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Learn Punjabi Translations: how reliable

Discussion in 'Language, Arts & Culture' started by kds1980, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    translation of gurbani is quite difficuilt.If some wants too deeply understand punjabi then he should learn gurmukhi
     
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  3. Sikh80

    Sikh80
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    Hi Kds ji,
    You are right that English translations are handy, but some of them are almost incorrect.There is always a doubt about the correctness .You may kindly look into the following.
    Here again 'sabad; has been translated into 'word of the Shabad',it is incorrect. Whenever I read 'word of shabad' I presume that the meaning is that 'sabad' that was uttered by HIM at the time of creation. It is only oflate that I had to refer to the teeka of Dr Sahib Singh ji that this confusion was removed.
    kindly go thru. the following and the corresponding translation/commentary of Dr. Sahib singh ji. Matter has been amplified by Sahib Singh ji and looks perfectly ok, though I am not an expert in the field but do have some working knowledge of Gurmukhi.


    gur qy sbid imlwvw hoie ]2] (158-6, gauVI guAwryrI, mÚ 3)
    Through the Guru, we are absorbed in the Word of the Shabad. ||2||

    TRanslation By Sahib Singh ji.

    jy gurU iml pey qW (mnu`K Awpxy AMdroN) iqRSnw dI A`g buJw lYNdw hY, gurU dI rwhIN hI (mnu`K dy) mn ivc SWqI Aw v`sdI hY, gurU pwsoN hI Awqmk pivqRqw Awqmk su`c imldI hY [ gurU dI rwhIN hI gurU dy Sbd ivc juV ky prmwqmw nwl imlwp huMdw hY [2[

    ===================================
    The translations of Dr. Sahib ji are not translations as well.These are commentaries as well.
    Cannot we make a request to SGPC to have a look into the matter and issue/release some published material in gurmukhi so that there is some reliability?.

    The translators are also handicapped on account of the fact that they cannot invent new words in English that matches the color and flavor of the original words of the Bani. Hence they prefer to stick to literal meaning that renders the translation that is many a times confusing.

    You are also right that these translations would be difficult but then we should have some authentic material as well.
    thx and rgds.
     
  4. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Seeker ji

    gurbani is written in poetry and that too in metaphorical style with mythology as well.It makes its translation very very difficuilt.

    you are right when you say that translation is sometime incorrect.i THink in this matter you should contact some missionaries from

    Sikh-MARG "The Way Of Life"

    The sikh scholars on that site publish many articles may be some one could look at this matter

    As far as SGPC is concerned forget about it they are not going to do anything
     
  5. spnadmin

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    Seeker07 ji and kds1980 ji

    This conversation has been so interesting that I have just been reading and thinking about the same comments over and over again. And in fact have been doing a little research on problems of translation of religious scriptures in general.

    Seeker ji, you chose the perfect example to illustrate the difficulty of translating Bani for the native speaker of English -- and the problem may not be one of accuracy. You chose,

    kyvl rwm nwmu min visAw nwmy hI mukiq pweI ] (637-16, soriT, mÚ 3)
    The Name of the Lord alone abides in their minds; through the Naam, the Name of the Lord, they find liberation.

    The straightforward translation ....through the Name of the Lord they find liberation--- creates a difficulty in the English language. The meaning of Naam gets confused with the literal meaning of Name. The shabd is saying more. An English speaking person reading the straightforward translation will think OK -- the Name of the Lord is the key to liberation. Which leads in turn to tangential questions such as, Well what is the Name of the Lord anyway? Completely off the track.

    By adding another Naam, the translator is actually picking up on the fact that the shabd says, raam naam-- which is more than the Name of the Lord. The shabd is taking about the celestial sound of the Name, the naad, the mystical connection. By adding another Naam, he is emphasizing that the Naam is more than the Name. Translators have to do this so that readers will perhaps get the point.

    On the other hand, there are many examples where translations have been so free that they are misleading and in the end have to be incorrect.

