Saturday, October 29, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 18.33: Real Living of a Free Life

āraṇyakaṃ bhaikṣa-caraṃ vinītaṃ
drakṣyāmi nandaṃ nibhṛtaṃ kadeti /
āsīt purastāt- tvayi me didṛkṣā
tathāsi diṣṭyā mama darśanīyaḥ // 18.33 //

= = - = / = - - / = - = = // = = - = / = - - / = - = -
= = - = / = - - / = - = = // - = - = / = - - / = - = =
Upajāti (Bālā )

Thinking 'When shall I see Nanda settled,

Given over to the living of a forest beggar's life?',

I had harboured from the start the desire to see you thus.

What a wonderful sight you are for me to behold!

Yesterday I asked which of two kinds of freedom the Buddha had in mind: freedom from bad habits, or freedom from noise and fear?

Today's verse seems to answer that question by reminding us that the kind of freedom the Buddha desired to see Nanda enjoying was not freedom in the abstract but rather the real freedom which is in the actual living of a free life.

In the present series of verses going back to 18.22 - 23, when the Buddha praises Nanda for having truly gone forth, the main topic under discussion has been freedom -- freedom from taintedness, freedom from pussyfooting about, freedom from enslavement to objects, freedom from ignorance and all the other foe-like faults, freedom from feverish redness, freedom from thirsting, and so on.

Freedom, as I have discussed it in the abstract, is a bit of nothing; but in reality what might it look like?

It might look like somebody really living his own life, having found his own way. As a father, this is what one would want for one's sons. And as Nanda's guru (in the sense of teacher and of older brother) this must have been what the Buddha desired (albeit not in a big way) for Nanda.

So the conduct of a forest beggar's life, āraṇyakaṃ bhaikṣa-caraṃ, though it might sound like something restrictive and beyond our attainment, I think is better understood as one good example of real living of a free life, that each individual can aspire to live, wherever we are located. Even if we cannot live the whole of a free life all in one go, if we can find half an hour to investigate, for example, the decison to move, or not to move, a leg, that might be a start.

EH Johnston:
I had before been desirous of seeing you, thinking to Myself, "When shall I see Nanda living the forest life, subsisting on alms, following the Rule and self-controlled?" Thus you are a blessed sight to Me.

Linda Covill:
I had previously wanted to see you, wondering when I would see you settled, tamed to the forest life of the mendicant. How wonderful for me that you are now so pleasing to behold!

aaraNyakam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. forest , of the forest
bhaikSha-caram (acc. sg.): m.
bhaikSha: n. asking alms , begging , mendicancy ( with √ car , to go about begging)
cara: ifc. going , walking , wandering , being , living , practising
viniitam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. led or taken away , removed &c ; stretched , extended ; tamed , trained , educated , well-behaved , humble , modest
vi- √ nī : to lead or take away , remove , avert ; to train , tame , guide (horses) ; to educate , instruct , direct ; to get rid of, give up , cease from (anger)

drakShyaami (1st pers. sg. future dRsh): I will see
nandam (acc. sg.): m. Nanda
nibhRtam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. ( √ bhR) borne or placed down , hidden , secret; firm , immovable ; fixed , settled , decided ; still , silent ; quiet , humble , modest , mild , gentle ; free from passions , undisturbed (= shaanta) ; lonely , solitary
kadaa: when?
iti: "....", thus

aasiit (3rd pers. sg. imperfect as, to be): there was
purastaat: ind. before , forward , in or from the front , in the first place , in the beginning
tvayi (loc. sg.): you
me (gen. sg.): in/of me
didRkShaa (nom. sg.): f. ( √ dRsh Desid.) desire of seeing

tathaa: thus, like so
asi: you are
diShTyaa (inst.): by good fortune etc.
diShTi: f. auspicious juncture , good fortune , happiness
mama (gen. sg.): for/of/to me
darshaniiyaH (nom. sg. m.): worthy of being seen , good-looking , beautiful

No comments: