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Translation by Swarn Singh Bains

Discussion in 'Intellectual Translations by SPNers' started by Ishna, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Ishna

    Ishna
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    Gurfatehji

    I came across this translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

    http://swarnbains.tripod.com/

    Has anyone else perused this translation?

    I haven't had a very close look at it yet but at first glance the translation seems quite unique.

    For example, here is paurhi 38 and the concluding shalok of japji Sahib:
    Be stable like a mountain, patience like a goldsmith. Be humble like an anvil; repeat the name of God like the repetition of a hammer. Intent like bellows and repeat the name of God from within, as fire gives heat. Make sincerity a pot; mint your mind with the name of God. That is how divinity is achieved. Blessed by God is the only one who can do this. Nanak says, only with God’s grace you can miss God and enjoy the fruit. ||38||
    Hymn: Using air as a culture, life has been created by the
    reaction of water and earth. The way, day and night begin and end. Same way the whole creation takes birth and dies. Good or bad whatever they do are accounted for in God’s court. Everyone gets the fruit of their deeds, some soon others late. Whoever worked hard to recite the name of God? Nanak says, they have attained salvation and many more have accompanied them.
    Is this closer to a word-for-word translation from the original to English than some of the more popular translations?

    It is no small task to translate Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji!
     
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    #1 Ishna, Jun 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
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  3. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Ishna ji, a very intersting little discovery here!!!

    It's nice to see a slightly different worded version.
    I think this author has done very well and has given a simplified translation with more of an essence to it.
    It is NOT more closer in terms of word for word as you ask, but from what I have read so far, it does seem of high value.

    The problem that you can get with word for word is that it can move away from it's true intended meaning, especially with the many metaphors used.

    You may not quite get what I mean, let me explain-

    I understand it much better and realise how one can mislead because I've tried and still do attempt translating by myself. You may have seen a few of my attempts at the sukhmani sahib after Ambarsariaji's conclusions and in some other places.
    Here, I did as close as a word for word that I possibly could by breaking down sentences to single words. However, the results can end up off track if you are not careful or you don't catch the true meaning or essence early enough. It also took me a long time, for an ashtpadi of 8 lines it could take a few hours very easily. BUT, I must applaud Ambarsaria ji for his very thorough method and careful approach. His results have been outstanding and difficult to fault, in fact, marvelous at times.-

    I am not 1st language punjabi, so my vocab and reading skills are very limited and slow- just reading punjabi has been self taught, much after I was 25 years old!!! -so you can imagine!! After having attempts at doing word for word without reference to any teeka, I have learnt and realised just how easy it is to make a shabad apply in the incorrect manner, infact it makes sense to question 'is this what the guru's words meant ?' everytime that one actually proceeds with this task.

    With the above mentioned, from what I have read so far, I find it very good to read along with any existing translations on srigranth.org .

    FOR EXAMPLE in early japji where mention of the word of guru and some describing is given and mention of mythological figures like shiva, brahma, parvati, vishnu...etc..is 1stly touched upon and mentioned numerous times again throughout but with different contexts.....--Having a look, we can see-----

    ਗਾਵੀਐ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਮਨਿ ਰਖੀਐ ਭਾਉ
    Gāvī▫ai suṇī▫ai man rakẖī▫ai bẖā▫o.
    Sing, and listen, and let your mind be filled with love.


    ਦੁਖੁ ਪਰਹਰਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਘਰਿ ਲੈ ਜਾਇ
    Ḏukẖ parhar sukẖ gẖar lai jā▫e.
    Your pain shall be sent far away, and peace shall come to your home.

    ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਦੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵੇਦੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਈ
    Gurmukẖ nāḏaʼn gurmukẖ veḏaʼn gurmukẖ rahi▫ā samā▫ī.
    The Guru's Word is the Sound-current of the Naad; the Guru's Word is the Wisdom of the Vedas; the Guru's Word is all-pervading.


