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Om Asato Ma Sad Gamaya - Grammar

March 14, 2016

 

 

I like to translate the Mantra

"Asato Maa Sad Gamaya

Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya

Mrityor Maamritam Gamaya" like this:

 

"Lead me through the Illusion to the Real,

Through the Darkness to the Light and

Through Death to Immortality."

 

I would like to give a detailed translation here, because some people might wonder if it's "officially" possible to translate the Mantra the way I do.

 

Asato is actually "Asatah" but because of the M that follows, is transformed into Asato (due to Sandhi, a grammar rule in Sanskrit, used to simplify the pronunciation.) The grammatical case is ablative.

The ablative can be an ablativus instrumentalis, which would be translated as a means, a tool. Which makes asato our tool. "With the help of the Unreal, Illusion."

 

Maa is the personal pronoun of the first person, in the case accusative, and means "me."

 

Sat means "Truth" (the T at the end is changed to D, because of the Sandhi).

 

Gamaya comes from the root "gam" and is causal, the 2. person in the case Imperative. "come, lead or send to."

 

"With the help of the Unreal, lead me to the Real." Or "Lead me through the Unreal to the Real."

 

Tamaso is actually tamasah and transformed into tamaso because of Sandhi. It's again our ablativus instrumentalis, so this time our Tool is "Darkness."

 

Jyotis is "Light" and is transormed into jyotir because of the Sandhi. In the case accusative.

 

"With the help of the Darkness, lead me to the Light." Or "Lead me through the Darkness to the Light."

 

Mrityor is actually mrityos, but again changed because of Sandhi. It's our ablativus instrumentalis "through Death"

 

Amritam is accusative, and means Immortality.

 

"With the help of Death, lead me to Immortality." Or "Lead me through Death to Immortality."

 

"Lead me through Illusion to the Truth,

through the Darkness to the Light and

Lead me through Death to immortality."

As you can see, nothing speaks against this translation. 

 

I'm well aware of the fact that each translation is interpretative, and please don't just believe my way of translating it.

There are as many ways to translate a text, as there are people. 

 

To me it just didn't make sense to get away from Illusion, Darkness or Death, as they are such a huge part of our Lives.

Illusion, Darkness or Death is not the Problem.

The fact that we get caught up in Illusion, Darkness or Death is.

 

 

 

 

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