Monday, November 28, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 18.63: A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

ity-eṣā vyupaśāntaye na rataye mokṣārtha-garbhā kṛtiḥ
śrotṛṛṇāṃ grahaṇārtham-anya-manasāṃ kāvyopacārāt kṛtā /
yan-mokṣāt kṛtam-anyad-atra hi mayā tat-kāvya-dharmāt kṛtaṃ
pātuṃ tiktam-ivauṣadhaṃ madhu-yutaṃ hṛdyaṃ kathaṃ syād-iti // 18.63 //

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This work is pregnant with the purpose of release:
it is for cessation, not for titillation;

It is wrought
out of the figurative expression of kāvya poetry
in order to capture an audience
whose minds are on other things --

For what I have written here
not pertaining to liberation,
I have written
according to the conventions of kāvya poetry.

This is through asking myself
how the bitter pill might be made pleasant to swallow,
like bitter medicine mixed with something sweet.

Here is Aśvaghoṣa, as a named individual, taking ownership in the first person singular of a poem -- a kāvya poem replete with courtly imagery and metaphors, and written in strict conformity with the rules of classical Sanskrit metre -- that he has written himself.

Hence in the 3rd line yad... kṛtam... mayā tat... kṛtaṃ (lit. "what was done by me... that was done by me").

In the 4th line, as I read it "the bitter pill" is understood.

A bitter pill is something that is difficult to accept -- like, for example, the fact that I can't hope to change for the better, in the direction of release or liberation, while hanging on to all my old views, bad habits, and attachments.

Being in the Śārdūlavikrīḍitā metre, today's verse as I read it, is composed in four distinct lines, and so the kind of four-phased progression which my teacher Gudo Nishijima was so adept in identifying is readily apparent. That is to say, the 1st line relates to meaning, aim, or purpose. The 2nd line describes the stuff the poem is wrought out of. The 3rd line is subject expressing object realized by his own action -- what was done by me was done by me. And the 4th line just points us exactly to where we are, still struggling to swallow the bitter pill.

EH Johnston:
This poem, dealing thus with the subject of Salvation, has been written in the Kavya style, not to give pleasure, but to further the attainment of tranquillity and with the intention of capturing hearers devoted to other things. For, that I have handled other subjects in it besides Salvation is in accordance with the laws of Kavya poetry to make it palatable, as sweet is put into a bitter medicine to make it drinkable.

Linda Covill:
This composition on the subject of liberation is for calming the reader, not for his pleasure. It is fashioned out of the medicine of poetry with the intention of capturing an audience whose minds are on other things. Thinking how it could be made pleasant, I have handled in it things other than liberation, things introduced due to the character of poetry, as bitter medicine is mixed with honey when it is drunk.

iti: thus
eShaa (nom. sg. f.): this
vyupashaantaye = dat. sg. vyupashaanti.
shaanti: f. tranquillity , peace , quiet , peace or calmness of mind , absence of passion; alleviation (of evil or pain) , cessation , abatement , extinction
vyupashaanta: mfn. calmed , allayed , ceased (as pain) ; desisting
vy-upa- √ śam: to become quiet , be allayed , cease
na: not
rataye = dat. sg. rati: f. rest , repose ; pleasure , enjoyment , delight in , fondness for ; the pleasure of love , sexual passion or union , amorous enjoyment
mokSh'-aartha-garbhaa (nom. sg. f.): filled with the purpose of release
mokSha: m. emancipation , liberation , release
artha: aim, purpose
garbha: m. womb; ifc. f. (garbhaa), having in the interior , containing , filled with
kRtiH (nom. sg.): f. act of doing; creation , work ; literary work

shrotRRnaaM = gen. pl. m. shrotR: mfn. one who hears, a hearer
grahaN'-aartham: in order to capture
grahaNa: n. seizing , holding , taking; n. catching , seizure , taking captive
artha: aim, purpose
anya-manasaam = gen. pl. m. anya-manas: mfn. whose mind is fixed on something else, absent
anya: other, something else
manas: mind
kaavy'-opacaaraa (abl. sg.): out of the figurative expression of a kāvya poem
kaavya: mfn. (fr. kaví) , endowed with the qualities of a sage or poet , descended or coming from a sage , prophetic , inspired , poetical; m. a poem , poetical composition with a coherent plot by a single author
upacaara: mode of proceeding towards (gen.) , treatment ; attendance on a patient , medical practice , physicking; present , offering , bribe; usage , custom or manner of speech ; a figurative or metaphorical expression (upacaaraat ind. metaphorically) , metaphor , figurative application
upa- √ car: to come near , wait upon , serve , attend ; to attend on (a patient) , physic (a person) , treat , tend , nurse; to use figuratively or metaphorically , apply figuratively
kRtaa (nom. sg. f.): mfn. done , made , accomplished ; worked, wrought

yat (acc. sg. n.): what (relative pronoun)
mokShaat (abl. sg.): liberation, release
kRtam (nom./acc. sg. n.): done, worked
anyat (acc. sg. n.): other than , different from , opposed to (abl. or in comp.)
atra: ind. in this matter , in this work, in it; here, at this time
hi: for
mayaa (inst. sg.): by me
tat: (correlative of yat) that
kaavya-dharmaat (abl. sg.): because of the law of the poem, because of the conventions of poetry
kaavya: poem, poetry
dharma: that which is established or firm, law; usage , practice , customary observance or prescribed conduct.
kRtam (nom./acc. sg. n.): done, worked

paatum = infinitive paa: to drink, suck, swallow
tiktam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. bitter
iva: like
auShadham (acc. sg.) n. herbs used in medicine , simples , a medicament, drug , medicine in general
madhu-yutam (acc. sg. n.): combined with something sweet, mixed with honey
madhu: mfn. sweet , delicious , pleasant ; n. anything sweet (esp. if liquid) , mead &c ; honey ; n. the juice or nectar of flowers , any sweet intoxicating drink ; sugar
yuta: mfn. united , combined , joined or connected or provided or filled or covered with , accompanied by , possessed of (instr. or comp.)
hRdya (acc. sg. n.): mfn. being in the heart ; pleasing or dear to the heart ; pleasant to the stomach, savoury , dainty (as food)
katham: how
syaat (3rd pers. sg. optative as): it might be
iti: [thinking] thus

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