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atha dvijo bāla ivāpta-vedaḥ kṣipraṃ vaṇik prāpta ivāpta-lābhaḥ /

And so like a young initiate who mastered the Vedas, like a trader who turned a quick profit,

jitvā ca rājanya ivārisainyaṃ nandaḥ kṛtārtho gurum-abhyagacchat // 18.1 //

Or like a royal warrior who conquered a hostile army, a success, Nanda approached the Guru.


draṣṭuṃ sukhaṃ jñāna-samāpti-kāle gurur-hi śiṣyasya guroś-ca śiṣyaḥ/

For it is pleasant, at a time when wisdom has been fully realized, for teacher to see student, and for student to see teacher,

pariśramas-te saphalo mayīti yato didṛkṣāsya munau babhūva // 18.2 //

Each thinking, "Your toil has rewarded me"; for which same reason the wish to see Nanda arose in the Sage.


yato hi yenādhigato viśeṣas-tasyottamāṅge 'rhati kartum-iḍyām /

Thus is a noble person obliged to pay respect, to his face, to the one through whom he has acquired distinction.

āryaḥ sarāgo 'pi kṛtajña-bhāvāt prakṣīṇamānaḥ kim-u vītarāgaḥ // 18.3 //

Even a noble person who retains the taint of redness is so obliged, out of gratitude: How much more is one with no red taint, all pride having perished?


yasyārtha-kāma-prabhavā hi bhaktis-tato 'sya sā tiṣṭhati rūḍha-mūlā /

For when devotion springs from an agenda or desire, there it remains rooted;

dharmānvayo yasya tu bhakti-rāgas-tasya prasādo hṛdayāvagāḍhaḥ // 18.4 //

But when a person has love and devotion for dharma, that person is steeped to the core in tranquillity.


kāṣāya-vāsāḥ kanakāvadātas-tataḥ sa mūrdhnā gurave praṇeme/

And so, a glowing gold in his yellow-red robe, he bowed his head to the Guru

vāteritaḥ pallava-tāmra-rāgaḥ puṣpojjvala-śrīr-iva karṇikāraḥ // 18.5 //

Like a karnikāra tree, with an outburst of ruddy shoots, and a glorious blaze of flowers, nodding in the wind.


athātmanaḥ śiṣya-guṇasya caiva mahā-muneḥ śāstṛ-guṇasya caiva /

Then, as a manifestation of his individual merit as a student and, indeed, of the great Sage's merit as a teacher,

saṃdarśan-ārthaṃ sa na māna-hetoḥ svāṃ kārya-siddhiṃ kathayām-babhūva // 18.6 //

And not out of pride, he described his own accomplishment of the work that has to be done:


yo dṛṣṭi-śalyo hṛdayāvagāḍhaḥ prabho bhṛśaṃ mām-atudat su-tīkṣṇaḥ /

"The splinter of a view, that had penetrated to my core, O Mighty One, was paining me intensely, being very sharp;

tvad-vākya-saṃdaṃśa-mukhena me sa samuddhṛtaḥ śalya-hṛteva śalyaḥ // 18.7 //

Via the jaws of the pincers of your words -- by means of a means and by way of a mouth1 -- it was pulled out of me as a splinter is removed by a surgeon.


kathaṃkathā-bhāva-gatosmi yena chinnaḥ sa niḥsaṃśaya saṃśayo me/

A doubt, by which I fell into a state of hesitant questioning, O One Beyond Doubt, has been eradicated in me --

tvac-chāsanāt satpatham-āgato 'smi sudeśikasyeva pathi pranaṣṭaḥ // 18.8 //

Through your teaching I have arrived at a true path like a straggler, under a good guide, getting on the road.2


yat-pītam-āsvāda-vaśendriyeṇa darpeṇa kandarpa-viṣaṃ mayāsīt /

With senses ruled by relishing, I madly drank the drug of love;

tan-me hataṃ tvad-vacanāgadena viṣaṃ vināśīva mahāgadena // 18.9 //

Its action was blocked in me by the antidote of your words, as a deadly poison is by a great remedy.3


kṣayaṃ gataṃ janma nirasta-janman saddharma-caryām-uṣito 'smi samyak /

Rebirth is over, O Refuter of Rebirth! I am dwelling as one with observance of true dharma.

