers
puShpa: flower
lakShmii: f. wealth , riches ; beauty , loveliness , grace , charm , splendour , lustre

sarv'-aabhisaareNa (inst. sg.): with the assaults everywhere
sarva: mfn. all ; (in comp.) altogether , wholly , completely , in all parts , everywhere
aabhisaara: m. attack , assault
abhi- √sR: to flow towards (acc.) ; to approach , go towards , advance in order to meet , attack ; to go to a rendezvous (said of lovers)
ca: and
puShpa-ketoH = gen. sg. puShpa-ketu = puShpa-ketana: m. "characterized by flowers" , the god of love
puShpa: flower
ketu: m. bright appearance , clearness , brightness ; torch ; apparition , form , shape ; sign , mark , ensign , flag , banner

yaaniiya-bhaavena (inst. sg.): with a way of thinking/feeling that is familiar
yaanii: f. a path , course
yaanii kR: to make one's self familiar with
bhaava: m. being ; manner of being ; manner of acting ; any state of mind or body , way of thinking or feeling , sentiment ; passion, emotion
ca: and
yauvanasya (gen. sg.): n. (fr. yuvan) youth , youthfulness , adolescence , puberty , manhood

vihaara-saMsthaH (nom. sg. m.): being in the monastery
vihaara: m. walking for pleasure or amusement , wandering , roaming ; a place of recreation , pleasure-ground ; (with Buddhists or jainas) a monastery or temple (originally a hall where the monks met or walked about ; afterwards these halls were used as temples)
saMstha: mf(aa)n. standing together , standing or staying or resting or being in
na: not
shamam (acc. sg.): m. tranquillity , calmness , rest , equanimity , quietude or quietism , absence of passion ; peace
jagaama = 3rd pers. sg. perfect gam: to go to, to attain

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