Sunday, October 9, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 18.13: Positive Mirror Principle -- Inspiring Others to Work At It

anye 'pi santo vimumukṣavo hi
śrutvā vimokṣāya nayaṃ parasya/
muktasya rogādiva rogavantas
tenaiva mārgeṇa sukhaṃ ghaṭante //18.13//

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18.13
For true freedom-loving people
(however individual they are)

When they hear of another person's plan
that led to freedom

-- Like sick men hearing the plan
of one who became free from a disease --

Will happily work at freedom via that same path.



COMMENT:
The metric scheme of this verse is again IIII, that is, Indravajrā.

There might be a lot more to the word anye than first meets the eye. anye means "other"; at the same time the intention might be to describe people who are different, odd, tending towards heresy, boxing not necessarily in accordance with Queensbury rules -- or, in short, people who are individual. For further discussion of this use of anya, see also posts on 10.21 (anye vṛkṣāḥ; "different trees") and 10.37 (tāsāṃ anyāḥ; "odd ones among those women").

santaH, translated by EHJ as "holy men" and by LC as "good men," is the nominal plural of sat. As an adjective sat means 1. being, existing; and hence 2. real, actual, as any one or anything ought to be, true, good, right. As a masculine noun sat means 1. a being, a creature; and 2. a good or honest or true person.

My first stab at translating the first line of today's verse was "For true individuals (odd though they may be) who wish to be free..." It then occured to me that anye' pi could be translated fairly literally by TS Elliot's phrase "yet being someone other," which I remembered as the title of book by Laurens van der Post, but which originates in Elliot's poem Little Gidding -- "Knowing myself yet being someone other." So I briefly considered translating the first line "For true individuals who wish to be free (yet being someone other)..."

That kind of bright idea invariably needs, on reflection, to be discarded. Though I have made the mistake of digressing into discussion of the words of intellectual big beasts like Laurens van der Post and TS Elliot, I think it would be totally wrong to understand the word anya as an encouragement to try to be especially clever or especially spiritual; Aśvaghoṣa's use of the word anya might rather be intended as encouragement just to be whoever the hell you are, or whoever the hell you were before you started trying to fit yourself into some mould or other.

So what anye santaH really means, as I read those words, is true individuals. And anye 'pi santaH means "true individuals, even if they are oddballs."

Speaking for myself, I have found Alexander work (especially in the hands of Marjory Barlow and Ron Colyer) to be a marvellous antidote to deluded trying to be "someone other" -- not that I haven't kept falling into that trap on a regular basis.

To mention Alexander work here is totally pertinent, not only because anye, as I read it, points to the principle of the individual, but also because what Nanda wishes to inspire us to work towards, evidently, as evidenced by the three words in today's verse from the root √muc (to release, liberate, free, unloosen) is release, liberation, freedom, letting the neck be free, generally coming undone.

Nanda seems to wish us to come undone, as he has come undone, and thereby to see. At the same time Nanda seems to wish us to come undone, as he has come undone, through seeing.

So seeing and coming undone might form a kind of virtuous circle, in which true individuals who have no fish to fry see it all right, and those who see it all right become true individuals, dropping off various agendas.


The first chapter of Shobogenzo, by the way, is entitled 弁道話 BENDO-WA, or "A Talk about Pursuing the Truth." 弁 BEN is a difficult word to translate into English. But if I were called upon to translate 弁 BEN into Sanskrit, ghaṭ (as in the final word of today's verse) might fit the bill. If I were to try the translation of 弁道話 BENDO-WA again I think I might go for "Talk of Working At the Truth."

It seems to me that 弁道 BENDO "working at the truth," means working, as an individual, at freedom. And what that primarily means, I venture to suggest, is sitting in lotus and seeing that whatever sort of interference one is engaged in, is not it.


EH Johnston:
For other holy men desirous of Salvation, hearing how another has come to Salvation, strive blissfully by the same path, as sick men strive for health by the treatment that has already cured another of disease.

Linda Covill:
For when they hear that someone has been guided to liberation, other good men hoping for liberation will also strive for happiness by the same route, just as sick people, when they hear of someone's deliverance from sickness, strive for relief by the same method.


