Saturday, November 18, 2017

The embarrassing side of divine innocence

The annual Kartika Puja (কার্তিকপূজা; कार्तिकपूजा) is held in Bengal on the final day of the month of Kartika (কার্তিক; कार्तिक) according to the Bengali Hindu calendar. Kartika or Kartikeya (कार्तिकेय) or Skanda (स्कन्द), to whom this day is dedicated, is viewed as the god of war since he is the commander (सेनापति) of the heavenly army and, although his mythological parentage is a tricky issue, is generally regarded as the son of Shiva and Parvati. In the Bengali psyche, there is hardly any link between this peacock-riding deity and warfare: Here, he is the patron of human fertility (which is ironic since he is also believed, in this part of the world, to be eternally celibate) and the epitome of manly beauty. His association with childbirth and child welfare, however, is not limited to Bengal at all. Kartika Puja has historically been a day of great importance to childless couples who pray to him for progeny on this occasion. And speaking of progeny, today's post is about the exploration of the mother-son relationship between Parvati and the infant Kartikeya in Sanskrit literature. The name of the six-headed child-god used in both snippets is Guha (गुह). 

(1) This couplet, an indirect supplication to Brahma, speaks to the predicament of a parent whose child sees too much and talks too much (which cannot be helped when the child has six pairs of eyes and six mouths). Its setting is presumably this: Brahma, accompanied by a few other celestials, is paying a visit to Shiva's household, and the latter's young son wants desperately to be part of the conversation between the guests and his mother. He perhaps feels that these distinguished guests need to know how his mother has been wronged by his father in the recent past.

Devanagari script:
मातस्तेऽधरखण्डनात् परिभवः कापालिकाद् योऽभवत्
स ब्रह्मादिषु कथ्यतामिति मुहुर्बाल्याद् गुहे जल्पति|
गौरीं हस्तयुगेन षण्मुखवचो रोद्धुं निरीक्ष्याक्षमां
वैलक्ष्याच्चतुरास्यनिष्फलपरावृत्तिश्चिरं पातु वः ||
– छित्तप/चित्तप
Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

mAtaste(a)dharakhaNDanAt paribhavaH kApAlikAd yo(a)bhavat
sa brahmAdiSu kathyatAmiti muhurbAlyAd guhe jalpati| 
gaurIM hastayugena SaNmukhavaco roddhuM nirIkSAkSamAM
vailakSyAccaturAsyaniSphalaparAvRttizciraM pAtu vaH||
– c(h)ittapa

D. H. H. Ingalls' scholarly translation: 
"Brahm and the others should be told, mother,
how the skullbearer has mistreated you with biting of your lip."
So prattles Krtikeya from six mouths, and Brahm,
observing Prvatī unable with two hands
to cover all, embarrassed turns away,
which turn, though vain, I pray be your protection.

Subhashita Ratnakosha Verse 101: Verse 32 of Chapter 5 (शिवगणव्रज्या, "the chapter on Shiva's associates").

Notes: Here, कापालिक (the "skullbearer") is, of course, an appellation of Shiva referring to the human cranium he uses as a begging bowl (and/or the other skulls he carries on his person), but this name can be interpreted to have slightly pejorative connotations here since it also refers to a sect devoted to Shiva and engaging in highly unconventional activities. Kartikeya's indiscretion is duly attributed to his बाल्य, "the state of being a child/childishness". The turning away of the four-faced deity is futile for he has a face on each side as well as the back of his "head", and hence keeps facing the helpless-mother-and-defiant-child duo however much he turns 
– also an allusion to the fact (or hope) that he is incapable of turning his face away from his devotees.

The poet Chittapa is placed in the 12th century and is associated with the semi-legendary king Bhoja

(2) The play on words in the following benediction is, I think, most appealing to speakers of Bengali or other Indic languages in which a distinction between long and short vowels is hardly made. It was, in fact, composed by one of the foremost scholars of Sanskrit and Bengali in 19th century Calcutta. It serves as a tongue-in-cheek reminder of the fact that, in practice, the primary meaning of a compound word is not always the one that you would get by putting together the meanings of its parts. See notes for an explanation.

