Editing on 27 Oct: My fresh translation of the complete text of Mr. Yan Lianke’s speech on recieving the Franz Kafka Award can be found here: Yan Lianke in Prague, 22 Oct 14
This is one of those posts that is going to have to be all over the map, or it will never get written. In my 2nd post-Bhauji vrat that ended on 19 Oct 14, I had a goal to translate the first revealed document about Maitreya Yoga, which I had posted to my Chinese site in Chinese, but not here. I was experiencing tremendous internal resistance to that task, which continued through the vrat, When I finally got down to it, I found that I was shocked by the content, which had forgotten completely, although what is described therein is now my daily practice. This is just like the author of “Begin the Beguine” never being able to play it from memory; that wasn’t from him, and this isn’t from me. It’s a bona fide revealed document, and over time, it is destined to become a spiritual classic.
Furthermore, the only way I could translate this was to revert myself into the altered state that I was plunged into when I wrote it, a state of being in God’s Light, very similar to my experience at Meher Baba’s Last Darshan in 1969. I found that I could do that, but it often took two hours of concentration to accomplish, and the resulting state could only then be maintained for two hours at the most, because by then my mind was fried to the point that I couldn’t focus. For me, that’s a dangerous condition in which to be online, so then I had to log off, power down, and do something else until my mind was cooled off. What I typically could get translated in those two hours was one paragraph because the thought it represents simply isn’t mine, or at least wasn’t mine until I did that. It’s unlike anything I have ever written or thought in any language. What is not included in that document is as important as what is. I will never change it, but will comment on it. The first page of commentary will come out in English before my next vrat around the time of the winter solstice, and will then be translated to Chinese.
That first translation about Maitreya Yoga was for the sake of certain Daoist sages who are living secretly in the mountains of central China, and who have access to the Web, although they only go online when it’s absolutely necessary, and who are unknown to the Chinese government. They need this information from Meher Baba, because it contains the missing link in their traditional teaching, without which they cannot attain God-Realization.
The effort involved in this radically improved my Chinese language, and I think that I learned as much Chinese by translating that document as I learned in my entire previous life: it doubled my Chinese language capacity.
Then when I encountered a translation of Yan Lianke’s acceptance speech for the Kafka literary award in Prague on 22 Oct., it kicked off my next adventure in Chinese language, i.e., dealing with a contemporary Chinese author that I really admire. Even in English translation, this reminded me of the unutterable Lu Xun Xiansheng*, the last person who wrote in Chinese that I can really admire, so I knew that if I did not find the Chinese original instanter, I would simply be compelled to die on the spot. Find it here: http://cul.qq.com/a/20141022/039677.htm It was as I expected; what survived in English in the NYT contains little of the existential angst of the original.
For me, reading Yan Lianke is like reading myself if I had been born Chinese. What he thinks about China is exactly what I think about China, and what he thinks about himself is exactly what I think about myself. Some of his writing transcends his personal POV and his Chinese ethnicity; there is one riff that maps practically word for word, to my experience of being evicted from MPR when I was last in India, for example.
Therefore, I will write my own translation of this, and post it here as a page, under “MB Community” on the main navigation menu. But I will not discuss things like the MPR issue here. Any such discussion of those aspects will be written exclusively in Chinese, and posted to one of my Chinese sites, unless somebody else initiates such discussions in English here.
* Lu Xun Xiansheng – I was happy that the Wikipedia article cited above does not accuse Lu Xun of writing Mandarin, what is cited is “vernacular” and “classical Chinese”, which is exactly right, except the vernacular that he wrote in is an elegant and very consciously designed literary idiom that is much closer to the classical language than both today’s Mandarin and most of today’s other vernacular, and it actually is a descendant of what was the Chinese vernacular before the central Asian ancestor of today’s Mandarin was brought to China by the Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty. Lu Xun’s idiom is called Baihua (plain speech) in Chinese. Lian Yanke also writes Baihua, which is the only form of Chinese that I am really comfortable with anymore. I’ll read Mandarin because that’s most of what’s out there, but since Yan Lianke has given me a very complete example of how to write Baihua, which has been my uninstructed tendency right down the line, that is what I will write from now on.
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