Secrets of My Blog Origins: Translating?

Why did I play around with the title of this blog? And why did I end up where I did?

Back in 2010, I was very focused. I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the works of a wonderful poet from Gujarat, Narasinh Mehta, a fifteenth century singer of songs that rank high in the tradition of love-centered devotion, પ્રેમલક્ષણા ભક્તિ [prem-lakshana bhakti]. Check out my posts here  and in the Category,

Narsinh Mehta Lots more to come! I have not been idle!

Also, long after my career in the world of English Literature as a student, scholar,  theoretician, lecturer had disappeared, a long stint in the world of technology and business, left me challenged but unsatisfied.

What was I doing? What did I love doing?

My passion is for words and how they communicate, not just mechanically, as in an assigned 500 word Freshman class essay, but how the communication structure evolves and encompasses both the world we know and the world beyond. Analyzing and explaining that process is exciting. I had loved it in exploring the enormous universe of Literature. I also found it fascinating in the world of technology and its tools for communication. In all my technical jobs, essentially I translated information, not data, from one form to another. From early 1980s User Guides and Systems Administration Manuals, to the 1990s user-centered systems engineering design were all incarnations of the translation, interpretive function.

How can we communicate meaning so that some other brain grasps it? Where is that crucial and joyful moment? How do I capture it?

I found it in the desire to share the talents of artists from my own background to a global community. So I’ve translated Gujarati Ghazals, a creative and innovative genre that is brought alive in sung performances. Gujarati ghazals share the heritage of the Urdu tradition but provide a characteristically unique contribution. [will post some soon]

The problem?

No one outside the Gujarati-speaking diaspora, can truly enjoy the thoughts, sentiments, and talent in these works. A known musical structure, an ancient tradition of  stanza formation, and delivery style give readers and more so, listeners, a pathway to some enjoyment. But the magic of the thoughts and play of ideas often can fall by the wayside.

For a meaning-lover, this is intolerable!

So drawing from my dry academic past, I called myself a “Semiophile,” a lover of the discipline that examines the world of signs. Semiotics (English/American term) and Semiologie (French) essentially look at the organized ways in which communication develops:

  • what are its core elements,
  • how do they operate,
  • what happens in different kinds of communication when things work or when they don’t work?

This discipline is known as the study of sign systems and it actually includes much more beyond verbal communication–all the way from anthropology and biology to zoology.  But I will try to stay focused and not talk about “Life, Universe, and Everything.”

But that’s exactly it! It is LIFE, UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING!

Transforming baby cries to something communicable is the way a baby human survives.

Think about it. You’ll find you yourself are a Translator!

Do I need a fancy-schmancy made up name? NO! So drop the ‘semiophile’ moniker!

The Blog’s name, is “Translating”: Something fundamental to my existence. No need for the noun to answer the question: WHAT?

Next time:  Making. . . . . .

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Morari Bapu Ram Katha: Manas Sita – Part 2

મોરારી બાપુની રામ કથા: માનસ સીતા ૪ દિવસ સાંભળવા મળી એસ્ટેસ પાર્ક કોલોરાડો માં જુન ૨૮, ૨૯, ૩૦, જુલાઇ ૧, ૨૦૧૭.

I had the opportunity to hear Morari Bapu’s Ram Katha, Manas Sita, in Estes Park Colorado for 4 days, June 28,29,30, and July 1, 2017.

 

Part 2

Morari Bapu was talking about:

Desire-based attraction: when physical passion creates the attraction

Study-based attraction: when the attraction is created with studious effort

Destiny-based attraction: when the attraction is the soul’s destiny to reach for the eternal. Such an attraction is pure and blameless.

 

प्रेम बुरा नहिं, प्रेम में छल बुरा है.

Love cannot be bad; deceit in love is bad.

 

[Note: Again, I’d like to point out that these notes reflect only what I was able to capture. I missed recording a lot of good things, because I was enjoying the talk on the spot!!]

 

In the garden where Sita sees the two brothers, she is accompanied by her companions and allows her girlfriend to go ahead., In that scene why is Lakshman not able to hear the anklets of all the maidens?

 

लक्ष्मण का सर्वस्य रघुनाथ।

Lakshman has given all his love to Raghunath, to Ram. This is one more example of बिसुध्ध प्रेम

That is: pure and spiritual love.

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Addressing the audience:

 

મારા બાપ! તમે સાંભળો છો! હું કહેવા માંગુ છું કે મારા દાદાએ શીખવાડેલ વાત તમને ગળે ઉતરે છે?

બહુ કરુણાથી હાથ મુકીને કાચી માટીને ટીપું છું! પંચાવન વર્ષથી આ નીભાડો (કુંભારનો) કર્યો છે.

કોઇક વાર પાકી જાવ એમ ઇચ્છા થાય ખરી?