kṛtsnaṃ kṛtaṃ me kṛta-kārya kāryaṃ lokeṣu bhūto 'smi na loka-dharmā // 18.10 //

What was for me to do, O Doer of the Necessary! is totally done. I am present in the world without being of the world.


maitrī-stanīṃ vyañjana-cāru-sāsnāṃ saddharma-dugdhāṃ pratibhāna-śṛṅgām /

Having drunk from the milk-cow of your voice, whose udder is loving-kindness, whose lovely dewlap is figures of speech, who is milked for true dharma, and whose horns are boldness of expression,

tavāsmi gāṃ sādhu nipīya tṛptas-tṛṣeva gām-uttama vatsa-varṇaḥ // 18.11 //

I am properly satisfied, O Most Excellent One, like a little calf that, because of thirst, has drunk milk.4


yat-paśyataś-cādhigamo mamāyaṃ tan-me samāsena mune nibodha /

And so, O Sage, hear from me in brief what, through seeing, I have made my own.

sarva-jña kāmaṃ viditaṃ tavaitat svaṃ tūpacāraṃ pravivakṣur-asmi // 18.12 //

Though you know it anyway, O All-knowing One, still I wish to mention how I have worked on myself.


anye 'pi santo vimumukṣavo hi śrutvā vimokṣāya nayaṃ parasya /

For true freedom-loving people (however individual they are) when they hear of another person's plan that led to freedom

muktasya rogād-iva rogavantas-tenaiva mārgeṇa sukhaṃ ghaṭante // 18.13 //

Will happily work at freedom via that same path, like sick men hearing the plan of one who became free from a disease.


urvyādikān janmani vedmi dhātūn nātmānam-urvyādiṣu teṣu kiṁ cit /

In a birth, I perceive earth and the other elements, but in earth and those other elements, I perceive no self at all.

yasmād-atas-teṣu na me 'sti saktir bahiś-ca kāyena samā matir-me // 18.14 //

On that basis, there is no attachment in me to those elements; my orientation is equal with regard to my body and outside.


skandhāṁś-ca rūpa-prabhṛtīn daśārdhān paśyāmi yasmāc capalān-asārān /

Again, the five skandhas, beginning with the organized body, I see to be inconstant and without substance,

anātmakāṁś-caiva vadhātmakāṁś-ca tasmād vimukto 'smy-aśivebhya ebhyaḥ // 18.15 //

As well as unreal and life-negating; therefore I am free from those pernicious constructs.


yasmāc-ca paśyāmy-udayaṁ vyayaṁ ca sarvāsv-avasthāsv-aham-indriyāṇāṁ /

Since I see for myself an arising and a vanishing in all situations in the realms of the senses,

tasmād-anityeṣu nirātmakeṣu duḥkheṣu me teṣv-api nāsti saṁgaḥ // 18.16 //

Therefore, again, there is in me no clinging to those aforementioned elements which are impermanent, impersonal, and unsatisfactory.


yataś-ca lokaṁ sama-janma-niṣṭhaṁ paśyāmi niḥsāram-asac-ca sarvaṁ /

Again, on the grounds that I see the whole world as emerging and in the same moment passing away, as having no essential meaning and not being as it ought to be,

ato dhiyā me manasā vibaddham asmīti me neñjitam-asti yena // 18.17 //

On these grounds, because of meditation, the world is bound fast by my mind in such a way that there is no flicker in me of 'I am.'5


catur-vidhe naikavidha-prasaṁge yato 'ham-āhāra-vidhāv-asaktaḥ /

There is all manner of indulging in the four sorts of food, but since I am not attached to how I take food,

amūrcchitaś-cāgrathitaś-ca tatra tribhyo vimukto 'smi tato bhavebhyaḥ // 18.18 //

