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Request for help: Community Poetry

 
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I was asked to help with translating a poem from Hindi (no, I didn't learn Hindi this weekend, somebody already translated it into English ). The Chief Translator, though, decided to remain anonymous -- out of modesty, I think. I translated it into Russian English, now could some kind soul check it, please?

-----------------------


Harivansh Rai Bachchan

Budha God

Where there were enormous wealth, power, fame,
where every moment was joyful and sirens at every step,
where youth was eternal,
after being born and brought up here,
why did you become suspicious and skeptical to the World?
And finally one day you picked the top of the golden pot 1,
and found it full of poison.
They were wearing bride's gown that looked like stale dead body.
You were shocked, you were tense.
Why does a man keep himself in darkness?
Why is he taking sips of poison that are coming out with thrust.
Is this happiness? Man is etching his own eczema.

You went out far away to nations, jungles, mountains,
and searched the cause for this illness,
solution for this illness.
You met great Pundits,
you read great books,
you burned your body in jungles,
sharpened your mind by Sadhna2.
Work met success,
came the moment of light.
You got enlightenment
and you become enlightened.

You started preaching at different places.
People seeing your great charm, started surrounding you.

To listen to a new thing, man is always ready.
Let the speaker be Satan,
but then, you were God.

Life is a piercing arrow.
Mind and body are suffering, pierced.
This is a fact, needs to be proven?

Arrow. Arrow. Arrow. Arrow.

First, take out the arrow.
Who killed the swan,
why did he kill the swan,
what type of arrow was it,
those are questions for later.
Take out the arrow.

World is self moving, like a flowing river.
Cross the river by swimming,
you can't build the home on the river.

What ever is seen inside and outside of us, sadness, happiness,
is all result of our Karma.
Karma is eternal.
Walk on my described path,
It's not difficult to live apart,
But it's easy to control it.

In the end, this is the outcome of everything.
Life is full of pain.

Desire is a base of pain.
You can get rid of pain and become clean and soft spoken.

A half of Earth was echoed from your speech.
India, Burma, Lanka, Syam, Tibbet, Mangolia, Japan, China
got up,
Ashram, Math, Garden
were built,
where a queue of followers
bald heads, yellow cloth,
started entering
chanting the following Mantra:

Buddhum Sharnam Gachami,
Dhrmum Sharnam Gachami,
Sangam Sharnam Ghachami.3

Every new wave flew for some days.
Man was shocked, he became conscious.

Oh mankind,
you do great things.
Let thousands of Peers,
Paigambars,
Aacharyas,
prophets,
Mahants,
Mahatmas come, 4
let them bring knowledge, spread wisdom, preach.
You get it in one ear, and let it go out from other,
you live the way you live, your time tested life.

Where are your human towns
your markets,
your places to waste money,
there,
where are Ram,
Budha,
Allaha,
Jesus's any sign.

We brought up these names, good.
They are incomparable.
One is an Avatar,
another is a Son from heaven,
another is an Angel from heaven.

A man does not allow God to put His hands on him.
He understands already that God will be dangerous,
headache,
bothersome.
If They would be available every time, everywhere,
lies, distrust, cunningness, stealing, crime will refuge where?
All the work of the world will stop.

Imagine that you are loving your lover and your father comes there.
What will you feel?
You will become sick,
you wont be horny,
after being apart from each other,
not seeing each other face.
Mankind would be in a bad shape
if God was present everywhere,
every moment.

A man built Temples, Mosques, Churches and locked Him in these.
These are jails for God.

Look at the sarcasm:
"Faith" was said to the place of worship you live in, comfortably.
World takes your words.
I will meet you every morning and evening,
I have lot of work day and night.

Allah is locked,
Followers are having fun.

Oh World!
You made fun of God!
Where God couldn't do anything, what could Budha do.

Budha was against idols.
You made him an idol.
He was against prayers.
You prayed him.
He did not believe in God.
You called him God.

He came to spread simple living (Vairag),
to remove needless (Shringar),
you put makeup on him.

He's beautiful in his shapes,
His head is bald,
You put a beautiful curly wig on him.

You took soil, wood, gems, stones, iron, coppers, aluminium,
gold, silver, ivory

Put him inside all of this,
crafted, made it a good for sale.
From Peking to Chicago
there is no shop where
let there be no single item, but if you ask,
you wont leave without an idol of Bidha!

Living rooms of riches,
houses of riches
are full of your pictures, showcasing their idol.
But they don't know how you look like,
they don't know your thoughts,
even when they dream.
With skin of lion,
deer's horn,
other items of art,
You also became an item for sale.

