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What language, master, was your books originally written in?

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"What language, master, was your books originally written in"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1973 Conversations and Morning Walks

Garden Conversation with Mahadeva's Mother and Jesuit Priest -- July 25, 1973, London:

Mother: Father, I understand that you have translated ten books.

Prabhupāda: Now again. Again the same question.

Mother: Is it not...?

Prabhupāda: I say that there must be divisions. We are working on certain division.

Mother: Well, tell me about the books you have translated. Are there some more to translate?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mother: Well, one day you will die. Now who will translate them then? Continue the translating?

Prabhupāda: There are many. There are many. They are being trained up. There are many.

Mother: Ah, yes. So people are being trained. Ah. This is what I'm asking you.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Revatīnandana: Well, I explained that to you earlier, that we have our classes.

Prabhupāda: We are training every day.

Mother: But then, this is languages. You've got to, you've got to study languages. You can't just be taught...

Revatīnandana: Yes. So a few of us, so the few of us who have an aptitude for Sanskrit language are studying Sanskrit language.

Prabhupāda: We are teaching Sanskrit, we are teaching English. Especially. Especially we are giving training to our boys to learn simply English and Sanskrit. Then they will be help. By learning Sanskrit, they will be able to read...

Mother: Latin? And...? What...?

Prabhupāda: There is no need of... One language sufficient. English language, practical...

Mother: Ah, but then that is one-sided then, isn't it?

Revatīnandana: Most of us don't even study Sanskrit very much.

Prabhupāda: No. Just like English book. We are translating in German, translating in France, in Spanish...

Mother: But there's a lot of Latin that needs translating too. I mean, you must, you must, you must have a full understanding of everything if you're going to translate.

Prabhupāda: Yes. It will be better. If you also join, then we'll have full understanding. (mother laughs)

Mother: You have a sense of humor.

Jesuit Priest: What language, master, was your books originally written in?

Prabhupāda: Sanskrit.

Jesuit Priest: Sanskrit.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: Don't you find it extremely difficult to get the literal meaning from the Sanskrit to the English?

Prabhupāda: No. You may, it may be difficult for you, but...

Jesuit Priest: No, no. I'm just thinking...

Prabhupāda: ...for one who knows Sanskrit, it is not difficult for him.

Jesuit Priest: When I did my studies, we had to do Greek and Hebrew and Latin and, naturally, reading the scriptures in English. But it helped enormously with a background of a little bit of Hebrew. Not very much. But certainly Greek and Latin. You get a much more comprehensive notion of what's in the scriptures.

Prabhupāda: Therefore we are teaching Sanskrit.

Jesuit Priest: Pardon?

Prabhupāda: We are teaching Sanskrit to our students.

Jesuit Priest: Yes, but all I was saying was, isn't it difficult to get across at times what you can see the meaning in the Sanskrit, but you can't put it into acceptable English? You know what I mean. The idiom isn't the same.

Prabhupāda: We are giving every word, meaning. The book... Have you got any book? Bring it. You can see. Each and every word of Sanskrit we are giving meaning. Our mode of presentation is first of all we put the original Sanskrit language in devanāgarī character. Then we give English, Roman transliteration, pronouncing the same word by diacritic mark. Then each word is translated into English. Then we give translation, the whole. And then we give the purport. This is our way. So we are giving meaning of each and every word means we have got considerable knowledge of that word. Otherwise how we can give? Yes.

Jesuit Priest: I was just thinking how difficult it is. I read Latin pretty well. And Greek. And I can see the meaning in the original, in the Greek when it was translated from the Aramaic. Now in your translating you can get a phrase, and if you know the language, you know exactly what it conveys.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: Put it into English and somehow, some of the meaning has come...

Prabhupāda: Then that exact...

Jesuit Priest: It's like the French. How do you say in..., how do you translate "au revoir"?

Prabhupāda: Otto?

Revatīnandana: He's asking you how to translate a French word, "au revoir."

Jesuit Priest: How do you translate into English?

Prabhupāda: No, no. I'm not translating. The person who knows French language, he translates from our English.

Jesuit Priest: Yes. No, well, I'm only trying to... A very simple question. It's not a question of trying to try anybody. I happened to say or give an example of what I mean. How'd you say in English, "au revoir."

Prabhupāda: Just... Just the... You have seen the... Just show him how it is done. Yes, you can do it.

Revatīnandana: That's all right. Mahādeva, you do it.

Prabhupāda: You see the original Sanskrit.

Mahādeva: Here's the text, here's the original Sanskrit. And we have a Roman transliteration, and then individually, the word meanings.

Jesuit Priest: Oh, I see. I've got it, yes.

Mahādeva: And then a full translation.

Jesuit Priest: Translation. Yes. They're marvelous. Yes. Yes.

Revatīnandana: Actually, most of the Sanskrit, much of that work is done by one of Prabhupāda's disciples now. He handles much of the Sanskrit.

Prabhupāda: Yes, they are being trained.

Revatīnandana: It's a mechanical process, after all. But the translation, that requires not only knowledge of the language, it requires spiritual realization.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

MadhuGopaldas +  and Rishab +
July 25, 0011 JL +
August 26, 0012 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 1 +  and Let: 0 +