Huang Baosheng, male and from the Han ethnic group, born in July 1942, is a native of Shanghai and a member of the Communist Party of China. In 1965, he graduated from the department of oriental languages of Peking University. He is a researcher of the Institute of Foreign Literature of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and President of the China Foreign Literature Society and of the Indian Literature Research Institute. His academic expertise is in Sanskrit and Pali. Since 1992, he has enjoyed a special allowance awarded by the State Council. In 1986, he won the “Young and Mid-aged Expert with Outstanding Contribution” Award.
Conduct in society unconventionally and brahmavidy persistently
Xu Chang (hereinafter called Xu): Sanskrit is one of the most ancient languages in Indo-European, like latin, it now has become a special language belonged to academic nad religious research. How did you start to learn Sanskrit and how did you enter into the road for studying brahmavidy?
Huang Baosheng (hereinafter called Huang): I liked literature when I was a middle school student. I was born in Shanghai, so the reading condition was good in school, the school library had many abundant books. And each district also had libraries, including Children’s Libraries which had abundant culture resources. I read many literature books in my spare time. When I prepared for college, one of my choice was Chinese, and the other was foreign language. Finally I entered the Chinese department of Peking University at that time. Because the foreign language department had very higher enrollment requirement and did not recruit enough student, I was assigned to the department of Oriental language. After I learned in oriental language department, I also filled in detailed enrollment forms. Mr. Ji Xianlin who was the dean of the department hoped students who learned English in middle school to fill in Sanskrit and Pali. Because most of the dictionaries and reference books for Pali study were English, it was very important to have English foundation. I answered the call and filled in Sanskrit and Pali majors.
Xu: did you realize that filling in Sanskrit mean you would engage in academic research in the future?
Huang: I was very young and did not have strong consciousness in this aspect. I was gradually clear in the process of later learning. It was very lucky to learn Sanskrit from Mr. Ji Xianlin and Mr. Jin Kemu. In five years of learning, I learned with Mr. Ji and Mr. Jin and was influenced by them unconsciously, which laid an important foundation for my later academic research. Mr. Ji and Mr. Jin were very strict with me. Besides requiring us to learn English well, Mr. Ji still required us to learn ancient Chinese, because we studied classical Chines, but ancient culture communication between China and India was very close. If we did not master ancient Chinese, we could not read ancient literatures in China. He still expected us to learn German and Indian modern language so as to read academic works of Germany Sanskrit scholars and India contemporary scholars. The older scholars all mastered various foreign languages, for example, Mr. Ji Xianlin mastered English, German, Sanskrit, Tocharian languages and so on, he could also read French and Russian books, the same as Mr. Qian Chuishu. I once wanted to learn German, but delayed lots of time due to “Culture Revolution”. After “Culture Revolution”, I missed the good age for learning foreign language, and I had lots of work to do, so I did not have so much time and did not succeed, which was a pity.
Xu: you always emphasize that Mr. Ji and Mr. Jin have given you many important influences, what influence does it have?
Huang: we must have good culture foundation and wide knowledge when engaging in research work. When we were in university, we sometimes visited Mr. Ji Xianlin, and he would said “I just read ‘Extensive Records of the Taiping Era’, just read ‘Lu Xun Complete Works’ and so on” when we were chatting. Later we read his papers and found that his books were presented in his articles. Mr. Jin Kemu also had a large stock of information. We visited him, whatever questions we asked, he would explain on and on, which had unconscious influence to me. To learn need wide knowledge, and wide knowledge should be accumulated day by day. It was not a good learning habit to make effort at the last moment.
Xu: you once said in the preface of “India Classical Poetics”, you liked to read “light reading” in the university, in fact it was also knowledge accumulation.
