Bharathiya – Non-Translatable words: 1. Sathya-Mithya

I am starting a series on some Bharathiya words /terminologies that are non-translatables. Most of the “English” translations are either too weak or many have been used and in a wrong context. I have prepared a list of almost 300 such words / terminologies, which will be published here time to time. When you change the context or wrongly translate, the word loses its meaning, changes the color and becomes even negative in tone sometimes. So let us start proper usage of our words and if the translated word is very weak, then we should better use the original word. I would like to bring to the notice of the readers that I have not studied Sanskrit academically and my knowledge of this great language is limited to just understand some shlokas and sutras and chanting some Vedic Mantras. There may be some errors in Vyakarana. Please bear with me as the intention is to show the difference between the meanings expressed by Sanskrit and Sanskrit based languages and the meanings expressed by English. Unfortunately we are having this discussion in English.

  1. Sathya (सत्य):
    This word is translated as truth but it doesn’t refer to uttering the truth or opposite of lie. Sathya is referred only to the universal truth that is the ‘Brahman’. As mentioned in
    Brahma Sathya Jagath Mithya.
    Brahman (The Divinity) is the only Absolute Truth but the world is a relative Truth. The word for truth which comes close to the dictionary meaning is “Yathartha”. Here also the word has a contextual relativity. Yathartha means ‘As it is or as it has to be’.
  2. Mithya (मिथ्य):
    This is usually wrongly equated to Lie or Falsehood, but Lie or Falsehood is actually very close to Asathya as Asathya actually means non-truth. Mithya is actually somebody’s version of truth. Something may be true for me but may not be true for somebody else. So it becomes my version / my understanding of truth but the other person is also entitled to have his/her version / understanding of truth. Mithya is actually a literary word which is not used in day-to day context. Mithya has now been translated or wrongly used to represent Falsehood.
    Here it may be noted that people may have different understanding / version of truth, which must never be understood that everyone may have his / her Sathya. Sathya is universal and timeless. It stays across the paradigms of time and space, while one’s understanding of Sathya may be subjective to time and space, hence it is called Mithya.

(To be Continued…)




One response to “Bharathiya – Non-Translatable words: 1. Sathya-Mithya”

  1. […] This is series of Bharathiya words that are non translatable. First part talking about Sathya & Mithya of this series can be found here: […]

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