Friday, August 5, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 11.9: Nanda In (Or Up?) Himself

aho sadRsham aarabdhaM
shrutasy' aabhijanasya ca
nigRhiit'-endriyaH svastho
niyame yadi saMshtitaH

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"Ah! This is a beginning that befits

An educated and well-born man!

Since you are holding back the power of your senses

And abiding in yourself, intent upon restraint.

"A child of three can understand this work," FM Alexander used to say, "but give me a man who has been educated, and God help me."

sva-sthaH in line 3 literally means "being/abiding in oneself," which could be a description of somebody who is naturally manifesting his original features, or could be a description of somebody who -- perhaps because of turning his own light unskilfully and failing to let it shine -- is in danger of disappearing up his own backside.

Similarly, niyame saMshtitaH in line 4 could mean "abiding in restraint"; or it could mean "being [unhealthily] focused on restraint." It could be a description of a cow that is happily grazing in a field so wide that the cow has no sense of being restrained or restricted; or it could be a description of an end-gaining ascetic who, without recourse to rope, is totally tying himself up.

Unlike the striver of cantos 8 and 9, then, who does not see the irony in his own words, Ananda as I hear him is totally aware of the irony in what he is now saying to Nanda.

EH Johnston:
"Ah! You have undertaken a task worthy of your learning and high birth in that you are settled at ease and with senses subdued in abstinence.

Linda Covill:
"If your senses are contained, if you are at ease and keeping to the rules, then oh! this is a beginning worthy of an educated and well-born person.

aho: ind. a particle (implying joyful or painful surprise) Ah! (of enjoyment or satisfaction) Oh! etc.
sadRsham (acc. sg. n.): mfn. like, resembling, similar to (gen.) ; conformable , suitable , fit , proper , right , worthy
aarabdham (acc. sg. n.): mfn. begun , commenced , undertaken; beginning

shrutasya (gen. sg.): n. anything heard , that which has been heard (esp. from the beginning) , knowledge as heard by holy men and transmitted from generation to generation , oral tradition or revelation , sacred knowledge; n. the act of hearing ; n. learning or teaching , instruction
abhijanasya (gen. sg. ) m. family , race ; descendants ; ancestors ; noble descent
ca: and

nigRhiit'-endriyaH (nom. sg. m.): one whose sense-power is held in check
nigRhiita: mfn. held down or back , seized , caught , checked
ni- v grah : to hold down, to hold back
indriya: power of the senses
sva-sthaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. self-abiding , being in one's self (or " in the self " ), being in one's natural state , being one's self uninjured , unmolested , contented , doing well , sound, well , healthy ; relying upon one's self , confident , resolute , composed

niyame (loc. sg.): m. restraining , checking , holding back , preventing , controlling ; limitation , restriction ; any fixed rule or law ; any act of voluntary penance or meritorious piety (esp. a lesser vow or minor observance)
yadi: if, in case that
saMshtitaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. standing; abiding, remaining; being in a partic. state or condition , addicted or given to , intent upon (loc.); founded or based upon (loc.) ; skilled in , acquainted or familiar with (loc.)

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