Canto 8: antaḥ-pura-vilāpaḥ
Lamenting within the Women’s Quarters
[or Lamenting from within the Battlements]

Introduction

As discussed in the introduction to Canto 2, the ostensible meaning of antaḥ-pura is “the women’s apartments,” but literally antaḥ-pura means within (antar) a fortress, city or other fortified area (pura). Hence antaḥ-pura can mean not only the women’s quarters within a palace complex but also, more widely, a king’s palace – and, in the hidden meaning, the area that falls within the sphere of protection of a protector of men, i.e., the sphere of influence of a buddha.

The other element of the Canto title, vilāpa, ostensibly means unconscious expression of grief, as when a cow moos through the night for a calf that has been taken away to satisfy the market for veal. But in verse 70, the actions of a lamenting queen are described as ruroda dadhyau vilalāpa, “she wept, she reflected/meditated, she lamented.” In the hidden meaning, then, vilāpa might suggest not unconscious expression of grief but rather conscious teaching on suffering that emerges, via reflection and meditation, out of suffering. In this sense, the Buddha’s turning of the Dharma-wheel, in which he taught the four noble truths, was just lamenting from within the battlements.

Ironically, then, below the surface this Canto is a kind of celebration. It is a celebration of the truths of suffering, arising of suffering, cessation of suffering, and practice leading towards cessation of suffering. The ironic subtext of celebration is there, for example, when Chanda describes non-doing action seeming spontaneously to do itself, in the zone of the gods.

 

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tatas turaṅgāvacaraḥ sa dur-manās tathā vanaṁ bhartari nirmame gate /
cakāra yatnaṁ pathi śoka-nigrahe tathāpi caivāśru na tasya cikṣipe // 8.1 //

In low spirits, meanwhile – with his master gone thus, tathā.... gate, “thus... gone,” suggests one meaning of tathāgata, “the Thus-Gone,” as an epithet of the Buddha. 01 with no sense of me and mine, to the forest – / He whose sphere was horses made on the road an effort to suppress his sorrow. And surely enough, he, while also being thus, failed to banish his tears. //8.1//

yam eka-rātreṇa tu bhartur ājñayā jagāma mārgaṁ saha tena vājinā /
iyāya bhartur virahaṁ vicintayaṁs tam eva panthānam ahobhir aṣṭabhiḥ // 8.2 //

But the road which at his master’s behest he with that warhorse had travelled in one night – / That same road, pondering the master’s desertion, [or reflecting on the separateness of a master,] he now travelled in eight days. Ostensibly he travelled slowly because of being in a bad state. The alternative reading is that Chandaka – representing the more mental aspect of a psycho-physical unity – was in a reflective or meditative state.02 //8.2//

hayaś ca saujasvi cacāra kanthakas tatāma bhāvena babhūva nirmadaḥ /
alaṁkṛtaś cāpi tathaiva bhūṣaṇair abhūd gata-śrīr iva tena varjitaḥ // 8.3 //

And the horse Kanthaka moved himself by an effort of physical strength; he panted; he was, through his whole being, devoid of ebullience; Ostensibly, again, nirmada suggests being at a low psycho-physical ebb. But mada has connotations of being puffed up with pride or intoxication or wantonness. So in its hidden meaning nirmada also points to a reflective or meditative state. Cf. SN12.11: “Trembling went he of mighty arm, like a top bull elephant, through with rut (nirmadaḥ).” 02 / Again, decked though he was in decorative trappings, he seemed, without the one in question, to lack lustre. //8.3//

nivṛtya caivābhimukhas tapo-vanaṁ bhṛśaṁ jiheṣe karuṇaṁ muhur muhuḥ /
kṣudhānvito ’py adhvani śaṣpam ambu vā yathā purā nābhinananda nādade // 8.4 //

And yet, having turned back, so that he was fronting the woods of painful practice, loudly he neighed, pitifully, Karuṇam can mean either deserving or showing compassion. Ostensibly the meaning here is pitifully in the sense of deserving pity; the hidden meaning may be that the neighing was pitiful in the archaic sense of pitiful – i.e. being full of pity. 03 again and again. / However hungry he was, he neither rejoiced at nor partook of, as before, grass or water on the road. Ostensibly the horse also had changed for the worse. But in the ironic hidden meaning, something in Kanthaka – representing greater physical prowess in a psycho-physical unity – had changed for the better. 04 //8.4//

tato vihīnaṁ kapilāhvayaṁ puraṁ mahātmanā tena jagadd-hitātmanā /
krameṇa tau śūnyam ivopajagmatur divākareṇeva vinā-kṛtaṁ nabhaḥ // 8.5 //

And so, the city called after Kapila, the city forsaken by that mighty soul whose soul was given to the welfare of the world, / The two approached, step by gradual step, as if approaching emptiness – an emptiness like the sky bereft of the day-making sun. //8.5//

sa-puṇḍarīkair api śobhitaṁ jalair alaṁkṛtaṁ puṣpa-dharair nagair api /
tad eva tasyopavanaṁ vanopamaṁ gata-praharṣair na rarāja nāgaraiḥ // 8.6 //

The city’s park, though graced by lotus-covered waters, though adorned by flower-bearing plants, / Being nothing but that park itself, was like the woods – it no longer exuded lordly splendour, Na rarāja; in the hidden meaning, there is no pejorative sense: the park was as it was. See also note to verse 13. 05 now that the citizens’ exuberant joy was gone. //8.6//

tato bhramadbhir diśi dīna-mānasair anujjvalair bāṣpa-hatekṣaṇair naraiḥ /
nivāryamāṇāv iva tāv ubhau puraṁ śanair apasnātam ivābhijagmatuḥ // 8.7 //

Thus, as though being slowed down, by men wandering in their direction, men with dispirited minds, men no longer blazing, men whose eyes tears had knocked out, In the ironic hidden meaning, men who no longer have any illusions – non-buddhas. 06 / The two together approached the city – as silently as if going to a funeral bath. //8.7//

niśamya ca srasta-śarīra-gāminau vināgatau śākya-kularṣabheṇa tau
mumoca bāṣpaṁ pathi nāgaro janaḥ purā rathe dāśarather ivāgate // 8.8 //

And seeing the pair with disjointed gaits, their bodies hanging loosely, Cf BC3.28 śithilānatāṅgaḥ, “limbs loose and bending.”07 coming back without the bull of the Śākya herd, / The people of the city let their tears fall on the road – like in ancient times when the chariot of Rāma, son of ‘Ten Chariots’ Daśa-ratha, came back [without Rāma]. //8.8//

atha bruvantaḥ samupeta-manyavo janāḥ pathi chandakam āgatāsravaḥ /
kva rāja-putraḥ pura-rāṣṭra-nandano hṛtas tvayāsāv iti pṛṣṭhato ’nvayuḥ // 8.9 //

There again, speaking tensely, common folk afflicted by distress Amendment to āgatāśravaḥ, would give “visited by tears.” But āgatāsravaḥ or “afflicted by the pollutants [namely, desire (kāmāsrava), becoming (bhavāsrava), and ignorance (avidyāsrava)],” as per the Old Nepalese manuscript, also has meaning. 08 addressed Chandaka on the road – / “Where is the Child of the King, the joy of the city and of the kingdom? You have stolen away that child!” they said, from the rear, following behind. A suggestion of a lack of initiative which tends to be shown by religious followers? In the hidden meaning, are the devout expecting some kind of outside intervention, so that their own buddha-nature might be restored to them? 09 //8.9//

tataḥ sa tān bhaktimato ’bravīj janān narendra-putraṁ na parityajāmy aham /
rudann-ahaṁ tena tu nirjane vane gṛha-stha-veśaś ca visarjitāv iti // 8.10 //

Then he said to those devout folk: “No neglecter am I of the child of a lord among men. / On the contrary, by that child in the folk-free forest, the weeping I, and the clothes of a householder, are both cast off together.” In the hidden meaning, Chandaka is (1) emphasizing the importance of each individual regularly not neglecting (atop a round black cushion) his or her own buddha-nature; and (2) suggesting how, ultimately, it is not I who abandons the weeping I so much as it is the buddha-nature which casts off the weeping I.10 //8.10//

idaṁ vacas tasya niśamya te janāḥ su-duṣkaraṁ khalv iti vismayam yayuḥ /
patadd hi jahruḥ salilaṁ na netra-jaṁ mano nininduś ca phalārtham ātmanaḥ // 8.11 //

