transliteration on this list.

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Thu Aug 8 02:27:56 CDT 1996

There was a brief discussion on the use of capital letters in the middle
of words last week. I tend to oscillate between using and not using
capital letters depending on the kind of discussion. Thus, in a general
discussion, I don't take the trouble to write mAyA or avidyA, I just
write maya and avidya. But if there is a need to go into philosophical
details or questions of textual interpretation, I tend to favor the use
of capitals. It looks bad, but it is easier than using two vowels.
Besides, for the hard consonants, as in maTha, I have no choice but to
use a capital letter, if I need to use a non-ambiguous transliteration.

I have followed the use of such capitals in the advaita home page also.
(URL- Some people have told
me that it is distracting to see the use of capitals in such a wierd way,
but I have continuted using it in the belief that a serious reader will
overlook it. I have intended the advaita home page for a serious reader
who wants to read about the scriptural and philosophical basis of various
advaita concepts. It is not meant for the merely curious. I have not
followed the ITRANS convention that is widely being used nowadays, simply
because there is no need to convert my text to devanagari script. The
scheme which simply relies on capitals to convey vowel and consonant
values is used only in the middle of basically English text.

I would like to know if there is widespread feeling against such a usage.
I assume that those on this list would represent a good sample of the
serious readers who might access the advaita pages. So I would appreciate
it very much if those of you who feel it would be better to just forget
about such transliteration, let me know about it. Those who already know
the Sanskrit words will not need the transliteration. If not using this
transliteration makes life easier for those who are not very familiar with
the Sanskrit words, it might make sense to change the transliteration
scheme I currently use. Please do let me know, by private email, and I
will take action accordingly.

On a related note, I have also
resisted translating the advaita terms used, because I am unwilling to be
restricted by the pre-existing meanings of English words, which can have
a different set of connotations than the Sanskrit original. I am working
on a comprehensive glossary of terms to be added to the pages as they
exist, but due to prior academic commitments, I'm not making much
progress with it. In the meanwhile, if people prefer some kind of
translation to be added parenthetically in the text, please let me know,
and I will do so.


S. Vidyasankar

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