Huang: Yes, it does so. Mr. Ji and Mr. Jin all knew literature, history and philosophy well. As a student, I was enlightened by so good teachers. I myself liked to read, and read novels, poems when I was a middle school student, and I liked the poems from Guo Moruo and Wen Yiduo at that time, later I also liked to read the poetics of Dai Wangshu. After I entered university, I still kept this habit: not only read Chinese literature, but read foreign literature. In university, I gradually knew I might engage in literature research in the future, so I also began to concern literature theory and literature criticism. Because literature theory connected with aesthetics and philosophy, I also read philosophical and aesthetic books. There were abundant books in Peking University, so I took the chance to read more books such as literature, history and philosophy. Mr. Ji Xianlin also knew my situation in this aspect, so he assigned me to work in foreign language institute of China Academy of Social Science after my graduation, which was also my expectation. After I worked in the institute, it was the time when "Culture Revolution" began. After "Culture Revolution", my research work quickly got on the right track, this had relation with my original knowledge accumulation. Because research work had dialectics, not only need extensive learning but specialization. Specialization was based on extensive learning. With wide-angle views, we can make use of our daily accumulated knowledge during research.
Xu: why did you consider Mr. Qian Zhongshu to be your own teacher?
Huang: I was a pupil of Mr. Ji and Mr. Jin, meantime it could be said that I was also "a disciple who had not taken lessons" from Mr. Qian Zhongshu. Because of from "Cadres school", I had good relations with Qian Zhongshu and Yang Jiang. I always carefully read and study Mr. Qian's works. I was mainly influenced by these teachers during my learning. They were my examples, and had great influence on my research direction, method, target as well as the whole academic pursuit. When Mr. Qian Zhongshu learned, his method was comparison between Chinese and Western learning, even if it did not involve in western learning, but studies of Chinese ancient civilization, his level was so high that common people could not reach. All great learners were all like that. Learning should master Chinese and western learning as well as master literature, history and philosophy. The biggest defect for young people was that they did not lay good foundation on Chinese literature and history. Therefore, when you were in your youth, you should continuously learn Chinese literature, history and philosophy. When you accumulated more things about China, you could have beneficial reference when reading foreign things, which would give you deeper feelings. Moreover, learning should not desire for quick returns, and you should know learning was to pass down from generation to generation. I hosted large-scale translation of "Mahabharata" in millions of words and took so long time, because "Mahabharata" was an important heritage of India culture. I wanted to leave reference materials in the aspect of studying India culture research.
Human's wisdom and spirit are accumulated and inherited from generation to generation. If one scholar is engaged in research, first he should know research findings of predecessors. On this basis, he got deep in research and propelled, only which could make contributions to later generation. To do good learning is related with one's personality, ambition and spirit. Academic is not only a technical work. Older scholars such as Mr. Ji returned to China when they came back from abroad, their purpose was to make contribution to our country. When Mr. Qian was in "Cadres school", his life condition was very hard, but he did not care, it was just ok as long as he could read. As for these great teachers such as Mr. Jin and Mr. Qian, we should not be proud even if we had gained some achievements. As for me, I honor the teachers and respect their teachings. I think the best way to respect teacher is to carefully learn their learning method and spirits. I carefully read and studied the writings and articles of these teachers. I wrote some articles such as "Research Record of Mr. Ji Xianlin", "Brahmavidy achievements of Mr. Jin Kemu", "'Limited Views of Ideas and Letters' and the Buddhist Scriptures", which all were my learning and conclusion on them.
Xu: could you summarize the research principle you have learned from them?
Huang: Mr. Ji Xianlin's research principle can be summarized as the following points: first, it is academic creativity. Do not repeat the work that predecessor did. What you write should have new ideas and creative ideas and have your unique things, or provide new opinions or new materials. Second, it should focus on textual research and have reasons for speaking. Searching and knowing predecessor's research findings, then proposing your own creative ideas, you cannot merely speculate. You should be based on the first hand materials when doing research. Third, it is to pursue thoroughness. Some problems cannot be solved thoroughly only by means of writing one paper, once you have new materials and new discovery, you should continue studying. Some problems should be a lifelong concern. To do learning is considered to be the cause, not for what you could manage and not for publishing.
