revised version of Saundarananda in English has been prepared (circa
February 2012) in a two-line format, each line corresponding to one
yuga-pāda of the original Sanskrit, instead of the four
line-format which was observed for the translation which was
published day by day on a blog (between December 2008 and November
2011). In many verses the four line-format allows a four-phased
progression to be observed more clearly. The two-lined format has the
advantage of allowing greater flexibility of word order and is
therefore generally more amenable to a natural-sounding English
om namo buddhāya //
Homage to the Buddha
kapilo nāma munir-dharma-bhtāṁ varaḥ /
sage named Kapila Gautama, an outstanding upholder of dharma,
tapasi śrāntaḥ kākṣīvān-iva gautamaḥ // 1.1 //
as consumed in ascetic practice as was Kākṣīvat Gautama.
satataṁ dīptaṁ kāśyapavat-tapaḥ /
he shone his light, like
Kāśyapa the sun, on blazing asceticism;
ca tadvddhau siddhiṁ kāśyapavat parām // 1.2 //
in promoting that asceticism he pushed himself, like Kāśyapa the
to extreme achievement.
yaś-ca svātmārthaṁ gām-adhukṣad vasiṣṭhavat /
the offerings he served himself, he milked a cow, like Vasiṣṭha.
vasiṣṭhavat // 1.3 //
schooling his disciples in asceticism, he milked a cow, like
yo dvitīya ivābhavat /
high-mindedness, he was like a second Dīrgha-tapas;
iva yaś cābhūt kāvyāṅgirasayor-dhiyā // 1.4 //
he was like a third in the mould of Kāvya
in religious thought.
vistīrṇa-tapasaḥ pārśve himavataḥ śubhe /
a bright slope of the Himālayas this man steeped in ascetic practice
cāyatanaṁ caiva tapasām-āśramo 'bhavat // 1.5 //
his ashram, the domain and the very seat of ascetic practices.
with charming shrubs and trees and abounding in lush, soft grass,
yaḥ sadābhra ivābabhau // 1.6 //
was so thick
with sacrificial smoke that it constantly resembled a raincloud.
saikataiḥ snigdhaiḥ kesarāstara-pāṇḍubhiḥ /
soft, sandy, and smooth soil, made yellowish white by a covering of
sāṅgarāga ivābhavat // 1.7 //
divided into areas, with no commingling,
it was like a body painted with cosmetic pigments.
esteemed for their sacred presence, edifying and cultivating,
yas-tasthau sarobhiḥ sasaroruhaiḥ // 1.8 //
friends, were the lakes it stood among – fluent and bearing
sarvato vana-rājibhiḥ /
abundant flowers and fruits beautifying the forests all around it,
vavdhe caiva naraḥ sādhanavān-iva // 1.9 //
shone and it flourished, like a man furnished with a means.
svasthaiḥ śāntair-anutsukaiḥ /
to feed on wild rice and fruit, the ascetics were self-abiding,
inhibited, and retiring.
'pi tapo-bhdbhiḥ śūnyaśūnya ivābhavat // 1.10 //
the ashram was full of them, it seemed to be utterly empty.
hūyamānānāṁ śikhināṁ kūjatām-api /
sound of the fires receiving offerings, of the peacocks with their
crested heads uttering their repetitive cry,
cābhiṣekeṣu śuśruve tatra nisvanaḥ// 1.11 //
of the sacred bathing places, during ablutions, was all that one
yatra suptā medhyāsu vediṣu /
stags there, their manes beautifully braided, on undefiled elevations
fit to be sacrificial altars,
upahārāḥ ktā iva // 1.12 //
as though, complete with puffy rice and mādhavi flowers, they
had been prepared as religious offerings.
kṣudra-mgā yatra śāntāś-ceruḥ samaṁ mgaiḥ /
lesser creatures moved there in the same subdued
manner as the stags,
vinayaṁ śikṣitā iva // 1.13 //
if from their ascetic protectors they had learned the rules of
'py-apunar-bhāve viruddheṣv-āgameṣv-api /
in the face of a precarious immunity to rebirth and notwithstanding
inconsistencies in their time-honoured texts,
ivākurvaṁs tapo yatra tapodhanāḥ // 1.14 //
and then, as if seeing with their own eyes,
the great ascetics practised asceticism.
sma mīyate brahma kaiś-cit kaiś-cin-na mīyate /
some prayed to Brahma; none suffered the frustration of losing his
nimīyate somo na cākāle pramīyate // 1.15 //
at the right moment, was measured out; and nobody, at a random
moment, came to nothing.
