The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation of Ancient India's Song of God, Krishna and Arjuna's Dialogue in the Classic Epic of Hinduism, the Mahabharata, Including the Original Sanskrit in Devanagari (Anglais) Broché – 1 janvier 2007
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Dhritarashtra said, "When my troops and the sons of Pandu, eager to fight, were arrayed on the Kuru field, the field of law, what did they do, Sanjaya?" Lire la première page
Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Bolle, Kees W. Bhagavadgita, The: A New Translation (1979)
Easwaran, Eknath. Bhagavad Gita, The (1985; 2000)
Edgerton, Franklin. The Bhagavad Gita (1944)
Miller, Barbara Stoler. Bhagavad Gita, The: Krishna's Counsel in Time of War (1986; 1991)
Mitchell, Stephen. Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (2000)
Nikhilananda, Swami. Bhagavad Gita, The: Translated from the Sanskrit, with Notes, Comments, and Introduction by Swami Nikhilananda (1944; 6th printing 1979)
(I have yet to read the famous translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)
The question might be, why bring out another? In the case of the people at YogaVidya, who published this translation by Lars Martin Fosse, the answer is apparent: they want to bring to the English speaking world great works of the yogic tradition. To this end they have previously published Brian Dana Akers' translation of Svatmarama's Hatha Yoga Pradipika (2002), James Mallinson's translation of The Gheranda Samhita (2004), and his translation of The Shiva Samhita (2007). (See my reviews at Amazon.)
The question for the reader might be which book should I buy? The answer depends on several factors. For the devout Hindu and yogi, a translation that stays as close to the original Sanskrit is no doubt to be preferred. Yet even between Hindu and yogi there can be a difference of opinion. The Hindu, especially if he or she is of a conservative bent, may prefer a translation that chooses English words that support a literal interpretation of this great spiritual work, while a yogi, especially if he or she is follower of Patanjali, might prefer a translation that emphasizes practice and study. A general reader might prefer a translation that makes the text readily accessible without having to delve too deeply into Vedic philosophy. A student of literature might prefer the most elegant and poetic translation. And so it goes. A poetic translation must of necessity sacrifice some literal meaning, while a strictly literal translation may make for difficult reading. There is a dictum to which I subscribe to the effect that when translating literature and in particular poetry, something is always lost in translation. Consequently, by this rule, if by no other, no single translation of the Gita will serve. Therefore we have many translations, and as English grows and our attitudes toward the world change, ever so subtly, there will arise a need for new translations.
I think that Fosse's book is distinguished by his clear and informative introduction to the Gita for the general reader. He does a good job of placing the work in the Hindu tradition and gives some idea of its history in English. There is a glossary of names (since Fosse uses the many epithets from the original in his translation) and an index. As with the other books from YogaVidya, the original Sanskrit is given along with the English translation, verse by verse.
What I don't think that Fosse does well is introduce the Gita in a spiritual and symbolic sense. The most important thing that the first time reader of the Gita should realize in my opinion is that it is a work to be taken symbolically. If you take it literally as the story of the personal god Krishna urging the reluctant warrior Arjuna to fight his enemies, you lose the essence of this great work. Better is to understand that the battle that Arjuna faces is not one of swords and arrows, but one of time, chance and circumstance. The central question that Arjuna asks is how to live and why. Krishna essentially tells him you have no choice; that it is a signal of failure and humiliation to give up. And then Krishna gives Arjuna four approaches to life and deliverance (i.e., samadhi): bhakti yoga, the path of love and devotion; karma yoga, the path of selfless work (mainly this); jnana yoga, the path of knowledge; and raja/hatha yoga, the path of discipline or force. It is said in the yogic tradition that when all else fails, the path of force will work if it is practiced with sincerity and regularity. For those of great faith, bhakti yoga leads easily to moksha.
Any translation that is not a work of art by a great poet at the height of his powers (we have no such translation as yet) will, to some extent, be untrue to this great work of spirituality. Just as Shakespeare can never be fully appreciated in translation, so it is with any poetic work. Fosse shows he understands this very well when he writes (p. xxiv) "...a translation is always an interpretation, but an interpretation is not always a translation. The only way to get a truly intimate understanding of a Sanskrit text is to learn Sanskrit." I think his sentiment also hints at why he chose not to write an interpretative introduction.
I have addressed specific problems and choices in translating the Gita in my other reviews, so I will skip them here. Bottom line: this is a fine addition to the list of excellent English translations of the Gita, handsomely presented as usual by YogaVidya, and a good choice for first time readers and for those who know Sanskrit.
The introduction is worth the price alone--covering the history of the Mahabarata Epic, India's great contribution to mythological and religion writing. The translation goes verse by verse with the Sanskrit text of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute's critical edition. This makes a handy reference for the Sanskrit scholar. There is a comprehensive glossary of names and a good index. If you are studying this work for comparative religions, great books, mythology or other college work, you will find this a useful edition.
The over-all the efforts of the translator comes off as philosophically true to text and is helpful - setting the stage for the more serious western seekers to further explore on their own any deeper personal interpretations into this text - if they are inspired to do so. It should be pointed out that the introduction is very solid and well done. It is as a good of introduction to the story the Mahabbarata as I have seen for novice western seekers.
