Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 1.djvu/43

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SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST.

ὄν and τὸ μὴ ὄν by Being or Not-being, for both are abstract nouns; nor by 'the Being,' for this would almost always convey a wrong impression. In German it is easy to distinguish between das Sein, i.e. being, in the abstract, and das Seiende, τὸ ὄν. In the same way the Sanskrit sat can easily be rendered in Greek by τὸ ὄν, in German by das Seiende, but in English, unless we say 'that which is,' we are driven to retain the original Sat.

From this Sat was derived in Sanskrit Sat-ya, meaning originally 'endowed with being,' then 'true.' This is an adjective; but the same word, as a neuter, is also used in the sense of truth, as an abstract; and in translating it is very necessary always to distinguish between Satyam, the true, frequently the same as Sat, τὸ ὄν, and Satyam, truth, veracity. One example will suffice to show how much the clearness of a translation depends on the right rendering of such words as âtman, sat, and satyam.

In a dialogue between Uddâlaka and his son Svetaketu, in which the father tries to open his son's mind, and to make him see man's, true relation to the Highest Self (Khândogya-upanishad VI), the father first explains how the Sat produced what we should call the three elements,[1] viz. fire, water, and earth, which he calls heat, water, and food. Having produced them (VI, 2, 4), the Sat entered into them, but not with its real nature, but only with its 'living self' (VI, 3, 3), which is a reflection (âbhâsamâtram) of the real Sat, as the sun in the water is a reflection


  1. Devatâs, literally deities, but frequently to be translated by powers or beings. Mahadeva Moreshvar Kunte, the learned editor of the Vedânta-sutras, ought not (p. 70) to have rendered devâta, in Kh. Up. I, 11, 5, by goddess.