     
  6. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    Dear Sadh Sangat Jio,

    Here's the full shabad:

    SORAT.H, THIRD MEHL, FIRST HOUSE, TI-TUKAS:

    ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    You always preserve the honor of Your devotees, O Dear Lord; You have protected them from the very beginning of time. You
    protected Your servant Prahlaad, O Dear Lord, and annihilated Harnaakhash. The Gurmukhs place their faith in the Dear Lord,
    but the self-willed manmukhs are deluded by doubt. || 1 || O Dear Lord, this is Your Glory. You preserve the honor of Your
    devotees, O Lord Master; Your devotees seek Your Sanctuary. || Pause || The Messenger of Death cannot touch Your
    devotees; death cannot even approach them. The Name of the Lord alone abides in their minds; through the Naam, the Name
    of the Lord, they find liberation. Wealth and all the spiritual powers of the Siddhis fall at the feet of the Lord.s devotees; they
    obtain peace and poise from the Guru. || 2 || The self-willed manmukhs have no faith; they are filled with greed and selfinterest.
    They are not Gurmukh . they do not understand the Word of the Shabad in their hearts; they do not love the Naam,
    the Name of the Lord. Their masks of falsehood and hypocrisy shall fall off; the self-willed manmukhs speak with insipid words.
    || 3 || You are pervading through Your devotees, O Dear God; through Your devotees, You are known.
    All the people are enticed by Maya; they are Yours, Lord . You alone are the Architect of Destiny. Overcoming my egotism
    and quieting the desires within my mind, I have come to realize the Word of the Guru.s Shabad. || 4 || God automatically
    does the work of those who love the Name of the Lord. By Guru.s Grace, he ever dwells in their minds, and He resolves all
    their affairs. Whoever challenges them is destroyed; they have the Lord God as their Savior. || 5 || Without serving the True
    Guru, no one finds the Lord; the self-willed manmukhs die crying out in pain. They come and go, and find no place of rest; in
    pain and suffering, they perish. But one who becomes Gurmukh drinks in the Ambrosial Nectar, and is easily absorbed in the
    True Name. || 6 || Without serving the True Guru, one cannot escape reincarnation, even by performing numerous rituals.
    Those who read the Vedas, and argue and debate without the Lord, lose their honor. True is the True Guru, and True is the
    Word of His Bani; in the Guru.s Sanctuary, one is saved. || 7 || Those whose minds are filled with the Lord are judged as
    true in the Court of the Lord; they are hailed as true in the True Court. Their praises echo throughout the ages, and no one

    can erase them. Nanak is forever a sacrifice to those who enshrine the Lord within their hearts. || 8 || 1 ||

     
  7. Sikh80

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    koikl hovw AMib bsw shij sbd bIcwru ] (157-4, gauVI bYrwgix, mÚ 1)
    If I were to become a cuckoo, living in a mango tree, I would still contemplate the Word of the Shabad.


    The translation of this as given is incorrect.

    I shall again put the translation of Sahib Singh ji and then try to explain as to why it is so.:

    (1.]koiel dI AMb nwl pRIiq pRis`D hY [
    2.]AMb auqy bYT ky koiel im`TI msq sur ivc kUkdI hY [
    3. jy myrI pRIiq pRBU nwm auho jyhI ho jwey jYsI koiel dI AMb nwl hY qW)

    4. mYN koiel bxW, AMb auqy bYTW (BwvpRBU-nwm ƒ AwpxI izMdgI dw shwrw bxwvW) qy msq Afol hwlq ivc itk ky pRBU dI is&iq-swlwh dy SbddI ivcwr krW (Sbdivc ic`q joVW) [
    5.msq Afol AvsQw ivc itikAW, pRym ivc juiVAW hI ipAwrw drSnI sohxw byAMq pRBU-pqI imldw hY]

    For your benefit I am reproducing the above translation [as far as my English permits, I shall be giving a literal translation of the Gurmukhi translation] that is, more or less, a standard commentary till date that we have :

    [1.The love of the cockoo and the mango is popular/famous/well known.

    2.It sings sweetly with joy when it is on the mango tree.

    3.If my love for lord becomes the same as is of the cuckoo for the mango. ]

    4.I become cuckoo, sit on the mango [essence: Lord’s name becomes the support of my life] and in this carefree and stable condition contemplate/think of the sabad of praise of the Lord [ with mind imbued in sabad ]
    5. Being in stable and carefree condition, only imbued in love the beautiful unfathomable Lord-Husband is realized.||



    This has taken quite a time.
    Kindly look at the above translation for three of four times.

    Now look at sentence 4.
    What do you conclude as to the meaning of ‘sabad’.?
    Ask now the following questions:

    Is ‘sabad’ the eternal ‘word’ that you have stated as 'celestial word'.
    If so:

    What is there to contemplate?

    If you have /one has reached the level of having a knowledge of that celestial ‘word’ that one can contemplate on this then I think he/she/one has reached a very high order of spirituality and then one need not even read Gurbani as he/she would already be in communion with the Lord.

