Sanskrit: भागवतपुराणम् । १२ । २ । ४१ ।।

Kobzar

Member
Spanish - Spain
Hello, everybody:

I am translating भागवतपुराणम् । १२ । २ , and I am struggling with the śloka no. 41. According to the text available at http://gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/gretil/corpustei/transformations/html/sa_bhAgavatapurANa.htm (last access, June 19th 2021), there we read:

कृमिविड्भस्मसंज्ञान्ते राजन्नाम्नो ऽपि यस्य च ।
भूतध्रुक्तत्कृते स्वार्थं किं वेद निरयो यत: ।।

Honestly speaking, I cannot get any sense from these words, although I think I have clearly parsed them from the point of view of morphology. I have looked at a couple of English translations, which however do not help me very much. For example, at Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 12 - Chapter 2 (last access, June 19th 2021), I read:

"Even if someone's body carries the name of king it is nevertheless destined to be known as stool, worms or ashes. For the sake of that body he was an enemy of other living beings and therefore ends up in hell. What does such a one know about his self-interest?"

At Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 12 Chapter 2 (last access, June 19th 2021), I read:

"Even though a person's body may now have the designation "king," in the end its name will be "worms," "stool" or "ashes." What can a person who injures other living beings for the sake of his body know about his own self-interest, since his activities are simply leading him to hell?"

But, when I check these translations against the original, I see that the ablative or genitive राजनाम्नो (= राजनाम्नस् before initial voiced consonant of the following word) has been translated as a nominative, and that the nominative निरयो (= निरयस् before initial voiced consonant of the following word) has been translated as if it were an accusative of direction. Otherwise, with the help of those translations, I could do this:

"Therefore (तत्कृते), what (किम्) proper interest (स्वार्थम्) does an enemy of the living beings (भूतध्रुक्) know (वेद), of whom (यस्य)..., if he has gone (यतः) ...?"

But I do not know what to do with कृमिविड्भस्मसंज्ञान्ते राजन्नाम्नो and with निरयो.

Thank you very much in advance for your help!

All best!
 
  • Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    I hope our friend Dib will be along to correct us soon, but I think you must make allowances for the fact that the translators had to render extremely epigrammatic Sanskrit in clear, easily readable English. It seems to me syntax has been considerably altered and words added to make good English.

    This is what I have been able to come up with, I may be wrong.

    First please not it is definitely rāja-nāmno in the link, thus it should be राजनाम्नो

    Ummm, right

    कृमिविड्भस्मसंज्ञान्ते is, I believe, kṛmi- + viṣ- + bhasman- + saṃjñā- + ante = worm-feces-ashes-named-in the end

    राजनाम्नो = rāja- + nāmno. As you rightly say this is a genitive singular. It's definitely genitive, it surely goes with yasya (which cannot be ablative). It would mean 'named king'.

    ऽपि is our emphatic particle

    च is and

    Guided by the translation, I think we have a genitive absolute.

    Though it (यस्य) has the name of 'king' (राजनाम्नः), ultimately it will come to be known as 'worm', 'excrement' or 'ash' (कृमिविड्भस्मसंज्ञान्ते).

    Moving on, our subject must be bhūta-dhruk 'injuring living beings'. I think this is used substantively as the subject of veda. The object of veda is svārtham, which we should read as 'self-interest' (sva- + artha-) not 'proper interest'.

    I don't think tatkṛte is 'therefore' here. I think it's 'for the sake of (-kṛte) that (tat-)':

    कृते ind. on account of, for the sake of, for (with gen. or ifc. e.g. मम कृते or मत्-कृते, on my account, for me), Yājñ. i, 216 ; MBh. ; R. &c.

    So I think what we have here is 'what does he who injures living beings for the sake of that know of self-interest'. I think the referent of tat is the referent of yasya. I don't really know where the translators get 'body' from, but I assume they have good reason and have spent longer on this text than I have!!

    I think the meaning of yataḥ is:

    wherefore, for which reason, in consequence where of R. ; BhP.

    So the way I read it, putting it all together, is =

    Though it may even have the name of king, ultimately it will come to be known as 'worm', 'excrement' or 'ash'. What does he who injures living beings for the sake of it, on account of which hell, know of self-interest.

    In bold we have the problem, don't we. I think I see it, but I could be wrong. I think what I've given you there is a literal translation of the Sanskrit, which obviously the English translators have made far less terse. But I think nirayo is a nominative singular. Perhaps you could interpolate a verb: hell beckons, hell cometh, something like that? Or perhaps hell is the result?
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    I will have to admit that this verse was a bit cryptic for me too. However, having taken a look at the translations and our friend Au101's extremely competent analysis, it seems that the whole thing has been explained quite satisfactorily. There is little to improve here, except probably removing one hyphen from Au101's analysis that would further clarify the syntax:

    कृमिविड्भस्मसंज्ञान्ते is, I believe, kṛmi- + viṣ- + bhasman- + saṃjñā- + ante = worm-feces-ashes-named-in the end
    I'd say, it is better to take it as "kṛmi- + viṣ- + bhasman- + saṃjñā + ante", i.e. take "ante" as a separate word and not as a part of the compound. This allows us to make the anvaya of the verse as:
    राजनाम्नः अपि यस्य च अन्ते कृमिविड्भस्मसंज्ञा, [यतः (अपि च) निरयः,] किम् तत्कृते भूतध्रुक् स्वार्थम् वेद?

    The actual placement of "निरयः यतः" in the verse lends it an air of afterthought, but I think, its syntactic relations are clearer if we place it where I have shown. So, over-all I'd interprete the verse (in very convoluted but faithful-to-the-original-syntax English) as:
    "Is he, who injures living beings for the sake of that which, even though called the "king", has in the end the designation of worms, faeces and ashes, [and is the reason of his getting into hell,] aware of his self-interest?"

    I don't really know where the translators get 'body' from, but I assume they have good reason and have spent longer on this text than I have!!
    I think, it is indeed clear from the context that the topic here is the "body", even though it is not explicitly mentioned in this verse. It is the body that decomposes (=becomes faeces), gets infested by worms, and is burnt to ashes after the death (=end). It is also the body for whose benefits, one injures other living beings, whether for the sake of the basic ingredients of life, like food, or for comfort and pleasure. And arguably, it is the body which commits and abets the sins that take one into hell. And, when people call someone a "King" they, in all likelihood, bestow the epithet on his person/body. More concretely, you have it explicitly two verses later, which closely parallels the current one in its theme:
    तेजोऽबन्नमयं कायं गृहीत्वाऽऽत्मतयाऽबुधाः।
    महीं ममतया चोभौ हित्वाऽन्तेऽदर्शनं गताः॥
    "Although the foolish accept the body made of earth, water and fire as "me" and this earth as "mine," in every case they have ultimately abandoned both their body and the earth and passed away into oblivion."

    Compare, for example, Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.4 for how the body is made up of earth (literally, annam/food), water and fire. In fact, I imagine that the faeces, worms and ashes actually represent the final degenerate states of these three elements respectively.
     
    Last edited:

    Kobzar

    Member
    Spanish - Spain
    My warmest thanks to Au101 and Dib for helping me to disentangle this conundrum!
    Best wishes!
     
    • Thank you!
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