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atha saṃrādhito nandaḥ śraddhāṃ prati maharṣiṇā /

And so, Nanda was affirmed by the great seer, in the matter of confidence;

pariṣikto 'mṛteneva yuyuje parayā mudā // 13.1 //

He felt filled with the deepest joy, as if drenched in the deathless nectar.


kṛtārtham-iva taṃ mene saṃbuddhaḥ śraddhayā tayā /

To the Fully Awakened Buddha, by virtue of that confidence, he seemed already to be a success;

mene prāptam-iva śreyaḥ sa ca buddhena saṃskṛtaḥ // 13.2 //

And to himself, having been initiated by the Buddha, he felt as though he had arrived already on the better path.


ślakṣṇena vacasā kāṃś-cit kāṃś-cit paruṣayā girā /

Some in soothing tones; some with tough talk,

kāṃś-cid-ābhyām-upāyābhyāṃ sa vininye vināyakaḥ // 13.3 //

Some by both these means, he the trainer trained.


pāṃsubhyaḥ kāñcanaṃ jātaṃ viśuddhaṃ nirmalaṃ śuci /

Just as gold born from dirt is pure, spotless, gleaming,

sthitaṃ pāṃsuṣv-api yathā pāṃsu-doṣair-na lipyate // 13.4 //

And while lying in the dirt is not tarnished by the dirt's impurities,


padma-parṇaṃ yathā caiva jale jātaṃ jale sthitam /

And just as a lotus-leaf is born in water and remains in water,

upariṣṭād-adhastād-vā na jalenopalipyate // 13.5 //

But neither above nor below is sullied by the water,


tadval-loke munir-jāto lokasyānugrahaṃ caran /

So the Sage, born in the world, and acting for the benefit of the world,

kṛtitvān-nirmalatvāc-ca loka-dharmair-na lipyate // 13.6 //

Because of his state of action, and spotlessness, is not tainted by worldly things.


śleṣaṃ tyāgaṃ priyaṃ rūkṣaṃ kathāṃ ca dhyānam-eva ca /

Joining with others and leaving them; love and toughness; and talking, as well as meditation itself:

mantu-kāle cikitsārthaṃ cakre nātmānuvṛttaye // 13.7 //

He used these means during his instruction for the purpose of healing, not to make a following for himself.


ataś-ca saṁdadhe kāyaṃ mahākaruṇayā tayā /

Thus did the benevolent one, out of his great compassion, take on a form

mocayeyaṃ kathaṃ duḥkhāt sattvānīty-anukampakaḥ // 13.8 //

By which he might release fellow living beings from suffering.


atha saṃharṣaṇān-nandaṃ viditvā bhājanī-kṛtam /

Seeing, then, that by boosting Nanda he had made a receptacle,

abravīd bruvatāṃ śreṣṭhaḥ krama-jñaḥ śreyasāṃ kramam // 13.9 //

The best of speakers, the knower of processes, spoke of better ways as a process:


ataḥ prabhṛti bhūyas-tvaṃ śraddhendriya-puraḥsaraḥ /

"Starting afresh from here, my friend, with the power of confidence leading you forward,

amṛtasyāptaye saumya vṛttaṃ rakṣitum-arhasi // 13.10 //

In order to get to the nectar of deathlessness you should watch the manner of your action.


prayogaḥ kāya-vacasoḥ śuddho bhavati te yathā /

So that the use of body and voice becomes simple for you,

uttāno vivṛto gupto 'navacchidras-tathā kuru // 13.11 //

Make it expansive and open, and guarded, and free from disconnectedness --


uttāno bhāva-karaṇād vivṛtaś-cāpy-agūhanāt /

Expansive by reality's doing; open from not hiding;

gupto rakṣaṇa-tātparyād-acchidraś-cānavadyataḥ // 13.12 //

Guarded because aimed at prevention; and unbroken through absence of fault.


