Friday, July 8, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 10.48: Exhortation to Observe

etaaH striyaH pashya divaukasas tvaM
niriikShya ca bruuhi yath"-aartha tattvaM
etaaH kathaM ruupa-guNair mataas te
sa vaa jano yatra gataM manas te

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"Look at these women who dwell in heaven

And, having observed, truly tell the truth:

Do you think more of these women
with their lovely form and excellent attributes

Or the one upon whom your mind has been set?"

bruuhi yath"aartha tattvam
Speak the reality truly, or in short, tell the truth.

Without putting a politician's spin on it, without the calculating mind of a lawyer, more in the manner of the boy who observed that the king was in the altogether, tell the truth.

But before that, look. In order to tell the truth truly, first truly observe.

The use of two verbs meaning to see, look, or observe -- the imperative pashya ("look!") and absolutive niriikySha ("having looked") -- along with the addition of artha in line 2, could represent a certain redundancy, except that Ashvahoghosha is not generally one for including redundant words.

So Ashvaghosha as I hear him is emphasizing something about the relation between truly telling the truth, and first observing.

The point might be that truly telling the truth is not simply a matter of passing on information, in the manner of a disreputable journalist, irrespective of how that information has been gleaned; ability to tell the truth truly rather depends on having exhibited a certain integrity in the process of discovering the truth for oneself.

The point might be that people who truly tell the truth are not those who believe in received wisdom. People who truly tell the truth might rather be the ones who, through observation, have seen it for themselves.

EH Johnston:
'Look at these celestial women and, considering them well, answer me truly and precisely. How do their beauty and accomplishments compare with those of the person on whom you have set your mind ?'

Linda Covill:
"Look at these heavenly women and after observing them, speak in accordance with the truth of the matter. Do you prefer these women with their beauty and accomplishments, or the person who holds your mind?"

etaaH (acc. pl. f.): these
striyaH (acc. pl.): f. women
pashya = 2nd pers. sg. imperative pash: behold , look at , observe
divaukasaH (acc. pl.): m. " sky-dweller " , a deity
tvam (nom. sg.): you

niriikShya = abs. nir- √ iikSh: to look at or towards , behold , regard , observe
ca: and
bruuhi = 2nd pers. sg. imperative bruu: to speak , say , tell
yath"-aartha: ind. according to truth or fact , truly , really
tattvam (acc. sg.): n. true or real state , truth , reality
artha-tattva: n. the true state of a case , fact of the matter

etaaH (nom. pl. f.): these
katham: ind. how? sometimes katham merely introduces an interrogation
ruupa-guNaiH (inst. pl.): with their lovely forms and excellent attributes
ruupa: n. any outward appearance or phenomenon or colour (often pl.) , form , shape , figure ; handsome form , loveliness , grace , beauty , splendour
guNa: m. a quality , peculiarity , attribute or property; good quality , virtue , merit , excellence
mataaH (nom. pl. f.): mfn. thought ; regarded or considered as , taken or passing for (nom.)
te (gen. sg.): for you

sa (nom. sg. m.): the, that [person]
vaa: ind. or
janaH (nom. sg.): m. person
yatra: ind. wherein, in whom
gatam (nom. sg. n.): has gone, is at
manaH (nom. sg.): n. mind
te (gen. sg.): of you, your

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