Since when it comes to food I am not congealed or trussed up, I am free, on that score, from three kinds of becoming.6


aniścitaś-cāpratibaddha-citto dṛṣṭa-śrutādau vyavahāra-dharme /

In the daily round of dharma-practice since I am neither certain about nor bound in mind to visual, auditory and other kinds of perception,

yasmāt samātmānugataś-ca tatra tasmād visaṃyoga-gato 'smi muktaḥ // 18.19 //

And since through that dharma-round I am graced by trailing equanimity, on that account I am detached and am free."7


ity-evam-uktvā guru-bāhumānyāt sarveṇa kāyena sa gāṃ nipannaḥ /

After speaking thus, he prostrated himself on the ground with his whole body, out of deep appreciation for the Guru;

praverito lohita-candanākto haimo mahā-stambha ivābabhāse //18.20 //

He looked like a great fallen column of gold tinged with red sandalwood.


tataḥ pramādāt prasṛtasya pūrvaṁ śrutvā dhṛtiṁ vyākaraṇaṁ ca tasya /

Then, after listening to him who had emerged already out of heedlessness, after hearing his firmness and his testimony

dharmānvayaṁ cānugataṁ prasādaṁ meghasvaras-taṁ munir-ābabhāṣe //18.21//

And a clarity consistent with the gist of dharma, the Sage boomed at him like a thundercloud:


uttiṣṭha dharme sthita śiṣya-juṣṭe kiṃ pādayor-me patito 'si murdhnā /

"You who stands firm in the dharma which is loved by those who study it, stand up! Why are you fallen with your head at my feet?

abhyarcanaṃ me na tathā praṇāmo dharme yathaiṣā pratipattir-eva //18.22 //

The prostration does not honour me so much as this surefootedness in the dharma.


adyāsi su-pravrajito jitātmann aiśvaryam-apy-ātmani yena labdham /

Today, conqueror of yourself, you have truly gone forth, since you have thereby gained sovereignty over yourself.

jitātmanaḥ pravrajanaṃ hi sādhu calātmano na tv-ajitendriyasya //18.23 //

For in a person who has conquered himself, going forth has worked; whereas in an impulsive person whose senses remain unconquered, it has not.


adyāsi śaucena pareṇa yukto vāk-kāya-cetāṁsi śucīni yat-te /

Today you are possessed of purity of the highest order, in that your voice, body, and mind are untainted,

ataḥ punaś-cāprayatāṁ-asaumyāṁ yat-saumya no vekṣyasi garbha-śayyām // 18.24 //

And in that, henceforward, my gentle friend, you will not again be confined in the ungentle womb of unready slumber.


adyārthavat-te śrutavac-chrutaṃ tac-chrutānurūpaṃ pratipadya dharmaṁ /

Listening ears open to the truth which is replete with listening, and with purpose, today you stand surefooted in the dharma, in a manner that befits the listening tradition.

kṛta-śruto vipratipadyamāno nindyo hi nirvīrya ivāttaśastraḥ // 18.25 //

For a man equipped with listening ears who is wavering is like a swordsman lacking valour: he is worthy of blame.


aho dhṛtis-te 'viṣayātmakasya yat-tvaṃ matiṃ mokṣa-vidhāv-akārṣīḥ /

Ah! What firmness in you, who is a slave to objects no more, in that you have willed the means of liberation.

yāsyāmi niṣṭhām-iti bāliśo hi janma-kṣayāt trāsam-ihābhyupaiti // 18.26 //

For, facing the end of existence in this world and thinking 'I will be finished,' it is a fool who gives in to a state of quivering anxiety.


diṣṭyā durāpaḥ kṣaṇa-saṃnipāto nāyaṃ kṛto moha-vaśena moghaḥ /

Happily, this meeting with the present moment, which is so hard to come by, is not being wasted under the sway of ignorance.

udeti duḥkhena gato hy-adhastāt kūrmo yugacchidra ivārṇavasthaḥ // 18.27 //

For a man who has been down goes up with difficulty, like a turtle to a hole in a yoke, in the foaming sea.


nirjitya māraṃ yudhi durnivāram adyāsi loke raṇa-śīrṣa-śūraḥ /

Having conquered Māra, who is so hard to stop in battle, today, at the forefront of the fight, you are a hero among men.

