Friday, September 30, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 18.4: Love & Devotion for Dharma

yasyārthakāmaprabhavā hi bhaktis
tato 'sya sā tiṣṭhati rūḍhamūlā /
dharmānvayo yasya tu bhaktirāgas
tasya prasādo hṛdayāvagāḍhaḥ //18.4//

= = - = / = - - / = - = = // - = - = / = - - / = - = =
= = - = / = - - / = - = = // = = - = / = - - / = - = =

For when devotion springs from an agenda or desire,

There it remains rooted;

But when there is love and devotion for dharma,

In that person's heart tranquillity runs deep.

In today's verse the 2nd pāda, beginning with a light - heavy - light (- = -) combination, is in the Upendravajrā form of the Upajāti metre, while the other three pādas, beginning with two heavy syllables (= = -), are in the Indravajrā form of the Upajāti metre.

Translation of this final canto might be a massive stimulus to end-gaining, partly because a kind of finishing line seems to be in sight, and partly because it would be easy to understand that Aśvaghoṣa is now presenting Nanda as a kind of Finished Article, One Who Is Right. But if any such animal exists, I have never met one. So I shall continue to resist such understanding -- using foul and abusive language as I deem appropriate.

In this verse the words prasādo hṛdayāvagāḍhaḥ "clarity/tranquillity being heart-immersed" or "tranquillity running deep in the heart," as I understand those words, describe not something rooted or fixed, but something fluid, a momentary state.

What such a state is, don't ask me. I don't bloody well know.

The kind of devotion that springs from an agenda, or springs from desire, I know much better.  It is the kind of devotion to sitting in lotus that springs from the idea of becoming a true Zen master, or the kind of devotion to sitting in lotus that springs from the idea of suppressing sexual desire now with a view to being loved in future.  When one sits like that, the back is very unlikely to be all of one piece; there is very likely to be a disconnect between the head and the pelvis. Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

On the basis of this kind of recognition, based on what really happens in the relation between the head and the neck and the rest of the back, FM Alexander observed that "People with no fish to fry, they see it all right."

Today's verse as I read it, then, makes sense in the light of what is written in 17.42 - 17.43 about real enjoyment of sitting beginning when a practitioner distances himself from desires and tainted things:

Distanced from desires and tainted things, containing ideas and containing thoughts, / Born of solitude and possessed of joy and ease, is the first stage of meditation, which he then entered.//17.42// Released from the burning of the bonfire of desires, he derived great gladness from ease in the act of meditating -- / Ease like a heat-exhausted man diving into water. Or like a pauper coming into great wealth.//17.43//

EH Johnston:
For devotion which originates in love or wealth, exists with its roots growing from that source only, but when anyone's passionate devotion arises from following the Law, faith is implanted in his heart.

Linda Covill:
When a person's devotion springs from wealth or lust, its roots remain in those things. But when his passion for devotion follows dharma, then tranquillity enters his heart.

yasya (gen. sg.): in/of [one] who
artha-kaama-prabhavaa (nom. sg. f.): springing from motive and desire
artha-kaama: n. utility and desire , wealth and pleasure; mfn. desirous of wealth, desiring to be useful
artha: mn. cause, motive ;  advantage , use , utility ; object of the senses ; substance , wealth , property , opulence , money
kaama: desire, love
prabhava: m. production , source , origin , cause of existence (as father or mother , also " the Creator ") , birthplace (often ifc. , with f. prabhavaa, springing or rising or derived from , belonging to).
hi: for
bhaktiH (nom. sg.): f. devotion

tataH: ind. from that, on that basis, thereafter; in that place, there
asya (gen. sg. ayam): in/of this one
saa  (nom. sg. f.):  it, the [devotion]
tiShThati (3rd pers. sg. sthaa): it remains
ruuDha-muulaa (nom. sg. f.): firmly rooted
ruuDha: sprung up , grown , increased , developed , produced from (comp.)
muula: n. root
ruuDha-muulatva: n. having taken firm root, firmness

dharma: the law, the teaching
anvayaH (nom. sg.): m. following, connection , association , being linked to or concerned with
yasya (gen. sg.): for whom
tu: but
bhakti-raagaH (nom. sg.): m. affection or predilection for (loc.)
bhakti: f. devotion
raaga: m. the act of colouring or dyeing; colour , hue , tint , dye , (esp.) red colour , redness ; inflammation ; any feeling or passion , (esp.) love , affection or sympathy for , vehement desire of , interest or joy or delight in (loc. or comp.)

tasya (gen. sg.): for him
prasaadaH (nom. sg.): m. clearness , brightness, purity ; calmness , tranquillity , absence of excitement ; serenity of disposition ; graciousness
hRday'aavagaaDhaH (nom. sg. m.): heart-immersed
hRdaya: n. the heart
avagaaDha: mfn. immersed , bathed , plunged into

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