Saturday, August 27, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 11.33: From Small Desire to Sensual Enjoyment

a-tRptau ca kutaH shaantir
a-shaantau ca kutaH sukhaM
a-sukhe ca kutaH priitir
a-priitau ca kuto ratiH

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

Without satisfaction, whence peace?

Without peace, whence ease?

Without ease, whence joy?

Without joy, whence enjoyment?

priiti (Joy) and rati (Enjoyment) are the names of the two wives of Kaama-deva, the God of Love. So the enjoyment that Ananda is pointing to, as I hear him, has a sexual/sensual or physical/material connotation -- like enjoyment of sex, or like enjoyment of the first stage of sitting-dhyaana, which Ashvaghosha compares to what is experienced by a heat-exhausted man diving into water, or a pauper coming into great wealth (17.43).

Ananda as I hear him is not negating the kind of sensual/physical enjoyment which Nanda has in mind but is rather suggesting that there is a way of enjoying oneself which is better than thirsting for objects of big desire.

The starting point of this better way to enjoyment, as Ananda outlines it in this verse, is satisfaction or contentment.

I think what Ananda has in mind is the satisfaction or contentment associated with the practise of small desire -- which is a totally different thing from ascetic self-denial.

In olden times cakes of chalk and cakes of cheese looked the same, but people knew that if you bit into them the content was very different. Hence the old expression "like chalk and cheese." One of the central and recurrent themes of Saundara-nanda, I venture to suggest, is that the practise of small desire and ascetic self-denial are like chalk and cheese.

Reading the buddha-ancestors' descriptions of cheese, the dim-witted and gullible among us are ever liable to bite into chalk. Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

EH Johnston:
And without appeasement there cannot be tranquillity, without tranquillity pleasure, without pleasure joy or without joy delight.

Linda Covill:
Without satisfaction, from where comes peace? Without peace, from where comes happiness? Without happiness from where comes joy? And without joy, from where comes bliss?

a-tRptau (loc. sg.): f. unsatisfied condition , insatiability
ca: and
kutaH (ind): from where? whence?
shaantiH (nom. sg.): f.. tranquillity , peace , quiet ; cessation

a-shaantau: f. restlessness , anxiety; non-cessation
ca: and
kutaH (ind): from where? whence?
sukham (nom. sg.): n. ease, comfort, happiness

a-sukhe (loc. sg.): n. sorrow , pain , affliction
ca: and
kutaH (ind): from where? whence?
priitiH: f. any pleasurable sensation , pleasure , joy , gladness , satisfaction; friendly disposition , kindness , favour , grace ; joy or gratification personified (esp. as a daughter of dakṣa or as one of the two wives of kāma-deva)

a-priitau (loc. sg.): f. dislike , aversion , enmity
ca: and
kutaH (ind): from where? whence?
ratiH (nom. sg.): f. rest , repose ; pleasure , enjoyment , delight ; the pleasure of love , sexual passion or union , amorous enjoyment (often personified as one of the two wives of kāma-deva , together with prīti)

1 comment:

an3drew said...

i do feel that these words had more layers of meaning that have been lost to us through time and culture which i have tried to capture with this









relief ?





joy ?





transport ?

: o )