Thor bu - Curiosia Indo-Tibetica

Textual and visual odds and ends from India, Tibet, and around.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

In praise of Yamāri

While writing on the 'turtle manuscript' yesterday, I came across this old input of another manuscript from my humble collection. Maybe there is something in this turtle divination, since I thought I lost this file long ago. The ms. contains two praises, one for Yamāri and one for Cāmuṇḍī. The colophon attributes them to Dge 'dun grub, who is probably the first Dalai Lama. Since I am away from my TBRC access, I could not check this. The poem is in fact an acrostic which spells out the Tibetan alphabet from Ca to A (no idea why Ka-Nga is missing) plus two lines signing off with stating the purpose of writing the poem. If this is the first Dalai, then the inspiration probably came from his master, Tsong kha pa, who also wrote such poems, one of them a notoriously difficult piece where each line starts with A - lots of obscure words in the dialect of Amdo.

chos rgyal Gshin rje' rgya mtshos brgyan ba 'bul ma mo chen mo
Tsa mu ṇti la bstod ba zhes bya ba bzhugs so | | (1v)

ca cos che ldan rdo rje'i glu dbyangs dang ||
cha shas yongs su rdzogs pa'i gtor ma ni ||
ja chang phud dang dgra bgegs sgrab pa'i sha ||
nya sha khrag zhag rgya mtshos brgyan ba 'bul ||

Arias of the thunderbolt accompanied by clamor,
Bali-offerings spotless, with all their parts intact,
Choice tea and liquor, enemies' flesh in piles,
Donned in seas of fish, blood and fat - all this I offer.

ta thā ga ta'i bstan la gnod byed pa'i ||
tha chad dgra bgegs rtul du rlog pa dang ||
da nas bzung ste rnal 'byor bdag cag gi ||
na rga 'chi ba'i 'jigs pa 'joms la bstod ||

Enemies hurting the Tathāgata's teaching,
Foul rivals, impediments - brush them all away!
Grant us, praising yogins, from this day onwards
Health, youth, immortality, and escape from fear.

pa ba sangs ltar rab dkar mche pa gtsigs ||
pha rol 'joms pa'i spyan rtsa glog ltar 'khyug |
ba spu dus mtha'i me chen 'bar ba yis ||
ma lus bgegs dpung bsregs pa khyod la bstod || (2r)

[and so on, you get the idea]

tsa mu ṇti sogs ma mo kun gyi bdag ||
tsha zer rab tu rgyas pa'i gzi brjid can ||
dza zhes 'phrin las bsgrub la gos pa'i tshe ||
wa skyes lta bu'i bgegs 'joms khyod la bstod ||

zhwa ltar 'byung bo kun gyis spye (spyi) bos bsten ||
za byed ma he khros pa'i zhal bdangs shes ||
'a 'ur ngar ngar sgrog bas sa chen g.yo ||
ya las skyes pa'i thod dbyug 'dzin la bstod ||

rwa dang rmig pa rno ba'i ma he dang ||
la la rlu nag tshub ma zhon pa'i 'khor ||
sha ka li dang gshin rje' mas sogs ||
sa gsum 'byung po'i 'khor gyis bskor la bstod ||

ha ha drag tu bzhad ba'i dpal (2v) yon can ||
A rghaṃ la sogs mchod ba bzhes nas kyang ||
dpal ldan Gshin rje'i gshed kyi spyan snga ru ||
zhal bzhes dam bcas g.yel pa med par mdzod | |

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Blogger Dan said...

Gnashing canines gleaming Venetian white,
Eye veins lightning flashes vanquishing opponents,
Body hair blazing apocalyptic fire
to incinerate entire armies of obstacles.

Just trying to help your translation along. Anyway, couldn't restrain the impulse. I think it's 90+% certain the texts are by The First Dalai Lama, given the place of composition (the same place the Tara praise translated by Martin Willson, which has been Googlebooked, was written). Neither text seems to be listed individually in the listings in Tohoku, etc., but being short praises they would more likely be hidden in a collection of praises or, well, ahem, a thor-bu title... Not much choice but to search through them to find out for sure. The 1st wrote a nice work of biographical praise to the Buddha, and is of course famous for that Eastern Mountain song Gelugpas know and love (van Manen did such a detailed study of every word). I think he had real literary talent.

2:29 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

That's really nice, especially 'Venetian white'! I tried to keep the acrostic, so we'd need I, J, K, L for the next verse. I stopped, for I have no poetic talent, certainly not in English which I barely speak.

9:43 pm  
Blogger Dan said...

Sorry PSz,

We'd have to work it over severely to get the alphabetic order in there. Some have said alphabetic poetry like this (with the whole alphabetic syllables, ka, kha, etc., not just the consonants) is a Tibetan contribution, except for that Ka-kha Doha by Saraha. Did Indian poets do this anywhere you know about?


2:02 pm  
Blogger sdv said...

>>Did Indian poets do this anywhere you know about?

Yes. See the Āryāsaptaśatī of Govardhana. But one of the most dramatic ones I have seen is the Khaḍgaśataka, where the verses have extensive alliteration. See here for a few notes to the Bodleian codex (unicus?) that was used for the Kāvyamālā edition:

5:13 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

I think Dragomir Dimitrov's edition/translation/study of Kaavyaadar"sa chapter 3. should by out by now. There's all sorts of alliterative poetry in there, and the Tibetan snyan dngags pa's also tried their hand at it, especially Bod mkhas pa Mi pham.

4:01 pm  

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