Fw: Two stanzas in the Kunalavadana

Rasik Vihari Joshi Tripathi jrasik at COLMEX.MX
Mon Oct 13 14:06:58 UTC 2003

-----Mensaje original-----
De: Michael Hahn [mailto:Hahn.M at T-ONLINE.DE]
Enviado el: Sábado, 11 de Octubre de 2003 05:58 a.m.
Para: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
Asunto: Fw: Two stanzas in the Kunalavadana

Forwarded by Michael Hahn <hahn.m at t-online.de>
----------------------- Original Message -----------------------
From:    Michael Hahn <hahn.m at t-online.de>
To:      silk at HUMNET.UCLA.EDU
Date:    Fri, 10 Oct 2003 23:00:18 +0200
Subject: Two stanzas in the Kunalavadana

Dear Jonathan,

        As Roland Steiner and Martin Gansten already wrote the two
stanzas are indeed composed in the Arya metre. Roland also pointed to
the two metrical defects. Neither of them mentioned the textual problems
in connections with the two metrical defects that make the stanzas
somewhat difficult to translate.  I believe the correct text  can easily
be restored with the help of the canonical Tibetan translation of the
Kunalavadana that was done by Padmakaravarma and Rin chen bzang po. By
the way: it is a great pity that a critical edition of this translation
has so far not been published although it is anything else but a
masterpiece.  However, it is extremely important in connection with the
(literary) development of the Asoka legend. There are considerable
deviations from from the Sanskrit text.
        Mukhopadhyaya's reedition and translation of the Sanskrit text
would have profited more from the consultation of the Tibetan
translation than of the two Chinese translations. I am sure that the
Tibetan Kunalavadana has been studied by various colleagues. I know of
an unpublished MA thesis written under Prof. Adelheid Mette at the
University of Muenster several years ago, however I had no chance to see
it. My friend and colleague Konrad Klaus (University of Bonn) has
prepared an edition of the Tibetan text a long time ago (as yet
unpublished) of which I have an early draft that gives the readings of
the Peking (Q) and Derge (D) editions, however without the philological
notes he also prepared. Even that was a great help in quickly finding
the passage in question. - While being in Japan last month I came to see
a journal of the Ryukoku University edited by Prof. Esho Mikogami. The
last two issues contain the first two instalments of a Japanese
translation of the Tibetan Kunalavadana.  At present I can give you no
details since the volumes are not with me but on on their way to Germany.
Unfortunately this translation is not accompanied by the Tibetan text.

        The Tibetan translation of the two stanzas runs as follows:

| chos ni rnam dag gyur na bdag ni myur (mi myur Q) du 'chi bar gnas par gyur kyang bla |
| skye bo dam pas bdag smad gyur pa'i 'tsho ba bdag la dgos ma yin |
| gang las mtho ris dag dang chos 'jig 'gyur ba'i 'tsho (tsho Q) des ci zhig bya |
| mkhas pas zil gyis mnan pa'i bkren gyur bdag ni 'chi ba nyid yin mod | <19>

In the Tibetan translation this is stanza 19 whereas in the Sanskrit
text it is stanza 9. Two things are noteworthy. 1) The two translators recognized
the metrical structure. 2) They translated the two stanzas as one
Tibetan stanza with the irregular structure of 17+15+15+15 syllables.
Usually the Arya stanza is rendered by 4 x 9 syllables or, as in
Ravigupta's Aryakosa, by 4 x 7 syllables which creates some difficulties.
I suspect that the translators did not recognize the metre.
        The Tibetan translation solves the metrical and textual problem of
the first stanza. We simply have to read mama bhavatu mara.nam aa"su. I
think it is obvious that this is the correct text.
        In the second half of the first stanza you omitted -inadvertently
or deliberately - the jana after sajjana. For metrical reasons it is
required, however content-wise it is difficult to account for. The
Tibetan translation seems to have bdag as the equivalent of jana which
is again difficult to explain and moreover this bdag is superfluous in
view of the following bdag la. Hence I suspect that bdag is corrupt
without being able to say what was the original wording. From the
context one would expect an adverb referring to dhikk.rtena.
        In line 4 of the Tibetan stanza we find bkren gyur in the place
of the second dhikk.rtena. There can be little doubt that bkren gyur
render Skt. k.rpa.nena. This is much more reasonable than the strange
repetition of dhikk.rtena and moreover the metre becomes correct.
Nevertheless the remains one problem in the Sanskrit text and two in the
Tibetan text. As for the Tibetan text we don't have an equivalent of
hetunaa but an unnecessary nyid. I am strongly convinced that in the
last line the original translation ran *'chi ba'i rgyu yin mod. This
yields a perfect sense in accordance (?) with the Sanskriti original:

"What is the use of that life by which heaven and dharma will be destroyed?
It is indeed the cause of my death, who am a miserable (being), despised
('defeated') by the wise."

zil gyis mnan pa "overcome, defeated" is nothing but a mechanical
rendering of paribhuuta which here, of course, means "despised."

The transmitted text would have to be translated as:

"I,  a miserable (being) who is depised ('defeated') by the wise, am
indeed (mod) nothing but (nyid) dying ('chi ba)." This is rather
nonsensical and not in accordance with the Sanskrit.

A real problem, in my opinion, is svargasya dharmalopo. The Tibetan
translates either *svargadharmalopo or *svargyasya ca dharmasya ca
lopo which is sensible but unmetrical in bith cases. If dharma were not
attested by the Tibetan I would boldly suggest to read svargaapavargalopo which would
yield a nice meaning and suits the metre, and the dvandva svargaapavarga
is, as you know, well attested in Buddhist literature. Maybe someone who
reads this has a better idea.

It was fun to think the passage over again. In my copy of
Mukhopadhyaya's re-edition of the text I found a pencil mark "Metre!"
and the emendation "mara.nam aa"su", written many years ago, obviouslz
when I compared the Sanskrit with the Tibetan translation, but no comment on
svargasya dharmalopo and the second dhikk.rtena. I seem to have
overlooked these problems in the second Arya stanza at that time.

With kind regards,


Prof. Dr. Michael Hahn
Ritterstr. 14
D-35287 Amoeneburg
Tel. +49-6422-938963
Fax: +49-6422-938967
E-mail: hahn.m at t-online.de

--------------------- Original Message Ends --------------------

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