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Restless to Teach

Date: 23 Jul 2009 10:47:17 -0000 From: "Bhavanath Rajpal" To: Subject: Restless to Teach Baba "Toma'ke ja'y na' bhola'..." (P.S. 2347) Purport: Baba, by Your grace You have bound me in Your divine attraction-- love. Always I am calling and thinking about You, yet You are not satiating my heart's desire by coming close. Baba, when I long for You and the feeling of melancholy is unbearable then my heart begins to ache. Baba, in that longing and pain, the feeling comes in my mind that it is best just to forget You. Because then at least the pain which is lingering due to Your absence will not remain any longer. But the more and more I think that I should forget You, then my deep longing and yearning for You only intensifies-- and my heart becomes more and more restless to get You. Baba, I am longing for Your causeless grace, please come...
Namaskar, Over the last few years, one person has been jumping onto and off of the stage to give his teachings and interpretations of Prabhat Samgiita. Just the other day, he again surfaced and eagerly uploaded his teachings to the internet "for the benefit of everyone worldwide", as he so graciously put it. In addition to offering his own translations from Bengali into English, he has also attached colourful images to each song. This letter addresses his work based on two parameters: the quality of translation and the overall value of such images. Let us now take a look to see how far his efforts offer insight into Baba's magnificent, devotional collection of Prabhat Samgiita.
Our esteemed translator has begun anew with presenting Baba's songs from the very beginning. So here we shall examine his (re)interpretation of Prabhat Samgiita #2. We say reinterpretation because already our late respected Dada Vijayanandaji has provided our Marga community with an approved line by line translation of this song into English, "Prabhat Samgiita - Volume I (1993). As we know all Baba's Prabhat Samgiita compositions are of tremendous social and spiritual value, yet at the same time it cannot be denied that from a purely linguistic perspective, the early songs are easier to understand, whereas those songs in the 3000's etc can be more involved and challenging in expression. Given then that this is song #2 is one of those easier songs, and that this translator himself readily admits that his mother tongue is Bengali - he writes, "Bangla is my mother tongue...a sincere attempt has been made to convey to a degree, an understanding of the rare depth of devotion and feelings behind the songs" - so we naturally expect that everything should go smoothly.
As many may already be aware, in this particular Prabhat Samgiita (E ga'n a'ma'ra a'lora jharn'a'dha'ra') Baba is describing how the path of spirituality is full of all kinds of difficulties and obstacles. One will have to overcome all sorts of trials and and tribulations. Yet with these songs, referred to as the fountain of effulgence - i.e. His divine grace - then those obstacles will be crushed and the sadhaka will easily advance. In a nutshell, this is a very basic idea of the song. The second stanza of the song begins with this line:
E path a'ma'r bandhura kan't'aka bhara' This path my rugged thorns full
For everyone's understanding we have put the well-accepted, word-for-word English meaning below the original Bengali, and the line meaning is, "This path of mine is rugged and full of thorns". That translation neatly suits the overall vision and theme of the song. That is what appears in Dada Vijayanandaji's book and that is what sadhakas in AM have understood for years and years about this song. Now let's take a look at what our eager translator did with this same line. In his newly released, high-gloss document it says: "This path is filled with my ‘Bandhu’s* words" The above is how he has translated that line. And in the asterisk note for Bandhu it says, "Parampurusa the inseparable friend." So in this very simple and straightforward song, this so-called translator has given a meaning that is diametrically opposite to the generally accepted and approved meaning. On the one side, for years and years AM scholars and devotees have long recognised that the meaning of this line is, "This path is very rugged and full of thorns" whereas this new translator states that "This path is full of Guru's words", as if Baba's teachings are the root cause of all difficulties. Of course, we all know that Guru's words are full of sweetness, love, and bliss and are not at all like thorns etc. Then how did this translator make such a dramatic shift, delineating Guru's words as being the problems on the path. As if the only way to advance is to crush and destroy Baba's words. It all seems to stem from his misunderstanding of the word "bandhura" which means "rugged". Every Bengali speaking person knows bandhura means rugged and Acarya Vijayanandji's published translation also defines bandhura as rugged, yet this wanna-be commentator has translated bandhura as Bandhu's words, or the words of Parama Purusa. How could he have come up with such a different meaning - one which goes against the very nature and spirit of the song. Because the song is talking about how the path is rugged and full of obstacles and that those things must be crushed, yet this new translator is saying that this path is full of Baba's words, thereby blaming Guru's guidelines and spoken ideas for being the problems on the path, giving the impression that Baba's words must be wiped out entirely in order to progress. Why like this? Why? Why? Why? Well it seems that in his haste, our self-appointed, native Bengali translator misunderstood bandhura to be, Bandhu meaning "Supreme Friend" + the suffix -ra meaning "of". This is the only way to explain his gross error, in both judgment and linguistic understanding. In that way, this glossy translator has wrongly named Guru's words as being the source of all problems and disrespectfully delineated that Baba's divine teachings are what give us difficulty on the path. Thus due to his negligence, the translator has not only totally missed out on the correct translation, but he has spun the entire idea of the song into a completely chaotic direction, wherein Guru is at fault and to be blamed and that His words should be destroyed in order to advance on the path of enlightenment. Indeed those who are not familiar with Bengali will be totally misled about this song because of this totally wrong and irresponsibly crude translation.