    ਗੁਰੁ ਈਸਰੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਗੋਰਖੁ ਬਰਮਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਰਬਤੀ ਮਾਈ
    Gur īsar gur gorakẖ barmā gur pārbaṯī mā▫ī.
    The Guru is Shiva, the Guru is Vishnu and Brahma; the Guru is Paarvati and Lakhshmi.


    ਜੇ ਹਉ ਜਾਣਾ ਆਖਾ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਹਣਾ ਕਥਨੁ ਜਾਈ
    Je ha▫o jāṇā ākẖā nāhī kahṇā kathan na jā▫ī.
    Even knowing God, I cannot describe Him; He cannot be described in words.


    ਗੁਰਾ ਇਕ ਦੇਹਿ ਬੁਝਾਈ
    Gurā ik ḏehi bujẖā▫ī.
    The Guru has given me this one understanding:


    ਸਭਨਾ ਜੀਆ ਕਾ ਇਕੁ ਦਾਤਾ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਵਿਸਰਿ ਜਾਈ ॥੫॥
    Sabẖnā jī▫ā kā ik ḏāṯā so mai visar na jā▫ī. ||5||
    there is only the One, the Giver of all souls. May I never forget Him! ||5||


    Now, S.S.Bains sums up the above as-

    Miss and listen His name with intent.
    It will fill you with joy by eliminating sorrows. You can become divine
    by listening, praying by missing. God is in you. Divinity is achieved by
    the grace of a guru. People have achieved it. Such as Shiva, Brahma,
    Parvati etc. Even if I know about God, still I cannot explain, because
    God is beyond comprehension. Guru has explained one thing clearly.
    There is only one who gives to everyone. I do not forget Him.



    So, you can see how looking at both makes the picture a lot more clearer and how easy it is to go off track if we just concentrate on one.
    Then after the task of translating, concluding and gaining the essence is done, comes the REAL MAGIC of APPLYING this very Gurmatt personally to Oneself!!!!
    This is what makes the Guru Granth Sahib Ji exactly what it is.


    Waheguru
    Lucky Singh
     
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  4. navneetk

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    Ishna ji,
    I do not know as to why you are fascinated by the site.The very First Paudi of japji sahib is incorrectly translated.The slok to38 paudi is not properly translated.It was enough for me to discard this site when we have srigranth.org where almost all possible resources are available.The site is shoddy job done.
    Beware!
     
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  5. Ishna

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    Navneet ji

    Thank you for your concern and warning. I think it is good practice to approach all translations with caution and to always remember that translations will always be influenced by the translators culture, bias and individual understanding. It is imperitive we all learn Gurmukhi ourselves and learn the meaning of the words and historical context so we can interpret the original for ourselves.

    People who are on the road to understanding can sometimes benefit by contrasting translations. Hence my interest in the site (I wouldn't go as far as calling it a fascination).

    I am interested in your interpretation of the first paurhi of japji Sahib and where you feel it has been translated incorrectly, please.

    Also when it comes to calling the translation shoddy, I'm sure Mr Bains Ji put a lot of effort into translating the entire Guru Granth Sahib Ji to the best of his ability.

    peacesignkaur
     
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  6. Randip Singh

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    Interesting...I'll take a look.
     
  7. Luckysingh

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    We shouldn't write off other peoples very hard put efforts, especially when they are intended for the benefit of others.

    I explained what my first impression was from the few pages I skimmed through.
    It is NOT a replacement for the existing translated versions and I never said it was.

    When I compared and contrasted what I had read, I concluded that you can read it in conjunction and not as a replacement. If you do this you may avoid the simple errors that others make when reading the word for word translations.
    Classic example, is people that insist the hindu mythological figures are for real and should be accepted and worshipped just because they are repeatedly mentioned in the bani.

    I don't like to write off people's work, especially when they may have made a good effort to divert you away from misintepretations. Also, if I can do something better than the other, only then am I in a position to criticise. Why should I criticise some body's work if I couldn't do it better ??

