Friday, August 12, 2011
SAUNDARANANDA 11.18: A Better Way than Carefulness
tad idaM tvaa vivakShaami
praNayaan na jighaaMsayaa
tvac-chreyo hi vivakShaa me
yato n' aarhamy upekShituM
- - = = - = = =
- - = - - = - =
= = = - - = = =
- = = = - = - =
So now I am going to speak to you
Out of affection, with no wish to hurt.
For my intention is to speak of a better way for you --
In regard to which I ought not to be indifferent.
If letting self and others know of a better way than end-gaining is the most serious thing in the world, should one care about it?
Or, if seriousness is end-gaining and one is really serious about clarifying a better way, should one be as careless as possible about it?
Being careful is all tied up with trying hard. And trying hard, in the form of ascetic end-gaining, is what Nanda has been practising. A better way might involve giving up trying and being less careful.
Hence Patrick Macdonald said, "If you are careful you will never get anywhere. If you are careless you might."
I don't think the truth of this principle was lost for a moment on Ashvaghosha. That being so, I think line 4 of today's verse might have been written with a nod and a wink.
My everyday experience in sitting is that I ought to be totally indifferent but actually I bother about this and that. So I have translated line 4 literally, but my understanding is that the most important real meaning of line 4 is opposite to the literal meaning.
By suffusing Saundara-nanda with this kind of irony, Ashvaghosha seems to me to be constantly pointing the reader in a direction which is very different from conventional careful reading of religious texts by believers and scholars who take a particular view.
So my wish to speak to you springs from affection and not from a wish to hurt you ; for I wish to speak of your highest good, to which I ought not to be indifferent.
So I'd like to talk to you out of affection, and not with the intention of hurting you. My wish is to talk of what is best for you, something that I ought not to disregard.
tad: ind. so
idam: ind. here, now, in this manner
tvaa (acc. sg.): to you
vivakShaami = 1st pers. sg. desiderative vac: to speak , say , tell , utter , announce , declare , mention , proclaim , recite , describe ; reproach, revile
praNayaat: ind. (abl.) confidentially , affectionately , openly , frankly
jighaaMsayaa = inst. sg. jighaaMsaa: f. wish or intention to strike or slay or destroy ; malice
tvac-chreyaH (acc. sg. n.): your good, what is better for you, a better way for you
tvat = in comp. for tva: you
shreyas: n. the better state , the better fortune or condition; good, welfare
vivakShaa (nom. sg.): f. (fr. Desid. of √ vac) the wish or desire to speak
vac: to speak , say , tell , utter , announce , declare , mention , proclaim , recite , describe
me (gen. sg.): my
yataH: ind. from which, whence; where, in what place, whither
arhami = 1st pers. sg. arh: to ought
upekShitum = inf. upa- √iikSh: to look on ; to overlook , disregard , neglect , abandon