śūro 'py-aśūraḥ sa hi veditavyo doṣair amitrair-iva hanyate yaḥ // 18.28 //

For even a hero is not recognized as a hero who is beaten by the foe-like faults.


nirvāpya rāgāgnim-udīrṇam-adya diṣṭyā sukhaṃ svapsyasi vītadāhaḥ /

Today, having extinguished the flaming fire of redness, happily, you will sleep well, free of fever.

duḥkhaṃ hi śete śayane 'py-udāre kleśāgninā cetasi dahyamānaḥ // 18.29 //

For even on a fabulous bed he sleeps badly who is being burned in his mind by the fires of affliction.


abhyucchrito dravya-madena pūrvam adyāsi tṛṣṇoparamāt samṛddhaḥ /

You used markedly to be mad about possessions; today, because you have stopped thirsting, you are rich.

yāvat satarṣaḥ puruṣo hi loke tāvat samṛddho 'pi sadā daridraḥ // 18.30 //

For as long as a man in the world thirsts, however rich he may be, he is always deprived.


adyāpadeṣṭuṃ tava yukta-rūpaṃ śuddhodano me nṛ-patiḥ piteti /

Today you may fittingly proclaim that King Śuddhodana is your father.

bhraṣṭasya dharmāt pitṛbhir-nipātād aślāghanīyo hi kulāpadeśaḥ // 18.31 //

For it is not commendable for a backslider, after falling from the dharma alighted on by ancestors, to proclaim his lineage.


diṣṭyāsi śāntiṃ paramām-upeto nistīrṇa-kāntāra ivāpta-sāraḥ /

How great it is that you have reached the deepest tranquillity, like a man making it through a wasteland and gaining possession of treasure.

sarvo hi saṃsāra-gato bhayārto yathaiva kāntāra-gatas-tathaiva // 18.32 //

For everybody in the flux of saṁsāra is afflicted by fear, just like a man in a wasteland.


āraṇyakaṃ bhaikṣa-caraṃ vinītaṃ drakṣyāmi nandaṃ nibhṛtaṃ kadeti /

'When shall I see Nanda settled, given over to the living of a forest beggar's life?',

āsīt purastāt-tvayi me didṛkṣā tathāsi diṣṭyā mama darśanīyaḥ // 18.33 //

So thinking, I had harboured from the start the desire to see you thus. What a wonderful sight you are for me to behold!


bhavaty-arūpo 'pi hi darśanīyaḥ sv-alaṃkṛtaḥ śreṣṭhatamai-guṇaiḥ svaiḥ /

For even an unlovely sort is a sight to behold when he is well-adorned with his own best features.

doṣaiḥ parīto malinī-karais-tu sudarśanīyo 'pi virūpa eva //18.34 //

But a man who is full of the befouling faults, strikingly beautiful man though he may be, is truly ugly.


adya prakṛṣṭā tava buddhimattā kṛtsnaṃ yayā te kṛtam-ātmakāryam /

Developed in you today is the real wisdom by which you have done, totally, the work you had to do on yourself.

śrutonnatasyāpi hi nāsti buddhir-notpadyate śreyasi yasya buddhiḥ // 18.35 //

For even a highly educated man lacks wisdom, if wisdom fails to show in his practice of a better way.

unmīlitasyāpi janasya madhye nimīlitasyāpi tathaiva cakṣuḥ /

So it is with seeing, among people with eyes open and with eyes closed.

prajñā-mayaṃ yasya hi nāsti cakṣuś-cakṣur-na tasyāsti sacakṣuṣo 'pi // 18.36 //

For when a man lacks sight that is packed with intuition, though he has eyes, the Eye is not present in him.


duḥkha-pratīkāra-nimittam ārtaḥ kṛṣyādibhiḥ khedam upaiti lokaḥ /

Struck by calamity, stung to do something to combat suffering, the world exhausts itself with work like ploughing;

ajasram āgacchati tac ca bhūyo jñānena yasyādya kṛtas-tvayāntaḥ // 18.37 //

And yet it is ceaselessly re-visited by that suffering, to which, using what you know, you today have put an end.