    It's same as watching people on x factor or other contests. If they can sing better than me, I don't **** them off. I may compare them to each other, but I never say he or she is totally crap or ****. There is NOT even a single ounce of gurmat action in that.-It shouldn't be done.
    Same goes for anything else, we are all better in some things more than others and others will be better in other things more than you. If you cannot accept this and would rather play with this fact by slating others, then you are not being gurmat and this is not the true sikh way.

    I still haven't had time to check any more of Mr Bains's effort, but if someone can find a huge fault when comparing and contrasting, then by all means post the work for all to see.- as with the little I have seen yet, I didn't come across any.

    Again, I think Ishna ji came up with a good discovery to share with all of us. That is what we are here to do.


    Waheguru
     
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  8. swarn

    swarn Canada
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    please read the translation of sri guru granth sahib by singh s ahib sant singh khalsa page 1410 vaaraan and vadheek by guru nanak dev jee and then put your remarks expecially bibi navneet kaur
     
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  9. Ishna

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    The above post is from the Introducing Myself thread. My reply follows:

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say your translation was 'mutilated' by Gyani Jarnail ji and Navneet ji. Please keep in mind that Navneet ji made her comments well over a year ago and may not be visiting here anymore to reply. She can however give her opinion of any translation she comes across, and it will remain as her opinion.

    I'm also a little bit confused by your post; are you are Sikh or a Sufi?

    I hope you appreciate that this thread wasn't created to put 'dirt' on your translation but to discuss it's uniqueness. Thank you for your seva, as mentioned already, translating the whole Granth Sahib is a huge effort!
     
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    #8 Ishna, Dec 24, 2013
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  10. swarn

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    a sikh is not a sikh if he is not a sufi. This might perplex the administrator, because he only knows that much.
     
  11. spnadmin

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    Swarn ji,

    Ishna has raised all the reactions I would have made myself. So I won't add. However, after some intermittent discussion regarding your comments, here and Introducing Myself, the leaders/admin have one question.


    Deleted my question, Why be nasty? After reflecting, it occurred to me that it might make a lot of sense. spnadmin


    It is possible to discuss every point you have raised in a calm way.

    Let's reboot the discussion. Why do you equate being a Sikh with being a Sufi? You can go into some detail, and make your point seem more like a discussion of issues and less like a stream of accusations and dares.

    We would also enjoy your insights and ideas you bring to shaping your translations.

    btw - take a look at the first post. Gryani Jarnail Singh 'appreciated' what you wrote. There are those here who think you are doing some important work in your translations. Calm down.
     
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    #10 spnadmin, Dec 24, 2013
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  12. spnadmin

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    I have Swarn ji read through Page 16 of your translation. My perception of your work is that it is stunningly beautiful and deeply meaningful.

    There might be differences of opinion on the choice of words or expression in going from Punjabi to English. This is purely idiomatic. Perhaps it will be unimportant to anyone who has read Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and several different translations of it.

    You have captured thought after thought and light after light as I understand the granth and its message.

    Thank you for letting us know about your translation. You have accomplished something that is very significant. Your words belie that amount of thought and motivation that you dedicated to this huge task. I was extremely ill in the months when Ishna ji first started this thread and am now just catching up. I hope I remembered to "appreciate" her sharing this information.

    The next step as I have said before is for you to take a pauree and/or a saloka or some verses and explain how you reasoned to your final translation. Everyone would learn from that. Everyone would learn more about the challenges you faced as a translator, and about the concepts in gurbani that led you to translate as you did. Discussion of our insights would make this thread quite inspiring.
     
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    #11 spnadmin, Dec 25, 2013
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  13. Ambarsaria

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    Swarn Singh ji thanks for your effort and posts. It is no trivial task.

