This book takes the battle for Sanskrit into the territory of the English-speaking public. It makes a convincing case that English is deficient in its ability to express the profound meanings of the shastras for which Sanskrit words are necessary. By following the authors’ advice, English will become enriched with key Sanskrit terms that are non-translatable. As English has assimilated non-translatable terms from virtually all major world languages, and takes pride in doing so, there is no reason why it should hesitate to do so for Sanskrit, a Classical language very much alive today. I congratulate the authors for their innovative thinking and bold initiative.
Rajiv Malhotra carries his battle for Sanskrit a step further in this book. Short of having Sanskrit itself as the language of pan-Indian intellectual discourse, we must insist that as long as English continues to play this role, Sanskrit words should be used in English on account of their unique semantic valence so that a whole culture and an entire worldview is not lost in translation.
Sanskrit Non-Translatables by Rajiv Malhotra and Satyanarayana Dasa central concepts of Sanatana Dharma, and brings attention to the many errors and distortions that have been introduced by the use of English words that do not quite do justice to the Sanskrit originals. It makes a powerful case for what it calls the Sanskritization of the English language by introducing key Sanskrit loanwords into English vocabulary and keeping them untranslated. This is a bold and innovative approach that deserves to be pursued in parallel with teaching Sanskrit itself. It is nothing short of spreading Vedic sanskriti into the English-speaking world by penetrating their minds with powerful Sanskrit terms.
This is an indispensable book addressing the difficult situation today that Sanskrit terms pregnant with meaning cannot be translated into any foreign language; yet we have to make them understandable to people of other cultures who want to learn Sanskrit from the point of view of jigisha rather than jijnasa. The authors have worked hard to collect relevant material from various sources to prove that the English translations of many Sanskrit terms are false and misleading.
This book is an eye-opener and argues a highly original and audacious thesis to enrich the English language by adding Sanskrit words that have no English equivalent. These unique words bring profound meanings discovered by the ancient rishi-s. For English language speakers, it will not only enhance their vocabulary but also introduce them to entirely new concepts for understanding of reality.
At a time when Hinduism studies are under the full and tight control of Western Indologists (via their university courses and libraries, and journals and conferences), this book comes as a timely reminder of the extensive damage being wrought by this coterie, none wherein is a practising Hindus, after all. Ransacking the vast and hoary Hindu legacy, vital concepts of Yoga, Vedanta, and kindred fields are taken over by them, and exploited without compunction for crass commercial ends, labelling them first with fancy nomenclature, coupled with a denial/dethronement/desecration of their very sources. Caricature translations that divest the Sanskrit words (dharma and saṁskāra, for instance) of their sanctity and nuances are rampant. By calling out the Western games of systematic sabotage and subversion and insidious inculturation leading to cultural genocide and digestion (e.g., "Christian Yoga"), Rajiv Malhotra (in collaboration with Sri Satyanarayana Dasa) has laid bare the damages wrought by such dilution, decontextualisation, and distortion through vapid English translations thatdo violence to the subtleties, rich content and technical nature of over 50 key Sanskrit vocables. The work Sanskrit Non-Translatables exposes how facile and popular equations - such as Om = Amen, Svarga = heaven, saṁskāra = ritual, Hanumān = monkey god, dāsa = slave, śāstra = scripture, and dhyāna = meditation - are by no means full and faithful renderings. There was a desideratum to alert alike the lay and the scholarly Hindu, and this book effectively accomplishes the task it has set out for. More writings of this genre are indeed the need of the hour. All Indian libraries - public as well as private - must possess a copy of this book.