When those common folk heard this utterance of his, because of its very great difficulty, they were dismayed; / For the eye-born flood of falling tears they had not averted, and their own minds, taking account of karmic retribution, they did blame. In short, this group of devout believers, not being awake to the four noble truths, wallowed in self-reproach. 11 //8.11//

athocur adyaiva viśāma tad vanaṁ gataḥ sa yatra dvipa-rāja-vikramaḥ /
jijīviṣā nāsti hi tena no vinā yathendriyāṇāṁ vigame śarīriṇām // 8.12 //

Or else they said: “Right now let us go into that forest, Or else they rushed too hastily into action. 12 where he is, whose stride is the stride of a king of elephants; / For without him we have no wish to live on, like embodied beings when the power of the senses has departed. //8.12//

idaṁ puraṁ tena vivarjitaṁ vanaṁ vanaṁ ca tat tena samanvitaṁ puram /
na śobhate tena hi no vinā puraṁ marutvatā vṛtra-vadhe yathā divam // 8.13 //

This city without Him is the woods, and those woods in his presence are a city. / For in his absence our city does not shine In the hidden meaning, because of his truth of emptiness, the city exists as it is. 13 – like heaven without marut-attended Indra, at the slaying of Vṛtra [Or like the sky, without the Almighty and his storm-gods, at the break-up of a thunder-cloud]. According to a myth recorded in the Ṛg-veda, having killed the demon Vṛtra, Indra went to the ends of the earth to conceal himself. Ostensibly vṛta means this demon, who was supposed to be in possession of the clouds. But vṛta also means a non-fictional thunder-cloud. So in the hidden meaning, again, the city was as it was, like the sky when all trace of heaven has vanished. 14” //8.13//

punaḥ kumāro vinivṛtta ity atho gavākṣa-mālāḥ pratipedire ’ṅganāḥ /
vivikta-pṛṣṭhaṁ ca niśamya vājinaṁ punar gavākṣāṇi pidhāya cukruśuḥ // 8.14 //

“The prince has come back again!” said the women, as now they appeared in the rows of round windows. / But seeing the horse’s empty back, they closed the windows again and wailed. //8.14//

praviṣṭa-dīkṣas tu sutopalabdhaye vratena śokena ca khinna-mānasaḥ /
jajāpa devāyatane narādhipaś cakāra tās tāś ca yathāśrayāḥ kriyāḥ // 8.15 //

Whereas, having undertaken complete dedication, with a view to getting a son, his mind exhausted by observance and by sorrow, / The ruler of men spoke in whispers in the temple, and performed, as he felt fit, various actions. In the hidden meaning, the ruler of men might represent one who, having dedicated himself completely (praviṣṭa-dīkṣaḥ), with a view to gaining Dharma-heirs (sutopalabdhaye), exhausts himself by grieving for a suffering world and by practice – he is able to convey his teaching by secret whispers in a temple, or by acting in his everyday life just as he pleases.15 //8.15//

tataḥ sa bāṣpa-pratipūrṇa-locanas turaṅgam ādāya turaṅgamānugaḥ /
viveśa śokābhihato nṛpa-kṣayaṁ yudhāpinīte ripuṇeva bhartari // 8.16 //

Then, with eyes filled with tears, the horse-servant betook to himself the horse A suggestion of sitting with body and with mind? 16 / And, beaten by sorrow, he entered the abode of a protector of men Nṛpa-kṣayam, the abode of a protector of men, the seat of a king, carries, as in so many similar instances, the hidden meaning of sitting-meditation, as dropping off of body and mind. 17 – as though his master had been spirited away by an enemy warrior [or like when a master has been reeled in by a deceitful combatant]. Ostensibly Chanda was downcast, in a bad state, like one whose master has been spirited away yudhā ripunā, by an enemy warrior. In the hidden meaning one master is reeled in, or led astray, by another master – and thus something transcendent is celebrated, as in so many of the famous koans recorded in Tang China. 18 //8.16//

vigāhamānaś ca narendra-mandiraṁ vilokayann aśru-vahena cakṣuṣā /
svareṇa puṣṭena rurāva kanthako janāya duḥkhaṁ prativedayann iva // 8.17 //

Also entering the royal stable, while looking through tearful eyes, Kanthaka roared in a full-sounding voice, as if making his suffering known to the people. //8.17//
[Alternative translation]
Immersing himself in the place of stillness of the best of men, Mandira is from the root √mand, to stand still, to abide. It means a place of abiding, e.g. a waiting room, or a stable for horses. So narendra-mandiram ostensibly means the royal stable, but again the hidden meaning is sitting-meditation as a place of calm abiding. 19 while looking, with an eye containing tears, In the hidden meaning, insight informed by the four noble truths. 20 Kanthaka roared in a full-sounding voice, as if, for the benefit of humanity, causing suffering to be known. //8.17//

tataḥ kha-gāś ca kṣaya-madhya-gocarāḥ samīpa-baddhās turagāś ca sat-kṛtāḥ /
hayasya tasya pratisasvanuḥ svanaṁ narendra-sūnor upayāna-śaṅkitāḥ // 8.18 //

Then the birds whose feeding place was in the middle of the dwelling, and the well-treated horses tethered nearby, / Echoed the sound of that horse, in anticipation of the prince’s approach. //8.18//
[Alternative translation]
Then those movers in empty space Kha-gāḥ, “goers in empty space,” means birds, and, in the hidden meaning, those whose practice is emptiness. 21 whose range, in loss, The meanings of kṣaya include 1. abode, dwelling-place and 2. loss, destruction.22 is the middle, and those venerated The meanings of sat-kṛta include 1. well-treated and 2. venerated, worshipped. 23 movers in readiness Tura-gāḥ, “fast goers,” means horses, and, in the hidden meaning, those whose consciousness is quick, people who are awake. 24 who are bound to immediacy, Samīpa-baddha: 1. tethered (baddha) nearby (samīpa); 2. bound (baddha) to nearness (samīpa). In the hidden meaning, then, a phrase equivalent to Dogen’s GOCCHI NI SAERARU, “bound to the still state.” Cf also nidrayā hṛta, “seized by repose,” in verse 47 below. 25 / Echoed the sound of that horse, with the intuitive sense of getting close which belongs to a son or a daughter of the best of men Narendra-sūnoḥ, “of the son of best of men,” means the prince’s, and in the hidden meaning, belonging to a follower of the Buddha. 26. //8.18//

janāś ca harṣātiśayena vañcitā janādhipāntaḥ-pura-saṁnikarṣa-gāḥ /
yathā hayaḥ kanthaka eṣa heṣate dhruvaṁ kumāro viśatīti menire // 8.19 //

Over-exuberance, again, deceived people who were moving in the vicinity of the battlements of their lord. The deceitful combatant of BC8.16 may be relevant here – a hidden sense being that we are, via a state of nervous excitement, brought by expedient means into the sphere of influence of buddhas, as e.g. Nanda was in the story of Handsome Nanda. 27 / “Since the horse Kanthaka is here neighing,” they thought, “It must be that the prince is on his way!” //8.19//

ati-praharṣād atha śoka-mūrchitāḥ kumāra-saṁdarśana-lola-locanāḥ /
gṛhād viniścakramur āśayā striyaḥ śarat-payodād iva vidyutaś calāḥ // 8.20 //

And so in their exuberant joy, the women who had been insensible with grief, their darting eyes now eager for a sight of the prince, / Stepped forth from their homes full of hope – like flashes of lightning from an autumn cloud. In the hidden meaning, the women’s eager interest mirrors the curiosity of those who have established the will to the truth, in regard to what a buddha’s enlightenment might be. 28 //8.20//

vilamba-veṣyo malināṁśukāmbarā nirañjanair bāṣpa-hatekṣaṇair mukhaiḥ /
kṛṣṇā vivarṇā mṛjayā vinā-kṛtā divīva tārā rajanī-kṣayāruṇāḥ // 8.21 //