    Here we are to learn and share so I have taken the mool mantar to share what you have written and what I understand along with Prof. Sahib Singh ji's Punjabi darpan excerpt.
    Let us review the following and I have started each line with your word(s) from your translation and indicated my disagreement or difference in understanding.

    In this reflection and review of your translation I also come to note an error of mine in my previous posts. It is highlighted in the use of word “it” in the following,

    I will remove it in my record and future references.

    Above in the spirit of mutual learning and sharing and not to denigrate or find faults. Poetry cannot be translated and everyone will take something slightly different from it no matter how hard we try to be or think alike.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  14. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    I am absolutely flabbergasted to learn that I "mutilated"..??? HOW did i mutilate without writing a single line anywhere...??? I am double flabbergasted to learn that Swaran seems to "know" so much about me..that i am just a person who read Panj granthi and passed exams and that i get up at dawn and read paath only..etc etc.. ALL this when I have not written a single line in this THREAD until this post....wow.. Apologies.:faujasingh::faujasingh::faujasingh::faujasingh::faujasingh:
     
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  15. spnadmin

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    I am myself still stuck on this point. At first I did not know who the gyani person was who was under the scanner. Then I too went under the scanner on the Sufi matter.

    Isn't it better to discuss ideas?
     
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  16. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Respected persons like Sahib Singh who was in abject poverty from childhood, Manmohan singh etc who accomplished monumental tasks on their own in the days when pen and paper reigned supreme and one had very very LIMITED RESOURCES at their command...and they were so humble as the desert dust...never criticizing any of the earlier "translations" as wrong/rubbish/etc...in FACT they never even mentioned the others..as being inadequate...they simply DREW THEIR OWN LINES..leaving it to us to judge whether the new lines were LONGER...and indeed they are LONGER...

    TODAY if there is a REVOLUTION or PARADIGM SHIFT in Gurmatt understanding among SIKHS...if there is a revolt against the centuries stranglehold on Sikh Thought by the Brahminsied sants and Dehdharee gurus and derawaad....its because of Prof sahib Singhs monumental work the DARPAN which shows us our FACE vis a vis the GURU...Prof Sahib Singh's DARPAN is the MOST QOUTED TEXT today ..the text that gives the SHIVERS to all those out to brahminise sikhi..subvert sikhi..so much so that even the "enemies" are out to claim sahib singh as their own !!..( following the saying that IF one cnat fight them join them but continue subverting from within)...
    YES Sahib Singh has made a few mistakes..manmohan singh also has made them..BUT not as many as say Sant Singh Khalsa !!..but even then snat singh khalsa also ahs some meit in that he popularised the ENGLISH TEXTS of Gurbani...and the SILENT partner in this INTERNET EXPLOSION is DR THIND who founded the Gurbani FONTS and typed in the entire SGGS..a MONUMENTAL work in its own field...very few even know of the contribution of the FATHER OF GURMUKHI FONTS...DR THIND !!
    So lets not be petty and full of Haumai..each poster has his her contribution...HAUMAII reveals itself easily...it s stink comes out no matter how well hidden...One Guy I know..took a CD of Dr Thinds SGGS..and wrote a software program to enable SEARCH/FIND/REPLACE etc on this..and his University gave him a GOLD MEDAL...he never acknowledged that 99% of the WORK was "TYPING THE 1429 pages of SGGS" which he never did himself...so the GOLD MEDAL actually belongs to DR THIND...its like the waiter at the table who "sprinkles" a little bit of salt on a Dish and takes all the credit..and the CHEF in the kitchen gets NOTHING...Apologies.
     
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  17. Harry Haller

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    sometimes the artist does not measure up to the image as suggested by the art..
     
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  18. mandemeet

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    S Swarn Singh Bains ji
    Wahiguru ji ki fateh!


    I applaud your hard work you put in translating Sri Guru Granth Sahib though I have great difficulty to agree with your interpretation in entirety as you care little about Gurbani Grammar that keeps the interpreters in the parameter of the Gurmat.