    In the following sentence/line reproduced here:

    koikl hovw AMib bsw shij sbd bIcwru ] (157-4, gauVI bYrwgix, mÚ 1)

    The word in blue is BEE CHAAR [on translation] and in Gurmukhi it means to think/ contemplate .


    One does not think of the 'celestial word' as one cannot and need not do that. Hence all that the line states is

    4.I become cuckoo, sit on the mango [essence: Lord’s name becomes the support of my life] and in this carefree and stable condition contemplate/think of the sabad of praise of the Lord [ with mind imbued in sabad ]
    5. Being in stable and carefree condition, only imbued in love the beautiful unfathomable Lord-Husband is realized.||

    Hope the situation is clear.It has taken me about one and half hour.
    If there is problem you may come back . We can discuss again as the 'word of the Shabad ' has appeared 644 times in the translated copy of the SGGS ji,

    Regards.
     
  8. Sikh80

    Sikh80
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    Sorry respected begum Ji,
    I did not see your post that was done in betwen my post and aad ji's post. In any case your post is in sync. with aad ji.
    Forgetting the english translation for a minute, you may also look at the term 'beechaar'. If one has heard/known the celestial word one need not contemplate on this.
    Submitted for valuable opinion.
     
  9. Archived_Member1

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    a key point to note is that when we read gurbani in english, it's not actually "translations", but "interpretations". direct word for word translations usually do not make much sense and always loose the rhythem and flow of the original poetry.

    personally, i keep four gutkas, all different translations, and kind of try to pull out the "essence" of the nitnem banis by rotating through them.

    the original gurmukhi is best, of course. :)
     
  10. spnadmin

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    Respected discussants,

    Without having really spent enough time on recent comments, my quick reply is that Kelly Kaur's approach is wise. Poetric form as well has language has to be translated from one language to the other.

    As for the cuckoo in the mango tree. khoiel alludes to a songbird. In fact there is no specific word in Punjabi for songbird. But khoeil not mean cuckoo. The word for cuckoo is chaathrik(a). Translators use the words songbird and cuckoo interchangeably. Probably because of the symbolism of the cuckoo in Gurbani, and in context the cuckoo is the particular songbird under consideration. I believe the point of the shabd is not to consider cuckoos and their love for the mango tree. A direct English translation would give that impression however. The idea is rather to think about the spiritual attraction depicted in the image. Being drawn to Divine Fruit, the fruit of ivxwr.

    The average person would be unmoved by the thought of a bird in a tree. In fact the average native speaker has to have this entire matter of the imagery of birds in SGGS explained to them. The typical reaction is "Duh"! Why birds?

    Later I will read this more carefully.
     
  11. Astroboy

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    This has taken quite a time.
    Kindly look at the above translation for three of four times.

    Now look at sentence 4.
    What do you conclude as to the meaning of ‘sabad’.?
    Ask now the following questions:

    Is ‘sabad’ the eternal ‘word’ that you have stated as 'celestial word'.
    If so:

    What is there to contemplate?

    If you have /one has reached the level of having a knowledge of that celestial ‘word’ that one can contemplate on this then I think he/she/one has reached a very high order of spirituality and then one need not even read Gurbani as he/she would already be in communion with the Lord.


    Seeker07 Ji,

    You have asked a very valid question and I can see the pains you have taken which led you to ask this question. These are the 'nishaniaa' of a true seeker.

    To answer your question is no easy task as one has to use a parable or an indirect explanation to drive home a point. The reason for this is to shift one's consciousness from point A to point B.
     
  12. Astroboy

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    Kya Pariye, Kya Guniye,
    Kya Ved Purana suniye,
    Parre gunae Kya Hoee,
    Jiu Sehaj na milio soee.

    Somebody please furnish the whole shabad where these lines are included.
    There are two main points I would like to mention and elaborate upon.

    Point One

    Being educated is not a pre-requisite to having communion with the shabad.
    You as a human being, shabad created you, talks with you but your mind has misled you to shun off these inner melodies. Mind has created enough distraction on the outside to keep you imprisoned for a life-time.

    Shao neray dhan kamaliye, bahar kya dhundae




    A simpler way of reaching sehaj avestha is explained :-

    Akhi bajho vekhna,
    venn kenna sunenna,
    jheeba bajho bolona,
    venn hathaN karna

    So long as we are in this rented physical body, we need to to use it for gainful purposes:

    eh sareera mereya, es jag mein aye kay,
    kya tud karam kamaya, ke karam kamaya tudh sareera,
    ta tu jag mein aya. Jinn Har tera rachan racheeya,
    so Har munn ma vesaya.