śarīra-vacasoḥ śuddhau saptāṅge cāpi karmaṇi /

With regard for purity of body and voice, and with regard also for the sevenfold [prohibition on bodily and vocal] conduct,1

ājīva-samudācāraṃ śaucāt saṃskartum-arhasi // 13.13 //

You should work to perfect a proper way of making a living, on the grounds of integrity --


doṣāṇāṃ kuhanādīnāṃ pañcānām-aniṣevaṇāt /

On the grounds of not indulging the five faults, beginning with hypocrisy;

tyāgāc-ca jyotiṣādīnāṃ caturṇāṃ vṛtti-ghātinām // 13.14 //

On the grounds of fleeing the four predators of practice, such as astrology;


prāṇi-dhānya-dhanādīnāṃ varjyānām-apratigrahāt /

On the grounds of not accepting things to be avoided, such as valuables linked to the needless killing of living creatures;2

bhaikṣāṅgānāṃ nisṛṣṭānāṃ niyatānāṃ pratigrahāt // 13.15 //

On the grounds of accepting the established rules for begging, with their definite limits;


parituṣṭaḥ śucir-mañjuś-caukṣayā jīva-saṃpadā /

As a person who is contented, pristine, and pleasant, you can, through making a living cleanly and well,

kuryā duḥkha-pratīkāraṃ yāvad-eva vimuktaye // 13.16 //

Counteract suffering all the way to liberation.


karmaṇo hi yathādṛṣṭāt kāya-vāk-prabhavād-api /

Separately from overt action, and from the origin of the use of body and voice,

ājīvaḥ pṛthag-evokto duḥśodhatvād-ayaṃ mayā // 13.17 //

I have spoken of making a living because it is so hard to make a pure one --


gṛha-sthena hi duḥśodhā dṛṣṭir-vividha-dṛṣṭinā /

For hard to be washed away is the view of a househoulder with his many and various concerns,

ājīvo bhikṣuṇā caiva pareṣv-āyatta-vṛttinā // 13.18 //

And also [hard to be kept pure] is the livelihood of a beggar whose subsistence depends on others.


etāvac-chīlam-ity-uktam-ācāro 'yaṃ samāsataḥ /

Such is termed "the discipline of integrity." In sum, it is conduct;

asya nāśena naiva syāt pravrajyā na gṛhasthatā // 13.19 //

Without it there could truly be no going forth, nor state of being at home.


tasmāc-cāritra-sampanno brahmacaryam-idaṃ cara /

Steeped in good conduct, therefore, lead this life of devout abstinence,

aṇumātreṣv-avadyeṣu bhaya-darśī dṛḍha-vrataḥ // 13.20 //

And in what is even minutely blameworthy see danger, being firm in your purpose.


śīlam-āsthāya vartante sarvā hi śreyasi kriyāḥ /

For founded on integrity unfurl all actions on the better path,

sthānādyānīva kāryāṇi pratiṣṭhāya vasundharām // 13.21 //

Just as events like standing unfold when a force resists the earth.


mokṣasyopaniṣat saumya vairāgyam-iti gṛhyatām /

Let it be grasped, my friend, that release is seated in dispassion,

vairāgyasyāpi saṃvedaḥ saṃvido jñāna-darśanam // 13.22 //

Dispassion in conscious awareness, and conscious awareness in knowing and seeing.


jñānasyopaniṣac-caiva samādhir-upadhāryatām /

And let it be experienced, again, that the knowing is seated in a stillness

samādher-apy-upaniṣat sukhaṃ śārīra-mānasam // 13.23 //

And that the seat of the stillness is a body-mind at ease.


praśrabdhiḥ kāya-manasaḥ sukhasyopaniṣat parā /

An assurance on which sits ease of the body-mind is of the highest order,

praśrabdher-apy-upaniṣat prītir-apy-avagamyatām // 13.24 //

And the assurance is seated in enjoyment. Again, let this be realised in experience.


tathā prīter-upaniṣat prāmodyaṃ paramaṃ matam /

The enjoyment is seated in a great happiness which, similarly, is understood to be of the highest order;

prāmodyasyāpy-ahṛllekhaḥ kukṛteṣv-akṛteṣu vā // 13.25 //

And the happiness is seated in a freedom from furrowing the heart over things done badly or not done.


avilekhasya manasaḥ śīlaṃ tūpaniṣac-chuci /

But the freedom of the mind from remorse is seated in pristine practice of integrity.

ataḥ śīlaṃ nayaty-agryam-iti śīlaṃ viśodhaya // 13.26 //

Therefore, realising that integrity comes first, purify the discipline of integrity.


śīlanāc-chīlam-ity-uktaṃ śīlanaṃ sevanād-api /

The discipline of integrity is so called because it comes out of repeated practice;3 repeated practice comes out of devotion to training;

sevanaṃ tan-nideśāc-ca nideśaś-ca tad-āśrayāt // 13.27 //

Devotion to training comes out of direction in it; and direction comes out of submitting to that direction.