śarīreṣu dharme yatra sva-buddhayaḥ/
each disregarding his body, but having his own view with regard to
iva yatnena tāpasās-tepire tapaḥ // 1.16 //
almost bristling with zeal, the ascetics set about their ascetic
practice of asceticism.
munayo yatra svargāyodyukta-cetasaḥ /
the toiling sages, hearts straining heavenward,
dharmasya vilopam-iva cakrire // 1.17 //
by their passion for asceticism almost to do dharma a mischief.
tejasvi-sadanaṁ tapaḥ-kṣetraṁ tam-āśramam /
to that ashram, that seat of intensity, that domain of austerity,
jagmū rājaputrā vivatsavaḥ // 1.18 //
came certain sons of Ikṣvāku,
royal princes, wishing to stay.
siṁhoreskā mahābhujāḥ /
they were like golden columns, lion-chested, strong-armed,
śabdasya mahataḥ śriyāṁ ca vinayasya ca // 1.19 //
of their great name and royal insignia and good upbringing.
hy-anarhasya mahātmānaś-calātmanaḥ /
deserving were they, where undeserving was he. Big-minded were they,
where fickle-minded was he.
prajñā-vimuktasya bhrātvyasya yavīyasaḥ // 1.20 //
bright were they, where brainless was he: their younger half-brother.
te śriyaṁ na
royal authority that had come to him, as his mother's bride-price,
they had not usurped;
pituḥ satyaṁ, yasmāc-chiśriyire vanam // 1.21 //
keeping their father's promise, they had retreated to the forest.
munir-upādhyāyo gautamaḥ kapilo 'bhavat /
sage Kapila Gautama became their preceptor;
kautsās-te bhavanti sma gautamāḥ // 1.22 //
so, from the guru's surname, those Kautsas became Gautamas
bhrātroḥ pthag-guru-parigrahāt /
as, though they were brothers born of one father, because they had
evābhavad gārgyo vāsubhadro 'pi gautamaḥ // 1.23 //
became a Gārgya and Vāsubhadra a Gautama.
vāsaṁ yasmāc-ca cakrire /
since they made a dwelling concealed among śāka trees,
bhuvi śākyā iti smtāḥ // 1.24 //
those descendants of Ikṣvāku were known on earth as Śākyas.
teṣāṁ gautamaś-cakre sva-vaṁsa-sadsīḥ kriyāḥ /
performed services for them as for his own sons,
kumārasya sagarasyeva bhārgavaḥ // 1.25 //
the Bhārgava sage later did for the child-prince Sagara;
śākuntalasyeva bharatasya tarasvinaḥ /
Kaṇva did for Śākuntala's son, the intrepid Bharata;
dhīmāṁś-ca dhīmator-maithileyayoḥ // 1.26 //
like the inspired Vālmīki did for the inspired twin sons of
muninā tena taiś-ca kṣatriya-puṁgavaiḥ /
forest, through the sage, and through those warrior heroes,
guptāṁ ca yugapad brahma-kṣatra-śriyaṁ dadhe // 1.27 //
tranquillity and security -- the majesty of the brahmin and of
the kṣatriya, in one yoke.
ghya teṣāṁ vddhi-cikīrṣayā /
day, while holding a jug of water, in his desire to nurture the
sa viyad-utpatya tān-uvāca npātmajān // 1.28 //
sage went up, into the air. Then he said to them:
patet kalaśād-asmād akṣayya-salilān-mahīm /
will fall to earth from this flowing jug, whose flowing is
tām-anatikramya mām-anveta yathā-kramam // 1.29 //
line of drops: Do not overstep this mark, as in step you follow me."