    It is the SGGS (verses therein) that have led you to ask this Golden Question. This means Guru Ji has led you to seek the True Guru within.

    satguroo kaa updays sun too hovai tayrai naalay.
    Listen to the Teachings of the True Guru - these shall go along with you.

    kahai naanak man pi-aaray too sadaa sach samaalay. ||11||
    Says Nanak, O beloved mind, contemplate the True Lord forever. ||11||
    More Later.
     
  13. spnadmin

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    Santokh ji, Kelley ji, Seeker07 ji, kds ji, and Balbir ji

    Later on I want to speak more to this topic. Can't now. But do want say this,

    It is really nice that a calm and polite conversation is taking place -- because usually this matter of translations turns into a contest -- and gets ugly. Everyone is staying on topic and staying close to the questions. I think I will perservere until and unless the mood changes.
     
  14. Astroboy

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    Point Two

    Let's discuss the 5 levels of consciousness which man goes through while having Communion with the sabad.

    Before I start, one might ponder that understanding SGGS is important before one can use Guru's matt as a guiding vehicle. Answer to this is yes and no. Because of the availability of SGGS easily to anyone, one can refer to Guru Ji's verses. But the verses came after the real experience, hence are good reference point in an analytical way. But if we analyse things first without our spiritual efforts, then we're putting the cart before the horse.

    Aad Ji, Balbir Singh Ji, Soul_Jyot Ji, Japjisahib04 Ji, and others, I will be grateful for your contribution as well.


    More Later.
     
  15. Sikh80

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    koikl hovw AMib bsw shij sbd bIcwru ] (157-4, gauVI bYrwgix, mÚ 1)
    If I were to become a cuckoo, living in a mango tree, I would still contemplate the Word of the Shabad


    Resubmitted:

    [As the bird loves the fruit so do we and we Naturaly think/contemplate on the Sabad.][implied sabad of guru or bani-as per my understanding]

    Reference to sabad: it should be sabad of bani so that one can ponder upon.

    What is there to ponder if one has to realise 'sabad'.?
    and
    What is there to ponder if one has not realised 'sabad'?


    In both the cases the 'sabad' does not fit onto the category of 'Holy word' or 'holy sabad' having totally different connotations and meaning.
     
  16. Astroboy

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    Sikh Sangeet - Newest 100 Successful Searches, Search for Artist, Album, Track
    Sung by Asha Bosle No. 25
    [​IMG]




    gourree bairaagan mehalaa 1 ||
    Gauree Bairaagan, First Mehl:

    haranee hovaa ban basaa kandh mool chun khaao ||
    What if I were to become a deer, and live in the forest, picking and eating fruits and roots

    gur parasaadhee maeraa sahu milai vaar vaar ho jaao jeeo ||1||
    - by Guru's Grace, I am a sacrifice to my Master. Again and again, I am a sacrifice, a sacrifice. ||1||

    mai banajaaran raam kee ||
    I am the shop-keeper of the Lord.
    thaeraa naam vakhar vaapaar jee ||1|| rehaao ||
    Your Name is my merchandise and trade. ||1||Pause||

    kokil hovaa anb basaa sehaj sabadh beechaar ||
    If I were to become a cuckoo, living in a mango tree, I would still contemplate the Word of the Shabad.

    sehaj subhaae maeraa sahu milai dharasan roop apaar ||2||
    I would still meet my Lord and Master, with intuitive ease; the Darshan, the Blessed Vision of His Form, is incomparably beautiful. ||2||

    mashhulee hovaa jal basaa jeea janth sabh saar ||
    If I were to become a fish, living in the water, I would still remember the Lord, who watches over all beings and creatures.

    ouravaar paar maeraa sahu vasai ho milougee baah pasaar ||3||
    My Husband Lord dwells on this shore, and on the shore beyond; I would still meet Him, and hug Him close in my embrace. ||3||

    naagan hovaa dhhar vasaa sabadh vasai bho jaae ||
    If I were to become a snake, living in the ground, the Shabad would still dwell in my mind, and my fears would be dispelled.

    naanak sadhaa sohaaganee jin jothee joth samaae ||4||2||19||
    O Nanak, they are forever the happy soul-brides, whose light merges into His Light. ||4||2||19||
     
  17. Sikh80

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    Rerspected Begum ji,
    I can see that you are also dwelling on this issue almost relentlessly as I have. I could not sleep yesterday.