śīlaṃ hi śaraṇaṃ saumya kāntāra iva daiśikaḥ /

For the discipline of integrity, my friend, is the refuge: it is like a guide in the wilderness,

mitraṃ bandhuś-ca rakṣā ca dhanaṃ ca balam-eva ca // 13.28 //

It is friend, kinsman, and protector; it is wealth, and it is strength.


yataḥ śīlam-ataḥ saumya śīlaṃ saṃskartum-arhasi /

Since the discipline of integrity is such, my friend, you should work to perfect the discipline of integrity.

etat-sthānam-athānyeṣu mokṣārambheṣu yoginām // 13.29 //

Among those who practise, moreover, this is the stance taken in different endeavours whose aim is freedom.4


tataḥ smṛtim-adhiṣṭhāya capalāni svabhāvataḥ /

On this basis, standing grounded in awareness,

indriyāṇīndriyārthebhyo nivārayitum-arhasi // 13.30 //

You should hold back the naturally impetuous senses from the objects of those senses.


bhetavyaṃ na tathā śatror-nāgner-nāher-na cāśaneḥ /

There is less to fear from an enemy or from fire, or from a snake, or from lightning,

indriyebhyo yathā svebhyas-tair-ajasraṃ hi hanyate // 13.31 //

Than there is from one's own senses; for by them one is forever being smitten.


dviṣadbhiḥ śatrubhiḥ kaś-cit kadā-cit pīḍyate na vā /

Some people some of the time are beleaguered by hateful enemies – or else they are not.

indriyair-bādhyate sarvaḥ sarvatra ca sadaiva ca // 13.32 //

Besieged by the senses are all people everywhere, all of the time.


na ca prayāti narakaṃ śatru-prabhṛtibhir-hataḥ /

Nor does one go to hell when smitten by the likes of an enemy;

kṛṣyate tatra nighnas-tu capalair-indriyair-hataḥ // 13.33 //

But meekly is one pulled there when smitten by the impetuous senses.


hanyamānasya tair-duḥkhaṃ hārdaṃ bhavati vā na vā /

The pain of being smitten by those others may occur in the heart – or else it may not.

indriyair-bādhyamānasya hārdaṃ śārīram-eva ca // 13.34 //

The pain of being oppressed by one's senses is a matter of the heart and indeed of the body.


saṃkalpa-viṣa-digdhā hi pañcendriya-mayāḥ śarāḥ /

For smeared with the poison of conceptions, are those arrows, produced from five senses,

cintā-puṅkhā rati-phalā viṣayākāśa-gocarāḥ // 13.35 //

Whose tails are anxiety, whose tips are thrills, and whose range is the vast emptiness of objects.


manuṣya-hariṇān ghnanti kāma-vyādheritā hṛdi /

Fired off by Desire, the hunter, they strike human fawns in the heart;

vihanyante yadi na te tataḥ patanti taiḥ kṣatāḥ // 13.36 //

Unless they are warded away, men wounded by them duly fall.


niyamājira-saṃsthena dhairya-kārmuka-dhāriṇā /

Standing firm in the arena of restraint, and bearing the bow of resolve,

nipatanto nivāryās-te mahatā smṛti-varmaṇā // 13.37 //

The mighty man, as they rain down, must fend them away, wearing the armour of reflected awareness.


indriyāṇām-upaśamād-arīṇāṃ nigrahād-iva /

From ebbing of the power of the senses, as if from subjugation of enemies,

sukhaṃ svapiti vāste vā yatra tatra gatoddhavaḥ // 13.38 //

One sleeps or sits at ease, in joyful recreation, wherever one may be.


teṣāṃ hi satataṃ loke viṣayān-abhikāṅkṣatām /

For in the constant hankering of those senses after objects in the world,

saṃvin-naivāsti kārpaṇyāc-chunām-āśāvatām-iva // 13.39 //

There occurs out of that ignominy no more consciousness than there is in the hoping of hounds.


viṣayair-indriya-grāmo na tṛptim-adhigacchati /

A cluster of sense organs is no more sated by objects,

ajasraṃ pūryamāṇo 'pi samudraḥ salilair-iva // 13.40 //

Than is the ocean, even when constantly filled, by water.


avaśyaṃ gocare sve sve vartitavyam-ihendriyaiḥ /

It is necessarily through the senses, each in its own sphere, that one must function in this world.

