Friday, June 24, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 10.34: Manic Nanda

nity'-otsavaM taM ca nishaamya lokaM
nando jaraa-mRtyu-vashaM sad" aartaM
mene shmashaana-pratimaM nR-lokaM

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Seeing that world to be in a perpetually elevated state,

Free from
tiredness, sleep, discontent, sorrow, and disease,

Nanda deemed the ever-afflicted world of men,
under the sway of aging and death,

To be akin to a cremation ground.

This is a vision of heaven that might be familiar to people suffering from what is recently called "bipolar disorder," in which, according to Wikipedia, "The elevated moods are clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania."

The Wikipedia entry adds, somewhat timidly: "Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes."

They say that what goes up must come down, and in general that might be true -- depending on what kind of up one is talking about.

If "what goes up must come down" is the thesis, an anti-thesis might be provided by Dogen's words in his rules of sitting-Zen which praise those buddha-ancestors who died while sitting or standing up (ZA-DATSU RYU-BO).

The nervous systems of those heroes, as I envisage them, were truly akin to trees that never sprouted, because of their mastery of what FM Alexander called "inhibition."

I am supposed to be qualified to teach the Alexander Technique, but my reaction to Mme Piquard's flock of cockerels confirms to me -- if any confirmation were needed -- that I am very far from having mastered inhibition. Mind you, confronted with a stimulus that was strong enough, FM Alexander himself and many of the teachers he had trained -- so Marjory Barlow reported -- found their powers of inhibition lacking. Perhaps the wise course for all of us is to regard mastery of inhibition, or of Zen, as a work in progress -- lest, in calling ourselves "Zen Master," we disappoint the expectations of self and others and manifest ourselves not as real dragons but as fake elephants, lamentable and laughable frauds.

EH Johnston:
And Nanda, seeing that world to be in perpetual feast and free from exhaustion, drowsiness, disgust, grief or disease, deemed the world of men to be no better than a cemetery as being subject to old age and death and ever in distress.

Linda Covill:
When Nanda saw this world in constant celebration, without langor, sleep, dullness, grief or sickness, he reasoned that the human world, in thrall to age and death and always prone to pain, was comparable to a cremation ground.

nity'-otsavam (acc. sg. m.): in continual merriment
nitya: mfn. continual , perpetual , eternal
utsava: m. enterprise , beginning ; a festival , jubilee ; joy , gladness , merriment
ut- √ suu: to cause to go upwards
tam (acc. sg. m.): that
ca: and
nishaamya = abs. ni- √ sham: to observe , perceive , hear , learn
lokam (acc. sg. m.): the world

nis-tandri-nidr'-aarati-shoka-rogam (acc. sg. m.): free from tiredness, sleep, discontent, sorrow, and disease,
nis: ind. without, free from
tandri m. = tandraa: f. lassitude , exhaustion , laziness
nidraa: f. sleep , slumber , sleepiness , sloth
a-rati: f. dissatisfaction , discontent , dulness , languor ; anxiety , distress , regret
shoka: m. sorrow , affliction , anguish , pain , trouble , grief
roga: m. breaking up of strength " , disease , infirmity , sickness

nandaH (nom. sg.): m. Nanda
jaraa-mRtyu-vasham (acc. sg. m.): in thrall to aging and death
jaraa: f. old age, aging
mRtyu: m. death, dying
vasha: m. authority , power , control , dominion
sadaa: ind. always , ever , every time , continually , perpetually
aartam (acc. sg. m.): fallen into (misfortune) , struck by calamity , afflicted , pained , disturbed; injured ; oppressed

mene = 3rd pers. sg. perfect man: to think , believe , imagine , suppose , conjecture ; to regard or consider any one or anything (acc.) as
shmashaana-pratimam (acc. sg. m.): resembling a cremation ground
shmashaana: n. an elevated place for burning dead bodies , crematorium , cemetery or burial-place for the bones of cremated corpses
pratimaa: f. an image , likeness , symbol ; (ifc. like , similar , resembling , equal to)
prati- √ maa: to imitate, copy
nR-lokam (acc. sg.): m. the world of men , the earth

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