    The edifice of entire GOd head of sikhs revolves round the words: sabad/akhar/naam/guru etc. If there is confusion in this, It is better to let it go for sometime and then proceed further. In the meantime one should proceed ahead with the meaning that we would have assigned prior to this discussion.

    Let someone else may also contribute and then we may analyse objectively.

    Regards
     
  18. spnadmin

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    Begum ji

    To your earlier query some few comments ago

    Kya Pariye, Kya Guniye,
    Kya Ved Purana suniye,
    Parre gunae Kya Hoee,
    Jiu Sehaj na milio soee.

    Somebody please furnish the whole shabad where these lines are included.
    There are two main points I would like to mention and elaborate upon.


    This what you are looking for?

    ikAw pVIAY ikAw gunIAY ]
    kia parreeai kia guneeai ||
    What use is it to read, and what use is it to study?

    ikAw byd purwnW sunIAY ]
    kia baedh puranan suneeai ||
    What use is it to listen to the Vedas and the Puraanas?

    pVy suny ikAw hoeI ]
    parrae sunae kia hoee ||
    What use is reading and listening,

    jau shj n imilE soeI ]1]
    jo sehaj n miliou soee ||1||
    if celestial peace is not attained? ||1||

    hir kw nwmu n jpis gvwrw ]
    har ka nam n japas gavara ||
    The fool does not chant the Name of the Lord.

    ikAw socih bwrM bwrw ]1] rhwau ]
    kia sochehi baran bara ||1|| rehao ||
    So what does he think of, over and over again? ||1||Pause||

    AMiDAwry dIpku chIAY ]
    andhhiarae dheepak cheheeai ||
    In the darkness, we need a lamp

    iek bsqu Agocr lhIAY ]
    eik basath agochar leheeai ||
    to find the incomprehensible thing.

    bsqu Agocr pweI ]
    basath agochar paee ||
    I have found this incomprehensible thing;

    Git dIpku rihAw smweI ]2]
    ghatt dheepak rehia samaee ||2||
    my mind is illuminated and enlightened. ||2||

    kih kbIr Ab jwinAw ]
    kehi kabeer ab jania ||
    Says Kabeer, now I know Him;

    jb jwinAw qau mnu mwinAw ]
    jab jania tho man mania ||
    since I know Him, my mind is pleased and appeased.

    mn mwny logu n pqIjY ]
    man manae log n patheejai ||
    My mind is pleased and appeased, and yet, people do not believe it.

    n pqIjY qau ikAw kIjY ]3]7]
    n patheejai tho kia keejai ||3||7||
    They do not believe it, so what can I do? ||3||7||

    You seem to have shifted gears and moved onto a different issue and a different shabd. Hope this helps. Are we talking about translations or going into sehaj right about now? I am wondering.
     
  19. Astroboy

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    Aad Ji,

    Thanks. Your question - if we were on translations or switched gears to sehaj ? I think both apply right now. But now we also have to deal with the key words - the ultimate - shabad, naam, sehaj, anhad naad, anahat shabad, turiya, guru, satguru, gur satgur, shabad guru, bani guru, Hukam, etc.

    Seeker07 Ji,

    I think we should continue our discussion deeper. Because translations are for understanding. So far we have only skimmed the surface.


    Santokh

    P.S. I wonder where is Balbir Singh Ji, Japjisahib04 Ji, TGill Ji, Kelly Ji, kds Ji, drkhalsa Ji, Soul_Jyot Ji, [​IMG].
     
  20. kds1980

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    BEgum ji i am here still searching on this issue

    i just want to say that you people are taking translation of dr.sant singh khalsa now please check translation of bhai manmohan singh

    ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਮਨਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥
    गुर सबदी मनि नामि निवासु ॥
    Gur sabḏī man nām nivās.
    By Guru's instruction the name of god abides in man's mind.

    bhai manmohan singh ji translated it differently
     
  21. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Bhai manmohan singh ji translated the tuk as you translated.

    ਕੇਵਲ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਨਾਮੇ ਹੀ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਪਾਈ ॥
    केवल राम नामु मनि वसिआ नामे ही मुकति पाई ॥
    Kėval rām nām man vasiā nāmė hī mukaṯ pāī.
    The Lord's Name alone dwells within their mind and only through the Name, obtains they, the salvation.

    Sri Granth: Sri Guru Granth Sahib

    I think one should look at the both translations to understand.
     

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