Devanagari script:
चापल्यादिह वः सदास्मि विधुरा यास्यामि तातालयं
तातस्ते जनयित्रि को गिरिगणस्येशो हि तातो मम|
मातस्त्वं किमहो गिरीशदुहितेत्याभाषमाणे गुहे
प्रोन्मीलत्स्मितमुग्धनम्रवदना गौरी चिरं पातु वः||
– प्रेमचन्द्रतर्कवागीश
Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

cApalyAdiha vaH sadAsmi vidhurA yAsyAmi tAtAlayaM
tAtaste janayitri ko girigaNasyezo hi tAto mama|
mAtastvaM kimaho girIzaduhitetyAbhASamANe guhe
pronmIlatsmitamugdhanamravadanA gaurI ciraM pAtu vaH||

– Premchandra Tarkabagish

Loose translation: 
- "I am fed up with your endless shenanigans here! I am off to my father's house." 
- "Who is your father, Mother?"
- "My father is none other the lord of all mountains."
- "Ah! Are you the daughter of Girisha, Mother?"
As Guha spoke thus, Parvati lowered her pretty face on which a smile (of embarrassment or amusement) had begun to appear: May that fair Parvati protect you!

Udbhata Sagara Part II Verse 62.

Notes: The word girIza (गिरीश) can indeed be split into giri (गिरि), "mountain", and Iza (ईश), "lord", and hence can refer to Himalaya (हिमालय) or Himavat (हिमवत्), the 'king' of all mountains ("
गिरिगणस्य ईशः", as his daughter describes him here) and the father of Parvati in Indic mythology. But usually this name is applied in Sanskrit literature to no one but Shiva (in his capacity as the lord of the single mountain Kailasa which he calls home); the name is used as such in the authoritative lexicon Amarakosha (अमरकोष) and literary works such as Kumarasambhava (कुमारसम्भव) and Vakroktipanchashika (वक्रोक्तिपञ्चाशिका). Moreover, there is a similar-sounding but non-identical name that belongs exclusively to Shiva: giriza (गिरिश), "he who reclines on a mountain"; not too long ago, it used to be a common male first name in the Bengali Hindu community and its pronunciation in Bengali is indistinguishable from that of गिरीश. So, if one says गिरीशदुहिता (as Kartikeya does above), a listener well-versed in Indic languages (especially Bengali) is bound to interpret it as nothing but "a daughter of Shiva". Presumably, in our poet's imagination, the above conversation took place at a time when Kartikeya was learning Sanskrit grammar and, as soon as his mother said गिरिगणस्येशो, he recalled the rules of samAsa (समास) and deduced, as a novice would, that she was the daughter of गिरीश. To Parvati, however, it sounded like her son was calling her the daughter of her husband; but all she could do in response was smile since her son was technically correct and his mistake could be attributed to her own choice of words while talking to him!

The anthologist Purnachandra De Udbhatasagara expounds on the word प्रोन्मीलत्स्मितमुग्धनम्रवदना as follows: प्रकर्षेण उन्मीलत् स्मितं यत्र तादृशं मुग्धं मनोहरं नम्रं वदनं यस्याः सा तथोक्ता.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

On romance and lice

Lice are among the most tenacious parasites that human beings have been forced to share their lives with since time immemorial. Sanskrit has a rich vocabulary for talking about lice and their relation to their hosts: The most common words for 'louse' are utkuNa (उत्कुण) and yUka (यूक) or its feminine form yUkA (यूका); a nit i.e. the egg of a louse is called likSA (लिक्षा) – variants such as लिक्ष, लिक्षिका, लीक्षा, लिक्का, लीक्का, लिख्य, लिख्या, etc. are recorded in various lexicons  which is also a measure of weight! Other names of lice, some of which can refer to other bugs as well, include vArakIra (वारकीर), pAli (पालि)/pAlI (पाली), uddaMza (उद्दंश), koNakuNa (कोणकुण). In particular, the head louse is also called kezakIta (केशकीट), kezata (केशट), kiTibha (किटिभ), okaNa (ओकण)/okaNi (ओकणि), ApAli (आपालि), or bAlakRmi (बालकृमि), the body louse lomakITa (लोमकीट), and the eyelash louse pakSmayUkA (पक्ष्मयूका).

I hope you enjoy the not-so-lousy uses of lice in literature that follow... unless, of course, you are a tireless nit-picker :)

(1) Have you ever wanted to be loved so badly that you wished you had lice?

