collapse
2020 Donation Drive

It's time for our annual Server Donation Drive! We need to raise at least $710 to keep The Cauldron's server online for another year. Please help! Either hit that Paypal button to the right and make a one-time donation in any amount or set up a monthly Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor subscription. You can find more info in this message!

Donations as of 28 October 2020: $610 donated. Only $100 more needed! Thank you, donors!


Note: This total is updated manually, usually once a day


* Recent Posts

Author Topic: Bhagavad Gita Translations  (Read 3098 times)

anonymus

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jul 2013
  • Posts: 115
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Bhagavad Gita Translations
« on: February 14, 2016, 10:50:21 pm »
I was wondering if any body could recommend an accurate and accessible translation of the Bhagavad Gita.

Castus

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Virginia
  • Posts: 822
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 76
    • View Profile
  • Religion: that’s a great question
Re: Bhagavad Gita Translations
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2016, 11:20:53 pm »
Quote from: anonymus;186639
I was wondering if any body could recommend an accurate and accessible translation of the Bhagavad Gita.

 
I'm pretty sure ISKCON put out a good one.
“Castus, meanwhile, goes straight for the bad theology like one of those creepy fish that swims up streams of pee.” — Darkhawk

vox

  • Jr. Newbie
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2016
  • Posts: 1
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Bhagavad Gita Translations
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2016, 02:51:10 pm »
Quote from: anonymus;186639
I was wondering if any body could recommend an accurate and accessible translation of the Bhagavad Gita.

 
Hey there,

I found this page which compare various translations of the Gita that might help to clear things up a bit: Confused about English translations of the Bhagavad Gita?  Personally, I like the Eknath Easwaran translation, myself.

However, there's also the translation by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood which is also very good and should not be overlooked.  You can check out what people say about it at amazon.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't also bring up The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners by Jack Hawley.  It's not my personal favorite, but a lot of people have really responded enthusiastically to it.

The Bhagavad Gita is a book that a person can read for a lifetime and still find new wisdom.  If I were to give a copy to someone who was just starting out, I'd probably pick the Easwaran or Prabhavananda/Isherwood translation, but I kind of grew up with the Vedanta Society texts around me, so they're very comfortable to me.

Best of luck, and I hope I've helped a little.

Eleusis

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Feb 2016
  • Posts: 20
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Bhagavad Gita Translations
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2016, 02:08:27 pm »
Quote from: Castus;186641
I'm pretty sure ISKCON put out a good one.

 
As someone who comes from a Hindu background, I'd recommend avoiding ISKON's translation: It comes with a very intrusive and literalist commentary. It's basically the equivalent of getting a Bible published by the Evangelical Alliance or something. If you're after accuracy, I'd avoid Easwaran too: It's not a terrible translation, but it's very much filtered through Easwaran's own biases. I recommend the Lars Martin Fosse Translation, as it was written with the express intent of creating an accurate translation, and not glossing over any of the uncomfortable parts of the Gita: Krishna isn't portrayed as all love and sweetness, and no attempt is made to obscure the fact that the Gita is sexist and supports the caste system, or to obscure the fact that, yes, God is telling someone to go and fight in a war.

It's not necessarily as beautiful or poetic as some translations out there, but for accuracy and lack of bias you can't get much better. I'd still recommend reading more than one translation, though. Hope that helps.

Jainarayan

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Oct 2014
  • Posts: 606
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 168
    • View Profile
Re: Bhagavad Gita Translations
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 11:19:47 am »

 
As someone who comes from a Hindu background, I'd recommend avoiding ISKON's translation: It comes with a very intrusive and literalist commentary. It's basically the equivalent of getting a Bible published by the Evangelical Alliance or something. If you're after accuracy, I'd avoid Easwaran too: It's not a terrible translation, but it's very much filtered through Easwaran's own biases. I recommend the Lars Martin Fosse Translation, as it was written with the express intent of creating an accurate translation, and not glossing over any of the uncomfortable parts of the Gita: Krishna isn't portrayed as all love and sweetness, and no attempt is made to obscure the fact that the Gita is sexist and supports the caste system, or to obscure the fact that, yes, God is telling someone to go and fight in a war.

It's not necessarily as beautiful or poetic as some translations out there, but for accuracy and lack of bias you can't get much better. I'd still recommend reading more than one translation, though. Hope that helps.

I know this thread is old, not sure why it popped up now, but anyway...

I agree with everything you said. The As It Is version does have some nice flowery prose, but I don't like the narrow purports. For example, I do not believe that 9.26 ("If one offers Me with love and devotion, a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it") is an injunction to vegetarianism. sure, we eat nasturtiums in a salad, but really, eating flowers!? No, I believe it is saying that no matter how meagre the offering, if done with a pure heart and the deepest love, Krishna will be thrilled with it.