paramam-ity-uktvā śirobhiḥ praṇipatya ca /
they said to this, and respectfully bowed, letting their heads fall
sarve śīghra-vāhān-alaṁktān // 1.30 //
all went up, onto chariots that were swiftly drawn, and well
sa tair-anugataḥ syandana-sthair-nabho-gataḥ /
they followed him in the flow, while, walking on air,
paricikṣepa vāriṇā // 1.31 //
ends of the earth of that ashram he sprinkled with water.
nimittaiḥ surabhī-ktam /
set out a plan like a chessboard, like an eightfold plan, revealed by
muniḥ sthitvā bhūmi-pāla-sutān-idam // 1.32 //
the sage, standing still, spoke thus to those offspring of the
guardians of the earth:
dhārā-parikṣipte nemi-cihnita-lakṣaṇe /
this sprinkled line of drops, wherein your wheels have left a mark,
puraṁ yūyaṁ mayi yāte triviṣṭapam // 1.33 //
are to build a city, when I am gone to heaven."
kadā-cit-te vīrās-tasmin pratigate munau /
those lads, when in time the sage passed away,
iva niraṅkuśaḥ // 1.34 //
about in their unbridled youth like elephants unchecked by a driver's
roamed about with bows in hand and leather-clad fingers on arrows,
vyāyatābaddha-vāsasaḥ // 1.35 //
causing sizeable quivers to swell, feathers preened and fastened on.
nāgeṣu kauśalaṁ śvāpadeṣu ca /
to test their mettle among the elephants and big cats,
dauṣmanter-deva-karmaṇaḥ // 1.36 //
emulated the god-like deeds of the forest-dwelling son of Duṣyanta.
dṣṭvā praktiṁ yātān vddhān-vyāghra-śiśūn-iva /
their natural character emerge as those lads grew, like tiger cubs,
hitvā himavantaṁ siṣevire // 1.37 //
ascetics abandoned that forest and retreated to the Himālayas.
śūnyaṁ taiḥ śūnya-cetasaḥ /
seeing the ashram without ascetics, desolate, the princes were
desolate in their hearts.
manyunā taptā vyālā iva niśaśvasuḥ // 1.38 //
the red-hot anger of their indignation, they hissed like snakes.
te puṇya-karmāṇaḥ pratyupasthita-vddhayaḥ /
time, through good conduct, they came to a maturity
taj-jñair-upākhyātān avāpur-mahato nidhīn // 1.39 //
which they could obtain the great treasures that are disclosed
through acts of knowing them.
dharmārtha-kāmānāṁ nikhilānām-avāptaye /
for full enjoyment of dharma, wealth, and pleasure;
naika-vidhayo bhūrayas-te gatārayaḥ // 1.40 //
and of many kinds: these were treasures beyond the reach of enemies.
pariṇāmāc-ca karmaṇaḥ /
the grounds of what they thus acquired, and of the fading influence
of their past karma,
vāstuni vāstu-jñāḥ puraṁ śrīman-nyaveśayan // 1.41 //
who knew building, at that site, founded a splendid city.
had a moat as broad as a river, a main street that straightened and
girivrajam-ivāparam // 1.42 //
great ramparts rising like mountains, as if it were another
its fine frontage of white watchtowers, and a well-apportioned
kukṣiṁ himagirer-iva // 1.43 //
by crescents of large houses, it was like a Himālayan valley.
versed in the Vedas and Vedāṅgas,
and engaged in the six occupations,
vddhaye caiva yatra viprān-ajījapan // 1.44 //
they caused to pray, for peace and for prosperity.
prayuktān vinivttaye /
regular soldiers they employed there to repel assailants from their
svena prabhāvena bhtya-daṇḍān-ajījapan // 1.45 //
caused, with their sovereign power, to be victorious in battle.
salajjān dīrgha-darśinaḥ /
of character and means, who were modest, far-sighted,
'tiṣṭhipan yatra śūrān dakṣān kuṭumbinaḥ // 1.46 //
stout and able, they caused to settle there.
possessed of particular strong points such as thinking, talking, and
pratirūpeṣu sacivāṁs-tān-nyayūyujan // 1.47 //
installed in corresponding offices as counsellors and ministers.
by men who were wealthy but not wanton, and cultured but not
babhāse naraiḥ kīrṇaṁ mandaraḥ kinnarair-iva // 1.48 //
city seemed like Mt. Mandara,
thronged by kiṁnaras.
te hṣṭa-manasaḥ paura-prīti-cikīrṣayā /
with glad hearts, desiring to bring joy to the citizens,
commissioned those glorious abodes of beauty that we call 'gardens.'
puṣkariṇīś-caiva paramāgrya-guṇāmbhasaḥ /
lovely lotus pools of finest quality water,
cetanotkarṣād dikṣu sarvāsv-acīkhanan // 1.50 //
at anybody's behest,
but because of being uplifted, they had dug in all directions.