Devanagari script:

स खलु सुकृतिभाजामग्रणीः सोऽतिधन्यो
विनिहितकुचकुम्भा पृष्ठतो यन्मृगाक्षी|
शिरसि टसिति लिक्षां हन्ति हूंकारगर्भम्||

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

sa khalu sukRtibhAjAmagraNIH so(a)tidhanyo
vinihitakucakumbhA pRSThato yanmRgAkSI| 
zirasi Tasiti likSAM hanti hUMkAragarbham||
– Anonymous

Loose translation: He is verily the foremost among doers of good deeds and an exceedingly fortunate man whose doe-eyed (ladylove), with her pitcher-like (full and round) breasts pressed against his back, carves out several paths (through the hair) on his head with the tips of her nails, and (then) nips off a nit with a tss as she (herself) utters a (triumphant) hmm

Source: Subhashita Ratnakosha Verse 495: Verse 31 of Chapter 18 (अनुरागव्रज्या, "the chapter on love"). D. H. H. Ingalls' scholarly translation (with क्षोद rendered as 'grindstone'): 
He indeed is a captain of the blessed,
a multimillionare,
whose pretty one sits with her plump breasts set against his back
and, tracking his head with the grindstone of her nails,
grunts as she nips the lice.

Notes: I have interpreted 
बहलतरनखाग्रक्षोदविन्यस्तमार्गे as an adjective of शिरसि (and बहलतर and नखाग्रक्षोदविन्यस्त as adjectives of मार्ग within the compound), and हूंकारगर्भम् as an adverb of हन्ति. The onomatopoeic टस् and हूं, although descriptive of a generally disgusting act here, undoubtedly have erotic connotations too. 

(2) This profoundly philosophical and motivational couplet tackles philophobia and pediculophobia at the same time!

Devanagari script:
प्रिये कर्णेजपत्रासात्प्रेम त्यक्तुं किमिच्छसि|
कोऽपि लिक्षाभयत्रासाज्जहाति वसनं जनः||
possible error: see notes

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

priye karNejapatrAsatprema tyaktuM kimicchasi| 
ko(a)pi likSAbhayatrAsAjjahAti vasanaM janaH||
– Anonymous

Loose translation: Darling! Do you want to give up on love just because you are afraid of gossipmongers? Who ever gives up wearing clothes for fear of nits (of body lice)?

Source: 19th century Vidyakara Sahasrakam Verse 616. Possibly not very old.

Notes: The words bhaya (भय) and trAsa (त्रास) are synonyms meaning 'fear'/'terror', so putting them next to each other makes little sense; however, my guess is that this is a scribal error and the original had caya (चय), "collection/multitude", instead of भय. My suggestions for the second hemistich are कोऽपि लिक्षाचयत्रासाज्जहाति वसनं जनः||/कोऽपि लिक्षाचयत्रासाज्जहाति वसनं न हि||/कोऽपि लिक्षाभयान्नैव जहाति वसनं जनः||

This is not the only instance in Sanskrit literature of the clothes-and-lice trope being used to encourage someone to ignore haters. Take, for example, Rudrata(रुद्रट)'s Shringara Tilaka (शृङ्गारतिलक) Chapter 1 Verse 3:

काव्ये शुभे विरचिते खलु नो खलेभ्यः कश्चिद्गुणो भवति यद्यपि सम्प्रतीह।
कुर्यां तथापि सुजनार्थमिदं यतः किं यूकाभयेन परिधानविमोक्षणं स्यात्।।
(variant: काव्ये शुभेऽपि रचिते ...)
Translation by A. A. Ramanathan (Mahasubhasitasangraha Verse 9930): "A good poem, finely composed, will have no merit for the wicked; none the less I now compose this poem, but it is for the good. Should one give up his (woollen) clothing for fear of lice?"

Monday, September 18, 2017

Piscatory paeans 3

One of the things that makes eating fish a daunting task for most humans is the difficulty of dealing with fish-bones. In many Indic languages, we use the same word for "fish-bone" and "thorn": In Sanskrit, the word is kaNTaka (कण्टक); and kaNTakin (कण्टकिन्), "thorny", can also mean "fish"! As you might have guessed already, the morsels of wit and wisdom I am offering today are chock-full of fish-bones.

