Thursday, September 28, 2006

Today's sweet Hukamnama! (What do you think of Gurmukhi-English translation of first line?"

[September 28, 2006, Thursday 05:15 AM. IST]
English Translation :
In the flames of egotism, he is burnt to death; he wanders in doubt and the love of duality. The Perfect True Guru saves him, making him His own. This world is burning; through the Sublime Word of the Gurus Shabad, this comes to be seen. Those who are attuned to the Shabad are cooled and soothed; O Nanak, they practice Truth. 1 THIRD MEHL: Service to the True Guru is fruitful and rewarding; blessed and acceptable is such a life. Those who do not forget the True Guru, in life and in death, are truly wise people. Their families are saved, and they are approved by the Lord. The Gurmukhs are approved in death as in life, while the self-willed manmukhs continue the cycle of birth and death. O Nanak, they are not described as dead, who are absorbed in the Word of the Gurus Shabad. 2 PAUREE: Serve the Immaculate Lord God, and meditate on the Lords Name. Join the Society of the Holy Saints, and be absorbed in the Lords Name. O Lord, glorious and great is service to You; I am so foolish  please, commit me to it. I am Your servant and slave; command me, according to Your Will. As Gurmukh, I shall serve You, as Guru has instructed me. 2
Thursday, 14th Assu (Samvat 538 Nanakshahi)

I am not an expert in Gurmukhi or English or Punjabi but the question I have is on how can "Sansari Jeeve" be translated into "he" in English? I thought "sansari jeeve" was "Earthly Creature" without any gender associations and could be male or female or anything other creatures. I see that in some transaltions of Sikh prayers as well, "he" is often used instead of using "one". Please educate why that is and bhul chuk maaf!


Blogger Sikhi Seeker said...

The female perspective only came to light very recently and authors have made conscious efforts to address this equality only recently. As you know that most of the writers were males and so were their reading populations, I thought "he" slipped in very casually and normally. But I see the trend changing drastically and quickly...which is good news. Although it definitely makes writing hard (I'm struggling the shift of he's and she's at this very moment working on a sexually neutral paper:))

...but such a sweet Hukamnama...aint it?

8:48 AM, September 28, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

Eventhough I don't check Hukumnama everyday, but everytime I read the words of Guru, my day is already made.

and, you are right that most of the translations were done by males. I was aware that something was being done or the changing trend. That is really good! I would think, the correct translation and conveying the true message of Guru's word would even delight the Guru Sahib.

12:42 PM, September 28, 2006  
Blogger Prabhu Singh said...

I'd say pandering to the west might be a factor as well.
When the British came to India, they were shocked that women in Sikh Society had equality and prominence. We haven't seen much of that since. The British did so much to try and change Sikhs and they succeeded very well. Now we have chauvanists, and 'priests,' and fanatics, and apostates, and psuedo-scholars.
Even at the Hari Mandir Sahib the full chaupi sahib isn't read!
Are we GurSikhs or British Sikhs?
I went off topic, but I think it might be western, male-centered, writing that influences these translations.

8:03 AM, September 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sansari Jeeve" is only applied to males and females.
You are right that translations should not be sexist because it totally destroys the meaning! Because it seems like that gurbani was written exactly the same way as to respect to translation.

"Sansari Jeeve" only pertains to human beings because they are attached to this world because of their greed etc. I don't think it applies to other creatures because they follow the law of nature and only humans are given a power to make a choice.

8:12 AM, September 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Great observation and analysis made!!! that's want we need in our faith!

keep up, with the work and thank you.

8:14 AM, September 29, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

Seek - Sorry for typo above, I meant to say I wasn't aware that something was being done.

Prabhu Singh has made an interesting observation and there is a lot of truth to it as well. Well, what kind of Sikhs are we? As Sikhs of the Guru, we are supposed to serve humanity and work with other cultures, customes and rulers and hopefully they will be shown the divine light of the Guru, may it be British, American, African, Chinese etc. Sadly, the ones that are not strong enough, get sucked into the cultures, customes of the societies that they live in. Our Gurus went to so many places and showed so many the Sikh way of life to meet our Ultimate Master. Somehow as Gursikhs, we are failing to convey the message of Gurus to others. I was shocked to hear that it will be year 2008 before Guru Granth Sahib can be translated into all Indian languages, let alone outside of India.

anonymous - Yes, in most instances it is applied to humans. I was thinking "jeeve jant" which applies to "creatures". Thank you!

anonymous - Thank you for your encouraging words!

9:44 AM, September 29, 2006  

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