Sunday, June 5, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 10.15: One One-Eyed She-Monkey

tasmaat tu yuuthaad apasaaryamaaNaam
shaakhaa-mRgiim eka-vipanna-dRShTiM
dRShTvaa munir nandam idaM babhaaShe

= = - = = - - = - = =
= = - = = - - = - = =
= = - = = - - = - = =
= = - = = - - = - = =

But lagging behind that troop

Was one whose face was red as pressed red resin --

A female monkey with one eye missing.

Seeing her, the Sage spoke this to Nanda:

EHJ's original Sanskrit text has apasaaryamaaNaam (the meaning of which I do not know). But in his English translation EHJ emends apasaaryamaaNaam to alasaayamaanaam, from "the possible but unrecorded alasaaya" -- presumably representing a causative conjugation of a-√las, "not to shine, to be weary, to flag."

Nearly three years ago when I started this work, I had the idea to bring out in each four-line verse, where possible, the four phased structure which Gudo Nishijima taught me to identify in the background to Dogen's writing. As the work progressed, I gradually gave up the idea, partly because trying to preserve the original order of the Sanskrit sometimes makes for stilted English, partly because such a translation is practically impossible, and partly because such technical analysis gets boring after a while and is liable to detract from what Ashvaghosha is actually saying.

Still, if we look for Gudo Nishijima's four phases in the four lines of today's verse, they are there in (1) a relative position, (2) a conspicuous phenomenon, (3) a concrete individual fact (as opposed to the generic consideration of monkey-mindedness in the previous verse), and (4) wisdom and action of Buddha.

Read like this, there might be something to dig for in idaM babhaaShe (he spoke this) in line 4. In line 4 originally there is no "her." So as a statement in its own right dRShTvaa munir nandam idaM babhaaShe means, "Having seen, the Sage spoke this to Nanda."

Read like this, idam might mean, for example, aging and senility, sickness and injury, dying and death; idam might mean a thunderstorm, and the hot weather leading up to it; idam might mean the power of the internet which enables me to gather so readily the information that supports this translation effort; idam might mean Mme Pickard's roosters which, totally indifferent to what I feel about their noise, keep on vying to crow louder than each other; idam might mean fighting for political power between tribes and clans from Africa to North Korea; idam might mean the universal human tendency to stiffen and brace when trying hard, and to release when giving up.

EH Johnston:
The Sage saw in that herd a female monkey, with one eye gone and its face red as if lac had been pressed on it, which was playing the laggard, and He said to Nanda:--

Linda Covill:
Among the troop the sage noticed an indolent female monkey, with one damaged eye and its face red with crushed cochineal. He said to Nanda:

tasmaat (abl. sg.): from that
tu: but
yuuthaat (abl. sg.): mn. a herd , flock , troop
lasaayamaaNaam = (?) laasayamaaNaam = acc. sg. f. pres. middle participle causative las: to shine , flash , glitter ; to appear , come to light , arise ; to sound , resound ; to play , sport , frolic
a-las: mfn. ( √ las) , not shining
a-lasa: mfn. inactive , without energy , lazy , idle , indolent , tired , faint
apasaaryamaaNaam [see jiblet's comment]

niShpiiDit'-aalaktaka-rakta-vaktraam (acc. sg. f.): her face red as pressed red resin
niShpiiDita = past. part. niSh- √ piiD: to press or squeeze out , press together or against
alaktaka: m. red juice or lac (obtained from the red resin of certain trees and from the cochineal's red sap)
rakta: mfn. reddened , red , crimson
vaktra: n. " organ of speech " , the mouth , face , muzzle , snout , proboscis

shaakhaa-mRgiim (acc. sg. f.): " branch-animal " , a monkey
shaakhaa: f. branch
mRga: a forest animal or wild beast , game of any kind , (esp.) a deer
eka-vipanna-dRShTim (acc. sg. f.): her sight in one eye lost
eka: one
vipanna: mfn. ruined , destroyed , decayed , dead , gone
dRShTi: f. sight, eye

dRShTvaa = abs. dRsh: to see
muniH (nom. sg.): m. the sage
nandam (acc. sg.): m. Nanda
idam (acc. sg. n.): this
babhaaShe = 3rd pers. sg. perfect bhaaSh: to speak , talk , say , tell


jiblet said...

Hi Mike,

I suppose apasaaryamaaNaam would be the acc. sg. f. pres. middle participle causative of apa-√sR, for which MW has "to slip off from (abl.); to go away, retreat: Caus. -सारयति , to make or let go away, remove"...which seems to fit.

If that's right, I wonder why EHJ felt the need to substitute "the possible but unrecorded alasaaya"? Perhaps I've made some mistake?

Mike Cross said...

Hi Malcolm,

Yes, that seems to fit -- at least as far as I can judge. Many thanks.

Good to know that you are still on the case.

Thanks again.