(1) When talking about statecraft, the word कण्टक is used synonymously with kSudrazatru (क्षुद्रशत्रु), "petty foe (of the head of state / government)", to refer to any criminal operating within the borders of a state. The suppression of such internal threats to the security and well-being of the state (ranging from unscrupulous trading practices to robbery) is termed kaNTakazodhana (कण्टकशोधन), "the elimination of thorns", and is considered one of the foremost duties of the administration — a forerunner to modern-day policing. 

The author of the following verse uses a play on words  that, to be honest, I don't fully understand — to bring out the similarities between "thorns" of the culinary and administrative varieties. 

Devanagari text:
कामं कुमीनसदृशं राज्यमपि प्राज्यकण्टकं कुशलः|
पाकान्वितमतिसुरसं भुङ्क्ते बहुधावधानेन||

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

kAmaM kumInasadRzaM rAjyamapi prAjyakaNTakaM kuzalaH|
pAkAnvitamatisurasaM bhuGkte bahudhAvadhAnena||

Loose translation: Just as a skilled eater thoroughly enjoys fish, even when it is low-quality and full of bones, by (properly) cooking it to make it juicy and (then) using extreme caution (to avoid the bones), so does an adept ruler reap great benefits even from a problem-ridden state by paying close attention to various (administrative) affairs.

Notes: The word avadhAna (अवधान) refers to attention or attentiveness in general, and to careful listening in particular; this epigram is presumably meant to remind its reader of the importance of an intelligence and / or espionage system. I am clueless about what पाकान्वितम् means here as an adjective of राज्यम्; the word पाक has many meanings, none of which seem applicable here. Any help would be appreciated.

Source: Verse 12 of Chapter 7 rAjanItiprakaraNam (राजनीतिप्रकरणम्), "the section on politics", of Hariharasubhashita (हरिहरसुभाषित), a large collection of free-standing (मुक्तक) verses composed by one Shri Harihara (श्रीहरिहर) who is probably identical to the well-known member of the 13th century CE Vaghela minister Vastupala's literary circle; Mahasubhasitasangraha Verse 9527. 

(2)  In its eighth chapter that deals with various aspects of litigation, the Manu Smriti directs a colorful tirade at perjurers, and, in spite of generally frowning upon the consumption of fish, does not shy away from referring to it here in order to drive its point home.

Devanagari text:
अन्धो मत्स्यानिवाश्नाति स नरः कण्टकैः सह|
यो भाषतेऽर्थवैकल्यमप्रत्यक्षं सभां गतः||

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

andho matsyAnivAznAti sa naraH kaNTakaiH saha|
yo bhASate(a)rthavaikalyamapratyakSaM sabhAM gataH||

Loose translation: The man, who, (in his testimony) in a court of law, twists facts or claims what he has not witnessed, is like a blind person who consumes fish along with the bones. 

SourceManu Smriti Chapter 8 Verse 95; Mahasubhasitasangraha Verse 1699.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Auditory pareidolia 7: Bleaters

Today's post is the odd one out in this series, in the sense that, in each of the quoted couplets, it is a Sanskrit word that has been likened to the call of an animal, and not the other way around. The word under consideration is me (मे) which is one of the equivalents of "my" and "mine" (first-person possessive pronouns) in Sanskrit; the animal in question is the goat. In fact, one of the Sanskrit names of the goat is menAda (मेनाद; नाद = sound) according to the famous lexicon Medini Kosha (मेदिनीकोष) which gives "cat" and "peacock" as alternative meanings of the same word!

The first two verses allude to the controversial practice of animal sacrifice, for which the goat is a choice victim, prevalent in many parts of the Indian Subcontinent; the last one is based on the problem of wild predators preying on livestock. 

(1) Devanagari script:
भार्या मे पुत्रो मे द्रव्यं सकलं च बन्धुवर्गो मे|
इति मे मे कुर्वन्तं पशुमिव बद्ध्वा नयति कालः||

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

bhAryA me putro me dravyaM sakalaM ca bandhuvargo me|
iti me me kurvantaM pazumiva baddhvA nayati kAlaH||

Loose translation: 'My wife! My son! My goods, all (of these)! My circle of friends (or relatives)!' - he, who thus keeps saying, 'Mine! Mine!', is noosed and carried away by Time / Death like a sacrificial goat.