Nimittaṃ tatra na grāhyam-anuvyañjanam-eva ca // 13.41 //

But not to be seized upon in that realm is an objectified image or any secondary sexual sign:5


ālokya cakṣuṣā rūpaṃ dhātu-mātre vyavasthitaḥ /

On seeing a form with your eye you are contained in the sum of the elements:

strī veti puruṣo veti na kalpayitum-arhasi // 13.42 //

The conception that 'it is a woman' or 'it is a man' you should not frame.6


sacet strī-puruṣa-grāhaḥ kva-cid vidyeta kaś-cana /

If a notion of woman or man does intrude at any time in relation to anyone,

śubhataḥ keśa-dantādīn-nānuprasthātum-arhasi // 13.43 //

Upon hair, teeth, and the rest, for their beauty, you should not dwell.


nāpaneyaṃ tataḥ kiṃ-cit prakṣepyaṃ nāpi kiṁcana /

Nothing, then, is to be taken away and nothing is to be added:

draṣṭavyaṃ bhūtato bhūtaṃ yādṛśaṃ ca yathā ca yat // 13.44 //

The reality is to be investigated as it really is, whatever and however it is.


evaṃ te paśyatas-tattvaṃ śaśvad-indriya-gocare /

In your observing what is, like this, always in the territory of the senses,

bhaviṣyati pada-sthānaṃ nābhidhyā-daurmanasyayoḥ // 13.45 //

There will be no foothold for longing and dejection.


abhidhyā priya-rūpeṇa hanti kāmātmakaṃ jagat /

Longing, using cherished forms, smites the sensual masses:

arir-mitra-mukheneva priya-vāk-kaluṣāśayaḥ // 13.46 //

A foe who has a friendly face, she's7 fair of speech and foul of heart.


daurmanasyābhidhānas-tu pratigho viṣayāśritaḥ /

Conversely, what is called dejectedness is, in connection with an object, a contrary reaction

mohād-yenānuvṛttena paratreha ca hanyate // 13.47 //

By going along with which, in one's ignorance, one is smitten hereafter, and smitten here and now.


anurodha-virodhābhyāṃ śitoṣṇābhyām-ivārditaḥ /

When, by getting and not getting his way, a man is pained as if by cold or heat,

śarma nāpnoti na śreyaś-calendriyam-ato jagat // 13.48 //

He finds no refuge; nor arrives on a better path: hence the unsteady sense-power of the masses.


nendriyaṃ viṣaye tāvat pravṛttam-api sajjate /

And yet the power of the senses, though operative, need not become glued to an object,

yāvan-na manasas-tatra parikalpaḥ pravartate // 13.49 //

So long as in the mind, with regard to that object, no conceptualization goes on.8


indhane sati vāyau ca yathā jvalati pāvakaḥ /

Just as a fire burns only where fuel and air co-exist,

viṣayāt parikalpāc-ca kleśāgnir-jāyate tathā // 13.50 //

So a fire of affliction arises, from an object and the forming of a conception.


abhūta-parikalpena viṣayasya hi badhyate /

For through an illusory fixed conception one is bound to an object;

tam-eva viṣayaṃ paśyan bhūtataḥ parimucyate // 13.51 //

Seeing that very same object as it really is, one is set free.


dṛṣṭvaikaṃ rūpam-anyo hi rajyate 'nyaḥ praduṣyati /

On seeing one and the same form this man is enamoured, that man is disgusted;

kaś-cid bhavati madhya-sthas-tatraivānyo ghṛṇāyate // 13.52 //

Somebody else remains in the middle; while yet another feels thereto a human warmth.


ato na viṣayo hetur-bandhāya na vimuktaye /

Thus, an object is not the cause of bondage or of liberation;

parikalpa-viśeṣeṇa saṃgo bhavati vā na vā // 13.53 //

It is due to peculiar fixed conceptions that attachment arises or does not.9


kāryaḥ parama-yatnena tasmād-indriya-saṃvaraḥ /

Through effort of the highest order, therefore, contain the power of the senses;

indriyāṇi hy-agutpāni duḥkhāya ca bhavāya ca // 13.54 //

For unguarded senses make for suffering and for becoming.


kāmabhoga-bhogavadbhir-ātma-dṛṣṭi-dṛṣṭibhiḥ pramāda-naika-mūrdhabhiḥ praharṣa-lola-jihvaiḥ /

The senses are like serpents coiled in sensual enjoyment with eyes of selfish views, their many heads are heedlessness and their flickering tongues are excitement:

indriyoragair-mano-bila-śrayaiḥ spṛhā-viṣaiḥ śamāgadād-ṛte na daṣṭam-asti yac-cikitset // 13.55 //

