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#Gita English translation (Inspiration, Acknowledgements, Translation notes, and Vocabulary notes)

December 2, 2017

This work is inspired by Sri Sureshvaracharya’s Naishkarmya Siddhi (Chapter 1, v. 6, line 2) with the single-minded purpose of: “Svabodhaparishudhyartham brahmavinnikshaashmasu” (To clarify my understanding of Brahmavidya–like using the goldsmith’s stone to test the purity of gold)

 

Given the perfection of the language, and having enjoyed studying works in Samskrita with my teachers, I am now able to read it–to a limited extent. Using existing translations by masters, (see Acknowledgements) this is a translation within the limitations of the author.

 

If this work serves any purpose other than a translation, it is the grace of the lineage of my Guru, Swami Chinmayananda.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

Using the following references:

 

Publications:

The Holy Geeta, Swami Chinmayananda

Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai, 1960.

 

The Bhagavad Gita: with the Commentary of Sri Sankaracharya, translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastry, first published in 1897.

Version used published by Samata Books, Madras, 1977.

 

Gita Supersite of IIT Kanpur: (www.gitasupersite.iitk.ac.in)

Hindi translation by Swami Tejomayananda

English commentary by Swami Sivananda

English translation by Swami Sivananda

English translation by Purohit Swami

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

English translation of Sri Shankaracharya’s Sankara Bhashya by Swami Gambhirananda

English translation by Dr. S. Sankaranarayanan

 

Audio: 

Swami Brahmananda, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai.

 

Online dictionaries:

spokensanskrit.org

 

 

TRANSLATION NOTES

 

Some verse translations have been used verbatim or closely verbatim (if I have changed one word to simplify the language) from the existing English translations mentioned above. If this is the case, they are attributed against that verse.

 

In the course of their dialogue, Sri Krishna and Arjuna refer to each other by many names. The first time the name appears a meaning is provided in parentheses. Thereafter the name appears as is, with (Sri Krishna) or (Arjuna) in parentheses.

 

In the course of the translation, some words are placed within parentheses to complete the content of the sentence.

 

The 701 verses of Bhagavad Gita are written in two poetic metres: Anushtup chandas (8 syllables per quatrain; 32 syllables per verse) and Trishtup chandas (11 syllables per quatrain; 44 syllables per verse). Changes in poetic metre are indicated in the translation.

 

Where a thought is continued from one verse into another, an ellipsis (…) has been used at the end of the first verse and at the beginning of the following verse.

 

If there is reference to the context of a previous verse, the previous chapter and verse are provided in parentheses. (e.g.–See 5.13)

 

Certain sequences of verses in Bhagavad Gita can stand alone as individual compositions. These are indicated in the translation (see Chapter 2 and Chapter 12).

 

VOCABULARY NOTES

 

There are some terms in Samskrita that are used in their original or are difficult to translate. They have been explained here.

 

Brahman: that which is the substratum for all that is manifest and unmanifest. Many terms are used to refer to Brahman and have been capitalized to indicate their use–Consciousness, Self, That, Supreme, Knowledge, It, Reality, Infinite Bliss, Absolute

Atma: the lower self–jivaatma–when Brahman becomes conditioned as an individual soul

Paramaatma: the Higher Self–Brahman, that unconditioned Totality

Prakriti: Nature, manifested matter, the material cause of the universe

Purusha: the individual soul

Yoga: union of mind and body–the means to a steady mind

Karma yoga: the performance of actions in the spirit of yagna (see below)

Yagna: selfless-effort (when an action is performed in the spirit of selfless dedication)

Sannyaasi: he who has renounced the fruits of his actions

Yogi: he who has a steady mind

Jnaana: Knowledge (indirect knowledge)

Vijnaana: Wisdom–direct knowledge; when that knowledge becomes one’s own experience

Vaasanas: tendencies–accumulated from birth to birth

Gunas: the three temperaments of all beings in nature–sattva, rajas, tamas

Sattva: Purity (“Good”)

Rajas: Passion for action (“Passionate”)

Tamas: Inertia (“Dull”)

(Quotes above are descriptions of Swami Chinmayananda)

Maaya: Divine illusion of phenomena

Maam: literally “me”. Sri Krishna uses this term to refer to his Eternal Unmanifest existence. So when comprehending the meaning of verses in which he refers to this existence as “Me” it is to be understood as Brahman and not as the manifest form of Sri Krishna, Arjuna’s charioteer and teacher.

Dharma: Principle of Life; Law of Being (Swami Chinmayananda)

Samsaara: Cycle of life and death (often referred to as Ocean of Samsaara)

Moksha: Liberation

Tyaaga: Relinquishing, giving up, abandonment

Sannyaasa: Renunciation

Mana: the mind–a flow of thoughts

Buddhi: the intellect which is the discriminating factor

Chitta: that repository of memories based on which the mind and intellect act

Ahankaara: the ego

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                 Sivagami Natesan

 

 

 

 

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