kasya notpādayed-bāṣpaṁ niścayas-te 'yam-īdśaḥ |
ayo-maye 'pi hdaye kiṁ punaḥ sneha-viklave || 6.27
Who would not be moved to tears
By a resolve such as this of yours,
Even with a heart made of iron?
How much more with a heart befuddled by attachment?
Ostensibly, as one whose own heart is sunk in despondency, Chandaka is asking a rhetorical question to which the answer is “Nobody – nobody could fail to be moved to tears by such a resolve.” Ostensibly the anguished Chandaka is playing the role of an apologist for emotion in general and for tears in particular – like a champion of the philosophy of “tears for fears.”
As one whose mind sits, like an elephant on river-mud, however, Chandaka might be asking a question the answer to which is provided in BC6.24, viz: “On the grounds of the virtue of being without, attachment is abandoned. Because of abandoning attachment, one does not suffer grief."
The truth alluded to in the 4th pāda of today's verse, in the latter case, is the truth that such a person – one who would not be moved to tears – is not a person whose heart is made of iron but is rather a human being whose heart is bound to be more or less befuddled by love/attachment. But if he or she sits like an elephant in a river, on the grounds not only of mud but also of the virtue of being without, then he or she is in possession of a means (extremely difficult though the means may be to apply in practice) for abandoning whatever love/attachment is befuddling his or her heart.
In conclusion, then, and on reflection, in answer to Chandaka's question I would like to put forward the example of my own befuddled self, who in response to the will to the truth of the prince of the Śākyas am not moved to tears but am moved instead to turn back – i.e. to inhibit the habitual end-gaining which keeps me in the grip of miscellaneous attachments – and just sit.
What appears on the surface to be a dry bone, as we know by now from experience, is just the place where Aśvaghoṣa likes to inject the marrow. And so it is with today's verse.
When the Buddha walked to Vārāṇasī to turn the wheel of Dharma for the first time, was his intention to move to tears men whose hearts were made of iron? Or was his intention to set out, for the benefit of people whose hearts were befuddled by attachment, four noble truths, culminating in a means for releasing oneself from the grip of attachments – a path of turning back? In thus setting out the four noble truths was the Buddha's intention to move his iron-hearted audience to tears? Or was his intention to move us, who weep for our attachments, in the direction of practising the path of turning back?
Tears, when we reflect upon them dryly, are generally symptomatic of attachment. And by sitting on the grounds of the virtue of being without, so we have been told, attachment can be abandoned.
Thus Chandaka's question, which seems on the surface to be a tearful appeal to human emotion, might better be understood, below the surface, as an invitation to the dry, tearless exercise of human reason...
And so the wheel of dharma -- whose hub is uprightness, whose rim is constancy, determination, and balanced stillness, / And whose spokes are the rules of discipline -- there the Seer turned, in that assembly, for the welfare of the world. SN// 3.11 // "This is suffering; this is the tangled mass of causes producing it; / This is cessation; and here is a means." Thus, one by one, this supreme set of four, // 3.12 // The seer set out, with its three divisions of the unequalled, the incontrovertible, the ultimate; / And with its statement of twelvefold determination; after which he instructed, as the first follower, him of the Kauṇḍinya clan. // 3.13 // For the fathomless sea of faults, whose water is falsity, where fish are cares, / And which is disturbed by waves of anger, lust, and fear; he had crossed, and he took the world across too. // SN3.14 //
kasya (gen. sg.): of who?
utpādayet = 3rd pers. sg. causative optative ut- √ pad: to produce , beget , generate ; to cause to issue forth
bāṣpam (acc. sg.): m. a tear, tears
niścayaḥ (nom. sg.): m. inquiry , ascertainment , fixed opinion , conviction , certainty , positiveness ; resolution , resolve fixed intention , design , purpose , aim
te (gen. sg.): of yours
ayam (nom. sg. m.): this
īdṛśaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. such
ayo-maye (loc. sg. n.): made of iron
hṛdaye (loc. sg.): n. heart
kiṁ punaḥ: ind. how much more?
sneha-viklave (loc. sg. n.): befuddled by love/attachment
sneha: m. blandness , tenderness , love , attachment to , fondness or affection
viklava: mfn. overcome with fear or agitation , confused , perplexed , bewildered , alarmed , distressed
vi- √ klav: to become agitated or confused