Xu: this means to concern the problem itself.
Huang: Yes, we should concern the problem itself. As long as a problem is not solved thoroughly, as long as there are new materials, we should continue studying. If we still become unclear for certain problem, we should continue to concern. Creativity, material research and thoroughness are related, which is the basic requirement for learning. And I require myself according to these principles. I try not to do repeated things, and do not do the things that others have done. Moreover, we should master, for example, Mr. Qian masters things of all ages and masters literature, history and philosophy. When I began to study till now, I adopt comparison method more or less. Because to knowing the features of one culture, only using other cultures as reference, we can see more clearly. Chinese and India are two countries with ancient civilization and with long histories, but they are different from representation form of culture, why? This requires us to conduct comparison study, because we "Did not know truth, just because in the mountains."
Xu: we can see more clearly only when we go out of the mountains.
Huang：Yes，we should go out of the mountains. To discuss why China’s myth is not developed, why China does not have epic poetries, when comparison with India, we will see more clearly. I wrote an aticle “Writing materials and cultural traditions between China and India”, from the analysis of writing material, it has difference on cultural traditions between China and India. Oral culture in ancient India was very developed, and writing culture in ancient China was very developed, the most important reason was the difference of writing materials. We Chinese recorded history by writing in very early time, after writing on the paper, later generation could easily respect these historical facts and master the situation for historical development, and easily promote development of rational thinking. There were no proper writing materials in ancient India. And Indians recorded history by pattra leaves or by palm leaves, which could save for a long time; however, we Chinese used cloth and silk, bamboo as writing materials which could save for a long time. Therefore, oral culture in ancient India was very developed, which make epic poems in India were very developed. Chinese had these historical records such as “Book of History”, “The Spring and Autumn Annals”, “Shih chi”, which could not record history in a way of oral transmission.
Xu: so in your point of view, comparison is a basic method.
Huang: Yes, it is a basic research means, which is not comparison for comparison. Good literature theories are all compared through eastern and western literatures as well as national literatures of the world, and then get universal law. Only through special comparison, we can get common ones. Good literature theorists should be compared with each other, if lacking this means, research is impossible actually. This is also why I emphasize wide knowledge. When we know more special cases, we can improve our theoretical height. If we know universal law, we will have deeper feelings on the features of each special case. Now I am conducting comparative research for India and Chinese poetics, and deepening the recognition of Chinese poetics by this method, meantime deepening the recognition for India poetics. We can also refer to western poetics, the common things appeared from across time distance and spatial distance, they can represent fundamental law of literature.
It is very interesting to do this comparison research. Now I am conducting some comparative research for ancient cultural traditions between Chinese and India. I have written several papers, such as “Myth and History”, “Religion and Rationality”. Ancient religion and myth in India were very developed, but ancient religion and myth in China was not developed, this because China headed into rational thinking in very early time. In a sense, China was a early-maturing country. After Buddhism was introduced into China, it also promoted the development of Chinese myth, legend and narrative literature. So why had China accepted Buddhism from India religion? Why not Hinduism? This because the relations between Buddhism and social systems were not related so closely. Hinduism was integrated with social system of Indian Caste System, but China in ancient time was social system of patriarchal clan system. Religious consciousness for Buddhism was in spirit level. And China just lacked this religious spirit, including myth thinking, metaphysical thinking and imagination ways. Therefore, China accepted Buddhism, which was selectivity and complementarily. Later Buddhism disappeared in India. And the Buddhism was spread from China to Japan and Korea, and from Tibet to Mongolia, and thus became Mahayana. These subjects can be studied continually, but now I need to finish my project, and my focus is still on poetics. Recently, I wrote an article “Language and Literature”, and made comparison for the relations of representation form of languages, linguistics and philosophy of language in China and India, as well as the relation between language and literature. This kind of comparison is very interesting and enlightening.
Xu: your “Classical Poetics in India” has filled the gap of theory research of ancient literature in India for Chinese. Can you talk about its meaning?
