Wednesday, April 20, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 9.21: Power Trip?

ato viditvaa bala-viirya-maaninaaM
bal'-aanvitaanaam avamarditaM balaM
jagaj jaraa-mRtyu-vashaM vicaarayan
bale' bhimaanaM na vidhaatum arhasi

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Know, therefore, that the strength of powerful men,

Who fancy themselves imbued with strength and drive,
is ground down;

And do not,
as you survey a world in the sway of aging and death,

Take pride in strength.

Just to be sure I haven't missed something, yesterday I reviewed every verse pertaining to Nanda in the previous eight cantos and could not find any verse that gives any indication that taking pride in strength was one of Nanda's failings. On the contrary, the verse that makes a mockery of the striver's chastizing, to quote it again, is the one in Canto 7 where Nanda bemoans his own weakness:

Hordes of gods, kings, and seers such as these have fallen by dint of desire into the thrall of women. / Being weak in understanding and inner strength, all the more discouraged, when I do not see my beloved, am I. // 7.46

In today's verse the striver uses the word balam (strength or power) no less than four times. Is the suggestion that the striver is on some kind of power trip?

When we look in real life at preachers of propriety, such as the striver is, those preachers very often are on some kind of power trip -- as opposed to making the nectar of deathlessness one's own.

As opposed to learning the backward step of turning and shining one's own light.

EH Johnston:
Therefore, knowing that the strength of those mighty ones who boasted of their heroism and strength was brought low, and seeing the world to be a prey to old age and death, do not fancy yourself strong.

Linda Covill:
Therefore recognize that physical capacity is ground down even in mighty men proud of their strength and valor. Reflect on the world under the sway of old age and death, and take no pride in strength!

ataH: ind. from this, hence
viditvaa = abs. vid: to know , understand , perceive , learn , become or be acquainted with , be conscious of , have a correct notion
bala: n. strength
viirya: n. manliness , valour , strength , power , energy; manly vigour , virility
maanin: mfn. haughty; (ifc.) thinking (esp. one's self) to be or have , appearing as or passing for

bal'-aanvitaanaam (gen. pl. m.): mfn. possessed of power , powerful , strong
avamarditam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. crushed , destroyed
ava- √ mRd: " to grind down " , crush , tread down
balam (acc. sg.): n. strength

jagat (acc. sg.): n. the world
jaraa-mRtyu-vasham: (acc. sg. n.): in the sway of aging and death
jaraa: f. the act of becoming old , old age
mRtyu: m. death, dying
vasha: m. authority , power , control , dominion
vicaarayan = nom. sg. m. pres. part. causative vi- √ car: to move hither and thither (in the mind) , ponder , reflect , consider ; to examine , investigate , ascertain

bale (loc. sg.): n. strength
abhimaanam (acc. sg.): m. high opinion of one's self , self-conceit , pride , haughtiness; conception (especially an erroneous one regarding one's self)
na: not
vidhaatum = infinitive vi- √ dhaa: to perform , effect , produce , cause , occasion , make , do Mn. MBh. &c (like √ kR to be translated variously in connection with various nouns)
arhasi = 2nd pers. sg. arh: ought

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