Saturday, July 13, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 6.31: How Not to Forsake Your Father

tan-nārhasi mahā-bāho vihātuṁ putra-lālasam |
snigdhavṛddhaṁ ca rājānaṁ sad-dharmam-iva nāstikaḥ || 6.31

Therefore, O man of mighty arm!

The fond old king who is so devoted to his son

You should not forsake

In the way that a nihilist forsakes true dharma.

Chandaka on the surface is appealing to emotion, as he tells the prince he should not forsake his relatives. But, below the surface, I think Aśvaghoṣa is appealing to reason, asking us to consider how, when we forsake devoted relatives, our forsaking ought to be.

Read like this, “You should not forsake the king in the way that a nihilist/atheist forsakes true dharma,” means, in other words, “In forsaking the king, your forsaking should not be like the forsaking of a nihilist/atheist.”

In other words;“You should forsake the king, but not in the same way that a nihilist forsakes true dharma (or “the true religion” [EBC] or “the good Law”[EHJ] or “true dharma” [PO]).

How, in practice, does a nihilist tend to forsake what a nihilist forsakes? And how in practice does an atheist tend to forsake what an atheist forsakes?

Do they leave the forsaken object be, with cool detachment? Or do they shun it and denounce it with emotions like contempt or even hatred?

Does the attitude of the nihilist and the athiest reside somewhere in the middle of “Thy will be done” and “my will be done”? Or doe the nihilist and atheist tend to react against “Thy will be done” and veer more in the direction of “my will be done”?

tad: ind. so, therefore
na: not
arhasi = 2nd pers. sg. arh: to ought
mahā-bāho (voc. sg.): 'long-armed'; O one of heroic/mighty arm!

vihātum = inf. vi- √ hā: to leave behind, relinquish , quit , abandon ; to give up , cast off , renounce , resign
putra-lālasam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. devotedly fond of a son, Bcar.
lālasa: mfn. (fr. Intens. of √ las) eagerly longing for , ardently desirous of , delighting or absorbed in , devoted or totally given up to (loc. or comp.)
√ las: to shine ; to play, sport ; to embrace

snigdham (acc. sg. m.): mfn. adhesive , attached , affectionate , tender , friendly , attached to or fond ; soft , mild , bland , gentle
vṛddham (acc. sg. m.): mfn. grown up , full-grown , advanced in years , aged , old , senior
ca: and
rājānam (acc. sg.): m. king

sad-dharmam (acc. sg. m.): m. the good law , true justice; (with Buddhists and jainas) designation of the Buddhist or jaina doctrines; 'the true religion' (EBC); 'the good Law' (EHJ); 'true dharma' (PO).
iva: like , in the same manner as
nāstikaḥ:m. an atheist or unbeliever (opp. to āstika q.v.)
āstika (fr. asti , " there is or exists " ), one who believes in the existence (of God , of another world , &c ) ; believing , pious , faithful

父王年已老 念子愛亦深
決定捨出家 此則非所應
邪見無父母 此則無復論


jiblet said...

Hi Mike,

As far as I'm aware, the vocative of mahā-bāhu - that is, mahā-bāho - is not a sandhied modification of mahā-bāhaḥ (as suggested by your vocab?). Substantives of all genders ending in -u have -o vocatives (neuters alternatively -u) far as I'm aware.

Mike Cross said...

Thanks Malcolm; Have amended the vocab section accordingly.