Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Guha's book - finally arrived

Manindranath Guha's 'Nectar of the Holy Name' has finally arrived and it is a beautiful cover. I spent the whole day just to read the introduction, prefaces and letters of appreciation from various babajis because they take up about 15% of the whole text!

By the time I got past all of that I only had time to flick through a couple of pages of the text itself, and then just skim through the book. It seems pretty nice and I can see why it popular amongst devotees, but I guess the full significance of it will hit me only when I start to read it properly. It looks like Guha Babu was the shishya of Srimat Kanupriya Gosvami, another one of my heroes. Some time back I composed an exact copy of Kanupriya Gosvami's "Golden Age" book and put it up on the Net for everyone to download.

Speaking of which, I need to improve upon that text and bring out a 'second edition'.

So I could see Srimat Kanupriya's influence in the text since the book is composed of a fictional (?) dialogue between a guru and his disciple, believed to be descriptive extenstions of Kanupriya and Guha's own discussions.

The book is translated by Dr. Neal Delmonico (Nitai das) and I think that it's about time he got around to publishing! All those years of research and scholarship so it is high time that we started seeing some fruits. The same goes for the rest of the 'scholarly' Gaudiyas out there; why not concentrate on translating more books for public consumption when all of these jewels are locked up in Bengali and Sanskrit? There is a serious demand for these literatures and it would be more productive to supply this demand instead of spreading themselves everywhere in a variety of projects. Not that those projects are to be minimised, but a strong literary basis is what is wanted, with prominence given to shastras rather than "notebooks" like Guha's. But that does not mean to diminish the glories of Guha's book either for it is a definite spiritual classic of sorts. I honesly believe that it is high time people started coming together and applying their knowledge of Sanskrit/Bengali to bring out all these books.

Anyway, Nitai says that he has translated the text with both scholarly and devotee audiences in mind, and it shows. However, I think that the Devanagari footnotes are unnecessary and is what I would consider to be showing off". Scholarly or not, not that many people read Devanagari so what is the use? It would be much better to put Romanised Sanskrit so that everybody can at least have an idea of what is being said.

But apart from that it should be a great book.


  • At 04 August, 2006 06:37, Blogger advaitadas said…

    I dont agree about the Devanagari point you made. You should feed those who do know and read DN!!! You know how many downloads are being made from Gaudiya Grantha Mandir, f.i.? You'd be amazed! And that is pure Sanskrit as you know! On the contrary, the Devanagari will provide good evidence unless a transliterated text is already provided.

  • At 04 August, 2006 11:43, Blogger advaitadas said…

    That 'you should feed those' is an English translation of a Dutch saying - it means 'there is so many of them it would bankrupt you to feed them all'.

  • At 05 August, 2006 04:17, Anonymous "Gaurasundara das" said…

    Yes, only eggheads download Devanagari texts from GGM. LOL, only joking. :-)

    But seriously, I didn't read much more of it but I skimmed through a few more pages. Page 52 has Devanagari text from Srimat Jivapada's Krama-sandarbha and it takes up more than half the page! The same goes for many of the footnotes, they take up a lot of page space. I think it would be much better if Nitai publishes his footnotes at the end of the book in an appendix or something, rather than at the bottom of every page. It's really ridiculous especially since readers are most likely not to know Devanagari. :-/

    Also, I was being generous earlier when I sad that the intros and all take up 15% of the whole book. More like 25%! I figure that if you take away all the intros and footnotes, the book would be half it's present size!

    In that context I think the price was a little exorbitant. If I had know this then I would have thought twice before buying it.

  • At 09 August, 2006 13:52, Anonymous Yadupati said…

    Dear Gaurasundaradas-ji, maybe the time has come for you to learn devanagari. You also mention in your last blog about Govinda-bhasya that you couldnt read the quotes. Learning nagari is doable :)

  • At 10 August, 2006 01:21, Blogger "Gaurasundara das" said…

    Hehe, I'm sure it is. I did buy a 'Teach-Yourself-Sanskrit' book by Harivenu das which taught how to read and write in Devanagari also, but I found that it took up too much of my time and concentration so I put it on the shelf. I should take another look at that book...

    My current knowledge of Sanskrit is only a mere smattering and I can only pick a few words from here and there. It'll be a while before my knowledge of Sanskrit is competent, and it'll be even longer before I can read Devanagari...


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