----- Original Message -----From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Diana ManisterSent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 7:20 AMSubject: Eliot, India and Untranslated Language
In T.S. Eliot and Indic Traditions: A Study in Poetry and Belief, Cleo McNelly Kearns describes Eliot's study of the Vedas under Charles Lanman at Harvard, and notes his special interest in the Rig and Sama Vedas in which "the aid of the gods was often invoked by means of mantras for the purpose, among other things, of averting drought...mantras correctly uttered or sung became part of the liturgy of sacrifice which gave them additional authority...and a mantra's efficacy was not dependent on its meaning but rather on the subjective effect of the exacting mental discipline involved in its correct utterance, and the accompanying mode of breathing."
Kearns goes on: "Eliot translated these dimension of mantra-shakti, or mantra power, to the language of poetry, where meaning was also, for him, communicated through sound or effect, which depended on quite subtle arrangments of rhythm, breath, and sound (what he called 'the auditory imagination.)
"...So directly did Eliot wish to incorporate these auditory aspects of mantra into his work that he employed at the end of The Waste Land the mantric forumula "Shantih, shantih, shantih...." Kearns notes that Eliot omitted the Om that traditionally precedes this mantra.
I found this pertinent to our discussion of why Eliot did not translate languages in his poetry, but presented them in the original languages.
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