Their hair having dropped down, wearing garments of dirty cloth, In the hidden meaning, a reference to the filthy rags (Jap: FUNZO-E) traditionally regarded as the best and purest material out of which to patch together a kaṣāya. 29 with unrouged faces whose eyes had been marred by tears, Bāṣpa-hatekṣaṇaiḥ, as in verse 7 above. 30 / Bereft of cosmetic embellishment, they manifested themselves as colourless – like stars in the sky when red dawn is dispelling dark night. //8.21//

arakta-tāmraiś caraṇair anūpurair akuṇḍalair ārjava-karṇikair mukhaiḥ /
svabhāva-pīnair jaghanair amekhalair a-hāra-yoktrair muṣitair iva stanaiḥ // 8.22 //

Their feet were without ornaments and not painted red; their faces were flanked by plain ears, ears without ear-rings; / Their hips and thighs, without girdles, were naturally full; their female breasts, without their ropes of pearls, seemed to have been stripped naked. //8.22//
[Alternative translation]
Their unembellished practices Caraṇa means foot and, in the hidden meaning, practice. 31 were not reddened by passion; their mouths Mukha means face or mouth. 32 were connected with ears of frankness, unfettered ears; / Their hips and thighs, ungirt of the belts that signified social rank, Mekhala means a girdle or belt, but (according to the Monier-Williams dictionary) “especially one worn by men of the first three classes.”33 expanded by themselves; their breasts, without any attachment to stripping away, The many meaning of hāra include a necklace, and taking away. In the hidden meaning, Aśvaghoṣa is praising the attitude of Zen practitioners who let body and mind drop away naturally, without being tempted to do anything to try to help the process along. 34 seemed to have been laid bare. //8.22//

nirīkṣya tā bāṣpa-parīta-locanā nir-āśrayaṁ chandakam aśvam eva ca /
viṣaṇṇa-vaktrā rurudur varāṅganā vanāntare gāva iva rṣabhojjhitāḥ // 8.23 //

Looking through tearful eyes at the destitute Chandaka-and-horse, In the hidden meaning, they realized not only the mental but also the physical. Ostensibly Chandaka and the horse were destitute (nir-āśrayam); in the hidden meaning, those who saw realized emptiness, having nothing to depend upon (nir-āśrayam). 35 having nothing to depend upon, / Those beautiful women wept, with downcast faces, like cows in the woods abandoned by the bull. //8.23//

tataḥ sa-bāṣpā mahiṣī mahī-pateḥ pranaṣṭa-vatsā mahiṣīva vatsalā /
pragṛhya bāhū nipapāta gautamī vilola-parṇā kadalīva kāñcanī // 8.24 //

Then the king’s queen, Gautamī, tearful as a doting water buffalo that had lost her calf, / Abducted her arms Cf the description of palaces seeming to fling out their arms in verse 37. 36 and fell, fronds shuddering, like a golden banana plant. //8.24//

hata-tviṣo ’nyāḥ śithilātma-bāhavaḥ striyo viṣādena vicetanā iva /
na cukruśur nāśru jahur na śaśvasur na celur āsur likhitā iva sthitāḥ // 8.25 //

Other women, being bereft of sparkle, being flaccid in their core and in their arms, women who seemed by their languor to be almost insensible, / Neither cried out, nor shed tears; they neither audibly breathed, nor moved a muscle: As if in a painting, they stayed still. //8.25//
[Alternative translation]
Individual women, being different, being free of fury, being relaxed in their souls and loose in their arms, women who seemed by their languor to be almost insensible, / Neither cried out, nor shed tears; they neither audibly breathed, nor moved a muscle: As if in a painting, they stayed still. As also in BC Canto 5, “the women” in the hidden meaning represent practitioners sitting still in a meditation hall. Ostensibly their arms were flaccid, lacking muscle tone; in the hidden meaning, their joints were free of undue tension. Ostensibly their lifeless state made their breathing unduly shallow and barely perceptible; in the hidden meaning, there was no restriction in their breathing, which was therefore as silent as a winter breeze in a forest without leaves. 37 //8.25//

adhīram anyāḥ pati-śoka-mūrchitā vilocana-prasravaṇair mukhaiḥ striyaḥ /
siṣiñcire proṣita-candanān stanān dharā-dharāḥ prasravaṇair ivopalān // 8.26 //

Other women, losing control, dizzied by sorrow for their lord, with streaming faces, whose wellsprings were eyes, / Wetted bare breasts bereft of sandal paste – like mountains with their wellsprings wetting rocks. //8.26//
[Alternative translation]
Those women, as individuals who were different, not in a fixed manner, Adhīra means “deficient in calm self-command,” excitable; in the hidden meaning, it means not fixed, adaptable. 38 but as masters caused through sorrow to grow, In the compound pati-śoka-mūrchitāḥ, pati-śoka ostensibly means “sorrow for their lord/master” but can equally mean “the sorrow of a master.” The meanings of √murch include 1. to become solid, thicken, and, by extension, to stupify; and 2. to expand, increase, grow. Hence mūrchitāḥ could be describing the women as 1. stupefied, fainting, dizzied [by sorrow for their lost lord]; or, in the hidden meaning, 2. caused to grow [through the experience of sorrow as a master]. 39 with streaming faces, whose wellsprings were eyes, / Wetted bare breasts bereft of sandal paste – like mountains with their wellsprings wetting rocks. //8.26//

mukhaiś ca tāsāṁ nayanāmbu-tāḍitaiḥ rarāja tad-rāja-niveśanaṁ tadā /
navāmbu-kāle ’mbu-da-vṛṣṭi-tāḍitaiḥ sravaj-jalais tāma-rasair yathā saraḥ // 8.27 //

And in the presence of the tear stricken faces of those individuals, that lair of kings, in that moment, was bathed in splendour – / Like a lake at the time of the first rains when clouds with their raindrops are striking its dripping lotuses. Here as in several previous verses, by comparing grieving women with rain-soaked lotuses Aśvaghoṣa hints at the possibility of there being profound beauty, even in bitter-sweet investigation of the noble truth of suffering. 40 //8.27//

su-vṛtta-pīnāṅgulibhir nir-antarair abhūṣaṇair gūḍha-sirair varāṅganāḥ /
urāṁsi jaghnuḥ kamalopamaiḥ karaiḥ sva-pallavair vāta-calā latā iva // 8.28 //

With hands whose gapless fingers were beautifully round and full, with unadorned hands whose blood-vessels were invisible, / With their hands resembling lotuses, the most beautiful of women beat their breasts – like wind-blown creepers beating themselves with their own tendrils. //8.28//

kara-prahāra-pracalaiś ca tā babhur yathāpi nāryaḥ sahitonnataiḥ stanaiḥ /
vanānilāghūrṇita-padma-kampitaiḥ rathāṅga-nāmnāṁ mithunair ivāpagāḥ // 8.29 //

Again, as their conjoined and upturned breasts trembled under the barrage from their hands, those women also resembled rivers / Whose lotuses, sent whirling by the forest wind, shook into movement pairs of rathaṅga geese – geese called after a wheel. For more on rathaṇga geese, aka cakravāka ducks, see note to verse 60 below. Here women’s breasts are compared to pairs of these birds being shaken into movement beneath lotus faces. On the surface, Aśvaghoṣa may seem to be unduly interested in beautiful women’s breasts. Below the surface his point may be to stimulate us to reflect what it really is, whether we are a man or a woman, to be a mammal. For example, to what extent is the course of a life of a human being born on the earth, as a mammal, determined by emotion, and to what extent by reason? 41 //8.29//

yathā ca vakṣāṁsi karair apīḍayaṁs tathaiva vakṣobhir apīḍayan karān /
akārayaṁs tatra paras paraṁ vyathāḥ karāgra-vakṣāṁsy abalā dayālasāḥ // 8.30 //

Insofar as they goaded their bosoms with their hands, to that same degree they goaded their hands with their bosoms; / Those in that loop Tatra means there, or, in the hidden meaning in that state, in that loop. 42 whose strength was not in strength, their compassion being inactive, The subject is abalā dayālasāḥ. Ostensibly abalāh means “those who are weak (f.),” i.e. women as the so-called weaker sex; and dayālasāḥ means “disinclined to pity” (dayā = pity, compassion; a-lasa = inactive, lazy, faint). In the hidden meaning, Aśvaghoṣa seems to be suggesting that true compassion tends to be manifested subtly, by indirect means, and not so much by brute force. 43 made bosoms, and the tips of doing hands, antagonize each other. A kara, a hand, is literally “a doer,” from the root √kṛ, to do or make. Goading bosoms with hands might be a metaphor for stimulating the lazy heart and mind by doing something. Conversely, goading hands with bosoms can be understood as a metaphor for stimulating the lazy body by thinking something. The relation between bosoms and hands thus mirrors the relation already suggested between Kanthaka and Chanda, horse and groom. 44 //8.30//

tatas tu roṣa-pravirakta-locanā viṣāda-sambandha-kaṣāya-gadgadam /
uvāca niśvāsa-calat-payodharā vigāḍha-śokāśru-dharā yaśodharā // 8.31 //

