March 28, 1997 – How to translate what comes from gyan?


                The question has arisen among us of how to translate the word “balihari,” which occurs in Guru Granth Sahib. It is usually translated as “sacrificed,” or “devoted,” but Maharaj says the meaning is far beyond that. He says,

                It means “You are amazing! Indescribable! Loving! Endless!” It is an expression of wonderment, of awe, of love beyond expression. ‘No one can write of Your limits.’ ‘You are endless. Nameless.’ Sacrifice can be defined, but “balihari” cannot.

                How can what comes from enlightened wisdom be translated? Some speak from vision. They see without eyes. It is a matter of Noor [spiritual light], of hearing without ears, speaking without tongue, moving without legs. They say, “Sometimes on seeing You I laugh, sometimes I cry.” These things you don’t even want to translate. If operations on words are done incorrectly, that mistake lasts for lakhs of years.

                Enlightened wisdom is needed for such translation. Who can translate Farid? He says, “Mera Lalli” [My Beloved], I am dancing under Your hukam.” Such things have been spoken in vairag [divine detachment, with love only for the Beloved]. How to translate them?

                Beware of trying to translate Guru Granth Sahib and other such scriptures. If a person can’t read Persian, how can they be translated? To translate passages such as “My Friend, take my head” requires genuine spiritual experience. Only a vairagi  can understand vairag.

                How to translate Kabir? What does he mean by “Gagan” [the heavens]? There is so much love in Kabir’s words, in Guru Gobind Singh’s words. Gurbani came in the midst of vision.

                What to do? A little reading is dangerous. More is even more dangerous. A scholar is the most dangerous!