Friday, January 7, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 7.34: Another One Bites the Dust

nishaamya shaantaaM nara-deva-kanyaaM
vane 'pi shaante 'pi ca vartamaanaH
cacaala dhairyaan munir RRShya-shRNgaH
shailo mahii-kampa iv' occa-shRNgaH

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on catching sight of the princess Shanta, 'Tranquility,'

Though he had been living in tranquility in the forest,

The sage Rishya-shringa, 'Antelope Horn,'
was moved from steadfastness

Like a mountain with high horns in an earthquake.

The old English proverb says that pride comes before a fall. In Japanese they say that the nail that stands up will be hammered down (deru kugi utarareru). Ancient Greeks observed hubris being followed by meetings with nemesis. And the tall poppy syndrome seems particularly deep rooted in Australian society.

This verse, as I read it, hints at a tendency that seems to be recognized wherever in the world human beings are: namely, the tendency to become sort of top-heavy, due to pride, or a high opinion of oneself.

When one notices the tendency in oneself, the enlightened response might be just to notice it -- rather than, for example, making a lot of superfluous effort to "ground" oneself, or to eat humble pie.

EH Johnston:
The sage Rsyasrngu, though living in the forest in holy peace, swerved from steadfastness, like a high-peaked mountain in an earthquake, at the sight of the king's daughter, Shanta.

Linda Covill:
The sage Rishya-shringa, though living at peace in the forest, caught sight of the princess Shanta and fell from stability like a high-peaked mountain in an earthquake.

nishaamya = abs. ni- √ sham: to observe , perceive , hear , learn
shaantaam (acc. sg. f.): mfn. appeased, peaceful ; soft, gentle ; f. N. of a daughter of dasha-ratha (adopted daughter of loma-paada or roma-paada and wife of RShya-shRNga)
nara-deva-kanyaam (acc. sg. f.): princess
nara-deva: m. " man-god " , a king
kanyaa: f. a girl , virgin , daughter

vane (loc. sg.): n. forest
api: though
shaante (loc. sg.): n. tranquillity , peace of mind
(loc. sg. n.):
api: though
ca: and
vartamaanaH = nom. sg. m. pres. part. vRt: to turn ; to be , live , exist , be found , remain , stay , abide , dwell

cacaala = 3rd pers. sg. perfect cal: to be moved , stir , tremble , shake , quiver
dhairyaat (abl. sg.): n. firmness , constancy , calmness , patience , gravity , fortitude ,
muniH (nom. sg.): m. the sage
RShya-shRNgaH (nom. sg.): m. "Horn of White-Footed Antelope," name of several men
RShya: m. the male of a species of antelope , the painted or white-footed antelope
shRNga: n. horn

shailaH (nom. sg.): m. a rock , crag , hill , mountain ; mfn. made of stone , stony , rocky
mahii-kampaH (nom. sg.): m. " earth-tremor " , an earthquake
mahii: f. " the great world " , the earth
kampa: m. trembling , tremor , trembling motion , shaking; earthquake
iva: like
ucca-shRNgaH (nom. sg. m.): high-peaked, with lofty horns
ucca: mfn. high , lofty , elevated
shRNga: n. the horn of an animal ; the top or summit of a mountain , a peak , crag ; highest point , acme , height or perfection of anything ; the horn as a symbol of self reliance or strength or haughtiness ; the rising of desire , excess of love or passion

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