But then, with eyes reddened by fury, stammering with the emotion that belongs to despondent love, / Up spoke a bearer of glory, whose milk-bearers Payodhara means bearer or container of liquid, i.e, a cloud or a breast. The use of payodhara here is partly poetic, since Yaśodharā means Bearer of Glory. But it is also a further reminder of the mammalian nature of human grief. 45 heaved as she sighed – bearing tears of grief running deep as the Earth, Yaśodharā said: //8.31//

niśi prasuptām avaśāṁ vihāya māṁ gataḥ kva sa chandaka man-mano-rathaḥ /
upāgate ca tvayi kanthake ca me samaṁ gateṣu triṣu kampate manaḥ // 8.32 //

“Leaving me helplessly asleep in the night, where, Chandaka, has the joy of my heart gone? / Seeing you and Kanthaka come back, when three departed, If Kanthaka is body and Chanda is mind, do Yaśodharā’s words suggest that the missing third element is [her] heart? 46 my mind, in all honesty, wavers. //8.32//

anāryam asnidgham amitra-karma me nṛśaṁsa kṛtvā kim ihādya rodiṣi /
niyaccha bāṣpaṁ bhava tuṣṭa-mānaso na saṁvadaty aśru ca tac ca karma te // 8.33 //

It is an ignoble and ungentle action, the action of a non-friend, A-mitra, a non-friend, in its hidden meaning might be a true friend – as a non-buddha is a true buddha, not one who necessarily conforms to expectations. 47 that you, O dealer in others’ pain, Nṛ-śaṁsa lit. means “injuring men;” hence, cruel. In the hidden meaning, an ironic epithet for one steeped in the wisdom of the four noble truths. 48 have done to me. Why now do you weep? / Stop the tears! Let your mind be satisfied! Tears, and that action of yours, do not chime well together. //8.33//

priyeṇa vaśyena hitena sādhunā tvayā sahāyena yathārtha-kāriṇā /
gato ’rya-putro hy apunar nivṛttaye ramasva diṣṭyā sa-phalaḥ śramas tava // 8.34 //

For, thanks to you, a devoted friend – willing, well-meaning, and straight, a doer of what was necessary – / That noble son is gone, never to return. Be glad! How wonderful for you, that your effort was fruitful! A double bluff – Yaśodharā intends her words to be ironic, not true. The real irony, below the surface, is that her words are true. 49 //8.34//

varaṁ manuṣyasya vicakṣaṇo ripur na mitram aprājñam ayoga-peśalam /
suhṛd-bruveṇa hy avipaścitā tvayā kṛtaḥ kulasyāsya mahān upaplavaḥ // 8.35 //

It is better for a man to have an insightful enemy, rather than a friend of no wisdom, skilled in no method; Aprājñam ayoga-peśalam. A-prājñam ostensibly means unlearned, having no wisdom, but in the hidden meaning, having the wisdom of no, the wisdom of going without. Ayoga-peśalam ostensibly means skilful (peśalam) only in the wrong way (ayoga)” but, in the hidden meaning, skilful (peśalam) in the way (yoga) of no (a-). 50 / For thanks to you, one versed in nothing who calls himself a friend, In the hidden meaning, again, the horse-tamer is a person of wisdom and compassion. A-vipaś-cit ostensibly means not (a-) knowing (cit) enlightenment (vipas); hence unwise, ignorant; but in the ironic hidden meaning knowing (cit) the enlightenment (vipas) of absence [from ignorance] (a-). 51 great misfortune has befallen this noble house. //8.35//

imā hi śocyā vyavamukta-bhūṣaṇāḥ prasakta-bāṣpāvila-rakta-locanāḥ /
sthite ’pi patyau himavan-mahī-same pranaṣṭa-śobhā vidhavā iva striyaḥ // 8.36 //

These women are deeply to be commiserated, who have shed embellishments, whose bloodshot eyes are clouded by tears of lasting devotion, / Who are like widows who lost their former lustre – though their master is still there, standing firm on those flat Himālayan uplands [or being as even as the snow-clad earth]. Himavan-mahī-same could be read “remaining as constant as the Himālayas or the Earth,” or “being the same as the Himālayas and the earth,” or “being as even as the ground in the Himālayas.” In the hidden meaning, again, the women are Zen practitioners. The object of their devotion is constantly in balance. 52 //8.36//

imāś ca vikṣipta-viṭaṅka-bāhavaḥ prasakta-pārāvata-dīrgha-nisvanāḥ /
vinā-kṛtās tena sahāvarodhanair bhṛśaṁ rudantīva vimāna-paṅktayaḥ // 8.37 //

These rows of palaces too, flinging the dove-cots of their arms up and out, An allusion to the infantile panic reflex (the so-called Moro reflex)? See also BC8.24 above, and the description of Sundarī in SN Canto 6 (SN6.24-27). 53 their long calls being the cooing of devoted doves, / Seem when bereft of him, along with the women of the inner apartments, mightily to weep and wail. //8.37//

anartha-kāmo ’sya janasya sarvathā turaṅgamo ’pi dhruvam eṣa kanthakaḥ /
jahāra sarvasvam itas tathā hi me jane prasupte niśi ratna-cauravat // 8.38 //

This here horse Kanthaka, also, is constantly desirous that I, in every way, should come to naught. In the hidden meaning, a suggestion of the fact that in the natural world all energy tends to dissipate? Kanthaka in general stands for the power of nature, or the physical body harnessed to the mind of Chanda. (Chandaka’s name originally means Liking, Volition, Desire, Will.) 54 / For thus, from here, he took away my everything – like a jewel thief who steals in the night, while people are fast asleep. //8.38//

yadā samarthaḥ khalu soḍhum āgatān iṣu-prahārān api kiṁ punaḥ kaśāḥ /
gataḥ kaśā-yāta-bhayāt kathaṁ nv ayaṁ śriyaṁ gṛhītvā hṛdayaṁ ca me samam // 8.39 //

When he is well able to defy even incoming arrows, to say nothing of whips, / How could fear Bhayāt means “because of fear.” Below the surface Yaśodharā’s question seems to ask whether what goes readily in nature can be forced to go through intimidatory tactics. 55 of a whip’s goading have caused this [fast-goer] to go, snatching away, in equal measure, my royal pomp and my heart? //8.39//

anārya-karmā bhṛśam adya heṣate narendra-dhiṣṇyaṁ pratipūrayann iva /
yadā tu nirvāhayati sma me priyaṁ tadā hi mūkas turagādhamo ’bhavat // 8.40 //

Now the doer of un-āryan deeds is neighing loudly, as if filling with sound the seat of a first among men; / But when he carried away my love, then the low-down donkey was dumb. Below the surface, is an auto-biographical element discernible? Is Aśvaghoṣa (the Horse-Whinny) mindful of his own loud efforts in the Dharma Hall and silent efforts in the Meditation Hall? 56 //8.40//

yadi hy aheṣiṣyata bodhayan janaṁ khuraiḥ kṣitau vāpy akariṣyata dhvanim /
hanu-svanaṁ vājanayiṣyad uttamaṁ na cābhaviṣyan mama duḥkham īdṛśam // 8.41 //

For if he had whinnied, waking people up, or else had made a noise with his hoofs on the ground, / – Or had he made the loudest sound he could with his jaws [had he sounded the ultimate warning of death and disease Hanu means 1. (fr. √han, to destroy) ‘anything which destroys or injures life,’ death, disease; and 2. (not fr. √han) a jaw. Thus hanu-svanam ostensibly means “the sound of his jaws,” but a hidden meaning might be “a sound [warming of] death and disease.” 57] – I would not have experienced suffering like this.” Ostensible meaning: I would not have experienced such terrible suffering. Hidden meaning: I would not have experienced, in this manner, the purport of the four noble truths. 58 //8.41//

itīha devyāḥ paridevitāśrayaṁ niśamya bāṣpa-grathitākṣaraṁ vacaḥ /
adho-mukhaḥ sāśru-kalaḥ kṛtāñjaliḥ śanair idaṁ chandaka uttaraṁ jagau // 8.42 //

