Sunday, March 6, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 8.39: Women as Purveyors of Injustice

a-dadatsu bhavanti narma-daaH
pra-dadatsu pravishanti vibhramaM
praNateShu bhavanti garvitaaH
pramadaas tRptataraash ca maaniShu

- - = - - = - = - =
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Women flirt with men who give them nothing,

And grow restless with generous men;

They show disdain towards the humble,

But simpering contentment towards the arrogant.

As a teenager in the 1970s, at which stage of development I fear much of my brain has remained stuck, I used to like a song by an artist named Jilted John (alias Graham Fellows). The lyrics of this magnum opus, quoting from memory, were:

I've been going out with a girl,
Her name is Julie,
And last night she said to me
As we were watching telly:

Listen John, I love you,
But there's this bloke I fancy.
Now I don't want to two-time you,
So it's the end for you and me.

Then the pertinent refrain in the chorus was:

She is a slag. Yeah, Yeah.
It's not fair.

The thinking behind the words of the striver in today's verse, as I read it, is roughly on the same level as the philosophy of Jilted John. That is to say, behind the striver's complaints about women there seems to be a sense of unfairness or injustice, whereas in the Buddha's teaching all things -- even in love and war -- are governed absolutely by cause and effect.

Hence, discarding the sentimental thoughts of Jilted John and the striver alike, I come back again to the deeper truth of Jimmy Buffet's lyric:

Some people say
There's a woman to blame,
But I know...
It's my own damn fault.

The point is that to blame others is not the Buddha's teaching. The Buddha's teaching is to work on one's own self, to re-direct one's own energy, to turn one's own light and let it shine.

I can't complain.
(But sometimes I still do...)

EH Johnston:
Women gratify those who give them nothing and are capricious to those who are liberal to them. They are overbearing to those who abase themselves and show themselves easily satisfied to the proud.

Linda Covill:
Women flirt with those who give them nothing, but become restless with generous men; they are disdainful of humble men, and highly satisfied with grandiloquent men;

a: (negative prefix) not
dadatsu = loc. pl. m. daa: to give
bhavanti = 3rd pers. pl. bhuu: to be, become
narma-daaH (nom. pl. f.): mfn. causing mirth or pleasure , delightful
narman: n. sport , play , amusement , pleasure , pastime , pleasantry , dallying , jest , joke , wit , humour
da: mf(n. ( √daa, to give) ifc. giving , granting , offering , effecting , producing

pra-dadatsu = loc. pl. m. pra- √daa: to give away , give
pravishanti = 3rd pers. pl. pra- √ vish: to enter , go into , resort to ; to reach , attain
vibhramam (acc. sg.): m. moving to and fro , rolling or whirling about , restlessness , unsteadiness ; feminine coquetry , amorous gestures or action of any kind (esp. play of the eyes) , perturbation , flurry (as when a woman in her confusion puts her ornaments in the wrong places) ; caprice , whim

praNateShu (loc. pl.): mfn. bent forwards , bowed , inclined ; humble, submissive
bhavanti = 3rd pers. pl. bhuu: to be, become
garvitaaH (nom. pl. f.): haughty , conceited , proud

pramadaaH (nom. pl.): f. a young and wanton woman , any woman
tRptaraaH (nom. pl. f.): highly satisfied
tRpta: mfn. satiated , satisfied
-tara: an affix forming the compar. degree of adjectives
ca: and
maaniShu = loc. pl. m. maanin: mfn. (fr. √ man or fr. maana) thinking , being of opinion ; high-minded , haughty , proud

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