Friday, January 17, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.2: Arriving, Tired & Weary, at Abandonment of Pomp

⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Premā)
tam-āśramam jāta-pariśramau tāv-upetya kāle sadśānuyātrau |
rājarddhim-utsjya vinīta-ceṣṭāv-upeyatur-bhārgava-dhiṣṇyam-eva || 9.2

The two arrived, tired and weary,
at that abode of tiring exertion.

Having arrived at a favourable moment,
with what was appropriate for the journey,

The two abandoned royal pomp and,
in a modest manner,

Arrived at the hearth of a son of Bhṛgu –
they arrived at the very place of fire of a son of fire.

In the morning I awake, my legs, my arms, my body aches, the sky outside is wet and gray, and so begins another weary day...
Nowadays I am devoted, on and off, to a gradual process of allowing it to dawn on me, primarily through the means of sitting-meditation, that there is no such thing as a right position but there is such a thing as a right direction.

Many is the day during a past life in Tokyo when I would get out of bed tired and weary, stiff, lonely, and miserable, with the Madness song playing in my head. Then I would sit, tight and right, as if there was some merit to be gained by sitting stiffly in the right posture for an allotted time.

Nowadays, I would ask you to believe, I, as a champion of  Alexander's truth that there is no such thing as a right position, am totally free of such rigidity of body and mind. I have totally abandoned such pomposity.... 

Except that I have to admit that on a morning like this very morning I woke up early and got up feeling tired and weary and sat conscientiously as usual for the regulation hour, not experiencing much in the way of deep and easy breathing, but getting anyway to the end of the hour -- as if  sheer quantity of practice was the most important thing. 
Keep right on to the end of the road. Keep right on to the end. Though the way be long, let your heart beat strong. Keep right on to the end. When you're tired and weary, still journey on, till you come to your happy abode...
I was lied to. Forty thousand Birmingham City supporters singing with one voice were all conspiring in the furtherance in me of an illusion. The truth might be that there is no such place as a happy abode at the end of the road. The best we can hope for might be not arrival anywhere, but one small step, here and now, in the favourable moment, in the right direction.

Thus today's verse, with its repetition of verbs from upa-√i (to draw near to, to come to, to arrive) causes me to reflect afresh on what it means to arrive.

It causes me to reflect that Albert Einstein might have been on the right track – though my maths is not good enough to understand his workings in detail – with his theories of relativity.

The truth of relativity, when we investigate it on the road, might mean that what constitutes appropriate baggage is not absolute. For a Zen romantic, appropriate baggage might be zero baggage – straw sandals and empty hands. But for a Zen non-romantic, a drink might be a very handy thing to have. A flask of water springs to mind first. But here and now as I write, tired and weary, I wouldn't say no to a coffee.

The reference in the 4th pāda of today's verse to a son of Bhṛgu is as in Canto 6:
Then at the instant of the rising of the light-producing eye of the world, / The hermitage of a son of Bhṛgu he the best of men did see. //BC6.1//
The Bhṛgus, according to the Monier-Williams dictionary, were closely connected with fire, and so entering the very fireside (or originally, more exactly, a side-altar in which a heap of earth serves as a fireplace) of a son of Bhṛgu may suggest something analogous to “a child of fire comes looking for fire” – as in the famous koan quoted in the opening chapter of Shobogenzo.

The title of the present canto is kumārānveṣaṇaḥ = kumāra (child / prince) + anveṣaṇa (neuter action noun from anv- √iṣ: to desire / seek after / aim at). So the ostensible meaning is “seeking after the prince.” Hence EHJ, “The Deputation to the Prince” and PO “Search for the Prince.” The Chinese translation, similarly, has 推求太子 (Beal: “The Mission to Seek the Prince”). But at least a couple of hidden meanings are also possible. 

Most obviously, kumāra can be read as the agent rather than the object of anveṣaṇa, in which case kumārānveṣaṇaḥ means “the prince's investigation” or even, conceivably, “childish seeking” (i.e. idealistic thinking). 

A less obvious reading, but one which somehow relates (albeit ironically) with the above discussion of arriving at the relativity of a right direction, is made possible by the fact that kumāra can mean “pure gold,” in which case kumārānveṣaṇaḥ could mean “seeking after pure gold” or could even mean “pure golden seeking.” 

