Thursday, January 6, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 7.33: And Another One Bites the Dust

tath" aaNgado 'ntaM tapaso 'pi gatvaa
kaam'-aabhibhuuto yamunaam agacchat
dhiimattaraM yatra rathiitaraM sa
saaraNga-juShTaM janayaaM babhuuva

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

Angada, similarly,
though he had gone to the ends of ascetic practice,

Went overwhelmed by desire to Yamuna

And in her he begat super-bright Rathitara,
'Super Charioteer,'

Friend of the spotted deer.

After writing yesterday about sitting four times a day, I went through the day with a nagging sense of having expressed myself in a high-handed manner. Yesterday was one of many days, to tell the truth, in which though I did sit four times, number four was hardly worth counting.

Just sitting in lotus can be seen, at least through the eyes of a devotee of a Chinese or Japanese martial art, as a 'form' (Japanese: kata) of the most basic order, and the essential teaching embodied by this form is the not doing of wrong.

Now the doing of wrong, as FM Alexander perceived with unrivalled clarify, is very much bound up with a faulty sense of up. That being so, a lot of Alexander wisdom is very relevant to the practice of endeavouring to make a good job of sitting upright on top of a round black cushion. And one Alexandrian pearl that sprang to my mind yesterday, as I reflected on the mismatch between my high-handed pre-breakfast pontifications and my weedy late-night practice, is "This work is the most serious thing in the world. But you mustn't take it seriously."

Whether my reading of today's verse is thus coloured by recent experience I don't know, but this verse -- with a double superlative in line 3 that is sort of defused in line 4 -- reminds me of Ashvaghosha's description in Canto 17 of the 3rd dhyaana, or 3rd stage of sitting-meditation:

Since the ease here is beyond any ease,

And there is no progression of ease beyond it,

Therefore, as a knower of higher and lower,
he realised it as a condition of resplendent wholeness

Which he deemed superlative -- in a friendly way.

EH Johnston:
Though Angada had reached the end of his austerities, he was overcome by love and lay with Yamuna, on whom he begat the very wise Rathitara, beloved of antelopes (?).

Linda Covill:
Though he had completed his period of asceticism, Angada too was overcome with desire and slept with Yamuna, with whom he engendered wise Rathitara, friend to the deer.

tathaa: in that manner , so , thus ; so also, in like manner
aNgadaH (nom. sg.): m. N. of a brother of raama
antam (acc. sg.): m. end , limit , boundary , term
tapasaH (gen. sg.): n. ascetic practice
api: though
gatvaa = abs. gam: : to go or pass (as time), approach

kaama: m. desire, love (esp. sexual love)
abhibhuutaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. mfn. surpassed , defeated , subdued , humbled ; overcome
yamunaam (acc. sg.): f. Yamuna; N. of a river commonly called the Jumna ; of a daughter of the muni mataMga
agacchat = 3rd pers. sg. imperfect gam: to go, to approach carnally , have sexual intercourse with (acc.)

dhiimattaram = acc. sg. m. superlative dhiimat: mfn. intelligent , wise , learned , sensible
yatra: ind. wherein, in whom
rathiitaram (acc. sg. m.): mfn. a better or superior charioteer; m. Rathitara, N. of a teacher
rathin: m. an owner of a carriage or chariot , charioteer , warrior who fights from a chariot
sa (nom. sg. m.): he

saaraNga-juShTam (acc. sg. m.): loved by / possessed of spotted antelopes
saaraNga: mfn. of a variegated colour , dappled , spotted; m. a kind of spotted antelope
juShTa: mfn. liked , wished , loved ; afflicted by (instr. or in comp.) ; furnished with , possessed of (instr. or in comp.)
janayaaM babhuuva (3rd pers. sg. periphrastic perfect): he did a begetting
jan: to generate , beget , produce , create , cause

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