When thus he had heard, here in this world, the lament-laden words of the queen, whose every syllable had been punctuated with a tear, / Chandaka, face turned down, tongue-tied by his own tearfulness, and hands held like a beggar’s, softly voiced the following response: //8.42//

vigarhituṁ nārhasi devi kanthakaṁ na cāpi roṣaṁ mayi kartum arhasi /
anāgasau svaḥ samavehi sarvaśo gato nṛ-devaḥ sa hi devi devavat // 8.43 //

“Please do not blame Kanthaka, O godly queen, nor show anger towards me. / Know us both as blameless in every way, for that god among men, O royal goddess, departed like a god. //8.43//

ahaṁ hi jānann api rāja-śāsanaṁ balāt kṛtaḥ kair api daivatair iva /
upānayaṁ tūrṇam imaṁ turaṅgamaṁ tathānvagacchaṁ vigata-śramo ’dhvani // 8.44 //

For, knowing full-well the instruction of the king, Rāja-śāsanam. Ostensible meaning: King Śuddhodana’s command. Hidden meaning: the teaching of the king of dharma. 59 I, as though I were compelled by gods of some description, / Swiftly brought this swift horse, and in that effortless manner I followed, on the road. A suggestion of action – non-doing action – that seems effortlessly to do itself, when the gods are on our side. 60 //8.44//

vrajann ayaṁ vāji-varo ’pi nāspṛśan mahīṁ khurāgrair vidhṛtair ivāntarā /
tathaiva daivād iva saṁyatānano hanu-svanaṁ nākṛta nāpy aheṣata // 8.45 //

This royal war-horse, also, as he went, did not touch the ground, the tips of his hooves seeming to dangle separately in midair. / His mouth was sealed as if, again, by a divine force; he neither neighed nor made a sound with his jaws [neither neighed nor sounded the warning of death and disease]. A suggestion of action that does itself in the Meditation Hall (as opposed to preaching that does itself in the Dharma Hall)? 61 //8.45//

yadā bahir gacchati pārthivātmaje tadābhavad dvāram apāvṛtaṁ svayam /
tamaś ca naiśaṁ raviṇeva pāṭitaṁ tato ’pi daivo vidhir eṣa gṛhyatām // 8.46 //

The moment that the prince moved outwards, the way out spontaneously became open / And the darkness of night was broken as if by the sun – hence, again, let this be grasped as action in the presence of the gods. //8.46//

yad apramatto ’pi narendra-śāsanād gṛhe pure caiva sahasraśo janaḥ /
tadā sa nābudhyata nidrayā hṛtas tato ’pi daivo vidhir eṣa gṛhyatām // 8.47 //

In accordance with the instruction of the best of men, people in their thousands, in house and town, were leaving nothing unattended; Ostensible meaning: at King Śuddhodana’s behest, everybody was on guard. Hidden meaning: in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching, many individuals devoted themselves to mindful practice – wherein body and mind dropped off naturally. 62 / In that moment all were seized by repose and not roused to wakefulness Abudhyata is imperfect (woke up) or imperfect passive (was awakened). In looking for the hidden meaning, we are caused to question how or whether anybody wakes up or is woken up, with or without outside intervention. 63 – hence, again, let this be grasped as action in the zone of the gods. //8.47//

yataś ca vāso vana-vāsa-saṁmataṁ nisṛṣṭam asmai samaye divaukasā /
divi praviddhaṁ mukuṭaṁ ca tadd hṛtaṁ tato ’pi daivo vidhir eṣa gṛhyatām // 8.48 //

And since, in that most opportune of moments, the robe approved for living the forest life was bestowed on him by a sky dweller, / And that headdress which he launched into the sky was borne away – hence, again, let this be grasped as action in the lap of the gods. //8.48//

tad evam āvāṁ nara-devi doṣato na tat-prayātaṁ prati-gantum arhasi /
na kāma-kāro mama nāsya vājinaḥ kṛtānuyātraḥ sa hi daivatair gataḥ // 8.49 //

Therefore, O royal goddess!, do not blame the two of us for his departure. / It was neither my nor this horse’s own doing; for he went with the gods in his train.” In the hidden meaning, a reminder that non-doing action is beyond psycho-physical duality. 64 //8.49//

iti prayāṇaṁ bahudhaivam adbhutaṁ niśamya tās tasya mahātmanaḥ striyaḥ /
pranaṣṭa-śokā iva vismayaṁ yayur mano-jvaraṁ pravrajanāt tu lebhire // 8.50 //

When thus the women heard of the starting out, which was in so many ways miraculous, of that mighty man, / They felt such amazement that the flame of sorrow seemed to go out. And yet they conceived, following on from the going forth, fever of the mind. Mano-jvaram, “fever of the mind,” ostensibly means grief, mental pain, heartache, following the prince’s going forth. The hidden meaning might be that, following their own transcendence of grief, they became zealous in practice. 65 //8.50//

viṣāda-pāriplava-locanā tataḥ pranaṣṭa-potā kurarīva duḥkhitā /
vihāya dhairyaṁ virurāva gautamī tatāma caivāśru-mukhī jagāda ca // 8.51 //

Then, her eyes swimming in despondency, the grief-stricken Gautamī, like an osprey who had lost her chicks, / Gave up all semblance of composure and squealed. Tearful-faced, she gasped for the breath in which she said: //8.51//

mahormimanto mṛdavo ’sitāḥ śubhāḥ pṛthak-pṛthaṅ mūla-ruhāḥ samudgatāḥ /
praveritās te bhuvi tasya mūrdha-jā narendra-maulī-pariveṣṭana-kṣamāḥ // 8.52 //

“Flowing in great waves, soft, black and beautiful, each hair rising up singly, growing from its own root: / Have those locks of his, born from his head, been cast upon the ground? – locks of hair which are fit to be encircled by a king’s crown! //8.52//
[Alternative translation]
Flowing in great waves, soft, beautiful, and not white, Asita, “not-white,” means black. The word is thought to be a back formation from sita, white. In its hidden meaning, as in connection with the sage Asita in BC Canto 1, asita suggests what is real as negation of idealistic purity. 66 those thoughts of his, born from the summit, Mūrdha-jāḥ, lit. “born from the head,” ostensibly means hairs; but in the hidden meaning, thoughts. At the same time, mūrdhan can mean the top or summit of anything. So there may be an added meaning of transcendent thoughts, thoughts of a higher order. 67 have been cast upon the act of becoming The meanings of bhū include 1. the act of becoming or arising, 2. the earth. 68 – / Each thought emerging singly, springing up from the fundamental: thoughts which are fit to encase the cranium of the best of men! //8.52//

pralamba-bāhur mṛga-rāja-vikramo maharṣabhākṣaḥ kanakojjvala-dyutiḥ /
viśāla-vakṣā ghana-dundubhi-svanas tathā-vidho ’py āśrama-vāsam arhati // 8.53 //

Does he with his long hanging arms and lion’s stride, with his great bull-like eyes, and his splendid golden lustre, / With his broad chest and thunderous resonance – does such a man deserve a life in an ashram? //8.53//

abhāginī nūnam iyaṁ vasuṁ-dharā tam ārya-karmāṇam anuttamaṁ patim /
tatas tato ’sau guṇavān hi tādṛśo nṛpaḥ prajā-bhāgya-guṇaiḥ prasūyate // 8.54 //

Shall this treasure-bearing earth not claim as her possessor that peerless man of noble action? / For such a protector of men, endowed as that one is in all respects with virtues, is born to her by the merits that her offspring accrue. Ostensibly Queen Gautamī is expressing a doubt about whether law of cause and effect will hold – the Earth deserves to be possessed by such a man as Siddhārtha, but he has abandoned his inheritance. Below the surface, the Queen’s question represents ironic affirmation of cause and effect, since beneath the bodhi tree he will make the earth into his own possession. 69 //8.54//

sujāta-jālāvatatāṅgulī mṛdū nigūḍha-gulphau viṣa-puṣpa-komalau /
vanānta-bhūmiṁ kaṭhināṁ kathaṁ nu tau sa-cakra-madhyau caraṇau gamiṣyataḥ // 8.55 //

