Friday, October 29, 2021

On Mandukya etc Translations

Mandukya / Karika/ Sankara translation update. Nikhilananda has copious end notes, most of which are insightful. But too often a note ends with an untranslated devanagari script. Gambhirananda has much fewer notes. That is not a bad thing. In reading the Mandukya with the Karika, and especially the commentaries of Sankara, one of either Nikhilananda or Gambhiranda is necessary.

But I’ve determined the Chinmayananda translation is also necessary. Not only is it the only one to include the romanization of the sanskrit, allowing for textual analysis, but the commentary has grown on me. Sometimes too long-winded but often insightful in a down-to-earth way. Chinmayananda translates the Mandukya and Karika but not the Sankara commentaries, although he often refers to key segments in his own commentary.

I always like including a third translation for triangulation purposes. Swartz is not a necessary translation, but a good third one. Especially for a westerner. Mandukya and Karika; no Sankara.

I say all this after reading the first Karika which includes the Mandukya and the second Karika which is a logical presentation of illusory duality. But I’ve gone back to the first because the Mandukya is worth reading three times quickly.

First, they say the Mandukya is the distillation of all Upanishads. Second, Gaudapada is the fountainhead of all advaita. Third, the Mandukya first appears in Gaudapada’s Karika, not necessarily meaning he wrote it as much as he rediscovered it.

psst, on the Mandukya and Gaudapada front, The Method of Early Advaita Vedanta: A Study of Gaudapada, Sankara, Suresvara and Padmapada, by Michael Comans, is really good.

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