There are also innumerable other mistakes in translation both in this song and every other he has translated. Indeed there are so many errors, both in language and spirit. That is why we can only say that this new translator is "restless to teach." He is so anxious to preach his own ideas and is so full of his own I-ness or ego satisfaction of a being "teacher", that despite being a native Bengali speaker, he cannot even grasp the most basic elements of Baba's songs. This then shows that language alone is not enough. Sadhana is needed. Then one will have a balanced outlook and spiritually vibrated mind with which to render a proper translation of Baba's divine songs of Prabhat Samgiita. Without that, all hope is lost and one will create an absolute mess in translation, as this restless teacher has done.
Another critical error in translation of Prabhat Samgiita #2 is as follows. We have to remember that this song is only six lines long, and each line is very short. Even then, this so-called translator has jumbled this song entirely. For instance in the end of the song, the translator has written, " I keep destroying, keep on destroying" as if due to his own individual efforts he is crushing and smashing down the prison walls of narrow-mindedness and difficulties etc, when in fact it is the fountain of effulgence, i.e. the sweet flow of songs or Baba's divine grace, that is shattering the granite prison walls of dogma and problems. This song is about how Guru's sweet songs, teachings, and grace create a flow in life that lead one beyond darkness and into the light. That is the point of momentum: His songs. Yet the restless teacher has translated it in such a way that the unit being is doing all this miraculous work all by himself: "I keep destroying, keep on destroying". This type of extreme negligence in translation occurs when one is totally engrossed in their own ego and restless to get name and fame for their work. In that case they are unable to understand anything and their entire effort moves in the wrong direction. Really there are so many errors in translation - in even these relatively easy songs - that one could write all day about these mistakes. But already enough has been said to provide a taste of how this so-called translator has gone awry.
In the preface to his newly-released high-gloss rendition, the translator has also written the following: "The translations have been complemented by pictures taken from the internet, which lend colour and perhaps help the reader to an extent identifying with the depth of the song." Now let us examine how far his above statement is correct. How useful and appropriate is it to attach images as representations of the theme and spirit of Baba's divine songs. For each song, this brother has pasted mundane images thinking that this will enhance one's understanding of the subtlety of the song. But once again his effort backfires, in multiple ways. The philosophical response is that the devotional feeling that Baba is describing and goading our minds toward in His divine songs goes far beyond the written word and crude imagery. Baba's ideas are vast and spark the finer sentiments of human feeling and cognition. When we sing Prabhat Samgiita we close our minds and touch down deep within and feel His sweet presence and love. It is an internal devotional experience. We are not relying on crude motor and sensory organs to understand the song. Thus to attach a glossy image from the internet to the song as if this mundane image will grant us spiritual insight is totally wrong and misguided. Rather it will stop or cutoff the flow of mind. The mind will dead-end in mundane thought and never even touch the more subtle layers of devotional life. That is one problem with using such crude imagery. Secondly, such an approach sets a bad precedent. By this way, then in the future, others will also put pictures in Baba's books. And in "Human Society" Part 1 and 2 they will included pictures of naked females where Baba is describing the ills of pornography, and in "Subhasita Samgraha" they will include pictures of dogmatic temples and so-called holy shrines where Baba is pointing out the dogmas of the various religions, and in "Namah Shivaya Shantaya" they will include pictures of slaughtered animals where Baba is describing how in the past people engaged in such sacrifices to please the gods etc. So a terrible precedent has been set by attaching images to Prabhat Samgiita songs. And indeed, one group has already embarked in this direction. So it is a very real and valid concern. Just as most university textbooks that deal with matters of philosophy and subtle expression do not have pictures, similarly the scriptures of Ananda Marga should not have pictures. Where Baba wished to have pictures, He included them. In some of His books for children, pictures have been included, but never in any of our philosophical or devotional shastras.
