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.

EH Johnston:
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.

Linda Covill:
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
na: not
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
hi: for
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
na: not
arhami = 1st pers. sg. arh: to ought
upekShitum = inf. upa- √iikSh: to look on ; to overlook , disregard , neglect , abandon

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