Listeners! Do you hear me? I want to say that I am telling you what my grandpa (that is, Guru) taught me, can you swallow and internalize [grasp] this?

 

With great compassion, I am tapping your raw clay to shape you! Since the last fifty-five years, I have been tending to this kiln (potter’s firing setup).

 

Do you at least sometimes feel the urge to come to full ripeness?

 

[In English, when a clay pot is fired to its final temperature, it is called “cured.” Interestingly, in Gujarati, that state of a clay pot is called, “paakelu,” that is, “ripe” or “fully ripe.”  I really enjoyed both meanings. In English “cured” also means “purified” or “cleansed of all illness or impurities.” In Gujarati, one meaning of the term, “paakavu” is come to “fruition” or “final state of being!”]

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અમરનાથ બાપુ પાદુકાની એક વાત કરતા. જ્યાં જાય ત્યાં એમની પાદુકા ચોરાઇ જાય. મારી પાદુકાનું પણ એવું થવા લાગ્યું છે. અરે, લોક એને માટે ઝગડે છે! આ એક શ્રોતાનો પ્રશ્ન આવ્યો છે. “રામ કથા માં આનંદ આવે છે. ગુરુ સંગતિ કેવી રીતે મેળવાય?”

 

મારા બાપ! ગુરુની પાદુકા મેળવવા કોણ વહેલું પહોંચી ગયું એ તકરાર ને બદલે ગુરુ-સ્વભાવની સંગતિ કરો!

ગુરુ વિના જ્ઞાન નહિં મળે એ બીકે ગુરુની ચીજોમાં ન અટવાઇ જાવ.  પાદુકા તો હવે દુકાનોમાં મળે છે. પહેરીલો! સહેલું નથી. મનેતો વર્ષોની ટેવ છે!

મને ખોટી રીતે ન સમજો. મેં પણ મારા ગુરુની પાદુકા સાચવી રાખી છે. પણ પાદુકા ને માટે તકરાર ન હોય.

 

Amarnath Bapu told a story about his “paaduka” [Paaduka is the name of the wooden sandals many ascetics wear]. Wherever he went his paaduka got stolen. Now that is happening to my paaduka too! And, people fight over how to grab them first!

 

Here is one of questions requested from the audience. “Ram Katha gives us great joy. How can we remain close to the Guru at all times?”

 

Listeners! Instead of fighting for getting the guru’s paaduka first, develop a closeness to the guru nature!

 

Fearing that there is no learning without the teacher, don’t get caught up in the objects associated with the guru. These sandals are now available in stores. Wear them! They are not so easy! I have learned to walk with them after many years!

 

Don’t get me wrong! I too have saved my guru’s sandals. But there should be no fighting for the paaduka!

 

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श्रध्धा विज्ञान है. श्रध्धा प्रयोगसे सिध्ध करो.

 

True Faith is a Science. Achieve Faith with your own Experiment/Experience.

 

Talking about blind faith or following scriptures literally, Morari Bapu discussed the notion that when we take things literally, we miss the main point.

 

सत्यके साथ चलना

प्रेम को पीछे रखना

करुणा से आगे चलो

य़े चाणाक्य ने कहा है। ये भी कहा है की भावमें स्पष्टता होनी चाहिए।

 

Walk with Truth

Walk ahead of Love

Walk ahead with Compassion

 

Chanakya [a wise politician in the third century before Christ], said this. He also said in feelings there should be clarity.

 

Talking about no deceit, Morari Bapu said, the love shown by Lakshman and Hanuman is pure and utterly selfless. When Hanuman was questioned about what was in his heart, he tore open his chest and revealed Ram, Sita, and Lakshman within.

This is the way to read and understand. In the episode of Sita taken over by love, she still permits her friend to run ahead against proper rules because, here she is modeling Compassion, setting aside the Truth of her identity with Ram and her Love for Ram. The girlfriend’s love is pure. Following pure devotion is the best thing to do.

 

તુષાર શુક્લ કવિતા ગાય છે:

ચરણ રહો હનુમંતના
શરણ કહો તો પામો

 

Gujarati poet Tushar Shukla sings:

 

Stay at the feet of Hanumant [Hanuman]

Surrender to get salvation.

 

[Following a genuine devotee is another path to salvation]

 

सती ने सीता-जन्म लीया क्युंकि दोनो एक ही हैं.

 

Sati [the pure one] took birth as Sita because the two are one.

How to understand Sita’s behavior in the Ram Katha, requires us to think about what she represents, not just her “human” story. She is the pure Essence and as such her actions model pure love.

 

सीता के द्वादश नाम स्तोत्र समझिये। उसको अयोनी कहा है क्युंकि वह योनिप्रकारसे पर हैं। वह परमतत्व है।

 

Try to understand the Sita Shloka that praises her with twelve names. One of them calls her, ayoni, that is gender-less, because she is beyond gender types. She is the pure Essence.

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