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The Saturday Book Review: Sanskrit Non-Translatable's- The Importance of Sanskritizing English
Title: Sanskrit Non-Translatable's- The Importance of Sanskritizing English
Authors: Rajiv Malhotra & Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji
TNA Rating: *****
India is often referred to as a great Spiritual Nation, and a Civilization on the move. One of the oldest Living Civilizations of the world , home to rich, relevant , spiritual and religious practices and cultures, influencing discourses , movements, and religions across the world.
Countries across the world, in the past hundreds and thousands of years have been known, to have, invested a lot of effort to fathom and understand the rich heritage and culture , whose relevance, not only in India but for all societies, across religious and language divides, is a subject of awe , admiration and interest
India is home to some of the oldest living languages of the world, and they have silently influenced some of the later languages that evolved across the world.
Sanskrit has a special place in this sphere. A reservoir of the spiritual, the religious ethos, and the cultural aroma so well entwined in its bosom , that it continues to remain a target of universal attention and research, even though it has fallen through tough times and has gone out of reckoning as a language of contemporary communication
Rajeev Malhotra and Satyanarayan Dasa in their latest book'Sanskrit Non-Translatable's: The Importance of Sanskritizing English' have gone into intricate and fascinating detail ,into one of the greatest ancient living language of the world.
With countries vying with each other to capture the ethos of the spiritual fundamentals of our great and a relevant civilization, it was inevitable that concepts were borrowed, across time , and consciously or unconsciously ,Sanskrit words were translated, assimilated, and found there way into their own respective vocabularies.
Sanskrit prides itself of its vocabulary and words not being limited to a meaning, but as a representation of a complete, spiritual or cultural ethos or a concept, which was alien to the western world.
Often Sanskrit terminology was picked up and translated into English words ,which found their way into common use, but either failed to correctly convey or mis-convey the true essence of their original Sanskrit words.
To address this misrepresentation and decadence of our intrinsic values and culture , the authors have started a movement through their books, too, as they say Sanskritize English. Meaning that some words would rather be lifted as they were in Sanskrit ,without their being adapted or translated as English equivalents. They have identified as a starting point around 54 non translatable sanskrit terms which have been carelessly translated.
“Maya is not illusion-Maya is a pivotal concept in Indian thought and is often translated as ‘illusion’ thereby creating a general misconception that Hindu Philosophy is world –negating, pessimistic and unproductive.This is wholly incorrect” Then there is a section which goes on in detail to explain why it is so.
“Shakti is not Energy-Shakti is commonly and naively translated as ‘energy’,thus depriving the word of its profundity. Energy denotes an insentient physical force or capacity to perform activities.It can be controlled by mechanical means, as seen in the way by which we control the supply of electrical energy with a switch.In contrast the Sanskrit word Shakti does not signify an inanimate, insentient principle as the word energy. Shakti is the divine feminine.
Atma is not Soul, Jiva is not Soul ,Prakriti is not nature,Akasha is not space,Agni is not Fire, Vayu is not Air, Shabda is not word , Asura is not a Demon are some of the words we freely use in common parlance , which are not correct analogies.
It is a new dimension put forward by the authors to preserve and ensure correct transmission of spiritual and cultural values so deeply enshrined in our hearts and in our civilization.
A great effort. The book a must possess for all those wanting to have a peek and a understanding of what went into the making, continued relevance and sustenance of a great civilization. The goal in the authors words’ to lay a strong foundation for readers to start using these Sanskrit words when speaking or writing in english.
(The author of this book review is a Lucknow-based businessman, Chairman, MSME Confederation of Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise UP and Co-Chairman PHD Chambers of Commerce and the Founder Chair of Confederation of Indian Industry-Young Indians.)
This Book Is Available @ Universal Booksellers