How will his soft feet, with the web of the perfectly formed spreading between the toes – feet which, with their ankles concealed, have the tincture of the blue lotus As it stands the 2nd pāda is enigmatic, leading EH Johnston to amend viṣa-puṣpa (“the poisonous flower” = the blue lotus) to bisa-puṣpa (“[as tender as] a lotus-fibre or a flower”). Bisa means shoot, or fibre of the lotus. Puṣpa means flower. And komala means 1. tender, and 2. of like colour. With EHJ’s amendment to bisa-puṣpa-komalau, then, the 2nd pāda carries on from the 1st pāda describing the softness of the prince’s feet. If the original was viṣa-puṣpa-komalau, its sense may in fact have been antithetical to the 1st pada, subverting idealism with the suggestion of a flower that on the surface looks as beautiful as a blue lotus but whose name suggests another, different dimension. 70 – / How will those feet tread the hard forest ground? Those two feet, bearing a wheel in the middle: how will they go? //8.55//

vimāna-pṛṣṭhe śayanāsanocitaṁ mahārha-vastrāguru-candanārcitam /
kathaṁ nu śītoṣṇajalāgameṣu tac-charīram ojasvi vane bhaviṣyati // 8.56 //

How will his body, a body used to lying down and sitting up in the palace heights [or sitting in a state risen above disrespect] Vimāna means 1. disrespect, 2. a palace. 71 – a body honoured with the most valuable of garments Ostensibly, golden brocade; in the hidden meaning, a bhikṣu’s robe sewn from discarded cloth. 72 and with the finest a-guru fragrance Aguru means aloe incense; at the same time a-guru literally means “not heavy.” So in the hidden meaning the suggestion is of a body lifted up by lightness. 73 – / How will his body subsist when cold and heat and rain come in? That body so possessed of vitality: how, in the forest, will it be? //8.56//

kulena sattvena balena varcasā śrutena lakṣmyā vayasā ca garvitaḥ /
pradātum evābhyudito na yācituṁ kathaṁ sa bhikṣāṁ parataś cariṣyati // 8.57 //

How will a man so proud of his family, character, strength and shining splendour – so proud of his learning, prosperity, and power – / A man so up for giving, not for taking: how will he go around begging from others? //8.57//

śucau śayitvā śayane hiraṇ-maye prabodhyamāno niśi tūrya-nisvanaiḥ /
kathaṁ bata svapsyati so ’dya me vratī paṭaikadeśāntarite mahī-tale // 8.58 //

How will he who, having slept on a pure golden bed, is awakened in the night by sounds of musical instruments, / How now will my vow-keeper drop off, on the surface of the earth, with a single piece of cloth in between?” //8.58//
[Alternative translation]
How will he who, after lying down in a pure golden act of lying down, Śayana means bed; but originally it is an -na neuter action noun which means lying down, reclining – one of the four kinds of action, along with āsana, sitting. 74 is caused to expand The meanings of pra-√budh include 1. to awaken (trans.), and 2. to cause to expand or bloom. 75 in the night by sounds in the fourth state: Tūrya means 1. a musical instrument, but 2. (= turya) the fourth, forming a fourth part, the fourth state.76 / How now will my vow-keeper With me vratī, “my vow-observing [husband],” Yaśodharā is ostensibly being sarcastic. Below the surface, however, vratī accurately describes the prince as one who will keep his vow (see BC5.84) to reach the far shore. 77 drop off, on the surface of the earth, with a single piece of cloth Paṭaika ostensibly means what passes as an ascetic’s bedding, for sleeping; in the hidden meaning, a prostration cloth, for bowing. 78 in between?” //8.58//

imaṁ pralāpaṁ karuṇaṁ niśamya tā bhujaiḥ pariṣvajya paras-paraṁ striyaḥ /
vilocanebhyaḥ salilāni tatyajur madhūni puṣpebhya iveritā latāḥ // 8.59 //

Having heard this pitiful Karuṇam. See note to verse 4 above. 79 lament, the women entwined each other with their arms / And let the tears drop from their eyes – like shaken creepers dropping beads of nectar from their flowers. Again, the suggestion below the surface is of a group of individuals touched by the teaching of the truth of suffering. Though the emotion in question is grief, Aśvaghoṣa sees beauty in it. 80 //8.59//

tato dharāyām apatad yaśodharā vicakravākeva rathāṅga-sāhvayā /
śanaiś ca tat tad vilalāpa viklavā muhur muhur gadgada-ruddhayā girā // 8.60 //

Then Yaśodharā, “Bearer of Glory,” dropped to the all-bearing earth like a goose named, for her circular call, rathāṅgā, Rathāṅga-sāhvayā (feminine) means “[the female goose] named rathāṇga, or “chariot’s wheel.’ ” 81 but without the circle-making gander. Cakravāka (masculine) means a male of the same species – rathāṇga and cakravāka are two names for the water-bird, variously identified as the greylag goose, or ruddy goose, or Brahmini duck, couples of which species are known in Sanskrit poetry to call out for each other mournfully during the night in a circular fashion – aṇg, aṇg. Both ratha and cakra convey the meaning of a wheel or circle. See also verse 29. 82 / In dismay, she stuttered bit by bit this and that lament, her voice by sobbing gagged and gagged again. //8.60//

sa mām anāthāṁ saha-dharma-cāriṇīm apāsya dharmaṁ yadi kartum icchati /
kuto ’sya dharmaḥ saha-dharma-cāriṇīṁ vinā tapo yaḥ paribhoktum icchati // 8.61 //

“If he wishes to perform dharma, the Law, having left me widowed, having cast aside his partner in dharma, his lawful wife, / Then where is his dharma? Where is the dharma of one who, without his partner in dharma, wishes to go ahead before her and taste ascetic practice? //8.61//

śṛṇoti nūnaṁ sa na pūrva-pārthivān mahāsudarśa-prabhṛtīn pitā-mahān /
vanāni patnī-sahitān upeyuṣas tathā hi dharmaṁ mad ṛte cikīrṣati // 8.62 //

He surely has never heard of the earth-lords of ancient times, such as ‘Very Beautiful to Behold’ Mahā-su-darśa and other ancestors, / Who went into the woods accompanied by their wives – since thus he wishes, without me, to perform dharma. //8.62//

makheṣu vā veda-vidhāna-saṁskṛtau na daṁpatī paśyati dīkṣitāv ubhau /
samaṁ bubhukṣū parato ’pi tat-phalaṁ tato ’sya jāto mayi dharma-matsaraḥ // 8.63 //

Or else he fails to see that, during sacrificial oblations, both husband and wife are consecrated, both being sanctified through Vedic rites, / And both wishing thereafter to enjoy together the fruit of that sanctification – out of such blindness is born the besotted stinginess with dharma that he has shown towards me. //8.63//

dhruvaṁ sa jānan mama dharma-vallabho manaḥ priyerṣyā-kalahaṁ muhur mithaḥ /
sukhaṁ vibhīr mām apahāya rosaṇāṁ mahendra-loke ’psaraso jighṛkṣati // 8.64 //

Evidently, as dharma’s beloved, he left me suddenly and in secret, knowing that my mind would be violently jealous where he, my own darling, was concerned. / Having so easily and fearlessly deserted me in my anger, he is wishing to obtain heavenly nymphs in the world of Great Indra! //8.64//

iyaṁ tu cintā mama kīdṛśaṁ nu tā vapur-guṇaṁ bibhrati tatra yoṣitaḥ /
vane yad arthaṁ sa tapāṁsi tapyate śriyaṁ ca hitvā mama bhaktim eva ca // 8.65 //

But this concern I do have – what kind of physical excellence do those women possess who are there? / On which account he undergoes austerities in the forest, having abandoned not only royal power but also my loving devotion. //8.65//

na khalv iyaṁ svarga-sukhāya me spṛhā na taj janasyātmavato ’pi dur-labham /
sa tu priyo mām iha vā paratra vā kathaṁ na jahyād iti me mano-rathaḥ // 8.66 //

