Saturday, February 23, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 4.84: Prince to Udāyin – “You've Got Me Wrong.”

upapannam-idaṁ vākyaṁ sauhārda-vyañjakaṁ tvayi |
atra ca tvānuneṣyāmi yatra mā duṣṭhu manyase || 4.84

"This talk intimating friendship

Is fitting in you,

And I shall bring you round

In the areas where you misjudge me.

For an English word that captures the ambiguity which I think Aśvaghoṣa intended to convey with sauhārda-vyañjakam, the verb “to intimate” seems to fit the bill:

Intimate: 1. : to make known especially publicly or formally ; 2. : to communicate delicately and indirectly.

The polite, ostensible meaning is the latter one. But the former meaning of “to intimate” might truly fit the bill better, which is to say that Udāyin professes friendship – he talks the talk of friendship – but the prince is not fooled for a moment in regard to Udāyin's readiness to walk the walk. The prince knows that Udāyin has got an agenda. And that is why he calls Udāyin's talk professing friendship upapannam, fitting, or typical – typical of a grinning salesman who knows Dale Carnegie's rules, or the ancient Indian equivalent.

For an English word that captures the ambiguity which I think Aśvaghoṣa also intended to convey with tvānuneṣyāmi, another candidate for which the dictionary offers two meanings is “to bring around”:

Bring around: 1. to restore to consciousness ; 2. to persuade.

Again, the polite, ostensible meaning is the latter one. On the surface the prince is expressing his intention to persuade or win over Udāyin by reasoned argument. But the literal meaning of anu-√nī is “to bring near” and besides “to win over,” the dictionary defines anu-√nī as “to pacify.” So not only to win over by intellectual argument, but also to influence energetically.

And this latter sense of energetic pacification, i.e, the prince stopping Udāyin up short, or bringing him round in the sense of changing his consciousness, is closer to describing the real course of events. That is to say, the Buddha-to-be did not waste his time trying to persuade Udāyin that he should abandon his prejudiced brahminist views, for example, of women. He did not say “I shall try to convince you in all those areas where you have got everything wrong.” He said, “I shall bring you around in the areas where you have got me () wrong.”

Hence the prince's conspicuous assertion in tomorrow's verse “I do not despise objects” – which is no kind of persuasive argument, but just a flat contradiction of Udāyin's view.

And hence again the other conspicuous rebuttal of Udāyin's view discussed already (in the comment to BC4.75):
And neither is that submissive behaviour agreeable to me, if it is insincere. / Unless there is a mutual connection with the whole soul/being, to hell with it. //BC4.93//
The phrase dhig-astu tat “To hell with that” (or “Fie upon that!" [EHJ]) is, as I read it, not a phrase that invites Udāyin possibly to refine his view and come back with a counter argument. It is not rhetoric. It is more the kind of response of one who is not submissive in the sense of being a push-over, and of one whose own personal integrity has been insulted by being invited to subscribe to a foolish view.

upapannam (nom. sg. n.): mfn. happened , fallen to one's share , produced , effected , existing , being near at hand ; fit , suited for the occasion , adequate , conformable
upa- √ pad: to go towards or against ; to be possible , be fit for or adequate to (with loc.)
idam (nom. sg. n.): this
vākyam (nom. sg.): n. speech , saying , assertion , statement , command , words

sauhārda-vyañjakam (nom. sg. n.): manifesting friendship
sauhārda: n. (fr. su-hṛd) good-heartedness , affection , friendship
vyañjaka: mfn. making clear , manifesting , indicating (gen. or comp.); (in rhet.) indicating by implication , suggesting ; m. figurative expression or insinuation
tvayi (loc. sg.): in you

atra: ind. in this matter , in this respect ; in this place , here at this time , there , then
ca: and
tvā (acc. sg.): you
anuneṣyāmi = 1st pers. sg. future anu- √ nī: to bring near , lead to ; to induce , win over , conciliate , pacify , supplicate
yatra: ind. in or to which place , where , wherein , wherever , whither (yatra yatra , " wherever " , " whithersoever " )

mā (acc. sg.): me
duṣṭhu = duḥ-ṣṭhu: ind. badly
manyase = 2nd pers. sg. man: to think ; to regard or consider any one or anything (acc.) as (acc.)

我今當語汝 且復留心聽

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