The snaky senses lurk in mind-pits, their venom eager desire; and when they bite there is no cure, save the antidote of cessation.10


tasmād-eṣām-akuśala-karāṇām-arīṇāṃ cakṣur-ghrāṇa-śravaṇa-rasana-sparśanānām /

Therefore, towards those mischief-making foes, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and feeling,

sarvāvasthāsu bhava niyamād-apramatto māsminn-arthe kṣaṇam-api kṛthās-tvaṃ pramādam // 13.56 //

Show in every situation a vigilance born of restraint. In this matter you are not for an instant to be heedless.



saundaranande mahākāvye śīlendriya-jayo nāma trayodaśaḥ sargaḥ //13//

The 13th Canto in the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled "Defeating the Power of the Senses through the Discipline of Integrity."






1 Of the ten universal precepts referred to in Canto 3, there seem to be seven that specifically prohibit wrong physical and vocal conduct, namely: not inflicting needless suffering on any living being, not stealing, not chasing women who are spoken for; along with not lying, not gossiping, not hurting others with smooth speech, and not slandering others (see verses 3.30 –33).

2 EHJ's original text has prāṇi-dhānya-dhanādīnāṃ (living creatures, grain, money and so on), but EHJ noted that Gawronski's prāṇi-ghāta-dhanādīnāṃ may well be right. Prāṇi-ghātin means killing living beings, so that Gawronski's amendment could mean 'such things as money [procured from needless] killing of living beings' or 'goods [whose production has involved needless] killing of living beings' or 'valuables [whose acquisition has involved needless] killing of living beings.' It is difficult to see why grain would have been avoided.

3 “Repeated practice” is śīlana; “the discipline of integrity” is śīla. So śīla is so called because it comes from śīlana.

4 Yoginām here seems to indicate not only those who practise yoga as directed by the Buddha, for example in Canto 16, but also yogins devoted to other ways of practice whose aim is freedom. The universal principle in the background, recognized by mechanical engineers as well as by yoga adepts, might be the interdependence of freedom and restraint. The use of yoginām in the plural in this verse mirrors the use of śreyasāṃ in the plural in 13.9. The point might be that there is more than one way to liberate oneself from the slavery of habit – the way of a Thai bhikkhu, the way of a Tibetan bodhisattva, the way of a Zen adept, the way of a student of FM Alexander, or J. Krishnamurti, or G. I. Gurdjieff -- but every way is a process, in which the univeral truth holds that there is no freedom without restraint.

5 Anu-vyañjanam is given in the MW dictionary as a word used in Buddhist literature to mean “secondary mark or token.” Meanings of vyañjanam include “mark of sex or gender (as the beard, breasts et cetera),” and the prefix anu- means following from, or secondary. In this verse, the use of anu-vyañjanam in combination with nimittam, sheds some light on a somewhat technical meaning of nimittam. No such Buddhist technical meaning is given in the MW dictionary, which defines nimitta more broadly as 1. mark, target, 2. sign, omen, 3. cause, motive, reason. The Pali-English Dictionary, being more closely based on the Pali canon, defines nimitta as 1. a sign or omen, 2. outward appearance, mark, characteristic, attribute, 3. mark, aim, 4. sexual organ, and 5. ground, reason. Specifically with reference to the practice of meditation, the Pali-English dictionary adds (as part of sense 2) the technical sense of “a mental reflex [i.e. reflection] or image” and cites nimittan gaṇhāti, “to make something the object of a thought, to catch up a theme for reflection.” Nimittam is a key word in Canto 16, and it may be that Aśvaghoṣa deliberately used nimitta in various meanings as an antidote to the sin of certainty.

6 Kalpayitum (the causative infinitive from the root √kḷp) means to frame, form, invent, compose (as a poem et cetera), and hence to imagine.

7 Abhidhyā, desire or longing, is a feminine noun.

8 Or “no fixing goes on” or “no inventing goes on” or “no illusion arises.” Parikalpa is given in the MW dictionary as a word used in Buddhist literature to mean “illusion.” At the same time in non-Buddhist writing, parikalpa = parikalpana: fixing, contriving, making, inventing. The primary meaning of the verb pari-√kḷp is to fix.

9 Here, then, is the Buddha's explicit falsification of the striver's argument that women are to blame for men's reaction to them.

10 This verse was omitted by both EHJ and LC from their respective translations. The verse's spurious metre convinced EHJ that it was an interpolation.






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