This longing in me is truly not for the happiness of paradise (Nor is that happiness hard to achieve for a man possessed of himself), / But how might I never be deserted by what I hold most dear? – That is the chariot of my mind. Ratha means 1. chariot, 2. joy. Therefore mano-ratha can mean 1. the chariot of the mind, the mind as a chariot; and 2. a heart’s joy. The hidden meaning might be that the chariot of every human mind is truly driven not by desire for what can be taken away, but rather by desire for what cannot be taken away. 83 //8.66//

abhāginī yady aham āyatekṣaṇaṁ śuci-smitaṁ bhartur udīkṣituṁ mukham /
na manda-bhāgyo ’rhati rāhulo ’py ayaṁ kadā-cid aṅke parivartituṁ pituḥ // 8.67 //

Even if I am not to be blessed with the good fortune to behold the brightly smiling face, with its long eyes, of my husband; / Does this poor unfortunate Rāhula deserve never to roll around in his father’s lap? //8.67//
[Alternative translation]
Even if I am not to be blessed with the good fortune to look up to the brightly smiling face, with its long eyes, of a master; Bhartṛ, depending on context, means a husband or a master. 84 / Does this poor unfortunate Rāhula deserve never to be reborn in the lap of the ancestors Pitṛ, depending on context, means a father or an ancestor. 85? //8.67//

aho nṛ-śaṁsaṁ su-kumāra-varcasaḥ su-dāruṇaṁ tasya manasvino manaḥ /
kala-pralāpaṁ dviṣato ’pi harṣaṇaṁ śiśuṁ sutaṁ yas tyajatīdṛśaṁ svataḥ // 8.68 //

O how terribly hard and cruel is the mind of him, so full of mind, whose light is so gentle! / An infant son, whose burbling would gladden even an enemy, he leaves in such a manner, just as he likes. //8.68//

mamāpi kāmaṁ hṛdayaṁ su-dāruṇaṁ śilā-mayaṁ vāpy ayaso ’pi vā kṛtam /
anāthavac chrī-rahite sukhocite vanaṁ gate bhartari yan na dīryate // 8.69 //

My heart too must be very hard – made of stone or else wrought of iron – / In that it does not split apart, when left like an orphan, now that its protector, who was accustomed to comfort, has gone, shorn of his royal glory, to the forest.” //8.69//

itīha devī pati-śoka-mūrchitā ruroda dadhyau vilalāpa cāsakṛt /
svabhāva-dhīrāpi hi sā satī śucā dhṛtiṁ na sasmāra cakāra no hriyam // 8.70 //

Thus did a goddess here in this world, being insensible with grief on account of her husband [or being caused by grief to grow, on account of a master], Pati-śoka-mūrchitā, as in verse 26. The meanings of pati include lord, husband, and master. Again, mūrchitā ostensibly describes Yaśodharā as insensible, but the hidden meaning of mūrchitā is “caused to grow.” 86 repeatedly weep, reflect, and lament. / For, steadfast as she was by nature, she in her pain was not mindful of constancy and made no show of modesty. In the hidden meaning, she was naturally constant, without trying to be mindful about it, and naturally modest without making any show of it. In this, she was like the beautiful women in BC5.57 who did not make a pretty sight. 87 //8.70//

tatas tathā śoka-vilāpa-viklavāṁ yaśodharāṁ prekṣya vasuṁ-dharā-gatām /
mahāravindair iva vṛṣṭi-tāḍitair mukhaiḥ sa-bāṣpair vanitā vicukruśuḥ // 8.71 //

Then, seeing her thus undone by grief and lamentation, seeing Yaśodharā alighting on the ground In the hidden meaning, seeing her enlightened, awake to harsh reality. 88 – the Bearer of Glory on the treasure-bearing Earth – / The women, with tearful faces like big lotuses battered by raindrops, vented their sorrow. //8.71//

samāpta-jāpyaḥ kṛta-homa-maṅgalo nṛ-pas tu devāyatanād viniryayau /
janasya tenārta-raveṇa cāhataś cacāla vajra-dhvanineva vāraṇaḥ // 8.72 //

The protector of men, meanwhile, having finished with muttering of prayers, being through with oblations and benedictions, had got out from the temple, the abode of gods; In the hidden meaning, a true protector of men (a buddha) is like somebody who has already used a raft to cross over a river and therefore no longer needs a raft – nor indeed a fabrication falsely purporting to be a raft. 89 / And yet, struck by that sound of people suffering, still he trembled, like an elephant struck by the sound of a thunderbolt. //8.72//

niśāmya ca chandaka-kanthakāv ubhau sutasya saṁśrutya ca niścayaṁ sthiram /
papāta śokābhihato mahī-patiḥ śacī-pater vṛtta ivotsave dhvajaḥ // 8.73 //

Having observed the two, Chandaka and Kanthaka, while being well informed as to the steadfast unity of purpose of a son, / A lord of the earth had fallen down, toppled by sorrow, In the hidden meaning, body and mind had dropped off, under the influence of the teaching of the four noble truths. 90 like the flag of Indra, Lord of Might, when the carnival is over. //8.73//

tato muhūrtaṁ suta-śoka-mohito janena tulyābhijanena dhāritaḥ /
nirīkṣya dṛṣṭyā jala-pūrṇayā hayaṁ mahī-tala-stho vilalāpa pārthivaḥ // 8.74 //

And so, momentarily stupefied in filial grief, Suta-śoka could equally mean grief for a son, or the grief of a son. Muhūrtaṁ... mohitaḥ, “momentarily stupefied,” might be an ironic expression of a moment of forgetting oneself. 91 buttressed by people of like ancestry, Ostensibly the king was so weak that he needed to be propped up by family members to enable him to walk. In the hidden meaning, the buddhas of the three times are on the side of one who sits as a lord of the earth. 92 / A lord of the earth, with a view that was full to overflowing, Dṛṣṭyā jala-pūrṇayā ostensibly means “with eyes filled with tears.” In its hidden meaning “with a view filled to overflowing” might be an ironic description of a person who has abandoned all views in dealing with reality. 93 eyeballed a horse, The eye, or more concretely, the eyeball represents the mind as an instrument of practice. Eyeballing the horse suggests no disunity in the psycho-physical. 94 whereupon, standing on the surface of the earth, the earth-lord lamented: In the hidden meaning, an earth-lord’s lament is a buddha’s preaching of the four noble truths. 95 //8.74//

bahūni kṛtvā samare priyāṇi me mahat tvayā kanthaka vipriyaṁ kṛtam /
guṇa-priyo yena vane sa me priyaḥ priyo ’pi sann apriyavat praveritaḥ // 8.75 //

“After doing for me in battle many acts of love, you, Kanthaka, have done one great act of non-love; / For the lover of merit whom I love, your beloved friend though he is, you have cast – lovelessly – into the woods. //8.75//

tad adya māṁ vā naya tatra yatra sa vraja drutaṁ vā punar enam ānaya /
ṛte hi tasmān mama nāsti jīvitaṁ vigāḍha-rogasya sad-auṣadhād iva // 8.76 //

Therefore either take me today to the place where he is, or else go quickly and bring him back here; / For without him there is no life for me, as for a gravely ill man without good medicine. Good medicine – effective medicine without harmful side-effects – is a metaphor for the Buddha’s dharma. 96 //8.76//

suvarṇa-niṣṭhīvini mṛtyunā hṛte su-duṣkaraṁ yan na mamāra saṁjayaḥ /
ahaṁ punar dharma-ratau sute gate mumukṣur ātmānam anātmavān iva // 8.77 //

When ‘Gold-Spitting’ Suvarṇa-niṣṭhīvin was borne away by death, it was a miracle that Saṁjaya ‘The Victorious’ did not die. / I, however, am wishing, with the passing of a dharma-loving son, to be rid of myself, as if I were not in possession of myself. The grief of Saṁjaya (or Sṛṇjaya) when his son Suvarṇa-niṣṭhīvin was borne away by death, is mentioned twice in the Mahā-bhārata. Ostensibly King Śuddhodana is saying his grief is greater even than that, so that he wishes to die. In the hidden meaning, a king of dharma is inclined to forget himself in sitting, dropping off body and mind. 97 //8.77//

vibhor daśa-kṣatra-kṛtaḥ prajāpateḥ parāpara-jñasya vivasvad-ātmanaḥ /
priyeṇa putreṇa satā vinā-kṛtaṁ kathaṁ na muhyed dhi mano manor api // 8.78 //