VOCABULARY:
anye (nom. pl. m.): others
api: also
santaH (nom. pl. sat): m. beings , creatures ; m. good or honest or wise or respectable people
vimumukShavaH = nom. pl. m. vimumukShu: desirous of being loosened, undone; wishing for release , deliverance
hi: for

shrutvaa = abs. shru: to hear , listen ; to hear (from a teacher) , study , learn
vimokShaaya = dat. sg. vimokSha: m. the being loosened or undone; release , deliverance ; letting loose , setting at liberty (a thief) ; letting flow , shedding (of tears)
nayam (acc. sg.): m. ( √nii) leading (of an army) ; conduct , behaviour , (esp.) prudent conduct or behaviour , good management ; plan , design; leading thought , maxim , principle , system , method
parasya (gen. sg.): of another

muktasya = gen. sg. mukta: mfn. loosened , let loose , set free
rogaad (abl. sg.): from disease, sickness
iva: like
rogavantaH = nom. pl. rogavat: the diseased, sick

ten' aiva maargeNa: by the same path
tena (inst. sg.): by that
eva: (emphatic) same
maarga: m. any track, road, path
sukham (acc. sg.): n. ease , easiness , comfort , prosperity , pleasure , happiness
sukham: ind. easily , comfortably , pleasantly , joyfully , willingly
ghaTante = 3rd pers. pl. ghaT: to be intently occupied about , be busy with , strive or endeavour after , exert one's self for (loc. dat. acc.)

6 comments:

Jordan said...

There might be a lot more to the word anye than first meets the eye. anye means "other"; at the same time the intention might be to describe people who are different, odd, tending towards heresy, boxing not necessarily in accordance with Queensbury rules -- or, in short, people who are individual. For further discussion of this use of anya, see also posts on 10.21

Hi Mike,
In reading that I recalled that the first time I spoke to a group about "Zen" publicly (and clumsily [to a thankfully small group of cha-do students]) it was in a place called Oddfellows Hall.

Yours from the sea,
Jordan

Mike Cross said...

Thanks Jordan.

One of things that caused me to reflect on the virtue of being odd is that Marjory Barlow sometimes used to preface her comments by saying, "I must be a bit of an oddball but..."

I googled Oddfellows and found this:



Where did the name the 'Oddfellows' come from?

(http://www.oddfellows.co.uk/Site/Content/Gen_Content.aspx?contentID=4d937b78-25f3-48bb-92e6-bfaa46b534d1)

Originally, every apprentice could expect to become a Master in due course with the expectation of running their own business in time, but with the growth in trade some master craftsmen wanted to pass their businesses onto their children. They also wanted to protect their market share by preventing too many rival businesses being set up by Fellows. Thus began the first industrial disputes.

The Masters excluded the lower orders from the Guild by introducing expensive uniforms and regalia, or livery, which members had to buy and wear in order to attend Guild meetings. Because the wage-earning Fellows could not afford such regalia, they found themselves excluded from meetings which became the exclusive preserve of the Masters who went on to pass Rules (or 'Ordinances'), giving themselves greater powers and further excluding the wage-earning Fellows.

To combat this nefarious practice, the Fellows started to set up their own Rival Guilds, commonly called Yeoman Guilds, as distinct from the 'Livery Guilds' of the Masters. This led inevitably to the first organised industrial actions and attempts to suppress the Yeoman (Fellows) Guilds.

In time, the Yeoman Guilds became viewed as respectable, law abiding organisations. In smaller towns and villages Fellows from all trades in a town banded together to form one Guild. The Guildsmen could be called ‘Odd Fellows’ because they were fellow tradesmen from an odd assortment of trades.

Jordan said...

Interesting, I don't realy know too much about them, but the wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Order_of_Odd_Fellows

Showed some interesting members; Charlie Chaplin, Wyatt Erap, Charles Lindberg, and a handfull of U.S. Presidents.

Mike Cross said...

US Presidents? Wow! Where do I sign up?

Seriously, I like the idea of a loose network of odd individuals. But the looser the better. So I think I will stick to being an odd fellow, rather than becoming an Oddfellow.

For a while I served on the council of an association in Britain called the Developmental Practitioners' Association (DPA), whose aims seemed to me to be thoroughly worthy. But meetings got bogged down in discussions of trivial issues like complying with the Data Protection Act -- so I soon thought to myself "Fuck this for a game of cards. I can be more use to humanity sitting at home on my zafu."

Jordan said...

Come to think about it, the whole "Group of individuals" dosen't seem to wash quite right now does it?

Back to the gist of the post though,
Thanks for all of your efforts in inspiring others to work at it.

Mike Cross said...

Thanks Jordan -- not that I know what the hell it is...

Mainly I seem to grope around in the thick of what it is not.