[INDOLOGY] Texts about translations

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Mon Jan 6 19:35:05 UTC 2020

     When I was studying Sanskrit dramas during my college days in Pune, we
were not reading the Prakrit, but we read only the Sanskrit chāya of
Prakrit passages.  However, I remember our professor telling us that the
Sanskrit chāyā does not fully convey the beauty and the content of the
original Prakrit.  The one example that comes to my mind is from Kālidāsa's
Śākuntalam.  In the scene where Duṣyanta sees the child Bharata playing
with a lion cub, a dāsī says to the child: सउन्दलावण्णं पेक्ख, and the
child asks कहिं मे मादा.  To dissuade the child from the lion cub, the dāsī
is showing him a toy bird and asking him to look at शकुन्त-लावण्यम्, while
the child hears शकुन्तला-वर्णम्.  Both of these Sanskrit readings have the
same Prakrit reading, but while the Prakrit has the pun, the Sanskrit
versions do not have that pun.
     As I am myself daily writing Sanskrit verses about Krishna and
translating them into English [prose] and Marathi verse, I struggle with
the issues of translation of my own poetry.  My prose English translation
struggles to convey the basic content, but it fails to communicate the
beauty of Sanskrit and the allusions that the Sanskrit verses contain to
the rest of the Sanskrit literature.  On the other hand, I feel that my
Marathi verse tends more and more to copy the style of Tukarama's
Abhangas and does not have the classicism of the Sanskrit verse.

Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor Emeritus, Sanskrit and Linguistics
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Senior Fellow, Oxford Center for Hindu Studies

[Residence: Campbell, California, USA]

On Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 9:36 AM Matthew Kapstein via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> One issue that seems not yet to have been raised in this thread is that of
> chAyA, which is of course a type of translation from Prakrit to Sanskrit. I
> would be most interested if anyone knows of any reflections on or
> theoretization of (or jokes about!) chAyA within the Indian sources.
> Matthew Kapstein
> Directeur d'études,
> Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes
> Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
> The University of Chicago
> ------------------------------
> *From:* INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Caley
> Smith via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
> *Sent:* Monday, January 6, 2020 11:29 AM
> *To:* indology at list.indology.info <indology at list.indology.info>
> *Subject:* Re: [INDOLOGY] Texts about translations
> Dear Nataliya,
> While not commentarial on translation *per sē, *I have an article that
> has just come out in the Wiley-Blackwell's *Companion to World Literature*
> in which I try to use the aesthetic sensibilities of the Rgveda to imagine
> what it would consider essential to a graceful translation itself (hint:
> the enigma of the imagery has to remain, well... enigmatic). It is aimed at
> a comparative lit audience rather than a strictly philological one, but if
> you would like a copy, I am happy to send you a PDF.
> Best,
> Caley
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