Tuesday, August 7, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.7: Beyond Politics & Economics – Good Weather

⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−  Upajāti (Haṁsī)
tathāsya mandānila-megha-śabdaḥ saudāminī-kuṇḍala-maṇḍitābhraḥ
vināśma-varṣāśani-pāta-doṣaiḥ kāle ca deśe pravavarṣa devaḥ || 2.7

For him, equally,
with whispers of rainclouds blown by lazy breezes,

With clouds of thunder gilded by rings of lightning,

But without any flak
from showers of stone missiles or falling thunderbolts,

At the right time and place, it rained.

Whoever said “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing,” might have been singing from the same hymn sheet as King Śuddhodhana as described in today's verse.

The point, then, following on from yesterday's verse (the connection being indicated by the repetition of asya, “for him”) is that insofar as the king was balanced in himself, everything for him was fine – there being no “the other” and no such thing as bad weather, or rain falling at an inappropriate moment.

The 3rd pāda, as I read it, expresses not what would have been unacceptable to the king but rather what Aśvaghoṣa did not accept as being real – namely, the kind of missiles dispatched from the heavens in the fanciful imaginings of superstitious, god-fearing ancient Indians.

When Aśvaghoṣa wrote pravavarṣa devaḥ, which translates more literally “the [rain-]god made it rain,” he was saying nothing more mystical than what we say in English when we say “it rained” – and nothing less mystical than what we say in English when we say “it rained.”

Praise be to it.

tathā: likewise
asya (gen. sg.): of this one, his
mandānila-megha-śabdaḥ (nom. sg. m.): with lazy wind and cloud-soun; [or] with sound of lazy wind and cloud
manda: mfn. slow , tardy , moving slowly or softly , loitering , idle , lazy
anila: m. air or wind
megha: m. " sprinkler " , a cloud
śabda: m. sound , noise

saudāminī-kuṇḍala-maṇḍitābhraḥ (nom. sg. m.): with thunderclouds decorated by rings of lightning
saudāminī = saudāmani: f. (fr. su-dāman , " indra " or " a cloud ") lightning or a partic. kind of lightning
su-dāman: mfn. giving well, bestowing abundantly
kuṇḍala: n. a ring, the coil of a rope
maṇḍita: mfn. adorned , decorated
abhra: n. n. (sometimes spelt abbhra , according to the derivation ab-bhra , " water-bearer ") cloud , thunder-cloud , rainy weather; sky

vināśma-varṣāśani-pāta-doṣaiḥ (inst. pl.): without any flak from hailstone showers or falling thunderbolts
vinā: ind. without
aśman: m. a stone, rock ; any instrument made of stone (as a hammer &c ); thunderbolt
varṣa: m. rain , raining , a shower
aśani: f. the thunderbolt , a flash of lightning ; the tip of a missile; (in astronomy) a subdivision of the phenomena called ulkās ; (also) a hail-stone
pāta: m. fall, downfall
doṣa: m. fault , vice , deficiency , want , inconvenience , disadvantage ; damage , harm , bad consequence , detrimental effect ; accusation , reproach

kāle: ind. in time , seasonably
ca: and
deśe (loc. sg.): m. point , region , spot , place , part , portion ; province , country , kingdom
pravavarṣa = 3rd pers. sg. perf. pra- √ vṛṣ : to begin to rain , rain , shed or shower abundantly with (instr)
devaḥ (nom. sg.): m. a deity, god ; N. of indra as the god of the sky and giver of rain ; a cloud [Apte: 1. a god, 2. the god of rain]

微風隨時雨 雷霆不震裂

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