Notes: The word pazu (पशु) has many (regular as well as technical) meanings including "animal", "domestic animal", and "sacrificial animal"; here, it evidently refers to a goat. The goat is, in many cultures, a symbol of stupidity or lust. 

Source: Subhashita Ratnakosha Verse 1623: Verse 30 of Chapter 48 (शान्तिव्रज्या, "the chapter on tranquility").

(2) Devanagari script:
धान्यं मे कनकं मे माषा मे शोभना मसूरा मे|
इति बत मे मे कुर्वन् पशुरिव नीतः कृतान्तेन||

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

dhAnyaM me kanakaM me mASA me zobhanA masUrA me|
iti bata me me kurvan pazuriva nItaH kRtAntena||

Loose translation: 'My paddy! My gold! My beans! My splendid lentils!' - he, who thus keeps saying, 'MineMine!', is snatched away like a sacrificial goat by Death.

Notes: A. N. D. Haksar's translation: 
'This is my rice,
and this my wheat,
these my lovely beans.'
While man thus bleats,
'mine, mine, mine, mine,'
in voice caprine,
he's taken away by death.

Source: Subhaashitaavali Verse 2306 (chapter entitled hAsyam (हास्यम्)).

(3) Devanagari script:
अशनं मे वसनं मे जाया मे बन्धुवर्गो मे|
इति मे मे कुर्वाणं कालवृको हन्ति पुरुषाजम्||

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

azanaM me vasanaM me jAyA me bandhuvargo me|
iti me me kurvANam kAlavRko hanti puruSAjam||

Loose translation: 'My food! My clothes! My wife! My circle of friends (or relatives)!' - as he keeps bleating thus, the man-goat is killed by the time-wolf!

Notes: I came across a variant in which the first half reads "रूपञ्चाभरणं मे भवनं मे साधनानि च मे|" - "my beauty, jewelry, house, and resources."

Source: Subhashita Ratnakara Verse 4 of the chapter on kAlaH (कालः), "time", also mizraprakaraNam 63; Subhashita Ratna Bhandagara Chapter on the sentiment of tranquility (शान्तरसनिर्देशः) Verse 195 (in the section कालचरितम्); 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Scholarly squabbles 3: Father-son correspondence

In the early part of the second millennium CE, the Sena dynasty [see also this], originally from the Karnataka region, established a powerful empire in what is now eastern India and Bangladesh, and maintained it for well over a century. The two preeminent monarchs of this dynasty were Ballala Sena (बल्लालसेन) and his son-and-successor Lakshmana Sena (लक्ष्मणसेन); the former is traditionally held responsible for the genesis of several caste and sub-caste identities peculiar to the Bengali Hindu community. If the following anecdote is to be believed, this father-son duo also had a flair for (passive-aggressive) poetry! 

(1) In all biographical accounts of Ballala Sena, it is recorded that, late in life, he got involved with a much younger and exceptionally beautiful low-caste woman. In Vallalacharita (वल्लालचरित), completed in 1510 CE and authored by Ananda Bhatta (आनन्दभट्ट), a descendant of the "Deccan Brahmin" Ananta Bhatta (अनन्तभट्ट) who was "induced to settle in Bengal by the grant of a village" by Ballala himself [Haraprasad Shastri], this woman introduces herself as a चर्मारकोरितनया, i.e. a woman of Chamar and Kori lineage. I have also found her being described as a member of either the Chandala (चण्डाल) or the Hari (হাড়ি; हड्डिक) community; sometimes she is given the name Padmini (पद्मिनी) or Shilavati (शीलावती). But what all sources do agree on is that this indiscretion on part of the self-proclaimed Brahmakshatriya (ब्रह्मक्षत्रिय) sovereign did not go down very well with many high-caste men in his kingdom, including his adult son Lakshmana Sena. In at least one telling of the story, the crown prince was away on a military expedition when he learned that his father had brought his new bride (or betrothed in some accounts) to live with him in his royal palace. Lakshmana immediately sent a letter to the king containing the following verse .... addressed to water!

