Translation of yoga knowledge

Why Yoga knowledge should be translated into as many as possible languages of the world?

There was a time when an overwhelming majority of yoga knowledge in the west was available only in English. There are lots of reasons for this phenomenon. First of all, India was the British colony for a long time, so every text on yoga was translated into English before it became accessible for western people, and only then it was translated into other languages. Secondly, the English-speaking countries, and in the first place America, generally have avoided all the horrors of world wars of the twentieth century. Consequently there was more interest in yoga and better conditions for practicing it, than in Russia, for example, where the life of people at that time was a series of bloody shocks. The economy of English-speaking countries is much more developed than that of the other countries; therefore many yoga teachers had more chances to find financial support on distributing yoga knowledge particularly in these countries. Also it is necessary to mark certain tolerance towards everything new. And so on.

In was a considerable advantage because English language is more or less understood worldwide as Latin at the times of the Roman Empire. Indeed the roots of many modern English words are Latin, and as well as the big percentage of English words are of French origin. Actually the minority of commonly used English words are truly English.

Therefore considering the complete lack of yoga knowledge in some countries the translation of yoga texts into English was a real way to deliver this knowledge. On the other hand after double and sometimes triple translation the sense of yoga could be seriously distorted, especially if the translators were not engaged in yoga and did not its study theory. Also it is necessary to mark the peculiarity of American mentality and the priorities in life which certainly had an effect on translating yoga knowledge. Influence of this factor has led to superficial and sometimes vulgarly pragmatic attitude to yoga, as to the form of physical exercises, without understanding of philosophical bases of this doctrine. This fact has generated a certain vacuum in theoretical knowledge of yoga in the west, where with rare exception only the limited number of people are familiar with the deep essence of yoga. Thus, the majority of modern literature on yoga in the west does not hold water. The problem assumed a comical character, when for example, the works of American science-fiction writer Robert Sheckley had more humanistic understanding of yoga philosophy, than ninety percent of all published books on yoga. This situation is not satisfactory.

For this reason the situation now is different, the followers of yoga begin to study it outright, without American mentality as intermediary. Therefore some yoga knowledge starts penetrating directly to the countries where those followers live. It seriously raises yoga to a much higher level in these countries and sometimes gives amazingly deep understanding of this science of self-knowledge. But there is a problem related to it: the knowledge remains in these countries. But yoga should belong to all mankind. As a result appears again a necessity of translation of yoga texts into other languages including English so that as many as possible people had an opportunity at least to touch that treasure of theoretical and practical knowledge of yoga which you can’t find in modern western literature on yoga.

Concerning the International Open Yoga University we have to translate those grains of yoga knowledge which there are in our yoga school, into a maximum number of world languages. It is the contribution that the University can make for the good of the whole world. If humanistic yoga ideals get into minds of people of different countries, they will influence on a general field of thought of these countries, making the life more sensible and kind. Certainly, we should not impose to anybody our approaches to a world view. We just have to give everyone a chance to join such a grand doctrine, whatever language they speak and understand. The translation of yoga knowledge into other languages also will be a tribute and gratitude to the English-speaking countries, and first of all to America and England, for that grandiose work on preservation and distribution of yoga knowledge which they have made for the past time, with the proviso mentioned above. Almost every second person in these countries at least once in his life was engaged in yoga. If not for this, the attitude to yoga and its position in the world would be incomparably worse.

At the International Open Yoga University the translation of the yoga texts into other languages basically is entrusted to Full and Part-time students who know one or another language. Sometimes students free participants also help us. Of course, we hope that our students who live in other countries, will be eager to help us, too, thus helping all people living in their countries, regardless whether these are their home countries or countries that provided them hospitality. We should change the world around us, starting with the places where we live and work.

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