For, though Manu is the mighty lord of living creatures, maker of ten dominions, knower of former and latter things, son of the shining Sun, / When dispossessed of a beloved true son, how could the mind of even Manu not be bewildered? Ostensibly the king is discussing Manu’s loss of a son. But exactly thinking, the subject that is dispossessed is not Manu but the mind of Manu. In that case the king’s question causes us to ask about bewilderment of a mind – for example, should we endeavour in the direction of non-bewilderment of mind, by developing constancy like the earth (see verse 81 below)? Or should we welcome the bewilderment that follows from the falsification of a long-cherished view? 98 //8.78//

ajasya rājñas tanayāya dhīmate narādhipāyendra-sakhāya me spṛhā /
gate vanaṁ yas tanaye divaṁ gato na mogha-bāṣpaḥ kṛpaṇaṁ jijīva ha // 8.79 //

That wise son of King A-ja, Ajasya rājñas tanaya ostensibly means King Daśa-ratha (‘Ten Chariots’), who was the son of King A-ja (‘Not Born’) and the father of Rāma. 99 ruler of men and friend of Indra: I envy him, / Who, when his son [Rāma] went to the forest, went himself to heaven. He did not live a miserable life of shedding tears in vain. //8.79//
[Alternative translation]
I envy a wise son of a non-hereditary king, A-ja, “not born,” in the hidden meaning, describes a king who was not born into a royal line. And a non-hereditary king means, for example, a lord of the earth in sitting, who has become a lord of the earth by his or her own efforts and thanks to the teaching of a teacher who is not necessarily a blood relative. Implicit in the verse, then, is the principle that the earth-lord who is father of such a son is also, invariably, the son of such a son. 100 a son who was sovereign among men, and a friend of Indra – / A son who, when a son retired to the forest, was in heaven, a son who did not live a pitiable life of shedding tears in vain. Na mogha-bāṣpaḥ, lit. “not being one of vain tears,” ostensibly means not shedding tears, which are in vain (i.e. not enduring vain suffering), but the suggestion below the surface is of not letting one’s endurance of suffering be in vain. We can’t avoid shedding tears. But those tears should not be shed in vain. 101 //8.79//

pracakṣva me bhadra tad āśramājiraṁ hṛtas tvayā yatra sa me jalāñjaliḥ /
ime parīpsanti hi te pipāsavo mamāsavaḥ preta-gatiṁ yiyāsavaḥ // 8.80 //

Describe for me, O friend of benign nature, the hermit’s arena, that place where you have taken him who is my cupped hands for the fluid of forefathers. Jalāñjali means the hollowed palms filled with water offered to ancestors. In the hidden meaning it may represent the means of transmission of that teaching which, metaphorically speaking, is the ancestors’ lifeblood. 102 / For these life-breaths of mine are thirsty, wishing to gain their end, wishing to go the way of the departed.” Again, in the hidden meaning, an ironic expression of desire to walk the path of forgetting the self. 103 //8.80//

iti tanaya-viyoga-jāta-duḥkham kṣiti-sadṛśaṁ saha-jaṁ vihāya dhairyam /
daśaratha iva rāma-śoka-vaśyo bahu vilalāpa nṛ-po vi-saṁjña-kalpaḥ // 8.81 //

Thus, suffering the pain born of a son’s loss, The ostensible meaning of tanaya-viyoga is losing a son, or separation from a son; a hidden meaning is a son’s losing – as when a Zen students forgets himself. In that case “suffering born of a son’s losing,” might describe, for example, legs becoming painful during sitting practice. 104 a protector of men threw away the constancy, akin to the earth, which was his natural birth-right; Kṣiti-sadṛśaṁ saha-jaṁ... dhairyam ostensibly means the gravity (dhairyam) which is innate (saha-jam) in a hereditary earth-lord such as Śuddhodana. In the hidden meaning dhairyam suggests the earth-like virtues of constancy, calmness, and bearing up, which are everybody’s birth-right – i.e. the buddha-nature. In the hidden meaning, to throw away such virtue is to kill the Buddha, if one should meet him on the road. 105 / And like Daśaratha in the grip of grief for Rāma – like he was unconscious Vi-saṁjña-kalpaḥ, “as if unconscious,” ostensibly describes a person who remains in the grip of unconscious reaction. But exactly thinking “as if unconscious” implies being conscious. Ironically, then, the compound suggests the condition of an enlightened being who is holding up a mirror, as it were, to Nature. 106 – he lamented profusely. //8.81//

śruta-vinaya-guṇānvitas tatas taṁ mati-sacivaḥ pravayāḥ puro-hitaś ca /
sama-dhṛtam idam ūcatur yathāvan na ca paritapta-mukhau na cāpy aśokau // 8.82 //

Then he was addressed by a counsellor, a knowing friend possessed of learning, discipline and virtue, and by the family priest, a man advanced in years; / The two spoke fittingly these equally-weighted A suggestion of reason/intelligence co-existing with experience? The two servants of the king seem to represent dual aspects of wisdom, in the same way that Kanthaka and Chandaka seem to represent the physical and the mental. 107 words, neither showing agonized faces nor being nonchalant. //8.82//

tyaja nara-vara śokam ehi dhairyaṁ ku-dhṛtir ivārhasi dhīra nāśru moktum /
srajam iva mṛditām apāsya lakṣmīṁ bhuvi bahavo hi nṛ-pā vanāny atīyuḥ // 8.83 //

“Abandon sorrow, O best of men, and come back to constancy; you should not shed tears, O stout soul, like a man who lacked grit. In the hidden meaning, you should shed tears, but not in the manner of a man who lacked grit. 108 / For, flinging away their fortune like a crushed garland, many rulers of men on this earth have gone into the forests. //8.83//

api ca niyata eṣa tasya bhāvaḥ smara vacanaṁ tad ṛṣeḥ purāsitasya /
na hi sa divi na cakra-varti-rājye kṣaṇam api vāsayituṁ sukhena śakyaḥ // 8.84 //

Moreover, this orientation of mind was predestined in him – remember those words long ago of the seer Asita, ‘the Not White One.’ / For neither in heaven nor in the domain of a wheel-rolling king could he, even for a moment, be made happily to dwell. //8.84//

yadi tu nṛ-vara kārya eva yatnas tvaritam udāhara yāvad atra yāvaḥ /
bahu-vidham iha yuddham astu tāvat tava tanayasya vidheś ca tasya tasya // 8.85 //

But if, O best of men, an effort is emphatically to be made, quickly say the word, and we two will go to it at once. / Let the battle take place, right here right now, on many fronts, between a son of yours and the various prescriptions of fate [or between a son of yours and miscellaneous rules]. Vidher...tasya tasya. The many meanings of vidhi include a rule, injunction, precept, law; method, standard; manner of acting; and fate, destiny. This same counsellor seems to use vidhi in BC9.66-67 in the sense of a rule, standard, or manner of proceeding. 109” //8.85//

nara-patir atha tau śaśāsa tasmād drutam ita eva yuvām abhiprayātam /
na hi mama hṛdayaṁ prayāti śāntiṁ vana-śakuner iva putra-lālasasya // 8.86 //

“On those grounds,” the lord of men then ordered them, “go quickly you two to battle, starting right here; / For my heart no more goes to quiet, than does the heart of a bird of the forest when it longs for a missing nestling.” //8.86//

paramam iti narendra-śāsanāt tau yayatur amātya-purohitau vanaṁ tat /
kṛtam iti sa-vadhū-janaḥ sa-dāro nṛpatir api pracakāra śeṣa-kāryam // 8.87 //

“Agreed!” the two said, in accordance with the order of the first among men. In the hidden meaning, to show an attitude of obedience, or submission to something outside oneself, is, in the final analysis, to be in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching. 110 And to that forest went the two of them, close advisor and family priest. / “Enough said!” said the lord of men. And along with daughters and queen, he got on and did what remained to be done. //8.87//

iti buddha-carite mahā-kāvye ‘ntaḥ-pura-vilāpo nāmāṣṭamaḥ sargaḥ // 8 //
The 8th canto, titled Lamenting from within the Battlements,
in an epic tale of awakened action.