śrīmatīḥ praṣṭhīḥ pathiṣūpavaneṣu ca /
of the first rank, welcoming and splendid, on the roads and in the
kūpavatīś-caiva samantāt pratyatiṣṭhipan // 1.51 //
complete even with wells, they caused to go up on all sides.
with elephants, horses, and chariots,
was crammed with people who did not crowd each other.
nigūḍha-jñāna-pauruṣam // 1.52 //
wealth was available to the needy, not secreted; but learning and
spirit ran secret and deep.
ādhānam-iva tejasām /
a place where goals converge, where energies are focused,
vidyānāṁ saṁketam-iva saṁpadām // 1.53 //
learning activities are housed together, and where achievements come
guṇavatām āśrayaṁ śaraṇaiṣiṇām /
was a homing tree for high flyers, a refuge for those seeking a place
kta-śāstrāṇām ālānaṁ bāhu-śālinām // 1.54 //
arena for those skilled in scientific endeavour, and a tethering post
for the mighty.
kriyā-vidhibhir-eva ca /
means of meetings, festivals, and acts of giving, and by means of
jagad-dhāma tat-puram // 1.55 //
heroes brought that city, the light of the world, to a glorious
ca kaṁ-cin-nācīkaran karam /
they never levied any tax that was not just,
kālena tat-tadāpūpuran puram // 1.56 //
in a short time they caused the city to be full.
ca tasya-rṣes-tasminn-āśrama-vāstuni /
since, on the site of the ashram of the seer Kapila,
tat-puraṁ cakrus-tasmāt kapilavāstu tat // 1.57 //
had built that city, therefore it was called Kapilavāstu.
makandasya kuśāmbasyeva cāśrame /
as cities sited on the ashrams of Kakanda, Makanda and Kuśāmba
yathā hi śrūyante tathaiva kapilasya tat // 1.58 //
called after them, so that city was called after Kapila.
puraṁ tat-puruhūta-kalpās-te tejasāryeṇa na vismayena /
equals of Indra took charge of that city with noble ardour but
śaśvat sutā yayāter-iva kīrtimantaḥ // 1.59 //
they thus took on forever the fragrance of honour, like the
celebrated sons of Yayāti.
rājaputrair-arājakaṁ naiva rarāja rāṣṭram /
under the sons of kings, active though they were as protectors, that
kingless kingdom lacked kingly lustre --
dīpyamānair-anutthite candra ivāntarīkṣam // 1.60 //
the sky, though stars are shining in their thousands, before the moon
jyāyān-atha vayasā guṇaiś-ca teṣāṁ bhrātṇāṁ
vṣabha ivaujasā vṣāṇām /
the senior among those brothers, in age and in merits, like the bull
which is chief among bulls in bodily power,
tatra priya-guravas-tam-abhyaṣiñcann ādityā daśaśata-locanaṁ
divīva // 1.61 //
anointed there, attaching to the important, like the Ādityas in
heaven anointing thousand-eyed Indra.
¦¦ dharmāya nendriya-sukhāya dhtātapatraḥ /
of good conduct, discipline, prudence and industry,
the big umbrella for duty's sake, not to pander to the power of the
parivtaḥ sa jugopa rāṣṭraṁ ¦¦ saṁkrandano
divam-ivānusto marudbhiḥ // 1.62 //
guarded that realm, surrounded by his brothers,
roaring Indra guarding heaven with his retinue of storm-gods.
mahākāvye kapilavāstu-varṇano nāma prathamaḥ sargaḥ //1//
1st Canto in the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled "A Portrait of