Monday, October 24, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 18.28: Not Being Beaten by Māra

nirjitya māraṃ yudhi durnivāram
adyāsi loke raṇa-śīrṣa-śūraḥ /
śūro 'py-aśūraḥ sa hi veditavyo
doṣair amitrair-iva hanyate yaḥ // 18.28 //

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= = - = / = - - / = - = = // = = - = / = - - / = - = =
Upajāti (Indravajrā)

Having conquered Māra,
who is so hard to stop in battle,

Today, at the forefront of the fight,
you are a hero among men.

For even a hero is not recognized as a hero

Who is beaten by the foe-like faults.

Māra as I picture him is the many-tentacled monster of misuse, feeding off fear, greed, and faulty sensory appreciation. Māra in other words is the personification of an aberrant Moro reflex, at the centre of all the faults.

To advance to the frontline in the battle against Māra, paradoxically, might be to learn the backward step of turning one's own light and letting it shine.

As one who can't claim to have finally conquered Māra yet, it seems to me that if I sit down with determination finally to defeat Māra, I am in danger of energizing the old bastard, feeding him with my greedy expectation.

A wiser intention, for one for whom finality is not in sight, might be just to look the bugger in the eye.

Yesterday, speaking of the backward step, I had an excellent email exchange with Ānandajoti Bhikku, who has been guiding me through preparation of the Sanskrit text of Saudara-nanda in Unicode, together with a description of the metre of every verse, preparatory to posting on his Ancient Buddhist Texts website. I said I was happy -- in pursuit of the simple life -- to be doing it on a not-for-profit basis. In reply Ānandajoti disagreed with my description of strictly a Not-For-Profit effort; he described it as strictly a For-Loss effort.

EH Johnston:
Today you are the hero who leads the van in battle, having conquered Mara, whom it is so hard to meet in combat; for even a hero is not considered to be such if he is overwhelmed by the faults as by foes.

Linda Covill:
Having conquered Mara, who is so hard to stop in battle, you are a hero in the world today, first rank in combat. For even a hero is not considered heroic if he is struck down by the foe-like faults.

nirjitya = abs. nir- √ ji: to conquer, subdue, vanquish
maaram (acc. sg.): Mara; m. death, slaying ; m. (with Buddhists) the Destroyer , Evil One (who tempts men to indulge their passions and is the great enemy of the buddha and his religion ; four maaras are enumerated in Dharmas. 80 , viz. skandha- , kleza- , devaputra- , and mRtyu-maara ; but the later Buddhist theory of races of gods led to the figment of millions of maaras ruled over by a chief maara)
yudhi = loc. sg. yudh: f. war , fight , combat , struggle , contest
dur-nivaaram (acc. sg. m.): mfn. (from ni-√vR) difficult to be kept back
ni- √ vR: to ward off , restrain ; suppress, remove, destroy

adya: ind. today
asi: you are
loke (loc. sg.): in the world, among men
raNa-shiirSha-shuuraH (nom. sg. m.): a hero leading the fight
raNa-shiirSha: n. the front or van of a battle
raNa: m. delight; n. battle (as an object of delight) , war , combat , fight , conflict
shiirSha: n. the head, the upper part , tip , top; front
shuura: m. a strong or mighty or valiant man , warrior , champion , hero

shuuraH (nom. sg.): m. a strong or mighty or valiant man , warrior , champion , hero; mfn. strong , powerful , valiant , heroic , brave
api: even
a-shuuraH (nom. sg.): m. not a hero, a non-hero
saH (nom. sg. m.): he
hi: for
veditavyaH (nom. sg. m. gerundive from vid, to know): to be known or recognized as

doShaiH (inst. pl.): the faults
a-mitraiH = inst. pl. a-mitra: mf. an enemy , adversary , foe
iva: like
hanyate = 3rd pers. sg. passive han: to smite , slay , hit , kill , mar , destroy
yaH (nom. sg. m.): [he] who


Happi said...

Hi Mike -

I hope you smiled at Anandajoti's compliment. Kudos to you for your efforts in translating and conveying your understanding of the Buddha-Dharma... or perhaps I should say what it is not.

I can't imagine being without my daily dose of Saundarananda. I missed out on the beginning of this blog so, lucky for me, I'll have some reading even when your translation of Saundarananda is complete. And, of course, insofar as we are all works in progress, I'll be looking forward to your finding another project to dedicate your efforts to in the near future.

Mike Cross said...

Thank you, G.

I'm not sure that it was a compliment, more of a statement about this kind of work, in which there is originally nothing in it for me -- though that doesn't necessarily stop me from expecting something...

My next project (assuming that, all being well, and Death won't bring his sword down prematurely in the next few weeks so that I will get to the end of this one) will be to carry on in more or less the same vein with a verse by verse translation of Buddha-carita.

Hope you will keep on listening in then. In the meantime, I am planning to devote a few posts to let individuals who have been following this translation say for themselves what it has meant for them. So I hope you will feel like contributing to that. Express your view, if you like! I promise to keep quiet.

Happi said...

Thanks, Mike. Sounds like you're having a rough time of it, please take care.

Mike Cross said...

Not too rough, really. I can't complain (but sometimes I still do...)

Sorry to be pedantic, but I can't let your innocent "please take care" pass without comment.

The whole point, as I see it, is not to care. To tend towards stillness in sitting. And then to go into movement without a care in the world.

It is difficult enough without well-meaning friends nagging at one to "please take care"!

Happi said...

I can’t say I haven’t noticed some similarities between Cross-ism and the teaching of the Diamond Sutra, but I think even the world-honored one would agree that in practice a person has to take care of their own health.