duḥkhaṃ na me syāt sukham-eva me syād-iti pravṛttaḥ satataṃ hi lokaḥ /

People in the world are impelled ever forward by thinking 'There might be for me no hardship, just happiness....'

na vetti tac-caiva tathā yathā syāt prāptaṃ tvayādyāsulabhaṃ yathāvat // 18.38 //

And yet the world does not know a means whereby that happiness might come to be -- that rarely attained happiness which you today have properly realized."


ity-evam-ādi sthira-buddhi-cittas-tathāgatenābhihito hitāya /

While the Tathāgata told him this and more for his benefit Nanda remained firm in his judgement and thinking

staveṣu nindāsu ca nir-vyapekṣaḥ kṛtāñjalir-vākyam-uvāca nandaḥ // 18.39 //

And was indifferent to plaudits or criticisms. With hands joined, he spoke these words:


aho viśeṣeṇa viśeṣa-darśiṁs-tvayānukampā mayi darśiteyaṃ /

"Oh, how particular, O Seer of Particularities, is this compassion that you have shown to me!

yat-kāmapaṅke bhagavan-nimagnas-trāto 'smi saṃsāra-bhayād-akāmaḥ //18.40 //

Since I who was sunk, Glorious One, in the mire of love have been a reluctant refugee from the terror of saṁsāra.


bhrātrā tvayā śreyasi daiśikena pitrā phala-sthena tathaiva mātrā /

If not set free by you, a brother, a guide along a better way, a fruitful father, and equally a mother,

hato 'bhaviṣyaṃ yadi na vyamokṣyaṃ sārthāt paribhraṣṭa ivākṛtārthaḥ // 18.41 //

I would be done for; like a straggler dropped from a caravan, I would not have made it.


śāntasya tuṣṭasya sukho viveko vijñāta-tattvasya parīkṣakasya /

Solitude is sweet for one who is calm and contented, who looks into and has learned what is.

prahīṇa-mānasya ca nir-madasya sukhaṃ virāgatvam-asakta-buddheḥ // 18.42 //

Again, for one who is sober and shorn of conceits, for one who is detached in his decision-making, dispassion is a pleasure.


ato hi tattvaṃ parigamya samyaṅ-nirdhūya doṣān-adhigamya śāntim /

And so, through squarely realising what is, through shaking off faults and coming to quiet,

svaṃ nāśramaṃ samprati cintayāmi na taṃ janaṃ nāpsaraso na devān // 18.43 //

I worry now neither about my own place, nor about the person there, nor about apsarases, nor about gods.


idaṃ hi bhuktvā śuci śāmikaṃ sukhaṃ na me manaḥ kāṃkṣati kāmajaṃ sukham /

For now that I have tasted this pure, peaceful happiness, my mind no longer hankers after happiness born of desires --

mahārham-apy-annam-adaivatāhṛtaṃ divaukaso bhuktavataḥ sudhām-iva // 18.44 //

Just as the costliest earthly fare cannot entice a god who has supped the heavenly nectar.


aho 'ndha-vijñāna-nimīlitaṃ jagat paṭāntare paśyati nottamaṃ sukham /

Alas, the world has its eyes closed by blind unconsciousness; it does not see utmost happiness in a different robe.

sudhīram-adhyātma-sukhaṃ vyapāsya hi śramaṃ tathā kāma-sukhārtham-ṛcchati // 18.45 //

Flinging away lasting inner happiness, it exhausts itself so, in pursuit of sensual happiness.


yathā hi ratnākaram-etya durmatir-vihāya ratnāny-asato maṇīn haret /

For just as a fool, having made it to a jewel mine, might leave the jewels and carry off inferior crystals,

apāsya saṃbodhi-sukhaṃ tathottamaṃ śramaṃ vrajet kāma-sukhopalabdhaye // 18.46 //

So would one reject the highest happiness of full awakening and struggle to gain sensual gratification.