How to rate this book was difficult - as I do not know of any truly deserving FIVE STAR ratings for any translations of this book by anyone else expect the original writer's of text which is all in Sanskrit - so, having said that, I feel that Lars Fosse has done a fair and balanced presentation of this sacred text into English. It is worthy of any truth seeker's time to read.
There is a whole series of helpful translated books by Yoga Vidya and I recommend them all.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Svatmarama; Akers, Brian Dana published by YogaVidya.com Hardcover
The Shiva Samhita
The Shiva Samhita
Perhaps I have been spoiled by the excellence of The The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners that was recommended to me by Harrison Owen, himself the author of several books including Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World. My review of the Gita for Westerners is a reflection of what I can get out of a book.
This one, while appreciated as a gift, and while also clearly a valuable contribution in terms of new twists on the English translation, is for me largely valuable for the ten page introduction.
I will say that the simplicity of the presentation (as in sparse sophistication demanding attention) focused my mind and I did draw out from this book the emphasis on non-attachment. In addition to the above two books, I would recommend The Zen Leader: 10 Ways to Go From Barely Managing to Leading Fearlessly, from which I drew the insight that I have been wasting time and energy trying to reform legacy systems that are too self-invested to every contemplate change, and that I should instead focus exclusively on "attracting the future" by being who I am, representing the constructive ideas that I do, and let others do with those ideas what they will.
Reading this book at a time when dark forces are conspiring to attack Iran and justify it with a variety of false flag attacks and the same kind of lies that led to the three trillion dollar war on Iraq, I try to FOCUS on the message in this book. Here is one example:
QUOTE (15): Know that this, on which all the world has been strung, is indestructible. No one can bring about the destruction of this imperishable being.
I have never been about rank or money, but I have had my ego involved in whether people, listen, learn, and do the right thing, and I see more value in the message -- do what you do for the right reasons, without expecting outcomes. The outcomes are for others to co-create by their own action.
QUOTE (21): You are only entitled to the action, never to its fruits. Do not let the fruits of action be your motive, but do not attach yourself to nonaction.
Bearing in mind that this book provides less than one percent of the content of the total Gita [the ten page introduction is certainly the highlight of the book for those of us that do not want to spend years studying these specific phrases], I confess to being a bit under-whelmed. For me, The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners is the one book to buy.
Other books I recommend to those seeking new spiritual balance include:
Your Spiritual IQ: Five Steps to Spiritual Growth
Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution
Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (Manifesto Series)
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science's Greatest Idea
Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential
This is one of those questions that may face one in their study of Hinduism. Do I go with a translation that is more literal but hard to read? Or do I go with a translation that "flows" better but may compromise the original intent and meaning?
Having read only one other edition of the Gita (Easwaran), I'd have to say that this edition falls somewhere in the middle.
First and foremost, although I can't read a bit of Sanskrit, I always appreciate editions that include the text in its original language. If I ever did want to do a further study on, say, the origins or meaning of a specific word, I can now do so.
I also appreciate the absence of footnotes as it makes for a less jarring reading experience--having to stop every few seconds for more clarification is not my idea of fun reading.
As for the translation itself, I can't speak for how well or accurately it captures the sense of the original, but I can tell you that it was a very easy read, which most Hindu texts are not.
Finally, the glossary at the end is always a welcome sight.
Although I like the spartan style of this book, there were a couple areas where I felt improvements could have been made. For one, I wish there were little headings to indicate who was speaking--Arjuna or Krishna. Secondly, for the most part, I felt that this translation was easier to read than Easwaran, however, there were a few cases where the Easwaran translation simply had more "flow" or was easier to follow. Compare these two passages . . .
"The self is a friend to that self by which self the self has been conquered. But the self of a man with an unconquered self would act in hostility like an enemy."
--Meditation couplet 6; Lars Martin Fosse translation
"To those who have conquered themselves, the will is a friend. But it is the enemy of those who have not found the Self within them."
--Meditation couplet 6; Eknath Easwaran translation
Right away you can see how the Easwaran translation is much easier to follow in this instance.
Finally, I disliked the inclusion of the other names of Arjuna and Krishna. I really don't feel that they added much to my understanding of the Gita, in fact, I would say that it was detrimental in that one has to think twice as hard or consult the glossary to figure out who is being referred to.
Before giving my overall assessment I'll breakdown a brief comparison of this edition with the Easwaran translation.
LARS MARTIN FOSSE TRANSLATION
--Easy to read
--Original Sanskrit text
--Introduction, glossary and index
EKNATH EASWARAN TRANSLATION
--Generally has more "flow" to it, but probably not as literal as the LMF translation.
--Introduction, chapter commentaries, glossary and index.
--Indicates who is speaking (Krishna, Arjuna, etc)
Between the two, I can't recommend one over the other. One should also bear in mind that with any translated text, it is wise to have MULTIPLE translations to refer to and not just one. For that reason, I think that the Lars Martin Fosse translation, while not perfect mostly on nitpicking grounds, is an excellent addition to one's collection of the Bhagavad Gita.