Duel of the Fates and Sanskrit in Star Wars

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by CieSharp, Apr 27, 2003.

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  1. jadailyTCU Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2005
    star 1
    This seems like the right place to ask this.

    CieSharp, have you seen any lyrics for either Grievous Speaks to Lord Sidious or Anakin's Dark Deeds? Or maybe can you at least confirm my suspicion that those tracks also use Sanskrit? I'm dying to know what the lyrics in those tracks mean, and I hope I can at least get a start on that here.
  2. The-Tennis-Ball-Kid Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2004
    star 3
    From the Walmart bounus interview(transcript at JWFan):

    It's quite a musical tapestry. It's orchestral, and there are some choral sections in it also. And for Darth Maul we've had this 'Duel of the Fates.' You know people always ask me what the text of what the chorus is singing [is]. We have the chorus singing with the orchestra in 'Duel of the Fates' and then also in Revenge of the Sith. And people have asked me what the text is and what you're hearing are Sanskrit words that are translations of an English translation of an old Celtic poem. And the poem is a famous poem to people who know about Celtic antiquity; it's called The Battle of the Trees. The English translation that I'm referring to was delivered to us by Robert Graves, who was a famous poet. And in thinking about what to write for that sequence - we didn't have a text and I always loved The Battle of the Trees - and I found a couple lines in there and the lines are - and I'm quoting exactly correctly there:

    Under the tongue root a fight most dread
    While another rages behind in the head.

    And this is the Sanskrit translation. You're going to hear a new choral piece, which does contain some references to Duel of the Fates, but most of it is entirely new. And again, it's Sanskrit and it's a translation of a very simple line, which is just:

    Grievous are the crimes of the Empire

    And that's what they sing. We will not know that, but we will understand what the message is."





    ttbk
  3. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
  4. Sequoia Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2005
    Hi people!
    I'm completely new to this forum and probably will not be a regular guest. I've done my MA in Sanskrit and though I'm just a mild fan of SW, I got a bit perked up by the idea that some songs on the soundtrack are said to have Sanskrit lyrics. Can anyone here direct me someplace where I can find something sensible about this? Most of the posts I've seen, and I've looked at a good few here and elsewhere, repeat the same rubbish. It seems to me that perhaps someone who had no idea about Sanskrit decided to use the language in the lyrics, looked up a couple of words in a dictionary, jumbled them together any odd way, then someone else who had no idea about Sanskrit sang those words any odd way, then someone else who had no idea about Sanskrit wrote them down any odd way, and finally some people who had some vague ideas about Sanskrit flipped a few dictionaries and told you guys a load of nonsense.
    Someone even posted something like "don't worry about word order because there is no fixed grammar in Sanskrit" - this is ridiculous. Sanskrit grammar is one of the most fixed and exact of all languages of the Earth, ever.
    Sorry to be so mean about it but that's the fact of it. So my questions: does anyone know any post, website or any other information about:
    - the supposed Sanskrit lyrics with a decent spelling
    - anyone who actually knows something about Sanskrit, and can quote a Sanskrit dictionary for the purported meanings or can suggest what actual Sanskrit word one of the jumbles of letters stands for
    ?
    If you do, please post here and/or email me at sequoiaATindex.hu (replace AT sign). I'll be back here in a few days with what I've got to with the lyrics. Till then a few things:

    Khara does not mean dreadful; it means "hard, harsh, cruel"; it has no word ending, and thus no syntactical position (but this is true for all the words in this song)

    Matha does not mean head, although maathaa does mean "forehead" in Hindi, derived from Sanskrit Mastaka which does mean head

    Rath does not really mean speak; raTh (with a sound different from t in maathaa or mastaka above) is listed in an old sanskrit to sanskrit dictionary as a word meaning "to speak", but is not used anywhere in known Sanskrit literature. This is a verbal root; it has no meaning on its own, without verbal endings. (e.g. raThati - he/she speaks; raThishyaami - I will speak, etc.)

    Amah does not mean give. I have no idea why anyone thought it did; please enlighten me if you can. Sanskrit words never end in "h", although a very common noun ending (a masculine nominative) is often transcribed as "h" to latin letters. However, the other words are without endings so why does this one have an ending? If it is supposed to be a masculine nominative ending, then amah means "impetuosity, violence, strength" (a very rare and archaic word); or they might have meant aamah, "raw, uncooked, undressed, unripe"

    Yuddha = battle this is actually true; of course no ending as usual, and thus no meaning in a sentence

    Syada = raging ?? there is a word syada meaning "driving" (a chariot, cart, etc.), extremely rare and archaic

    Dai = purify - this is another verb stem, very rare; the meaning is correct

    Ya = going - yaa means "to go (away)", another verbal stem. No "ing" in it, that would be yaana or something else depending on context.

    Ki = like - Oops, I found something funny here. Someone must have looked up the same dictionary as the one I'm using. It says "ki" is a pronominal base like ka and ku - it does not mean "like" at all, the guy just took the only word he understood in the explanation. Ki is a stem used in the formation of certain pronouns.

    La = taking ??? no idea what made him/her think so. Cannot find anything even remotely similar.

    Dan = separate no such thing in Sanskrit.