aho hi sattveṣv-atimaitra-cetasas-tathāgatasyānujighṛkṣutā parā /

Oh! high indeed, then, is the order of that desire to favour living beings which the Tathāgata has, overflowing with benevolence:

apāsya yad-dhyāna-sukhaṃ mune paraṃ parasya duḥkhoparamāya khidyase // 18.47 //

Since, O Sage, you throw away the highest-order happiness of meditation and are consumed by your effort to stop others suffering.


mayā nu śakyaṃ pratikartum-adya kiṃ gurau hitaiṣiṇy-anukampake tvayi /

How today could I possibly repay you, my compassionate Guru whose desire is others' welfare,

samuddhṛto yena bhavārṇavād-ahaṃ mahārṇavāc-cūrṇita-naur-ivormibhiḥ // 18.48 //

By whom I was taken totally up and out of the foaming sea of becoming, like a man out of a great ocean when his boat is being battered by waves?"


tato munis-tasya niśamya hetumat prahīṇa-sarvāsrava-sūcakaṃ vacaḥ /

Then the Sage, hearing his well-founded words which signified the removal of all pollutants,

idaṃ babhāṣe vadatām-anuttamo yad-arhati śrīghana eva bhāṣituṃ // 18.49 //

Voiced, as the Very Best of Speakers, these lines that none but a buddha, being 'Sheer Radiance,' should voice:


idaṃ kṛtārthaḥ paramārthavit kṛtī tvam-eva dhīmann-abhidhātum-arhasi /

"As a man of action who got the job done and who knows the primary task, none but you, O crafty man!, should express this affirmation --

atītya kāntāram-avāpta-sādhanaḥ su-daiśikasyeva kṛtaṃ mahāvaṇik // 18.50 //

Like a great trader, having crossed a wasteland and got the goods, who affirms the work of a good guide.


avaiti buddhaṃ nara-damya-sārathiṃ kṛtī yathārhann-upaśānta-mānasaḥ /

An arhat, a man of action whose mind has come to quiet, knows the Buddha as a charioteer of human steeds who needed taming:

na dṛṣṭa-satyo 'pi tathāvabudhyate pṛthag-janaḥ kiṃbata buddhimān-api // 18.51 //

Not even a truth-seer appreciates the Buddha in this manner: how much less does an ordinary person, however intelligent he may be?


rajas-tamobhyāṃ parimukta-cetasas-tavaiva ceyaṃ sadṛśī kṛtajñatā /

This gratitude is fitting, again, in none but you whose mind has been liberated from the dust of the passions and from darkness.

rajaḥ-prakarṣeṇa jagaty-avasthite kṛtajña-bhāvo hi kṛtajña durlabhaḥ // 18.52 //

For while dust prevails in the world, O man of gratitude! real gratitude is a rare state of being.


sa-dharma dharmānvayato yataś-ca te mayi prasādo 'dhigame ca kauśalam /

O possessor of dharma! Since, because of abiding by dharma, you have skill in making it your own and quiet confidence in me,

ato 'sti bhūyas-tvayi me vivakṣitaṃ nato hi bhaktaś-ca niyogam-arhasi // 18.53 //

I have something else to say to you. For you are surrendered and devoted, and up to the task.


avāpta-kāryo 'si parāṃ gatiṃ gato na te 'sti kiṁ-cit karaṇīyam-aṇv-api /

Walking the transcendent walk, you have done the work that needed to be done: in you, there is not the slightest thing left to work on.

ataḥ-paraṃ saumya carānukampayā vimokṣayan kṛcchra-gatān parān-api // 18.54 //

From now on, my friend, go with compassion, freeing up others who are pulled down into their troubles.


ihārtham-evārabhate naro 'dhamo vimadhyamas-tūbhaya-laukikīṃ kriyām /

The lowest sort of man only ever sets to work for an object in this world. But a man in the middle does work both for this world and for the world to come.

kriyām-amutraiva phalāya madhyamo viśiṣṭa-dharmā punar-apravṛttaye // 18.55 //

A man in the middle, I repeat, works for a result in the future. The superior type, however, tends towards abstention from positive action.


