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Re: REQUEST : Bhagavad Gita commentary

Posted By Michael Tandy (mpt0002@jove.acs.unt.edu)
14 Jan 1997 19:13:57 GMT

In article <ghenE3yoCu.H71@netcom.com>, parrikar@spot.Colorado.EDU says...

>Apropos of our issue - comparative and critical judgment of translations
>calls for expertise in both Sanskrit and English and also perhaps a good
>background in the tradition.

Is there anything that Lord Krsna Himself says in the Gita
about who knows its gist? Is this a troublesome question
that would like to dismiss it as "ISKCON blather?"

I don't know Sanskrit very well and so I am not
>competent to make these attempts since I have no way of definitively
>ascertaining the literal adherence to the original.

Hmmm. Bookmark this.

The people (ISKCON fellas,
>to wit)

"fellas?"

who I knew and who alleged that the 'other` Gitas didn't quite cut
>it were even less competent than I in that they didn't even know to read
>Sanskrit much less understand it.

Of course, your experience of ISKCON and it's members, I'm sure, is
less than mine. You should admit that you are looking at a very
limited circumstance. I do know Sanskrit, I have read other
Gitas, as well as other commentaries on it in Sanskrit, and I am
mindful of the fact that there are many, many responsible scholars
and priests in ISKCON who are far better than me in many ways.
And significantly, most of them don't wish to waste their valuable
time with armchair debates in these newsgroups. Given that the
squabbles on this or other newsgroups are generally inconsequential,
one could argue that one's valuable time should be spent in more
constructive ways. At least it's worth considering.


Yet curiously,
>such considerations never came in the way of their pronouncements
>(denouncements, really) of the 'other` Gitas.
I don't agree that this is curious. Given the superabundance of
bogus gurus and their unauthorized ideologies and commentaries,
it's neither difficult nor unreasonable for anyone to make this
kind of postulation.

This should set the context
>for my last post.
Frankly, the context of your last post has been set by other
factors as well, and I suspect that you probably have no
idea what they are. But perhaps that's irrelevent.
>
>Now then, you have indicated that you have read across a wide spectrum
>of available translations. I also presume you know Sanksrit very well.
>Could you, then, please cite some specific shlokAs along with their
>translations from the 'other` works and contrast them with Prabhupada so
>that (a) it illuminates your points of the primacy of P's translation
>and the errors in the rest (b) the experts on the net can comment, and
>(c) the less-informed in such matters (such as myself) are educated
>and edified and hence better equipped to make our own evaluation?

Had I the time, I would love to do this myself, and I suspect
Randy should have no problem with this reasonable request.
>
>For once we will have something concrete to go on than merely bland
assertions.

Oh, I don't know...I've seen many things claimed here that have been
substantiated reasonably well.

>The matter of distortions in the 'other` Gitas should be easily
demonstrable

And it is, for anyone who studies Gita in the appropriate manner
mentioned by the Gita itself.

>if that is indeed the case and I, for one, will have no hesitation, if
>presented with a reasonable amount of evidence, in coming around to your
>point of view. I trust that you will go with the spirit of this request
>and select 2/3 reasonably popular and canonical translations to tackle this
>quodlibet. And that the sholkAs you choose to address will be such that
>the distortions/inconsistencies/shortcomings in the 'other` Gitas will
>emerge unambiguosly.
>
>As it stands, merely asserting again and again that Prabhupada's
translation
>is the best and the most accurate while the others fall short is just that
-
>an unsubstantiated opinion.

Please speak for yourself.

Proof by repetition isn't taken that seriously
>around here.
>
>Warm regards and Hari bol,
>
>
>ps: If my presumption of your expertise of Sanskrit is false that would
>be just fine, but then please indicate the basis for your claims.
>
Hare Krsna,

-m

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