4 Sanskrit Words That Lose Something in Translation

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Pick up any English translation of the Yoga Sutras, and also you’ll not solely get a literal rendering of every sutra itself but in addition the writer’s commentary on it. That’s as a result of apart from people’ nature to philosophize, some further phrases and explanations are sometimes required to completely convey the which means of the unique Sanskrit aphorism. Here, Richard Rosen, who leads our Sanskrit 101 course, shares a couple of examples of Sanskrit phrases that lose one thing in their translation to English.

Deeper Meanings of 4 Common Sanskrit Words


“Ahiṃsā is usually translated as “not hurting,” which is taken to imply “not hurting” anybody bodily,” Rosen says. For instance, many vegans cite ahiṃsā for animals as their guideline. “But actually the word includes not hurting with words and in thought.” Doesn’t that take this yama to the subsequent degree?

See additionally Sanskrit Top 40: Must-Learn Lingo for Yogis


Avidyā is usually translated because the not figuring out or seeing of the one’s true Self. “This is sort of right, but there’s a bit more,” Rosen says. “Avidyā is actually a positive misapprehension or a case of mistaken identity—not only do you not know your Self, but you mistake your constructed everyday self for your true Self.”

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