ihottamebhyo 'pi mataḥ sa tūttamo ya uttamaṃ dharmam-avāpya naiṣṭhikam /

But deemed to be higher than the highest in this world is he who, having realized the supreme ultimate dharma,

acintayitvātma-gataṃ pariśramaṃ śamaṃ parebhyo 'py-upadeṣṭum-icchati // 18.56 /

Desires, without worrying about the trouble to himself, to teach tranquillity to others.


vihāya tasmād-iha kāryam-ātmanaḥ kuru sthirātman para-kāryam-apy-atho /

Therefore forgetting the work that needs to be done in this world on the self, do now, stout soul, what can be done for others.

bhramatsu sattveṣu tamo-vṛtātmasu śruta-pradīpo niśi dhāryatām-ayam // 18.57 //

Among beings who are wandering in the night, their minds shrouded in darkness, let the lamp of this transmission be carried.


bravītu tāvat puri vismito janas-tvayi sthite kurvati dharma-deśanāḥ /

Just let the astonished people in the city say, while you are standing firm, voicing dharma-directions,

aho batāścaryam-idaṃ vimuktaye karoti rāgī yad-ayaṃ kathām-iti // 18.58 //

'Well! What a wonder this is, that he who was a man of passion is preaching liberation!'


dhruvaṃ hi saṃśrutya tava sthiraṃ mano nivṛtta-nānā-viṣayair-mano-rathaiḥ /

Then, surely, when she hears of your steadfast mind with its chariots turned back from sundry objects,

vadhūr-gṛhe sāpi tavānukurvatī kariṣyate strīṣu virāgiṇīḥ kathāḥ // 18.59 //

Your wife following your example will also talk, to women at home, the talk of dispassion.


tvayi parama-dhṛtau niviṣṭa-tattve bhavana-gatā na hi raṃsyate dhruvaṃ sā /

For, with you showing constancy of the highest order, as you get to the bottom of what is, she surely will not enjoy life in the palace,

manasi śama-damātmake vivikte matir-iva kāma-sukhaiḥ parīkṣakasya // 18.60 //

Just as the mind of an enlightened man does not enjoy sensual pleasures when his mental state is tranquil and controlled, and his thinking is detached and distinct."


ity-arhataḥ parama-kāruṇikasya śāstur-

Thus spoke the Worthy One, the instructor whose compassion was of the highest order,

mūrdhnā vacaś-ca caraṇau ca samaṃ gṛhītvā /

Whose words and equally whose feet Nanda had accepted, using his head;

svasthaḥ praśānta-hṛdayo vinivṛtta-kāryaḥ

Then, at ease in himself, his heart at peace, his task ended,

pārśvān-muneḥ pratiyayau vimadaḥ karīva // 18.61 //

He left the Sage's side like an elephant free of rut.


bhikṣārthaṃ samaye viveśa sa puraṃ dṛṣṭīr-janasyākṣipan

When the occasion arose he entered the town for begging and attracted the citizens' gaze;

lābhālābha-sukhāsukhādiṣu samaḥ svasthendriyo nispṛhaḥ /

Being impartial towards gain, loss, comfort, discomfort, and the like and with his senses composed, he was free of longing;

nirmokṣāya cakāra tatra ca kathāṃ kāle janāyārthine

And being there, in the moment, he talked of liberation to people so inclined --

naivonmārga-gatān parān paribhavann-ātmānam-utkarṣayan // 18.62 //

Never putting down others on a wrong path or raising himself up.


ity-eṣā vyupaśāntaye na rataye mokṣārtha-garbhā kṛtiḥ

This work is pregnant with the purpose of release: it is for cessation, not for titillation;

śrotṝṇāṃ grahaṇārtham-anya-manasāṃ kāvyopacārāt kṛtā /

It is wrought out of the figurative expression of kāvya poetry in order to capture an audience whose minds are on other things --

yan-mokṣāt kṛtam-anyad-atra hi mayā tat-kāvya-dharmāt kṛtaṃ

For what I have written here not pertaining to liberation, I have written in accordance with the conventions of kāvya poetry.

pātuṃ tiktam-ivauṣadhaṃ madhu-yutaṃ hṛdyaṃ kathaṃ syād-iti // 18.63 //

This is through asking myself how the bitter pill might be made pleasant to swallow, like bitter medicine mixed with something sweet.


