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Bhagavad Gita translations

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by Shrew, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. Shrew

    Shrew Active Member

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    Inspired by this thread: What are the diferences between the Gita translations and what is special about the ISKCON version?
     
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  2. Terese

    Terese Mangalam Pundarikakshah
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    There are Advaitic, Visistadvaitic and Dvaitic translations of the Gita, as well as many others.

    ISKCON translation is of a Gaudiya Vaisnava viewpoint, they adhere to Achintya-Bheda-Abhedha, similar to Visistadvaita.
     
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  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Is anyone here familiar with Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Bhagavad Gita? If so, what do you think of it?
     
  4. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Keep in mind that BhagawadGita is a Vaishnava scripture, so it will naturally eulogize Krishna and Vishnu. If translated by ISHCON and other Vaishnava sects, it will be even more Krishna Vishnu centric. But there is a strong 'advaitist' think in BhagawadGita. Knowing a little Sanskrit, translations are not a problem for me, I can straight away know where it is deviating from the real meaning of the verse. I have pirated the krishna.com translation on my hard disk. It serves me well.
     
  5. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Swami Prabhupada's translation (ISKCON) is more a sectarian paraphrasing than an actual translation.

    The inclusion of the Devanagari text, Roman transliteration, word-for-word Sanskrit-English transliteration, and English translation and interpretation is admirable, but if you actually look at the word-for-word, it's often a bafflement how the final translation is extracted from it.

    There's often little correspondence between the actual words in the text and the final translation.
     
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  6. निताइ dasa

    निताइ dasa Nitai's servant's servant

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    I love Prabhupada's version. Even before being a Gaudiya Vaishnav I read other more advaitic type commentaries and they weren't very satisfying (I found they actually gave really vague or hard to explain translations). With the ISKCON version of Prabhupada, He explains everything so beautifully and this translation is saturated with Bhakti (devotional service to God) which really appeals to me and alot of other readers. It probably one of the only popular versions of the Gita that is not adwaitic and also open enough for westerners and newcomers to Hinduism to read. While if you pick up for example Ramanujacharya's commentary, it might have a hard time understand the terms and context.

    Perhaps this is why, this version if so popular?
     
    #6 निताइ dasa, Nov 30, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  7. Kirran

    Kirran
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    I've found Eknath Easwaran's to be very good, I wouldn't say it's necessarily a Vaishnava scripture. Vaishnavism is a sect, and a text like the Bhagavad Gita isn't really bound to sect. As for the popularity of the ISKCON one, missionaries handing it out on street corners is probably a big part of its popularity :)

    While across different translations one should expect some variation in emphasis and nuance and so forth based on the different understandings of the translators, one should also expect the basic meaning to be the same. This is true for pretty much all translations, with the notable exception of one outlier which translates the text quite differently and freely. I don't really have any problem with them understanding the original text in the way they do, but I think it is somewhat misleading to present a paraphrased form of the text which describes that view as being an honest translation. But as long as people are aware of the translation's providence, it's all good.
     
    #7 Kirran, Nov 30, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
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  8. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    If you want a very scholarly commentary on BhagawadGita, I do not think you can get anything better than "Gita-Rahasya" by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. I have downloaded that from archives. org but have not gathered enough courage to tackle it.
    https://archive.org/details/SrimadBhagavadGitaRahasya-BgTilak-Volumes1And2

    The search for the download address chanced me to come to know of another book by Bal Ganghadhar Tilak - "The Vedic Chronology and the Vedanga Jyotisha". That also should be interesting.
     
    #8 Aupmanyav, Nov 30, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  9. निताइ dasa

    निताइ dasa Nitai's servant's servant

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    Also be aware there is not such thing as a non-sectarian translation of the Gita. Even in translation, each translator will put forth their biases, espcially with issues like, "Are the atma one or two?", 'Who is the Supreme?" "What is the best process?' etc.
     
  10. SpentaMaynu

    SpentaMaynu One /G\god(s)[dess]

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    The ISKCON version is the only version of the Bhagavad Gita I have at the moment. I once saw one, translated by Mahatma Ghandi, and would love to read it (unfortunately didn't have the money at the time to buy it).
     
  11. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    If you search on internet, you can find many. Here is one which may not have much embelishment or sectoral bias.
    http://www.gita-society.com/pdf/700verses.pdf
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/gita/agsgita.htm

    This is my first Gita and probably the most read Gita in the world. I love it. Simple translation, not much bias. The organization, Gita Press in Gorakhpur, was established in 1860, and their purpose was to provide Indian scriptures at very economical rates. They published their books in all Indian languages. They largely succeeded in their task till others came around. You can save it to your hard disk (click on the arrow).

     
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  12. Ekanta

    Ekanta om sai ram

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    If there is a strong advaitist think, it cant be a vaishnava (vishishtadvaita & dvaita) scripture . However it can be an advaitist scripture with vaishnava (vishishtadvaita & dvaita) parts. This is just common sense.
    Advaita accepts vishishtadvaita & dvaita as steps.
    vishishtadvaita accepts dvaita as a step.
    dvaita accepts nothing as steps.
     
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  13. Chakra

    Chakra Well-Known Member
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    It is still important to remember that "Vaishnava" and "Advaita" are not antonyms. The Vishnu paratva mentioned would not be nullified even if Bhagavad Gita were an 'advaitic' text.
     
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  14. ShivaFan

    ShivaFan Satyameva Jayate
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    I would recommend JAYARAM V (he is a Indian Savant) edition of:

    THE BHAGAVADGITA - Complete Translation
    Word to Word Translation & Commentary by
    Jayaram V

    [​IMG]

    Click on link to get to his website. But he has many websites.

    Books by Jayaram V

    I have had much correspondence with this Great Savant of our times.
    He is the most scholarly and advanced I can think of. I recommend ALL OF HIS BOOKS.

    Also, Prabhupad's books are wonderful.

    This one by Jayaram V is very adept and scholarly and ACCURATE.
     
  15. ShivaFan

    ShivaFan Satyameva Jayate
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    Yes Aup, this resource is FANTASTIC!
     
  16. Stormcry

    Stormcry Well-Known Member

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    That's not true. "Bhagavad Gita as it is" is possible.
     
  17. Terese

    Terese Mangalam Pundarikakshah
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    The "Bhagavad Gita as it is" is a Gaudiya Vaisnava translation, which means it's biased. Prabhupada's translation is certainly not non-sectarian, as well as perhaps every other translation.
     
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