tasya tā vapuṣākṣiptā nigṛhītaṁ jajṛmbhire |
anyonyaṁ dṛṣṭibhir-hatvā śanaiś-ca viniśaśvasuḥ || 4.6
Entranced by his form,
They inwardly opened out
And, killing each other with glances,
Exhaled deeply and quietly.
The 1st pāda ostensibly describes the effect of a good-looking man on swooning female admirers, but its hidden meaning might be to suggest the usefulness in sitting-meditation of having a role model who demonstrates what a good form in sitting really is – namely a form that is totally liberated from any limiting, rigidity-producing conception of good form.
This irony is suggested by the 2nd pāda, as I read it, in its paradoxical juxtaposition of nigṛhītam, which suggests restriction, stopping, or restraint (hence, EHJ: suppressedly; PO: trying to hold back) and jajṛmbhire, which means they gaped or opened out. On the surface, I think nigṛhītaṁ jajṛmbhire is intended to mean something like “being seized [by emotion], they gaped.” But the real point, at least as I take it, is that the kind of opening out a follower of the Buddha wants is not the kind of imitation of a drawn bow that is pursued in modern-day yoga of the bendy bunny variety. What we want is what FM Alexander called “lengthening and widening of the whole stature,” and that is primarily a function not of movements of bones and muscles but rather of activity (or cessation of activity) within the brain and nervous system, so that the opening out can be going on inwardly without anything on the outside perceptibly changing.
The 3rd pāda ostensibly describes women smiting each other with jealous looks. The hidden meaning might be to suggest the kind of subtle, indirect interaction that can go on when individuals come together to practise sitting-meditation, whereby each person's sincerity contributes to a general dearth of nervous excitement.
The irony continues into the 4th pāda, which ostensibly describes an unconscious emotional response (hence EBC/EHJ/PO “softly sighed”), but which might really be intended to suggest the deep exhalation which, according to Dogen's rules of sitting-zen for everybody, one should practice at the beginning of sitting. In that case, śanaiś-ca viniśaśvasuḥ expresses not an unconscious emotional reaction ("they softly sighed"), but on the contrary a consciously controlled balancing act ("they deeply and forcefully breathed out, softly and quietly").
tasya (gen. sg.): his
tāḥ (nom. pl. f.): they
vapuṣā (inst. sg.): n. form , figure , (esp.) a beautiful form or figure , wonderful appearance , beauty
ākṣiptāḥ (nom. pl. f.): mfn. cast , thrown down ; caught , seized , overcome (as the mind , citta , cetas or -hridaya) by beauty , curiosity , &c , charmed , transported
nigṛhītam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. held down or back , seized , caught , checked ; harassed , assailed , attacked
ni- √ grah: to hold down , lower , depress ; to keep or hold back , draw near , attract ; to seize , catch , hold , hold fast , stop , restrain , suppress , curb , tame , punish ; to contract , close (as the eyes)
jajṛmbhire = 3rd pers. pl. perf. jṛmbh: to open the mouth , yawn; to gape open , open (as a flower) ; to fly back or recoil (as a bow when unstrung) ; to unfold , spread (as a flood &c ) , expand , occupy a larger circuit ; to spread (as sound) ; to feel at ease
anyonyam (acc. sg. n.): each other, mutually
dṛṣṭibhiḥ (inst. pl.): f. seeing; eye , look , glance
hatvā = abs. han; to strike, to smite , slay , hit , kill , mar , destroy ; to put to death , cause to be executed
śanaiḥ: ind. (inst. pl.) quietly , softly , gently , gradually , alternately
viniśaśvasur = 3rd pers. pl. perf. vi-ni- √ śvas: to breathe hard , snort , hiss ; to sigh deeply
[Bears no relation to the Sanskrit]