Tiredness and weariness notwithstanding, we will consider these various possibilities as the canto progresses.

tam (acc. sg.): that
āśramam (acc. sg.): mn. ( √śram) a hermitage , the abode of ascetics , the cell of a hermit or of retired saints or sages
√ śram: to be or become weary or tired , be tired of doing anything ; to make effort, to exert oneself
jāta-pariśramau (nom. dual): grown fatigued
jāta: mfn. born; grown , produced , arisen , caused , appeared; become
pariśrama: m. fatigue , exertion , labour , fatiguing occupation , trouble , pain
pari- √ śram: to fatigue or exert one's self

tau (nom. dual): those two
upetya = abs. upa- √i: to go or come or step near , approach , betake one's self to , arrive at , meet with , turn towards ; to come near to , reach , obtain
kāle: ind. (loc.) in time , seasonably
sadṛśānuyātrau (nom. dual): with a suitable retinue; having that which is properly required for a journey
sadṛśa: mfn. conformable , suitable , fit , proper , right , worthy
anuyātra: f(ā)n. retinue , attendance; that which is required for a journey

rājarddhim (acc. sg.): f. (for -ṛddhi) royal pomp, Bcar
rājan: m. king ; a man of the royal tribe or the military caste , a kṣatriya
ṛddhi: f. increase , growth , prosperity , success , good fortune , wealth , abundance ; accomplishment , perfection , supernatural power ; magic
utsṛjya = abs. ud- √sṛj: to let loose, let go ; to sling , throw , cast forth or away ; to quit , leave , abandon , avoid , eschew
vinīta-ceṣṭau (nom. dual): with modest gestures ; humbly behaved
vinīta: mfn. led or taken away , removed &c; tamed , trained , educated , well-behaved , humble , modest ; one who has subdued his passions
vi- √ nī : to lead or take away , remove ; to train , tame , guide (horses) ; to educate , instruct , direct ; to get rid of. give up , cease from (anger)
ceṣṭa: n. moving the limbs , gesture ; behaviour, manner of life

upeyatur = 3rd pers. dual upa- √i: to go or come or step near , approach , betake one's self to , arrive at , meet with , turn towards ; to come near to , reach , obtain , enter into any state , fall into
bhārgava-dhiṣṇyam (acc. sg.): the seat of the son of Bhṛgu
bhārgava: mfn. relating to or coming from bhṛgu ; patr. fr. bhṛgu ; N. of śukra (regent of the planet Venus and preceptor of the daityas)
bhṛgu: m. pl. ( √ bhrāj) N. of a mythical race of beings (closely connected with fire , which they find [ RV. x , 46 , 2] and bring to men [i , 58 , 6 ; 195 , 2] or enclose in wood [vi , 15 , 2] or put in the navel of the world [i , 143 , 4] ; or which is brought to them and first kindled by mātari-śvan [i , 60 , 1 ; iii , 5 , 10] ; they are also said to fabricate chariots [iv , 16 , 20] and are mentioned together with the aṅgirasas , atharvans , ṛbhus , maruts , druhyus &c ; N. of one of the chief Brahmanical families ; sg. N. of a ṛṣi regarded as the ancestor of the bhṛgus AV. AitBr. (he has the patr. vāruṇi and is the supposed author of RV. ix , 65 ; x , 19 ; he is enumerated among the 10 maharṣis created by the first manu Mn. i , 35 ; cf. IW. 46 &c ); name of śukra or the planet Venus (called either bhṛgu or the son of bhṛgu ; his day is Friday)
dhiṣṇya: mfn. mindful , attentive , benevolent , liberal; m. a sort of subordinate or side-altar (generally a heap of earth covered with sand on which the fire is placed , and of which 8 are enumerated ); n. site , place , abode , region , house ; n. the seat of a god i.e. a quarter of the sky ; n. star , asterism (looking like the fire on the side altars) ; n. the orb of an asterism (on which its light seems to centre) ; n. power , strength ; mfn. placed upon a mound of earth serving as an altar ; m. (with or scil. agni) a fire so placed
eva: (emphatic)

捨俗五儀飾 善攝諸情根
入梵志精廬 敬禮彼諸仙

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