Taking all of the above into consideration, we must now all judge for ourselves how far the translator's below words are accurate. "It is for the benefit of everyone worldwide...who understand English and would like to but are unable to savour the full sweetness of the original Bangla songs." Are his translations in accordance with the devotional feeling and flow of Baba's Prabhat Samgiita collection? Is his approach of using crude imagery appropriate with Prabhat Samgiita? Is what he has done really for the "benefit of everyone worldwide"? It seems the answer is quite clear.
Best then is that we should pay heed to Baba's below words. Baba says, "The scriptures should always be interpreted by qualified scholars, competent philosophers, and penetrating thinkers. If one tries to interpret a profound scripture with superficial knowledge, the interpreter appears ridiculous and the audience is confused." "There are some people who are neither scholars, nor philosophers, nor penetrating thinkers, but merely wander about interpreting scriptures as a means of livelihood. They utterly fail to present the proper matter in the correct perspective before the audience. Such people may be successful in earning a living in the name of sha'stra vya'khya'na, but they do more harm than good to the society. There are still others who interpret the scriptures just to exhibit their intellect – to procure for themselves a certificate of erudition. They too remain far from the living spirit of the scriptures, from the One who is their fountainhead of inspiration." (NSS, Disc: 14) As Baba guides us, such type of translators should refrain entirely from doing such work. They are doing an injustice to Baba's divine works and a disservice to humanity. Just as young frogs like to give lectures without have the requisite knowledge and experience, our restless teacher is doing the same. Best is if he gives up this project entirely and print even one more syllable. Period. That is the only viable solution. There is no other way.
By His grace, when one has done proper sadhana they alone are up to the task or translating and explaining Baba's devotional compositions of Prabhat Samgiita. Without deep meditation, a person like our restless teacher cannot serve Baba's will, at least not in this regard. Baba says, "The shlokas [and songs] should be properly explained with relevant commentaries and annotations." (NSS, Disc: 14) Namaskar, Bhavanath
This below letter details how Baba has pointed out such poor translation techniques in the past. At one DMC, in front of all, Baba openly exposed the overly literal approach of one famous Dada and removed that Dada from his duty as translator of Prabhat Samgiita.
Who is the person who is so restless to teach us about Prabhat Samgiita. His name is Arun Prakash Bhattacharya ( He is the one who has made such much gross errors in translation and misled others about Baba's divine songs. Also of note, is that a few persons on the Margii Collective email list have praised this brother's work up to the sky, calling him a great devotee and describing his work fantastic contribution to humanity etc. Here are their exact comments:
" just see the beautiful innovation of His devotee." "My sincere and heartiest congratulation to Brother Arun Prakashji for the excellent effort."
Such persons should refrain from making superficial evaluations in the future, lest they again encourage restless people to continue in their misguided ways, and expose their own quality and integrity of mind, or lack thereof.
*************************************** Spiritual Inheritance
Baba says, "The sentiment of spiritual inheritance and Cosmic Ideology will keep people united. It is true that this spiritual sentiment will not be helpful to the formation of a nation inside any particular country, but it will definitely unite the entire planetary world and even the universe into a nation. Then there will be only one nation - a universal nation." ('To The Patriots')

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