Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 11.48: The One & Only Act of Sitting

⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Indravajrā)
rājño 'pi vāso-yugam-ekam-eva kṣut-saṁnirodhāya tathānna-mātrā |
śayyā tathaikāsanam-ekam-eva śeṣā viśeṣā npater-madāya || 11.48

Enough, even for a king, is one set of clothes;

For staving off hunger, similarly, the requisite measure of food;

Likewise one bed [or one act of lying down],
and one seat [or one act of sitting].

All the other special things in the possession of a protector of men,
serve the purpose of mental intoxication.

In today's verse as also in yesterday's verse, according to a note by EHJ, Aśvaghoṣa is referring back to teachings contained in the Mahā-bhārata (MBh xii. 513, 11986) and Jātaka (II, 215).

But here again, in today's verse as in BC11.38, and as in many other verses, there is irony hinging on the double-meaning of the -na neuter action noun āsanam, which, before it means a seat, means an act of sitting.

The real gist of today's verse, then, is this:
rajña āsanam ekam eva
For a king [of dharma], the act of sitting is just one.

The ostensible meaning of the 4th pāda (depending on whether the genitive nṛpateḥ is understood as referring to the king's luxuries or to the king's intoxication) is something like:

Other luxuries of a king only feed intoxication/intemperance/pride.
Luxuries besides this only feed a king's intoxication/intemperance/pride.

EBC: all a king's other distinctions are only for pride.
EHJ: The other luxuries of a king lead only to the intoxication of pride.
PO: other opulence only puffs up a king's pride.

But if, following the hidden gist, we take nṛpateḥ to refer to a king of dharma, then the essentials might mean robes (fields of growth?), food, and the means for performing the simplest of actions; and something special might mean something as inspiring as a formal talk in a Dharma-hall, or something as intoxicating as an informal exchange over a cup of tea. There again, something special might mean something as exciting as a trip to Indra's heaven to gaze upon pink-footed celestial nymphs.

rājñaḥ (gen. sg.): m. of/for a king
api: also, even
vāso-yugam (nom. sg.): n. a pair of garments , suit of clothes (the dress of the Hindus usually consisting of two pieces of cloth , viz. a lower garment fastened round the waist , and an upper one thrown loosely over the shoulders)
ekam (nom. sg. n.): one
eva: (emphatic)

kṣut-saṁnirodhāya (dat. sg.): for the staving off of hunger
saṁnirodha: m. restraint , obstruction , suppression
tathā: ind. likewise
anna-mātrā (nom. sg. f.): the requisite measure of food
mātrā: f. measure (of any kind) , quantity , size , duration , number , degree ; right or correct measure

śayyā (nom. sg.): f. a bed ; lying reposing
tathā: ind. likewise
ekā (nom. sg. f.): one
āsanam (nom. sg.): n. act of sitting, a seat
ekam (nom. sg. n.): one
eva: (emphatic)

śeṣāḥ (nom. pl.): m. remainder , that which remains or is left , leavings , residue (pl. " all the others ") , surplus , balance , effect , the rest
viśeṣāḥ (nom. pl. m.): mfn. extraordinary , abundant ; m. distinction , peculiar merit , excellence , superiority
nṛpateḥ (gen. sg.): m. king
madāya (dat. sg.): m. hilarity , rapture , excitement , inspiration , intoxication

未若止貪求 息事爲大安
居王五欲樂 不王閑寂歡

歡樂既同等 何用王位爲

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