Translation of Swami Muktananda’s letter, The

The Translation of Swami Muktananda’s
Letter

Swami Muktananda’s Naming letter, because it is a
unique acknowledgement by a great Spiritual Realizer of Bhagavan Adi
Da’s Spiritual Realization and qualification to Teach, has been the
subject of a great deal of careful “consideration” on His part over
the years, especially with regard to its full and exact meaning. Thus
the detailed story of how the letter was given and the various
translations that have been made is an important one.

Although the letter was only a page in length, it
was not until nearly two weeks after Swami Muktananda wrote the
letter that the document and its translation were finally presented
to Bhagavan Adi Da. It appeared that the principal reason for the
delay was that the individuals entrusted with its translation would
have preferred that the letter not be given to Him at all, or, if it
were, that its obvious significance as Swami Muktananda’s
acknowledgement of a Western devotee’s Spiritual attainments be
minimized. Thus, the process of translation had been colored by the
emotions of those making the translation. In addition, despite the
resort to a professor of English, the language of the translation was
far from fluent. Thus, what Bhagavan Adi Da received in 1969 was
altogether a rather awkward and uncommunicative translation of the
Swami’s words.

Because of the poor quality of the translation and
the circumstances surrounding its making, Bhagavan Adi Da’s own
devotees sought in later years to clarify Swami Muktananda’s actual
intention and meaning in the letter by obtaining a precise and full
translation from an independent source. Thus, in the late 1970s,
several scholarly translations were commissioned. Although the new
translations were in some respects better than the original
translation of 1969, they betrayed the limitations of the merely
academic and scholarly approach. The translators clearly did not
understand Swami Muktananda’s Spiritual purpose and point of view,
and, therefore, their translations did not adequately represent Swami
Muktananda’s intended meaning in the letter.

Finally, in 1984, an Indologist and scholar of
various Hindu Adepts, with a sensitivity to Spiritual terminologies,
meanings, and issues, brought to light elements of the letter that
had never been translated. The language of the 1984 translation was
more sophisticated than earlier versions. Its flowing ease seemed
more fitting to Swami Muktananda than the halting style of the
original translation, for although Swami Muktananda was not a highly
educated man, his language carried a forcefulness and power that had
not appeared in earlier translations.

Most revealing, however, was the 1984 translator’s
discovery of specifc language, in the original text of the letter,
indicating Swami Muktananda’s evaluation of Bhagavan Adi Da’s
Spiritual development. According to this new version, Swami
Muktananda forthrightly proclaims his disciple’s Realization by
stating that Dhyanananda was Yogically Self-Realized, having
“fulfilled the sadhana of dhyana”, having become “realized in
dhyana”, and having “realized the mystical tradition of Vedanta”.
This new translation appeared to rescue the lost essence of the
letter from the original translators’ apparent efforts to obscure the
Swami’s gift of acknowledgement to Bhagavan Adi Da.

Having presumed that a final translation had at
last been achieved, Bhagavan Adi Da proceeded in 1986 to write the
first version of “The Order of My Free Names”, which was published
later that year. There the matter would surely have come to rest, had
not Bhagavan Adi Da Himself, soon after that publication, raised new
questions about several words in the 1984 translation. At His
request, the original letter and the 1984 translation were submitted
to further scrutiny by new translators.

Bhagavan Adi Da had noted that Swami Muktananda’s
handwriting becomes both more informal and more difficult to read in
the second half of the letter. The new translators discovered that
several words in this section of the letter had indeed been misread,
and thus mistranslated, by all previous translators. This led them to
conclude that the 1984 translator had overstated Swami Muktananda’s
language regarding the fullness and extent of Bhagavan Adi Da’s Yogic
Realization.

This criticism of the 1984 translation is more
naturally in accord with Swami Muktananda’s own position regarding
the nature of Yogic Realization and his likely understanding of his
young devotee’s experience at that time. Swami Muktananda regarded
the stable visualization of the “blue pearl” to be the primary
evidence of supreme Realization.
1

However, at the time Swami Muktananda’s letter was
written (soon after Adi Da’s arrival for His second visit to the
Swami), Adi Da had not yet experienced the myriad Spiritual phenomena
(including visualization of the “blue pearl”) that came to
characterize this visit. Thus, at the time Swami Muktananda wrote the
letter, the only report of meditative experience that he had received
from Bhagavan Adi Da was the letter Adi Da had written in 1968 (after
His retum to the United States) describing His experience of fifth
stage conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi toward the end of His first
visit to Swami Muktananda. Given Swami Muktananda’s valuing of
savikalpa samadhi above fifth stage conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi,
Swami Muktananda would not have interpreted Bhagavan Adi Da’s
Realization of the latter (or His experience of the internal
revelation of the meditative process on the morning of the letter
writing) as the supreme Yogic Realization.

Therefore, in 1989, with Swami Muktananda’s letter
scheduled for republication as part of a revised form of “The Order
of My Free Names”, a definitive translation was again sought. After
all this time, the problems of translation had not finally been fully
solved.

Although Swami Muktananda’s letter was written
primarily in Hindi, it was interspersed with Sanskrit Spiritual
terms. Further, there are a number of places in the letter where he
does not follow traditional grammatical rules. Therefore, a
definitive translation would require someone who was familiar with
Swami Muktananda’s own style of writing (particularly his
handwriting), yet who was free of the prejudice that had compromised
the original version.