Devanagari text:
शैत्यं नाम गुणस्तवैव सहजः1 स्वाभाविकी स्वच्छता
किं ब्रूमः शुचितां भवन्ति शुचयः2 स्पर्शेन यस्यापरे|
किं चान्यत् कथयामि ते स्तुतिपदं यज्जीविनां जीवनं3
त्वं चेन्नीचपथेन गच्छसि पयः कस्त्वां निरोद्धुं क्षमः||
variants: 1तदनु; 2 भजन्त्यशुचयः;
3किं चातः परमं तव स्तुतिपदं त्वं जीवनं जीविनां / किं वातः परमस्ति ते स्तुतिपदं यज्जीवनं देहिनां / किं वातः परमुच्यते यज्जीवनं देहिनां

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

zaityaM nAma guNastavaiva sahajaH svAbhAvikI svacchatA
kiM brUmaH zucitAM bhavanti zucayaH sparzena yasyApare|
kiM cAnyat kathayAmi te stutipadaM yajjIvinAM jIvanaM
tvaM cennIcapathena gacchasi payaH kastvAM niroddhuM kSamaH||

Loose translation: Coolness is, verily, one of your innate attributes, and clarity is just as natural to you. And what is to be said about the purity of that which purifies others by its (mere) touch? What other (/ higher) words of praise could I offer you? For you are the very source of life for all creatures. O Water! If (in spite of these virtues,) you (choose to) take a downward course, who has the power to stand in your way?

Notes: स्वच्छ is, primarily, "transparent" or "clear", but can also mean "clean" or "pure". 

(2) Ballala had the following reply sent to Lakshmana. Remember that this is a father talking to his son. 

Devanagari text:
तापो नापगतस्तृषा न च कृशा धौता न धूलिस्तनो-*
र्न स्वच्छन्दमकारि कन्दकवलः का नाम केलीकथा|
दूरोत्क्षिप्तकरेण हन्त करिणा स्पृष्टा न वा पद्मिनी
प्रारब्धो मधुपैरकारणमहो झङ्कारकोलाहलः**||
variants: *धूली तनो-; **झाङ्कारकोलाहलः

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

tApo nApagatastRSA na ca kRzA dhautA na dhUlistano-
rna svacchandamakAri kandakavalaH kA nAma kelIkathA|
dUrotkSiptakareNa hanta kariNA spRSTA na vA padminI
prArabdho madhupairakAraNamaho jhAGkArakolAhalaH||

Loose translation: Neither has his body heat abated, nor is his thirst quenched, nor has the dust been washed away from his frame; he is yet to indulge in mouthfuls of root tubers [here, lotus rhizomes, presumably], let alone frolicking about (in the water). Alas! The bull elephant has not so much as touched the lotus-clump with his long, extended trunk; and lo! Without rhyme or reason, (these) honeybees are (already) causing (such) a stir with their bombilations!

Notes: What do bees have to do with an elephant, you ask? In Indic literature, honeybees are said to swarm the heads of musth bull elephants, lured in by the scent of the temporin oozing from the latter's facial glands, and are celebrated by some authors as adventitious ornaments for the majestic beasts, and denounced by others as a nuisance (as here).

Note that the word used for "an elephant's trunk" here is कर which can also refer to a human hand, and पद्मिनी, literally "a clump of day-blooming lotuses", is also the technical term for the foremost of the four categories of women recognized (mainly) in treatises on sex. 
[P.S. I have a feeling that this verse is the reason why the name पद्मिनी has come to be applied to this wife of Ballala.]

(3) Ballala might have been confident that this poetic retort would be enough to embarrass his son into silence, but Lakshmana proved him wrong: He continued to expostulate with his father, this time invoking cosmic phenomena [see notes for an explanation of the wordplay]:

Devanagari text:
परीवादस्तथ्यो भवति वितथो वापि महतां
तथाप्युच्चैर्धाम्नो* हरति महिमानं जनरवः|
तुलोत्तीर्णस्यापि प्रकटितहताशेषतमसो
रवेस्तादृक् तेजो न हि भवति कन्यां गतवतः||
*variant: अतथ्यस्तथ्यो वा

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

parIvAdastathyo bhavati vitatho vApi mahatAM
tathApyuccairdhAmno harati mahimAnaM janaravaH|
tulottIrNasyApi prakaTitahatAzeSatamaso
ravestAdRk tejo na ki bhavati kanyAM gatavataH||

Loose translation: Whenever a great personality becomes the subject of gossip, be it justified or unfounded, such public clamor erodes the reputation of the luminary; the Sun dispels darkness completely by his mere appearance, but once it has stayed in Virgo, it no longer has the splendor it had before, even after it passes through Libra. 

