Monday, January 17, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 7.44: And Another One Gone

svargaM gate bhartari shantanau ca
kaaliiM jihiirShaN jana-mejayaH saH
avaapa bhiiShmaat samavetya mRtyuM
na tad-gataM manmatham utsasarja

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when Kali's husband Shan-tanu had gone to heaven,

Jana-mejaya, 'Causer of Trembling among Men,'
in his desire to marry Kali,

Came up against Bhishma 'the Terrible,'
and received death from him

Rather than give up his love for her.

As already mentioned in 7.41, King 'Good Body' Shan-tanu, after he lost his first wife Ganga, goddess of the Ganges, in his grief also lost all self-control.
He subsequently perked up, however, and married the fisherwoman Satyavati, also known as Kali. Here again is the portrayal of that happy couple.

The son of Shan-tanu and his first wife Ganga was Bhimsa, who evidently didn't take kindly to Jana-mejaya's designs on his step-mum.

Jana-mejaya is another ancient Indian hero, like the Ruru mentioned in 7.37, who bore a grudge against snakes and set about killing them en masse.

The references to ancient Indian myths may have been entertaining to readers and listeners of Ashvaghosha's day; for us, they are less so, or not so. Still, as a result of such study of ancient Indian mythology, heavy going though it is, we are better placed, when we read the view of an eminent professor in the field of Buddhist studies that "Ashvaghosha sought to present Buddhism as an integral part of Brahmanism," to make our own mind up about the relation between the Buddha's teaching and ancient Indian thought.

For example:

Is the Buddha's teaching of the middle way, as embodied by enjoyment of just sitting in lotus, and by effort to go on up beyond such enjoyment, an integral part of Brahmanism? Or is it maybe not an integral part of Brahmanism?

EH Johnston:
And Janamejaya, desiring to marry Kali when her husband Shantanu had gone to heaven, met death at the hands of Bhishma rather than give up his love for her.

Linda Covill:
Janam-ejaya wished to marry Kali when her husband Shantanu had gone to heaven. He received death from Bhishma on meeting him in battle, but he never gave up his love for her.

svargam (acc. sg.): m. heaven
gate (loc. sg.): mfn. gone
bhartari (loc. sg.): m. a preserver , protector , maintainer , chief , lord , master ; husband
shan-tanau (loc. sg. m.): mfn. wholesome for the body or the person; m. Shan-tanu (also written shaaMtanu) N. of an ancient king with the patr. kauravya (he was fourteenth descendant of kuru , son of pratiipa and younger brother of devaapi , and usurped the sovereignty whilst the latter became a hermit ; he married gaNgaa and satya-vatii ; by the former he had a son named bhiiShma , and by the latter chitraaNgada and vichitraviirya)
ca: and

kaaliim (acc. sg.): f. black colour; night ; N. of satyavatii , wife of king shaantanu and mother of vyaasa or kRShNa-dvaipaayana (after her marriage she had a son vichitra-viirya , whose widows were married by kRShNa-dvaipaayana , and bore to him dhRta-raaShTra and paaNDu ; according to other legends kaalii is the wife of bhiimasena and mother of sarvagata)
jihiirShan = nom. sg. m. pres. part. desiderative hR: to take, carry; to take to one's self , appropriate (in a legitimate way) , come into possession of (acc.) , receive (as an heir) , raise (tribute) , marry (a girl)
jana-m-ejayaH (nom. sg.): m. " causing men to tremble " , N. of a celebrated king to whom vaishampaayana recited the MBh. (great-grandson to arjuna , as being son and , successor to parikShit who was the son of arjuna's son abhimanyu)
jana: people, men
ej: to stir , move , tremble , shake
saH (nom. sg. m.): he

avaapa = 3rd pers. sg. perfect avaap (ava +√aap): to reach , attain , obtain , gain , get ; to suffer
bhiiShmaat (abl. sg. m.): mfn. terrible , dreadful ; m. bhiiShma, N. of a son of shaaMtanu and gaNgaa (in the great war of the bharatas he took the side of the sons of dhRtaraaShTra against the sons of paaNDu , and was renowned for his continence , wisdom , bravery , and fidelity to his word)
samavetya = abs. samave (sam + ava √i): to come or meet or mix or assemble together , be united in (acc.)
mRtyum (acc. sg.): m. death, dying

na: not
tad-gatam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. directed towards her
manmatham (acc. sg.): m. love or the god of love , amorous passion or desire
utsasarja = 3rd pers. sg. perfect ut- √ sRj: to let loose , let off or go ; to lay aside, quit, abandon

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