An individual with these unique qualifications was
located by Adi Da’s devotees. A former translator for Swami
Muktananda who had lived with the Swami for many years, he not only
read Swami Muktananda’s handwriting with ease, but was also familiar
with his use of words and methods of expression. Thus, in mid-1989,
both a definitive transliteration and a word-for-word English
translation of Swami Muktananda’s letter were finally obtained. Also
because of his unique familiarity with Swami Muktananda, the new
translator was able to solve in short order the mysterious salutation
to “N” in the letter’s opening line. Upon seeing the letter and
hearing the question, he instantly said, “Well—this is how Swami
Muktananda, not knowing how to spell ‘Franklin’, would have written
it.”

With a reliable rendition of the precise words
used by Swami Muktananda in his letter of acknowledgement in hand,
the final task of revealing its full intended meaning remained. Thus,
Adi Da Himself worked on the translation of the letter to reveal the
implications and logic inherent within the document itself. Although
not fluent in either Hindi or Sanskrit, Adi Da took on this task of
“translation”, in order that this key incident in His Spiritual
Sadhana—Swami Muktananda’s acknowledgement of His Realization
and Right to Teach—could be rightly understood by all. Bhagavan
Adi Da based His work primarily on the original translation by Swami
Muktananda’s devotees, and the 1989 translation by Swami Muktananda’s
former translator. In the process, Adi Da Gave Instruction in the
principles for translating Spiritual literature and explained how He
applied these principles to the particular instance of translating
Swami Muktananda’s letter.

Bhagavan Adi Da pointed out that everything in
Swami Muktananda’s letter has significant meaning and that none of
his words are redundant. And He went on to show that only through
sensitivity to the relationships between words and concepts could the
overly literal, mechanical, and reductive quality of the previous
translations (including the two from which Adi Da was working) be
overcome. He therefore set about restoring (or unsuppressing) the
force of logic and interconnection evident in Swami Muktananda’s own
writing in order to produce the translation given in this book. He
describes the process here:

BHAGAVAN ADI DA:

The relationship between words and sentences
must be taken fully into account, and must be allowed to build up
into a structure of meaning. Therefore, the text calls for an
elaborate translation. Not to translate it this way is to suppress
the voice of the text itself.

Thus, I have elaborated the meaning through
multiple words and other literary means to get at what Baba
Muktananda’s intention was and to make the letter speak clearly. One
of the proofs of a proper translation is that it speaks clearly. My
translation corresponds to Baba Muktananda’s intention, and is not
clouded over by the interpretations of people who want to suppress or
diminish what Baba Muktananda said, or otherwise use exaggerations of
language that make Baba Muktananda say something that he would not
say. So unless there is some real evidence for an alternative
translation of any of the parts of this letter, I am satisfied that
it clearly represents Baba Muktananda’s meaning and intention.
[Spoken Communications, July 1 and 4, 1989]

Adi Da thus re-created, in English, both the flow
of meaning connecting the individual words of the letter and the
obvious purpose of each of the letter’s sections. Wherever necessary,
He also conveys the full range of meaning (both denotative and
connotative) of individual Hindi or Sanskrit words or phrases by
giving a primary translation followed (in parentheses) by one or more
alternative translations of the same word or phrase. Thus, the
English text necessarily became significantly longer than the
original.

For example, in the last paragraph of his letter,
Swami Muktananda speaks of Kundalini and meditation. The original
translation reads: “The Kundalini Yoga can be imparted to anyone
since the Kundalini power exists in everyone and everything exists in
Kundalini.” This translation can readily give rise to misconceptions.
From reading it, it is possible to suppose that Swami Muktananda was
indicating that because the Kundalini Shakti is a universal
phenomenon and therefore exists in everyone, virtually anyone can
practice Kundalini Yoga. A proper amplification would add that the
Kundalini Shakti exists in everyone only latently. While the word
“latently” conveys a shade of meaning that is not explicitly stated
in Swami Muktananda’s letter, it is implicit in the text, and it is
clearly in accord with Swami Muktananda’s own experience and
instruction that the authentic and fruitful practice of Kundalini
Yoga requires Spiritual initiation from a Teacher in whom the
Kundalini Force has been activated. Thus, Bhagavan Adi Da inserted
the word “latently” to clarify the original meaning of the text.

Adi Da’s translation of Swami Muktananda’s letter
given in “The Order of My Free Names” is an example of how it is only
such an amplified translation that can be perfectly faithful to the
original, by fully illuminating all the meanings and interconnections
implicit in the original document.


note to the reader

Adi Da, in His uniquely complete accounting for all possible forms of
samadhi [see
The Dawn
Horse Testament Of Adi Da
] has
Revealed that, because it is a type of “savikalpa samadhi” (or
samadhi that includes one or another form of blissful psycho-physical
awareness), “the blue pearl” is a Realization that occurs in the
context of the advanced fourth stage of life and the fifth stage of
life. Therefore, the “blue pearl” is, in fact, a potential samadhi in
the advancing Spiritual process, rather than most ultimate Divine
Self-Realization. Indeed, savikalpa samadhi is not even the highest
Realization possible in the context of the fifth stage of life (which
is the context of the traditions of Yoga). That highest fifth stage
Realization is fifth stage conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi. [ see
The Seven Stages of
Life
]



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