Monday, April 20, 2009

Bhagavata 3.15.43

Just a short post to give an example of how this works. In 3.15.43, there is a phrase antar-gataH sva-vivareNa. Translated literally and without any decoration, it means "went inside by own holes." The translation in the BBT edition reads:

When the breeze carrying the aroma of tulasi leaves from the toes of the lotus feet of the lotus-eyed Lord entered the nostrils of those sages, their bodies and minds were disturbed, even though they were fixed in the imperishable Brahman.

The translation "went inside by own holes" has become "entered the nostrils." Of course that reads better, but for the Sanskrit reader sva-vivareNa requires explanation. Sridhara Swami simply says nAsa-cchidreNa, i.e., "nose holes" or "nostrils." More than that, that choice of words has a significance that is perhaps lost if we skip immediately to the intended meaning of "nostrils." And of course, extracting the significance of such obscure expressions is the art of the commentator.

Satya Narayan Baba therefore writes:

It was improper for the Kumaras to intrude on the Lord, and one might say that it is similarly improper for air to trespass into the inner chambers of one’s heart. But the verse says sva-vivareNa—“by their own apertures.” Since the nostrils are the natural gateways for air, permission is not required for entrance.

We could probably take that thought even further. Krishna's grace is to enter the mind and soul through the senses, even without the knowledge or permission of the jiva.

Another thing is the "toes." The Sanskrit does not mention any toes. The word is filaments, as in filaments of the lotus. So that is clarified by Vishwanath Chakravarti as toes. But the Sanskrit reader would have to guess or infer that metaphorical meaning. Since Sridhar and Jiva did not bother to explain it, they must have considered it obvious--but Vishwanath figured not everyone would find it so.

But the challenge for me here is how to present the verse to the English-speaking audience in such a way that Jiva Goswami's commentary -- and Satya Narayanji's comments -- makes sense. What I ended up with is this:

When the air carrying the aroma of tulasi leaves mixed with the filaments of the lotus-eyed Lord’s lotus feet entered within them by way of its own apertures, they experienced a commotion both in mind and in body, even though they delighted in the Imperishable. (SB 3.15.43)

Now you need to go to the commentary, just like the Sanskrit readers would have had to.


Satya devi dasi said...

Nice new look for your blog! Can't read the Sanskrit in the banner, though. Might consider making it art so that it's fixed. Radhe Radhe!

Jagat said...

Yes I would like to do something a little more artistic with the banner. I tried to make the Bengali font bigger, but it did not work. It was interesting looking through all my old posts. I also spent a lot of time recently going through the GD archives. I will have to say something about that.