    Any criticism you get should not bother you. My relative, rather my mentor, has completed translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and submitted to SGPC for approval; Bains Sahib ji, the gentleman is totally changed while doing this project. He says that one who fails to take criticism positively also fails in spiritual progression. Gyani Jarnail singh ji is a gem as per my friend’s words. Last night I discussed this thread with him: this is what he said,
    “ I dont know S Swarn Singh Bains ji, but his efforts should be appreciated by all, because it is easy to write a post here and there, but it is difficult to translate 1430 pages”. Regarding Gyani ji, he said, “ Gyani Jarnail singh is my very good friend; he is very humble man; he is really a gem.”


    I felt really bad what you wrote about Gyani ji uncalled for after translating Sri Guru Granth sahib.


    You are right when you say a Sikh should be a sufi that is why in the Mughal court papers, Bhadur Shaw addressed Sri Guru Gobind Singh as “darvesh”. The Sikhs want to learn from Guru Gobind Singh about temporal powers only but not about the sufi-color he showed to his contemporaries.


    Ishna ji and Spdm ji have complimented you in the best way possible; I don’t think you should mind others, who chose to disagree with you.



    Thanks again for your efforts.
    Regards
    mandemeet:winkingkaur:
     
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  19. swarn

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    Re my previous post.
    SGGS is written by the illiterate people. they did not know grammar as well. I am illiterate and i have translated the SGGS for the illiterate. Although grammar was created by Paanini an indian. But Punjab was always under the influence of Persians. Most of SGGS is written by sikh gurus the Punjabis.
    For the grammar scholars. There are two forms of balancing in the east. The Indian and the Arabic. I believe that the SGGS is written in Arabic format which is proved in the balancing of it. If one applies the Indian balancing then the meanings are different than the ones I arrived at. The grammar deals with brain but SGGS writing is the mind game. The literate scholars struggle with the brain not the mind. The proof is; that there is no spiritual writing by the literate scholars. They are very good critics their own way but i want to see if any; particularly a sikh literate scholar has written any spiritual writing. Let me say this that there may be lot teachings to others. In order to get into SGGS one has to go with the mind not the brain. Anyone can criticize but writing is a whole different ball game. ones writing dictates the sate of mind. Spirituality is the state of mind not the brains. as such AKATH KATHA NEH BUJHIEH SIMROH HAR KO CHARN. Till one follows that path, he or she can criticize as much as they want but nothing worth while will come out of it. I hope the scholars will forgive my bold statement but i would like the comments. God bless the creation
     
  20. Ambarsaria

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    Your comments are inappropriate. Only a literate can judge others to be illiterate and by your own statements you classify yourself to be illiterate.The poetry of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji written aligned to complex musical and specific ragas is not the work of illiterates. Your statements are nothing more than defensive which is very unfortunate as you have done good work from little I have read of your translation.
    You certainly are not illiterate. You simply are inciting and very proud. This certainly nothing or little to do with Sufism. Sufis speak their mind but their composition reflected very high level of thinking and structured composition.

    Please provide specific comments to my post about mool mantar as you seem to be missing the essence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in terms creator and creation and getting caught up with naam, chanting, reciting, etc. The same weakness as in great work of Sant Singh ji Khalsa.

    Sat Sri Akal
     
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    #19 Ambarsaria, Dec 25, 2013
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  21. spnadmin

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    Ambarsaria ji

    Thanks for asking about some of the comment by Swarn ji that I did not understand. I don't see him promoting chanting as found in the translation of Dr. Sant Singh Khalsa, but "meditation" in a different sense. And yes, to translate "naam" as name always causes problems.. No matter on that point, which can be discussed later. There is more to the immediate statement that has me mystified.

    Swarn ji

    These 2 parts I also do not understand. Would you explain in the specific? Thanks. We can get to the Sufi part later.

    I don't know what this means/entails in practical ways:


    and this one I do not understand at all


     
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