I also do not like how Prabhupada translates 7.21:

yo yo yam yam tanum bhaktah
sraddhayarcitum icchati
tasya tasyacalam sraddham
tam eva vidadhamy aham


"I am in everyone's heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship the demigods, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to some particular deity." The line "I am in everyone's heart as the Supersoul is not in the Sanskrit in any way, shape or form. I think Prabhupada had an agenda (oh really? ya think?) and does his best to fulfill it. Nevertheless, I do like reading it, as comparison. I also recommend several translations and interpretations. Though Ramana Maharshi said he took each verse at face value. He said he'd hear a verse, accept it the way he heard it (he never read it... I think he was illiterate) and that was that. A ṛṣi after my own heart... no overthinking.  :P

Hariti

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Mar 2017
  • Location: Kentucky
  • *
  • Posts: 918
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 302
  • ( Formerly known as EDF.)
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hindu with Christian and Pop-Culture Elements
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Bhagavad Gita Translations
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2017, 01:03:49 am »
I know this thread is old, not sure why it popped up now, but anyway...

I agree with everything you said. The As It Is version does have some nice flowery prose, but I don't like the narrow purports. For example, I do not believe that 9.26 ("If one offers Me with love and devotion, a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it") is an injunction to vegetarianism. sure, we eat nasturtiums in a salad, but really, eating flowers!? No, I believe it is saying that no matter how meagre the offering, if done with a pure heart and the deepest love, Krishna will be thrilled with it.

I also do not like how Prabhupada translates 7.21:

yo yo yam yam tanum bhaktah
sraddhayarcitum icchati
tasya tasyacalam sraddham
tam eva vidadhamy aham


"I am in everyone's heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship the demigods, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to some particular deity." The line "I am in everyone's heart as the Supersoul is not in the Sanskrit in any way, shape or form. I think Prabhupada had an agenda (oh really? ya think?) and does his best to fulfill it. Nevertheless, I do like reading it, as comparison. I also recommend several translations and interpretations. Though Ramana Maharshi said he took each verse at face value. He said he'd hear a verse, accept it the way he heard it (he never read it... I think he was illiterate) and that was that. A ṛṣi after my own heart... no overthinking.  :P

I personally use "as it is," and quit like the way it is written, but it does have an agenda. If you use it you have to read critically and be skeptical of his commentary and interpretation, because he often phrases things to support ISKON theology and beliefs, when the original verse does not necessarily do so. I see "as it is" as being similar to a King James Bible (with commentary); it sounds nice, and is very poetic, but the translation has issues and the commentary should be distrusted and questioned.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Jainarayan

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Oct 2014
  • Posts: 606
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 168
    • View Profile
Re: Bhagavad Gita Translations
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2017, 11:31:38 am »
I personally use "as it is," and quit like the way it is written, but it does have an agenda. If you use it you have to read critically and be skeptical of his commentary and interpretation, because he often phrases things to support ISKON theology and beliefs, when the original verse does not necessarily do so. I see "as it is" as being similar to a King James Bible (with commentary); it sounds nice, and is very poetic, but the translation has issues and the commentary should be distrusted and questioned.

There's a discussion of this very thing on another site!

Hariti

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Mar 2017
  • Location: Kentucky
  • *
  • Posts: 918
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 302
  • ( Formerly known as EDF.)
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hindu with Christian and Pop-Culture Elements
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Bhagavad Gita Translations
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2017, 03:46:29 pm »
There's a discussion of this very thing on another site!

This very thing? As in, a comparison of the KJV and the "As it is" Gita? Interesting!
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Jainarayan

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Oct 2014
  • Posts: 606
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 168
    • View Profile
Re: Bhagavad Gita Translations
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 11:16:03 am »
This very thing? As in, a comparison of the KJV and the "As it is" Gita? Interesting!

I mean the translations Prabhupada uses and his purports considered to be based on his alleged  agenda.

Hariti

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Mar 2017
  • Location: Kentucky
  • *
  • Posts: 918
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 302
  • ( Formerly known as EDF.)
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hindu with Christian and Pop-Culture Elements
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Bhagavad Gita Translations
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2017, 06:34:06 pm »
I mean the translations Prabhupada uses and his purports considered to be based on his alleged  agenda.

Oh. I sort of assumed that everyone took that for granted. The leader of one sect of Hinduism, is going to spin his translation to fit with his sect's theology, especially when the sect is as sectarian and zealous as ISKON. They really want you to convert, and you might not do that if the text doesn't support their interpretation.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
6 Replies
5378 Views
Last post July 11, 2011, 05:13:56 pm
by Mata
2 Replies
925 Views
Last post June 17, 2013, 12:12:51 pm
by Sarah
13 Replies
2011 Views
Last post November 19, 2013, 12:29:36 am
by Faemon

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 44
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* Shop & Support TC

The links below are affiliate links. When you click on one of these links you will go to the listed shopping site with The Cauldron's affiliate code. Any purchases you make during your visit will earn TC a tiny percentage of your purchase price at no extra cost to you.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall

SimplePortal 2.3.6 © 2008-2014, SimplePortal