Notes: Lakshmana cleverly uses the relation between the zodiac circle and the change of seasons to compare his father to the Sun: The autumnal equinox falls within the Sun's transit through Virgo (कन्यां गतवतः), and after the Sun traverses Libra (तुलोत्तीर्णस्य), the next zodiac sign on the ecliptic, it gets dimmer and dimmer as winter sets in (in the Northern Hemisphere). Now, कन्यां गतवतः can also be translated as "pertaining to him who has been associated with (or has had intercourse with) a girl", and तुलोत्तीर्णस्य can be interpreted as "pertaining to him who has successfully accomplished being weighed on a balance", i.e. one whose true worth has been ascertained. Lakshmana's import is that, once a public figure has been embroiled in scandal, especially of the sexual kind, they can never return to their pristine glory, even (if and) after they are officially exonerated. The word uccairdhAman (उच्चैर्धामन्), "possessing intense effulgence", is an interesting word that completes the comparison of the powerful king to the Sun.

(4) Ballala closed the conversation with the following lines in his own defense.

Devanagari text:
सुधांशोर्जातेयं कथमपि कलङ्कस्य कणिका
विधातुर्दोषोऽयं न च गुणनिधेस्तस्य किमपि|
स किं नात्रेः पुत्त्रो न किमु हरचूडार्चनमणि-
र्न वा हन्ति ध्वान्तं जगदुपरि किं वा न वसति||

Harvard-Kyoto transliteration:

sudhAMzorjAteyaM kathamapi kalaGkasya kaNikA
vidhAturdoSo(a)yaM na ca guNanidhestasya kimapi|
sa kiM nAtreH puttro na kimu haracUDArcanamaNi-
rna vA hanti dhvAntaM jagadupari kiM vA na vasati||

Loose translation: This tiny blemish that somehow appears on the Moon is the fault of the Creator (Brahma) and not by any means of that repository of virtues (i.e. the Moon); for is he (still) not the son of the sage Atri as well as Shiva's crown jewel? Does he (still) not destroy darkness, and live (high) above the world (of mortals)?

Notes: Ballala is, obviously, not quite denying (what he himself deems) his peccadillo, but is shifting the bulk of the blame to the vidhAtR (विधातृ), "ordainer / maker / bestower", of his kalaGka (कलङ्क), "stigma", i.e. holding his Maker (or Fate) responsible for the foibles of his flesh. At the same time, he is accusing his detractors of overlooking his long list of virtues. 

I will conclude by pointing out how apt I think Ballala's likening of himself to the Moon is, for the Senas claimed to be scions of the lunar dynastyहरचूडार्चनमणिः may or may not be an allusion to the fact that Ballala was a devotee of Shiva; the allegorical significance of the last quarter is straightforward.

Source: This sequence of verses, along with the alleged historical context, is recorded in many late 19th-early 20th century anthologies printed in Bengal: Pandit Jibananda Vidyasagara in his Kavyasangraha (काव्यसङ्ग्रह) Part I, and Purnachandra De Kabyaratna Udbhatasagara, in his Udbhata Shloka Maalaa, quote this quartet as Verses 17-20 of a small collection titled Padyasangraha (पद्यसङ्ग्रह) and attributed to Kavibhatta (कविभट्ट). 

Variants of (1) occur as Verse 52 (anonymous) of Chapter 14 of the 17th century Padyaracana, as Verse 6 of the chapter on miscellaneous allegorical verses (संकीर्णान्योक्तयः) in Subhashita Ratnakara, and as Verse 14 of the chapter on miscellaneous allegorical verses (संकीर्णान्योक्तयः) in Subhashita Ratna Bhandagara which itself cites the treatise Alankara Kaustubha (अलङ्कारकौस्तुभ) as its source. Shaarngadharapaddhati (Verse 923) and Padyaracana (Chapter 14 Verse 68) both contain (3), and both attribute it to Lakshmana Sena instead of Ballala Sena! Subhashita Ratna Bhandagara includes (3) in its chapter on general morals (सामान्यनीतिः) as Verse 977, and (4) in its chapter on fate / destiny / chance (दैवाख्यानम्) as Verse 90.