Is this what You worked so hard for?

And today I see,
one on side is your idol, and on another a dancing hall.

Hey! Epitome of kindness on animals, thinker, philosopher,
in front of you,
desire and passions are playing openly;
kabab from cow and pork is being thrown,
alcohol is being drunk glasses after glasses.
Cigarettes, pipes, cigars are being smoked continuously.
Drunk boys are coming closer to girls, they take them in hands,
chest and breast come closer, talk starts between lip to lip. A dance starts.

Orchestra is playing jazz

Paissonm Sharnam Gachami,
Dancem Sharnam Gachami,
Mansam Sharnam Ghachami.


----------------------
1) golden pot - a symbol of wealth and prosperity

2) Sadhna - Yoga

3) Gaytri mantra and Buddhist mantra: http://www.sulekha.com/weblogs/weblogdesc.asp?cid=21507

4) Peer - a man with divine power,
Paigambar - messenger of God,
Aacharya - teacher,
Mahant, Mahatma - Guru
[ December 22, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Comment: There are two extremes in translation. The first is to keep the translation as close to the original as possible. This is usually done when the translation is made for narrow audience of specialists. The second is to adapt the translation to the target audience as much as possible, at the expense of the original -- this method is used when the translation will be dropped on unprepared audience. Well, that's the theory, real translations are somewhere between.

So here,

"1.Work met success,
came the moment of light."

and

"This is a fact, needs to be proven?"

both follow Hindi syntax. Does it sound acceptable in English?
I read that when they translated Bible into Russian, they decided to translate some sentences closer to the original, even if they were ungrammatical in Russian. For example: "Peter told to them" - in this context it sounds emphatically, if even ungrammatical.

For the same reason, I think, some Hindi words that are Buddhist terms (?) should be left "as is" and explained in comments. Our fellow Indian drivellers probably know better which ones...
 
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I don't follow. If somebody already translated that poem from Hindi to English, what was your involvement in this thing? Well, anyway, here are a few comments:

where every moment was joyful and sirens at every step,

A verb seems to be missing after the "sirens".

why did you become suspicious and skeptical to the World?

of the World?

You met great Pundits,

I don't see the reason for the capitalization in "Pundits".

Work met success,

Your efforts paid off? You succeeded?

People seeing your great charm, started surrounding you.

I question the "charm" here. I don't think an enlightened man is "charming". Not sure what word to use here, though.

This is a fact, needs to be proven?

Does it need to be proven?

First, take out the arrow.
Who killed the swan,


Which killed the swan.

Walk on my described path,

What was probably meant in the original is "Walk on the path that I revealed to you"

You can get rid of pain and become clean and soft spoken.

"Soft spoken" doesn't seem to be belong here. I would guess that the original means that you can talk without effort.


A man does not allow God to put His hands on him.
He understands already that God will be dangerous,
headache, bothersome.


God will be a headache? That doesn't sound right to me.

Imagine that you are loving your lover and your father comes there.
What will you feel?
You will become sick,
you wont be horny,


Seems like the tone is not consistent. On one hand, the poetic "loving your lover" is used to avoid the harsh "having sex", yet the word "horny" is used right after that. I love Buddhist things like "gateless gate", but I don't think that it was the idea to convey something like that here.
[ December 22, 2004: Message edited by: John Smith ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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JS: I don't follow. If somebody already translated that poem from Hindi to English, what was your involvement in this thing?

I also wonder Mostly to check if it makes sense, and to add some mistakes

Thanks, John. I agree about "horny". Maybe "aroused". The rest is up to Him/Her Who Saw the Original
[ December 23, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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I think, its a translation of poem Nachghar Aur Budha written by Harivansh Rai Bachchan.

Has anyone else listen this poem ??

PS: Now link is working
[ May 19, 2005: Message edited by: R K Singh ]
 
R K Singh
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where every moment was joyful and sirens at every step,
A verb seems to be missing after the "sirens".

Sirens available at every step.


You met great Pundits,
I don't see the reason for the capitalization in "Pundits".

Pundit is Sanskrit/Hindi word.


People seeing your great charm, started surrounding you.
I question the "charm" here. I don't think an enlightened man is "charming". Not sure what word to use here, though.

Charming also means control by magic or some kind of charisma.


First, take out the arrow.
Who killed the swan,

Which killed the swan.

Its 'Who' only. Note the fullstop before this line.

