[Advaita-l] Re: Transliteration

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 2 18:34:42 CDT 2003

I thought of the intended audience of the Advaita webpage and this list 
quite a lot before going for the adopted transliteration scheme. I have 
faced questions from my own family members as to why I should spell 
"SankarAcArya", "kRshNa" etc. I have decided to stick with the existing 
format for a few strong reasons. Primarily, this is that I envisage an 
educational intent for the Advaita home page. Part of educating readers 
about the philosophy and tradition involves conveying a flavor of the proper 
pronunciation of the Sanskrit words that unavoidably have to be used. At the 
very least, it will prompt readers to question whether the modern 
American-inspired pronunciations (thanks to Hollywood) of words like karma 
and dharma is correct!

As far as the list is concerned, the readership spans a large spectrum, from 
those with minimal knowledge of Sanskrit to those with an ability to read 
and understand Sanskrit texts directly. When a discussion proceeds between 
two people from the latter group, things often get too technical and heavy, 
but that is part of the purpose of this list. I would only request those who 
do not know or are uncomfortable with too much Sanskrit to be patient and 
try to observe the terms that get used often and the context of the English 
sentence in which they occur. It is not impossible to make meaning out of it 
after a while. For my part, I always try to put a translation within 
parentheses or immediately after a quotation, and will be glad to provide 
meanings if I miss something and am asked for it.

I am going to add a pronunciation key to the page on the transliteration 
scheme. It would be a good idea to add a glossary page to the site too, and 
I'd appreciate inputs from everybody on the list.


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