prāyeṇālokya lokaṃ viṣaya-rati-paraṃ mokṣāt pratihataṃ

Seeing, in general, that the world is moved primarily by fondness for objects and is repelled by liberation,

kāvya-vyājena tattvaṃ kathitam-iha mayā mokṣaḥ param-iti /

I for whom liberation is paramount have told it here like it is, using a kāvya poem as a pretext.

tad-buddhvā śāmikaṃ yat-tad-avahitam-ito grāhyaṃ na lalitaṃ

Being aware of the deceit, take from (this verb-rooted dust)8 what pertains to peace and not to idle pleasure.

pāṃsubhyo dhātu-jebhyo niyatam-upakaraṃ cāmīkaram-iti // 18.64 //

Then elemental dust, assuredly, shall yield up serviceable9 gold.





saundaranande mahākāvya ājñā-vyākaraṇo nāmaṣṭādaśaḥ sargaḥ /

The 18th canto in the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled "Knowing / Affirmation."10



ārya-suvarṇākṣī-putrasya sāketakasya bhikṣor ācārya-bhadant'-āśvaghoṣasya mahā-kaver mahā-vādinaḥ kṛtir iyam //

This is the work of a beggar, the respected teacher Aśvaghoṣa of Saketa, son of the noble Suvarṇākṣī, crafter of epic poetry and talker of the great talk.



1 A play seems to be intended on the word mukhena: the meanings of mukha include 1. mouth, 2. tip (i.e. the jaw of a pincer) and 3. means.

2 Nanda seems to begin, in verses 18.7-8, by describing the cutting in him of the first two of the five lower fetters (the third, clinging to rules and rituals, being understood).

3 This verse seems to describe cutting the fourth of the five lower fetters, namely desire for sensual pleasure (the fifth, ill-will, being understood).

4 This verse can be read as expressing freedom from the first two upper fetters, both of which are manifestations of end-gaining desire, i.e, craving or thirst.

5 A series of verses in which Nanda seems to describe what is seen by the Dharma-Eye referred to in Canto 17 thus culminates with the association of seeing and sitting-meditation. Nanda sees what he sees because of meditating (dhiyā) . This verse can thus be seen as mirroring 17.34. At the same time, it can be seen as expressing freedom from the upper fetter which is conceit.

6 Three kinds of becoming might mean three forms of the upper fetter which is restlessness or agitation. In the context of taking food, the fetter might mean for example 1. agitated desire for food that is available (wanting it too much), 2. agitated dissatisfaction with food that is available (not wanting it), 3. agitated desire for food that is not available (wanting something else).

7 An expression of freedom from the final upper fetter, ignorance?

8 Pāṃsubhyo dhātu-jebhyaḥ in line 4, “dhātu-born dust,” contains a play on the word dhātu, which means “element” both in the sense of a primary element of the earth and also in the sense of a grammatical element, i.e a verbal root or stem.

9 The noun upakāra (from upa-√kṛ, to serve) means benefit, service, favour, use, advantage. EHJ notes that upakara is not met with elsewhere, nor is there any obvious amendment. One possible amendement (possible in the sense that it fits the metre) is upacitaṁ, which means “heaped up,” “furnished in abundance,” or in short “abundant.”

10 The canto title in Sanskrit is not amenable to a definitive translation, due to the ambiguity of the word ājñā (which means 1. deep knowledge, knowledge of liberation, and 2. order, command, authority, unlimited power), and due to the ambiguity of the context – if ājñā means knowledge and vyākaraṇa means affirmation, who is affirming whose knowledge? If vyākaraṇa means revelation or declaration, does the canto title describe Nanda revealing or declaring his deep knowledge? Does it describe the Buddha revealing or declaring his command? Again, does the canto title describe the Buddha affirming Nanda's full autonomy, as a realized individual? Since the ambiguity is almost certainly intentional on Aśvaghoṣa's part, a translation has been chosen that at least preserves some ambiguity. In the final analysis, a seeker after certainty may never find what he is looking for in Aśvaghoṣa's words.






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