Monday, February 16, 2009

Pointing to change

I finished reading 'The essence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib; part 1' the other day. There are five parts to this series of Sikh spiritual literature, and the second part's warming up on my shelf, reading for reading. I should've known better than to read this book from cover to cover, for it's a series of hymns and sermons that are probably sung in Punjabi when Sikhs gather to pray for Guru's intersecession. Fool that I am, I decided to trudge through the book and read as much per sitting as possible. As a result, I came across a great deal of repetition. The translator didn't do direct translation as much as translate the spirit of the recitation as best he could. As a result, the English paragraphs are far longer (in some cases) than their Punjabi counterparts. I wish the translator and the editor had met with a good proofreader, for I fear it was in this department that the book fails miserably. I think I've mentioned this tome in a previous journal post, but I'm not sure.
The editor's goal was certainly noble, and nobody can fault him for wanting to share this information with others. He's not trying to convert anyone, I don't think; if anything, he's preaching to the converted, and that's all right. If anyone is converted along the way, that is a decision they have made. I'm just saying that he could've done this material a lot more justice than he did. There are glaring spelling errors that a ten-year-old would've spotted easily. Call me picky if you wish, but I like it when the editor, author, or publishing house catch all obvious errors before they release a book to the public. Failure to do so belittles and demeans the quality of the book's contents. Especially where spiritual materials are concerned.
Having said that, however, the book does the job it was published to do, I think. Meanwhile, the book's message found its way into my head. One can only put up a defence for so long; after a while, the book ends up rubbing off on to you. So I got to thinking about the message, along with other messages I have come across in other books. My friend's words about everything being connected ring true once again. I started looking at this Sikh book with my Buddhist bifocals and came to conclusion that everything is connected and that the only way one is going to get anywhere is if one surrenders to their chosen deity and changes their perception of the world. How many more reminders do I need before I get off my butt and get on it?

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