First, take out the arrow.
Who killed the swan?
why did he kill the swan?
what type of arrow was it?
those are questions for later.
Take out the arrow[first].


A man does not allow God to put His hands on him.
He understands already that God will be dangerous,
headache, bothersome.

God will be a headache? That doesn't sound right to me.

Ironically thats what poet wants to say. God would be headache.


Imagine that you are loving your lover and your father comes there.
What will you feel?
You will become sick,
you wont be horny,

Seems like the tone is not consistent. On one hand, the poetic "loving your lover" is used to avoid the harsh "having sex", yet the word "horny" is used right after that. I love Buddhist things like "gateless gate", but I don't think that it was the idea to convey something like that here.

I think its cultural difference here.
I think that poet means kissing or caressing body of female, but not having sex.
And in second line, poet used harsh word like "horny" deliberately to tell his views with more weightage.
[ May 19, 2005: Message edited by: R K Singh ]
 
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A man does not allow God to put His hands on him.
He understands already that God will be dangerous,
headache,
bothersome.



What this is supposed to mean is that, we know that if we place ourselves in His hands, we will be treading the 'right path'. we wont do any wrongs. so, even if you want to go and make money in not so right fashions, you wont be able to do it. so one part of you yearns to earn that money, but His presence stops you and always shows you the right path...which is the 'headache'
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Neeraj Dheer:
which is the 'headache'



Headache is that.. God will not allow Enron to play with market,
God would not allow you to submit fake medical bills to your company,
God would not allow businessmen to save tax by illegal means,
God would not allow you to dump your girl fruend just because you think that you got her,
God would not allow you to do anything which is wrong according to your consciousness.
God would not allow sex to be industry ....

To live with God is tougher than living with your wife....
 
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Little boy,
With your nose pressed
against
the donut shop glass
we have no jellies
today
only death
 
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Hi Map! This looks like a fun project for the weekend.

A few questions, if you don't mind helping me out.
Who are "they" that wear the bridal gowns?
What is "Every new wave" that flew for some days?
"Jesus's any sign"?

I'm also unclear on this:
"From Peking to Chicago
there is no shop where
let there be no single item, but if you ask,
you wont leave without an idol of Bidha!"
It may seem weird to you, but the "but if you ask" part is what boggles me. What is the intended meaning behind this portion?

About the dancehall at the end, is the author championing carnal desires or using satire to condemn it? It's worded in a way IMO that promotes it but this contradicts the rest of the poem's doctrine.... er, observations. By the way, is it also intended that the jazz music is "chanting" the Mantra or is the author spitting back the Mantra to say "Shame on you"?

Also, the title seems to contradict how the author stresses that Budha is not God.
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Marc Peabody:
Hi Map! This looks like a fun project for the weekend.


I feel that translation is lost some where between translation and edition.... (as usual)

Who are "they" that wear the bridal gowns?
"they" are the people who cant see the real world... they live in their materilistic world, inside their expensive bridal gown [its my interpretation from the original Hindi poem].

What is "Every new wave" that flew for some days?
Every new thing floes for some time.
Have you bought new digi cam ??


"Jesus's any sign"?
Where are your human towns, your markets,
your places to waste money,
there,
where are Ram,Budha,Allaha, Jesus's any sign.

Can you waste money in Las Vegas if there is chruch next[or better say inside] to Bellagio or Ceasor ??

Means, either you can believe in God(Jesus, Budha, Ram , Allah etc.) or you can be materialistic.
Believing in God and having gamble/sex as industry does not exist together.

"From Peking to Chicago
there is no shop where
let there be no single item, but if you ask,
you wont leave without an idol of Bidha!"

It may seem weird to you, but the "but if you ask" part is what boggles me. What is the intended meaning behind this portion?
Means, all so called capitalist and communist countries have GOD Budha as show piece itemm in every shop.
Though they dont believe in his philosphy.
He(Budha) has become JUST a show piece item. Nothing more than that.

About the dancehall at the end, is the author championing carnal desires or using satire to condemn it?
Ironically poet is condemning it. Its a materialistic life.


By the way, is it also intended that the jazz music is "chanting" the Mantra or is the author spitting back the Mantra to say "Shame on you"?
Poet wants to insult the people who live in dancing hall and keep a Budha statue in their drawing hall as show piece.

Also, the title seems to contradict how the author stresses that Budha is not God.
Title of the poem is "Budha Aur Nachghar" (Budha and dancing hall)
[ May 21, 2005: Message edited by: R K Singh ]
 
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