Sanskrit tatoo fail

Herman Tull hwtull at MSN.COM
Sat Sep 3 14:25:02 UTC 2011

Yes. Of course. Reading it late at night I ignored the prefix on the root. The widely reported translation is "go with the flow.".  
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-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Zydenbos <zydenbos at UNI-MUENCHEN.DE>
Date: Sat, 3 Sep 2011 13:54:38 
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Sanskrit tatoo fail

On 03.09.11 07:25, Herman Tull wrote:
 > [...]  A better image, however shows that it is not pravaaha, but 
 > "pravaaham"-the tattoo artist used (improperly) the anusvara to 
 > indicate the final of the accusative.  The grammar is still creaky: 
 > "One must go to the river"???
 The grammar is all right, since anu-gam "to follow" is construed with 
 the accusative (cf. Boehtlingk and Roth's dictionary for examples): thus 
 anugacchatu pravaha? translates as "let one follow the flow" (though I 
 think "pravahamanugaccha" comes closer to GWTF).
 On 03.09.11 09:22, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
 > See, Sanskrit is important and useful.
 > What interests me most about all this is that they don't want to know 
 > something from the Sanskrit tradition. [...]
 > Is it that putting it in Sanskrit gives it some charm, or even 
 > authority, that it wouldn't otherwise have?  Or do they want, rather, 
 > to suggest that "go with the flow" (henceforth GWTF) is really a 
 > Sanskrit saying?  Or that if Sanskrit is the Language of Truth, then 
 > something true (?) must have been said in Sanskrit, somewhere.
 That seems to be what many of my students expect. They come to class 
 expecting to learn more about 'what is good', and if don't tell them 
 what is 'good' according to their wishful thinking, then I must be 
 'wrong'. (Fortunately they sometimes explicitly say so, which leads to 
 amusing discussions and gives me the opportunity to set things straight 
 and to be a greater guru than their gurus.)
 In any case, Sanskrit is cool. My wife actually made a little bit of 
 money through a tattoo: a fellow wanted to have some rather 
 un-Sanskritic phrase tattooed on his arm, and he asked her to translate 
 the phrase and give the translation in "Sanskrit script" (sic). She 
 wrote back that she would do it only for a fee since, after all, she had 
 spent a good deal of time learning the language and wanted to see her 
 skill rewarded. He was decent and paid.
 Prof. Dr. Robert J. Zydenbos
 Department fuer Asienstudien - Institut fuer Indologie und Tibetologie
 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen
 Tel. (+49-89-) 2180-5782
 Fax  (+49-89-) 2180-5827

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