Sunday, May 22, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 10.1: The Buddha's Wish to Take the Beggar Up

shrutvaa tataH sad-vratam utsisRkShuM
bhaaryaaM didRkShaM bhavanaM vivikShuM
nandaM nir-aanandam apeta-dhairyam
abhyujjihiirShur munir aajuhaava

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Thus he heard about Nanda
intending to give up on sincere practice,

Desiring to see his wife, wanting to go home;

And so the Sage summoned him
in his joyless weak-willed state,

Wishing to take him up out of it.

This verse is full of desiderative forms: it is all about desire. Nanda's weakness is manifested in his three desires -- his intention to give up, his will to go home, and his desire to see Sundari -- the Buddha's strength in his one wish to take Nanda up.

"Take him up," the Alexander teacher Patrick Macdonald famously used to tell his student teachers. "Take the bugger up!"

How does one person cause another person who is down to go up?

I do not know how.

But I think even the Buddha could not do it directly. So he used an indirect approach, a skillfull means.

What that skillful means was will become apparent in the course of this Canto, whose title is svarga-nidarshanaH, "A Heavenly Vision" or "A Vision of Heaven." Suffice to say for the present that, as today's verse hints, the means has to do with the transformation of desires.

By the end of the Canto, Nanda's various desires will have been consolidated into one big desire, and painful sitting practice will be the means by which Nanda, in his stupidity, will endeavor to consummate that desire.

EH Johnston:
When the Sage heard that Nanda had lost his constancy in his unhappiness and was proposing to break his holy vow and to go to his palace to see his wife, He summoned him in His desire to rescue him.

Linda Covill:
When the sage heard that he was lacking fortitude and intended to give up his excellent observances and return home to see his wife, he summoned the unhappy Nanda in order to offer uplift.

shrutvaa = abs. shru: to hear
tataH: ind. thence, then
sad-vratam (acc. sg. n.): = sad-vRtta: n. the behaviour of good men , good conduct
sat: mfn. real , actual , as any one or anything ought to be , true , good , right (tan na sat , " that is not right ") , beautiful , wise , venerable , honest
vrata: n. sphere of action , function , mode or , manner of life (e.g. shuchi-vr° , " pure manner of life " ), conduct , manner , usage , custom ; a religious vow or practice , any pious observance , meritorious act of devotion or austerity , solemn vow , rule , holy practice (as fasting , continence &c ; vrataM- √char , " to observe a vow " , esp. " to practise chastity ")
utsisRkShum (acc. sg. m.): mfn. (fr. Desid. ut- √ sRj) being about or intending to leave off or give up
ut- √ sRj: to let loose , let off or go ; to quit, give up

bhaaryaam (acc. sg.): f. wife
didRkShum (acc. sg. m.): mfn. (fr. Desid. dRsh) wishing to see
bhavanam (acc. sg.): n. a place of abode , mansion , home , house , palace
vivikShum (acc. sg. m.): mfn. (fr. Desid viSh) wishing or intending to enter

nandam (acc. sg.): m. Nanda
nir-aanandam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. joyless , sorrowful , sad , melancholy
apeta-dhairyam (acc. sg. m.): courage gone ; fortitude forgotten
apeta: mfn. escaped , departed , gone , having retired from , free from (abl. or in comp.)
apa-√i: to go away , withdraw , retire , run away , escape ; to vanish , disappear
dhairya: n. firmness , constancy , calmness , patience , gravity , fortitude , courage

abhyujjihiirShuH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. (fr. Desid. of abhi + ud + √hR) wishing to extricate or rescue
abhi: ind. (a prefix to verbs and nouns , expressing) to , towards , into , over , upon. (As a prefix to verbs of motion) it expresses the notion or going towards , approaching , &c
ud: ind. upwards
√hR: to carry, convey
muniH (nom. sg.): m. the Sage
aajuhaava = 3rd pers. sg. perfect aa- √ huu: to call near , invoke, invite , summon

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