    Niha = loss - again no such thing at all. This is interesting because some people have founded complete theories on the supposed niha "loss". There is a verbal stem ni-haa, which means something like "to be abandoned, be deficient or lost"; again, a verbal
  5. General Kenobi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 1998
    star 6
    Well, the idea that John Williams had was not specifically to translate an old Celtic poem into Sanskrit. I believe that he simply wanted to find a language that would sound the right way when sung by a chorus. He started with the poem "The Battle Of The Trees", and made a loose translation based more on how the words sounded rather than how accurate the translation was.
  6. Sequoia Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2005
    You misunderstand me. I have two main points. One is that - if the lyrics do run anything like what is circulating on the net, then they are not in Sanskrit. Maybe a couple of words taken from a Sanskrit dictionary.
    The other is more important: is there anyone out there who can actually give evidence that they WERE meant as Sanskrit, or someone who does know more about Sanskrit than your average Hare Krishna passing off as a clever Jack and has got somewhere trying to interpret the text as real Sanskrit.
  7. General Kenobi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 1998
    star 6
    Edit: LOL, I just pasted in what ttbk posted at the top of this page. That's from a JW interview.

    Also, back when TPM came out, he said that he chose Sanskrit because it didn't sound like Latin or Greek, and because the vowels were easy to sing.
  8. Sequoia Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2005
    General, thanks anyway. I'm trying to tackle the bloody thing from both ends: looking for any Sanskrit words that might have been used to "translate" the English text, and listening to the choir trying to make out any sensible Sanskrit.
    I must stress that it is certainly not proper Sanskrit, just a bunch of words jumbled together, though the words may indeed be Sanskrit. Even if they are though, very few of them are those "deciphered" in the word list circulating on the net.
    By the way, have you (or any of you guys out here) actually thought about what tongue root might refer to? If it's the root = base of the tongue, this does not make much sense to me; why would there be a battle going on there? And if it's a plant called "tongue root" for having roots like a tongue, what the hell could that plant be and whatever did the guy who translated it to Sanskrit? (There is almost certainly neither "tongue", nor "root" in the song if it is Sanskrit.) I've looked up the Welsh poem the lines come from, and most of it is about various plants going to battle. In this context, the plant tongue root might make some sense. I've also found two other translations of the poem to English - neither of those has anything even remotely like this passage.
    Any ideas?
  9. CieSharp Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 4
    CieSharp, have you seen any lyrics for either Grievous Speaks to Lord Sidious or Anakin's Dark Deeds? Or maybe can you at least confirm my suspicion that those tracks also use Sanskrit? I'm dying to know what the lyrics in those tracks mean, and I hope I can at least get a start on that here.

    I need to get a hold of the soundtrack first, as I've only heard this a couple times, and I have the same question you have. I'm hoping I can at least understand what they're saying. If anyone else can at least transliterate what is said, be my guest :p My Sanskrit schooling amounts to a very ill-planned program at a state university which was in dire need of better textbooks and someone who knew how to teach, so I do hope the popularity of Episode III encourages people better schooled in these things to try and make clearer sense of it.
  10. neo_mp5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 21, 2004
    star 4
    "I must stress that it is certainly not proper Sanskrit"


    it's funny how this discussion doesn't exist about don davis's "neodammerung" from the matrix.
  11. Indiana_Fett Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2004
    star 4
    So when does 'Grievous are the crimes of the Empire' play?
  12. The-Tennis-Ball-Kid Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2004
    star 3
    During Anakin's Dark Deeds (Palpatine declaring himself Emperor) I think.








    ttbk
  13. DarthDracona Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2005
    At first I thought it was during Battle of the Heroes, but I think, at least what I've been searching under is "Anakin vs. Obi-Wan". what I want to know is how (and I will ignore the one poster above who was digging at the improper translations) "grievous are the crimes of the empire" in Sanskrit.
  14. classified Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2005
    star 4
    i think its cool how battle of the trees talks about multiple battles going on at once and the lyrics are in DOTF when there are aCTUALLY multiple battles going on.
  15. General Kenobi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 1998
    star 6
    "Grievous are the crimes of the Empire".

    Let's see if we can match that up with the actual Sanskrit.
  16. General Kenobi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 1998
    star 6
    I don't think this is mentioned above, but the version of DOTF heard in "Return To Tatooine" closes with the Sanskrit word "Nina," which means "loss."
  17. skypadme94 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2007
    isn't the reqeum for Qui Gon the Same as the new one for Senator Amidala
  18. Cerrabore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2004
    star 4
    Pretty much. The cue (originally "Qui-Gon's Funeral") was reorchestrated and interpolated with the Imperial March for the penultimate scenes, a much more effective piece of music than the previous direct reuse.
  19. skypadme94 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2007
    So basically they jazzed it up to fit the darker mood of the new movie.
    The Sanskrit is the same but has some new verses, the refrain is the same.
  20. skypadme94 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Just exactly where does the "Battle of the Trees" line come in in DOTF
    Is it just a main idea for the rest of the words or is it actually part of the lyrics?
    Generally you never get an actual translation of the words. even though it is rather difficult to comprehend the meaning of the words still seeps out. Thanks.
  21. General Kenobi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 1998
    star 6
    Check out the first post for lyrics and meanings of translated words.

    Williams chose Sanskrit for how it sounded (as opposed to Latin, for example), so the translations are a bit loose.
  22. rodan70 FanForce Chapter Rep

    Chapter Rep VIP
    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2002
    star 4
    Wow! This is pretty cool. I remember the translation in SW insider years ago.
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