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(Predominantly Philosophical Part)
by Dr. V.V. Shirvaikar
Translator's Remarks on the German Edition.
Dr. V.V. Shirvaikar, the author of the English edition, is an old friend of mine. We met in the early seventies when working a short time at the IAEA in Vienna. We understood each other well and kept in touch since then.
In March 1999 my friend, who lived in Poone in the mean time, told me that he had just finished the English translation of the more philosophical part of the Dnyaneshwari, which is as a commentary to the Bhagavad Gita (Gita) a wide-spread religious standard book which is read in many Indian families, and contains the base of the Hindu doctrine. He asked what I would think about a German translation and added the English text.
Well, I did not know the name Dnyaneshwari but I knew my friend's views. So I looked at his manuscript and joyfully set to work of the translation of the 160 pages or so at once. The translation took 18 months and was facilitated a lot because we could consult each other via email. A great help was the fact that I, as an old Lutheran, had read on similar topics, starting with books on Christian mystics, and was familiar with the subject.
Saint Dnyaneshwar, the author of the Dnyaneshwari, is a Reformer in our sense, since he really removed literary and organizational obstacles for the experience of God by a rather uneducated rural population.
There are pronounced ethics, analogue to "respect for life" in the Dnyaneshwari and in the Gita. Funnily enough this is not recognized by everybody - see Albert Schweitzer "Les grands penseurs de l'inde", Éditions Payot, Paris.
The Dnyaneshwari is a widespread holy book.
In our realm of the abrahamitic religions, holy books used to be misused to do damage. Normative institutions like school and clergy found means of justifications.
On the other side these books served as means of consolation for the damaged populations.
The fate of the Dnyaneshwari as for this item in unknown to me.
As for the study of the Bhagavad Gita I recommend Sri Aurobindo's Gita and his "Essays on the Gita". Professor Michael von Brück wrote a new translation of the Gita from Sanskrit. It has been edited with his commentaries as "Bhagavad Gita. Der Gesang des Erhabenen." by Verlag der Weltreligionen, Frankfurt/Main and Leipzig, 2007. It is a marvellous book.
Essen, Dec. 2002
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