vaiDuurya-naalaani ca kaaNcanaani
rohanti niShkampa-talaa nalinyaH
= = - = = - - = - = -
= = - = = - - = - = -
= = - = = - - = - = -
= = - = = - - = - = =
There rise golden lotuses with beryl stems
And diamond shoots and stamens;
Receptive to touch, they have a scent of the ultimate:
Still pools without ripples allow them to grow.
The organic element of lotuses with stems, shoots and stamens seem to me to refer back to the verses I categorized yesterday as "the first phase," and in particular to the discussion of red and blue lotuses in 10.21. The hard, inorganic mineral element of gold, beryl, and diamond seems to refer back to the maani (jewels) just mentioned in 10.23. So this verse as I read it represents the synthesis of opposites -- the organic and the inorganic, the soft and the hard.
Thinking philosophically, the intention might be to suggest progress in the direction of synthesis of two opposing standpoints, thesis and anti-thesis, idealistic discrimination and material fact.
Coming more from the heart, this verse brings to mind the famous invocation
om maṇi-padme hūṁ
which is thought to be addressed to a female incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, one of whose names is maṇí-padma, Jewel-Lotus (maṇi-padme being the vocative singular feminine of maṇi-padma). Just who this bodhisattva might be, is the subject of Shobogenzo chap. 33, Kannon. Whoever he or she is, we can suppose from her name maṇi-padma that she is neither totally soft nor totally hard. Maybe she is the embodiment of tough love.
The third line seems to hint at a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts, and at the same time to have a whiff about it of the ultimate truth of sitting, in which the tactile-proprioceptive sense is so vital.
The fourth line relates to non-movement and to growth in an upward direction. It also speaks to me, therefore, of sitting, and in particular the function of the vestibular system, and of the possibility of transcending the vestibular system -- for which purpose the vestibular system has in the first place to be still, quiet, undisturbed.
In general when a person endeavours to sit upright, his behaviour is directed unconsciously via the vestibular system. In books with titles like "Man's Supreme Inheritance" and "Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual," FM Alexander claimed to have discovered a means-whereby to substitute for this unconscious direction a conscious direction. Hence:
"The fact to be faced is that the human self was robbed of much of its inheritance when the separation implied by the conception of the organism as 'spirit,' 'mind' and 'body' was accepted as a working principle, for it left unbridged the gap between the 'subconscious' and the conscious. I venture to assert that if the gap is to be bridged, it will be by means of a knowledge, gained through practical experience, which will enable us to inhibit our instinctive, 'subconscious' reaction to a given stimulus, and to hold it inhibited while initiating a conscious direction, guidance, and control of the use of the self that was previously unfamiliar."
Easier said than done.
Still, if I manage to find a place without too many disturbing noises and am able to inhibit for a minute or two and come to quiet, the possibility becomes real of an upward direction that my vestibular system does not know anything about.
But in order for me to go in that direction, in order for me to transcend my dodgy vestibular system and experience a new kind of up, it seems to me, the vestibular system has first to come to quietness, or stillness. If conflicting aims in daily life are pulling me in different directions, or if my ear is subject to some disturbing noise -- like infernal cockerels constantly crowing -- I might as well, for the time being, forget about it.
Against the background of this understanding, for what it is worth, when I read the fourth line of today's verse I want to retain the original grammar which is that still pools (subject) grow / give rise to / produce / (transitive verb) [golden lotuses (object)]. It would be natural in English either to move the subject (still pools) to the front of the verse, or to reverse subject and object and say that golden lotuses grow in still pools. But I want to retain in line 4 the sense that when a body of water is totally still, it allows golden lotuses to grow -- which might be read as a metaphor for how sitting, as the stopping of certain unconscious movements, can foster growth of consciousness.
My own sitting in recent days seems to be so shallow and lacking in stillness that I feel I am the last person who should be endeavouring to clarify the meaning of today's verse like this. But ... pas de choix.
And the lotus ponds, whose surfaces are ever unruffled, produce golden lotuses with stems of beryl and shoots and stamens of diamond, delightful to the touch and fragrant to the smell.
And from the unstirred surfaces of lotus pools grow golden lotuses with stems of cat's-eye gems and diamond shoots and filaments, yet yielding to the touch and intensely fragrant.
vaiDuurya-naalaani (acc. pl. n.): stems of beryl; hollow stalks made of cat's-eye gems
vaiDuurya: n. a cat's-eye gem ; beryl
naala: mn. a hollow stalk , (esp.) of the lotus
kaaNcanaani (acc. pl. n.): mfn. golden , made or consisting of gold ; n. gold; money ; the filament of the lotus
padmaani (acc. pl. n.): mn. a lotus
vajr'-aaNkura-kesaraaNi (acc. pl. n.): with diamond shoots and stamens
aNkura: m. a sprout , shoot , blade , a swelling , a tumour
kesara: n. the hair ; mn. the filament of a lotus or of any vegetable
sparsha-kShamaaNi (acc. pl. n.): yielding to the touch
kShama: mfn. patient; enduring , suffering , bearing , submissive , resisting; fit , appropriate , becoming , suitable , proper for
uttama-gandhavanti (acc. pl. n.): endowed with uppermost fragrance
uttama: uppermost, of the highest order
gandhavat: mfn. endowed with fragrance , scented , odoriferous
rohanti = 3rd pers. pl. ruh: to ascend , mount , climb ; to rise , spring up , grow , develop , increase ; to grow together or over , cicatrize , heal (as a wound)
niShkampa-talaaH (nom. pl. f.): with motionless surfaces
niSh-kampa: mfn. not shaking or tremulous , motionless , immovable
nalinyaH = nom. pl. f. nalina: n. (fr. nala because of its hollow stalk?) a lotus flower or water-lily ; water