Sunday, August 14, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 11.20: Light Relief

yadi taavad idaM satyaM
vakShyaamy atra yad auShadhaM
auddhatyam atha vaktRRNaam
abhidhaasyaami tattvataH

- - = - - = = =
= = = - - = - =
= = - - - = - =
- - = = - = - =

If this really is true,

I will tell you a medicine for it;

Or if it is the impertinence of chatterers,

I shall speak out on the basis of fact."

In this verse as I read it Ananda is not expressing any doubt, even if he seems to be. Ananda knows where Nanda is coming from. So Ananda is not so much asking for confirmation as using an indirect means to encourage Nanda to confess.

Ananda already knows what is wrong with Nanda, who is wanting to gain the end of sexual union with nymphs by any old unconscious means, and Ananda knows a medicine for that ailment.

What kind of medicine does Ananda have in mind?

There might be a clue in the word he uses for medicine, auShadham, which is thought to derive probably from oSha "light-containing."

A more explicit hint is contained in 11.34:

riraMsaa yadi te tasmaad
adhyaatme dhiiyataaM manaH

"Therefore if you desire enjoyment, direct the mind within./"

The medicine Ananda has in mind might be what Dogen refers to as
"the backward step of turning one's light and letting it shine."

Learning the words by which Dogen labelled the medicine, however, and learning how to take it, are different things.


Learn the backward step of turning your light and letting it shine.
Body and mind will drop off spontaneously
and your original features will emerge.

Aside from having recited and translated this teaching many times, what do I really know about it?

I know that to go for lengthening at the expense of widening, to strive unconsciously for lengthening of the spine in such a way as to produce narrowing of the back as an unintended side effect, is bad medicine. Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

Conversely, I know what it is like to be guided by Marjory Barlow to experience a condition which she described as "the whole body informed with thought." This way of being is totally different from unconscious striving, the difference being akin to day and night.

EH Johnston:
If this really is correct, I shall explain its remedy to you, or if it is only the talk of gossip, I shall then explain the true state of affairs.'

Linda Covill:
If it is true, I will prescribe a remedy for it, and if it is just the work of gossip-mongers, I will put the truth around."

yadi: if
taavad: ind. indeed , truly, really
idam (nom. sg. n.): this
satyam (nom. sg. n.): mfn. true, real

vakShyaami = 1st pers. sg. future vac: to speak, say, tell
atra: ind. in this matter
yad (acc. sg. n.): whatever
auShadham (acc. sg. n.): mfn. (fr. oShadhi) , consisting of herbs; n. herbs used in medicine , simples , a medicament , drug , medicine in general
oShadhi: f. (etym. doubtful ; probably fr. oSha , " light-containing ") a herb , plant , simple , esp. any medicinal herb; a remedy in general
oSha: m. (fr. √uṣ to burn) , burning , combustion ; mfn. burning , shining

auddhatyam (nom. sg.): n. (fr. ud-dhata) , arrogance , insolence , overbearing manner , disdain
ud-dhata: mfn. raised (as dust); puffed up , haughty , vain , arrogant ; rude, ill-behaved
atha: ind. and, but, else
vaktRRNaam = gen. pl. vaktR: m. a speaker , orator ; mfn. one who speaks , a speaker , proclaimer of ; croaking (said of frogs) ; locquacious, talkative

abhidhaasyaami = 1st pers. sg. future abhi- √dhaa: to put on or round ; (in classical Sanskrit generally) to set forth , explain , tell , speak to , address , say , name
√dhaa: to put, place, set
tattva-taH: ind. (abl.) according to the true state or nature of anything , in truth , truly , really , accurately

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