I beg to differ with you. Dr. Sant Singh's literal translation is full of distortions, misleading and does disservice to the beautiful Gurbani. You and I are in agreement that Dr. Sant Singh's translaitons are full of distortions, misleading and a disservice to Gurbani. You will have noted that I commented above that the translation of "akhar" as "One Word" and Word of the Lord" in other shabads has a ring of New Testament to it, and in particular a Roman Catholic reading that frankly bothers me.
Where I disagree is that his translations are literal. And that is a subject that I would like to discuss tomorrow in the second part of my reply. The reason for our disagreement may depend on different meanings for "literal translation." Hope that is OK.
I have no idea what you mean by melodramatic. Can you please elaborate that for the better understanding because that kind of term is used for soap operas not to understand and put Gurbani into practice? It is precisely because the translation of that verse does not help us put Gurbani into practice but is distracting in its connotations that I am calling it melodramatic. The word "nirmal" does not have to be translated beyond a very simple, clean, precise way. Spotless, without stain, as is the fundamental nature of Ik Oankar - unsullied and as such a model for our daily lives. I don't see a need to embellish that and extend nirmal to mean "spotlessly pure reputation." Rather by keeping it simple, the notion of "nirmal" means to me that we are purified-- not only our reputations, but our inner life is cleansed, and modeled after the One who is eternally Nirmal. This is a matter of interpretation not a matter of translation. I accept your interpretation, but I also see it a different way.
I have no idea what you mean by the " Global meaning does suffice". What is the global meaning of what? Are you talking about the whole Shabad or the said verse or the word " Nirmal"? Neither. In the context of this thread, i felt it was more important to zero in on what is wrong with the context used and the presentation of forum member nijjharjatt ji. I find his usage of the tuk offensive. So a more lengthy vichaar of the tuk was not my priority. I believe it would be distracting. It was my priority to explain that the tuk was misused by him to promote his personal agenda. Ergo, global would suffice as here we are not discussing the shabad but we are discussing venomous messages wrongly attributed to Guruji.
The way I try to understand Gurbani, one can not take one word, in this case the word " Akhar" and find the literal translation and sees how it fits the best. This sentence deserves an in-depth response from me. Please be patient. I will give one.
The message that our Gurus want us to understand is in the RAHAO of each Shabad. If we understand the RAHAO part which is like the nectar of flower, then all petals falls into their respective places. You are correct.
I will just post the RAHAO part of this beautiful Shabad from our 5th Guru and in a couple of days I will share with the cyber Sadh Sangat the way I understand the whole Shabad. ਸੰਤਹੁ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਰੀਐ ॥ संतहु सागरु पारि उतरीऐ ॥ Sanṯahu sāgar pār uṯrī▫ai. O Saints, cross over the world-ocean.
Here, Guru Sahib is calling all of us Saints. What an honour and privilege and a way to motivate all of us who are down trodden! He is telling us to confront all odds, negative things, obstacles, pot holes in order to lead a saintly life. I concur.
Now the question arises, what tools do we need/ have in order to live this life of Miri- Piri?
The next line explains that: ਜੇ ਕੋ ਬਚਨੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਸੰਤਨ ਕਾ ਸੋ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਤਰੀਐ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ जे को बचनु कमावै संतन का सो गुर परसादी तरीऐ ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥ Je ko bacẖan kamāvai sanṯan kā so gur parsādī ṯarī▫ai. ||1|| rahā▫o. One who practices the Teachings of the Saints, by Guru's Grace, is carried across. ||1||Pause||
Kamavai literally means to earn something. In other words to make a living.
How can we make our spiritual living?
Let's not forget that Guru Sahib has already called us Saints in the first verse, So once again the English litertal translation is distorted because we as Saints have no teachings of our own as the translation would suggest.
We are Saints because we have Ik Ong Kaar with us as our Tillerman who can steer us across this ocean of Maya with His grace.
And how do we have this connection with Ik Ong Kaar?
It is by practicing the teachings given to us in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, our ONLY GURU.
Now, keeping this central idea of RAHAO in mind, let me get back to the verse which has the word "AKHAR" in it. Ėk akẖar jo gurmukẖ jāpai ṯis kī nirmal so▫ī. ||3|| One who, as Gurmukh, chants the One Word, acquires a spotlessly pure reputation. ||3||
One who starts practicing even a single message ( Ek Akhar) of Gurbani, starts being on the Gurmat path and is called a Gurmukh which is neither a title, nor a destination but a start of the Gurmat journey because we all know that Sikhi path is a journey. Once this journey begins then he/she, the Gurmukh, finds the tools with the grace of Ik Ong Kaar to keep his/her spiritual collar clean. You have definitely expressed the intent and the purpose of the shabad -- the lesson if you will permit me to use that term -- and I hope that the message sinks in elsewhere in the thread. I remain expressly invested in returning to the meanng of "akhar" which in the context of the shabad may mean something different than given by Dr. Sant Singh, whom we both agree has taken extensive liberties in many places in his translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
The fact of the matter is that we as humans get dirty often around our collars.