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#4602 - Friday, May 18, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    #4602 - Friday, May 18, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights ... Robert V. Burke is featured. ...
    Message 1 of 1 , May 19, 2012
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       #4602  - Friday, May 18, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz
      The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights

      Robert V. Burke is featured.

      Carl Burke wrote:
      SF is too much traffic.
      Do they have a bakery with sour dough bread?
      They have a French Bakery here and if you close your eyes and click your heels together two times you can almost taste the sour dough!
      Turkey breast with Swiss cheese and alfalfa sprouts and avocado.....yum! Can't wait.
      Robert V. Burke wrote:
      Dear Carl (and friends),

      Sour dough is as ubiquitous as water here, well maybe as ubiquitous as post office boxes in any urban area.

      Every store, every shop has some brand of sour dough.  I don't think I can recall trying Boudin's sour dough, though my curiosity was piqued when I saw a documentary on Boudin's years ago, and found out the starter dough is actually an organic continuation of the first starter yeast brought to this continent, from France, I presume, but then again, maybe Italy?

      Speaking of trans-planting 'cultures'--pun intended, yes, here's an interesting piece I'm reading in Raimundo Panikkar's tome The Vedic experience: Mantramanjari -- An Anthology of the Vedas for Modern Man and Contemporary Celebration.  Panikkar was a Roman Catholic Priest and had several PhDs: one in Philosophy, another in Chemistry, both from the Universidad de Madrid, and a Doctorate in Theology from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.  He also attended universities in Bonn, Germany and Barcelona, Spain.

      He died last year living 91 years shy of 92 by two months.

      Dr. Sharma and I are going for 100, but I'm  gonna need to shape up to live up to this prophecy.  After all, my daughter Stephanie said in my arms, and quite confidently, emboldened and embodying a canny certainty, "Dad your gonna live to 100 years." To which I quipped spontaneously, "Is that so?" and she parried, her repartee lightning fast, "Yes, and I'm going to live to 114 years!"  She was waking up in my arms, these words flowing out of the realm of unconscious dreams.  Who is to say it was not the Self speaking thru this precocious 6 year old?   Or is it just an old man's dream?

      In the following selection Panikkar discusses some of the subtleties that address just one of the problems of translation, a notion we used spontaneously at the dinner table in France.  I remember you complaining at our family dinner, mid-fifties in Bois-le-Roi, France, because you couldn't follow us in the English, so you let out a cry "Say it in French, say it in French, I don't understand!!!"  Given the complexities of human relationships and dynamics, I am grateful for in stumbling upon these selections for disclosing unarticulated inspirations in my heart why I treasure ritual and mythology as expressions of our noble nature:

      The problem of translation, however, has another facet.  Nearly all Western languages, including English, have been molded by the Jewish-Helleno-Christian tradition against a Gothic, Celtic, or other indigenous background.  We may translate Agni as 'Lord' in order not to mislead the reader or we may write down 'Fire'; in both instances (in spite of the capital letter) the translation is perhaps legitimate, provided that the reader is informed of the original word.  But if we translate gandharva by 'angel' or apsaras by 'spirit,' are we not utilizing equally religion-bound concepts?  Are we not saying that the English language is indefectibly bound to one particular tradition? We could speak of 'the good fortune of having been invited to a certain inauguration,' but would it be proper to translate this statement as 'we have been summoned by the grace of Lakshmi to a certain function performed according to the shastric principles laid down by a pandit, after recognition of the mangalic moments disclosed by the flying birds'? (Panikkar, The Vedic Experience, pp. 22-23)

      This reminds me of George's story of two of his students from Japan, one translating to the other from the English into the Japanese, having been given it in English unbeknownst to the other, the colloquialism 'out of sight, out of mind'; and when requested of the other, he rendered the Japanese translation back into the English: 'to be invisible, is to be crazy.'  Panikkar continues in this vein:

      Why should the augur, the Roman religious official, and the goddess Fortune be accepted as universalized terms and not the Indian terminology? To reply that nobody will understand the latter sentence deserves only the answer that outside the Western cultural milieu everybody will half understand the former, or else they will reduce it to banality. (Panikkar p. 23)

      I emphasize that Panikkar reminds us in his Vedic Epiphany the reason why I have been having great difficulty finding a contemporary translation and commentary on the Rig Veda.  It is much needed in these times, where decadence and greed have supplanted virtues in almost all corners of the Earth, and Man is rapidly descending into sloppy troughs of his own pollution.  Even India is losing grip of its rich heritage, while many in the West are thirsting for Its wisdom.  The challenge is great, I hope to see the inauguration and dawning of Lakshmi's grace, the auger's inauguration.  I am happy to say I have found 'meaning' I've only intuited in 20 years chanting the Vedic Fire ceremony, though sporadically.  Yet, once a week replenishes the soul to surfeit.  Panikkar makes and sets the epistemological positionality within the field of the ritual where words and meanings intersect. 
      The process of translation is not only transcultural.  It begins within a particular culture.  The work of the great bhashyakaras or commentators consist precisely of such translations, including the translation of the proper names of the tradition itself.  When those names cease to stand for a living symbol within a 'lived' myth, they are 'trans-lated,' that is, 'shifted,' so as to designate hence-forward the same 'reality' but beyond its proper or native horizon.  Ushas, for example, may no longer be considered the daughter of Prajapati, the Goddess of the myth, but simply Dawn, or perhaps only dawn.  Yet by this very shift Ushas has arrived where the dawn still dawns but where the daughter of Prajapati is no longer known or acknowledged and, having traveled to such distant shores, she herself will perhaps help see to it that our dullness of perception is removed and that dawn is reinstated in a more colorful and relevant form, not perhaps as the daughter of Prajapati but certainly as Dawn, as a symbol of hope, in our contemporary world.  Furthermore, the connection between words and meanings is to be sought in the sphere of rite, and that is why Man cannot live without rituals, for he cannot live without words either.

      This reminds me of Nisargadatta's enlightened recapitulation of the four stages of speech--pashyanti, madhyama, vaikhari, and para--wherein he touches on these 'names' of prana by means of answering a questioner's notion on reincarnation.   Maharaj elaborates in  The Ultimate Medicine:

      Questioner:  Does the physical death means [sic] the end of the life force? If yes, is there no truth in the theory of rebirth?

      Maharaj:  The four kinds of speech, para, pashyanti, madhyama and vaikhari, are the names of the vital breath (prana).  Ordinarily, an individual is not aware of para and pashyanti.  These two are too subtle, too basic and too deep for him to understand.  So he starts working on the third one, madhyama, which is also identified with the mind and comes out the words, and the fourth stage which is called vaikhari.  Now on this level of two minds, two kinds of speech, every ignorant (not aware of one's true Self, but rather falsely identified with the body and mind) works. And he has his own image made out of that madhyama, which is mind.  If he is ignorant and has not understood this secret of the Universe, he will certainly talk about rebirth, birth and other ideas, concepts with which he has identified himself. Therefore, all these ideas and concepts of rebirth are for the ignorant. Otherwise, there is nothing. (reminds me of guruji's oft said 'Otherwise, not!') p.49

      Well Carl, from Sour Dough, to the root of it all, the Mooladhara, to the playing field of the vital forces, the pranas of expression, from breathing life into ancient meanings, bringing meaning to life in contemporary times, perhaps a proviso or auguration, your correspondence as always inspires Ushas blessing of hope for us, gives meaning of language and ritual, keeping language fresh and meaningful, and hopefully someday soon dawns, inspiration to bring the vast treasures of vedic lore as an infusion of renaissance of the spirit and culture of humanity.

      Now about that sandwich, let's talk about it and utilize it soon!


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