Thursday, November 17, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 18.52: None But a Work-Knower, Together With a Work-Knower

rajas-tamobhyāṃ parimukta-cetasas-
tavaiva ceyaṃ sadṛśī kṛtajñatā /
rajaḥ-prakarṣeṇa jagaty-avasthite
kṛtajña-bhāvo hi kṛtajña durlabhaḥ // 18.52 //

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

This gratitude is fitting, again, in none but you

Whose mind has been liberated
from the dust of the passions and from darkness.

For while dust prevails in the world,

O man of gratitude! real gratitude is a rare state of being.

If the three root faults to be eliminated are greed, hatred, and ignorance, then rajas (dust) may be taken as standing for the passions of greed and hatred, and tamas (darkness) as standing for ignorance.

The compound translated three times in today's verse as "gratitude" is kṛta-jña, whose literal meaning can be understood as "appreciating work done." This work might include work done for others but, before that, it might include work done on oneself, for oneself, all by oneself -- for the sake of self and others.

So there is the kind of gratitude that we all naturally feel when somebody in the line of duty or going beyond the line of duty gives us good service, or does a good job for us -- on, for example, car, teeth, or house -- without overcharging us or ripping us off.

But a rarer and deeper gratitude might be knowing what somebody has done for us primarily by working on him or her self. For such gratitude really to exist, the grateful person has to know in his own experience what the work in question really is. And that might be why the Buddha calls such a state of being durlabhaḥ, hard to find, or rare.

Understood like this, today's verse might be rooted, again, in the central truth of the Lotus Sutra, namely that

“None but a buddha, together with a buddha, is able perfectly to realize, here and now, that all things are reality.”

So on the surface the Buddha seems to be saying in today's verse that it is only natural, or fitting, for one whose mind has been liberated from the three poisons to be grateful. But more than that, he might be saying that it is only possible for such a person, and for such a person alone, together with another such person, to be truly appreciative of the Work -- that is to say, the work that has been done, the work that is being done, and the work that all being well will continue to be done.

EH Johnston:
And this gratitude is fitting in you, whose mind is freed from passion and ignorance ; for, O grateful one, gratitude is hard to find in this world conditioned by excess of passion.

Linda Covill:
O grateful man, this awareness of what has been done for you is worthy of you, whose heart is freed from passion and darkness; for gratitude is hard to find while the world abides in its excess of passion.

rajas-tamobhyaaM (abl. dual): from dust and darkness
rajas: n. " coloured or dim space " , the sphere of vapour or mist ; vapour , mist , clouds , gloom , dimness , darkness ; impurity , dirt , dust ; the " darkening " quality , passion , emotion , affection
tamas: n. darkness , gloom
parimukta-cetasaH (gen. sg. m.): whose mind is liberated
parimukta: mfn. released , liberated from
cetas: mind

tava (gen. sg.): you
eva (emphatic): [you] alone; nobody but [you]
ca: and
iyam (nom. sg. f.): this
sadRshii (nom. sg. f.): conformable , suitable , fit , proper , right , worthy
kRta-jNa-taa: f. gratitude
kRta-jNa: mfn. knowing what is right , correct in conduct ; acknowledging past services or benefits , mindful of former aid or favours , grateful
-taa: (noun suffix)

rajaH-prakarSheNa (inst. sg.): a great deal of dust
rajas: gloom, passion etc.
prakarSha: m. pre-eminence , excellence , superiority , excess , intensity , high degree ; (often ifc. e.g. adhva-pr° , a great distance ; kāla-pr° , a long time ; guṇa-pr° , extraordinary qualities ; phala--pra-karṣa° mfn. consisting chiefly in fruit ; śakti-pr° , possessing extraordinary power )
pra-√kRSh: to draw or stretch forth , drag along or away
jagati = loc. sg. jagat: the world
avashtite = loc. sg. avashita: mfn. standing near , placed , having its place or abode
ava- √ sthā: to abide in a state or condition (instr.)

kRta-jNa-bhaavaH (nom. sg. m.): being grateful
bhaava: being, state ; manner of being , nature , temperament ; manner of acting , conduct , behaviour
hi: for
kRta-jNa (voc. sg. m.): O grateful one!
dur-labhaH: mfn. difficult to be obtained or found , hard , scarce , rare

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