Huang: it is a hard work to introduce classical poetics in India. Mr. Jin Kemu was a pioneer in this aspect, and he did some initial translation work. Along the road that paved by Mr. Jin, I wrote “Classical Poetics in India” and completely and systematically introduced classical poetics of India. My purpose was to provide resources for domestic comparative poetics, because if we did not have those of India, the research of comparative research was not complete. Some domestic scholars also hoped those resources, for example, Mr. Qian Zhongshu paid attention to India Classical Poetics in his works.
Xu: it was what reason that made you decide to write “Classical Poetics in India” in the beginning?
Huang: engaging in academic research and selection of a subject were the problem that each researcher would meet. This related with each person’s academic experience and domestic research situation, and was also conditioned. When I was in university, I was very concerned about literature theory and aesthetics theory, and knew that ancient culture of India was profound, religion, philosophy, literature and literature theory all had abundant heritage, but there was no introduction for literature theory of India in our country at that time. When Foreign Language Institute and Literature Institute were still together, they wrote a “Translated Collection of Classical Literature and Art Theory” and was very popular. At that time, most of the domestic people who studied literature and arts theory were people from Chinese department, they were eager to know foreign literature and arts theories. And there were series of literature and arts theory before “Culture Translation”, Mr. Jin Kemu selected some important chapters from the work of ancient literature and arts theory in India, such as “Sastra”, “Poetic Context” and “Arts Context”. I was very interested after I read them. After “Culture Revolution”, I started to do research work once again. And I wrote some papers, analysed works of the writers, because literature theory was improved on the basis of literature works. Studying literature theory need the understanding for literature works first. Later, Mr. Ji Xianlin wrote “Ancient Literature History in India”, and the part for Sanskrit was mainly written by me. There set one chapter for literature theory of Sanskrit in the literature of Sanskrit. In order to write this chapter, I read many works about the research of ancient literature theory in India from Indian scholars and western scholars. But that was only the conclusion and introduction for others’ research findings. Later when I myself studied, I started from the first hand materials. After I wrote literature history, it was the time when literature was very popular in 1980s, but the main purpose for domestic scholars was to conduct Chinese and western comparison. At that time, people emphasized comparative literature with Chinese characters, emphasized to break centrism of western culture, and to widen views through Eastern and Western comparison. But besides eastern poetics in China, poetics in India was also very important. If there was no India, it was only Chinese and western comparison, but not eastern and western comparison. Therefore, it was very urgent to strengthen the research of India literature theory. If we knew nothing about India poetics, let alone incorporating India poetics into comparative poetics. In this aspect, I can at least provide materials and resource. So I studied India classical poetics, the first step was not comparison but provide data, also including provide data for my later comparative research. Just because of this, I decided to write the “Classical Poetics of India”. And I started from scratch due to few books in this aspect in the institute. I let the library order many basic books for studying India literature and poetics, and order some important original works annually. So through years of accumulation and enough books and materials, I began to study. During my studying, I translated some important chapters, because translation was also reading and was intensive reading. It took four years to write and finish the book. I thought my writing was very thoroughly, at least no lower than international research level. What I wanted was to let Chinese scholars know ancient India poetics thoroughly and systematically and what its academic achievements were. And I also paid attention to literature theory and read many books of this aspect. Because my materials were all first hand, when translating into Chinese, it need be familiar with Chinese and western literature theory terms, only this we can express more accurately. It was not enough to know Sanskrit. Only when I myself knew, understood and changed the translations into proper Chinese, the readers can understand. This book was collected into series for Aesthetics of Literature and Art and was very popular after publishing. And it was printed three times before and after, because many people who studied literature and arts theory concerned about India. Even if they did not have time to read intensively, they also wanted to read. So this book was also my contribution on introducing India poetics, and left some materials for later generation to further study India poetics.
Xu: after finishing this book, you hosted the translation work about “Mahabharata”, which was also a work that would fill domestic gaps, but it took you ten years of time to translate this epic poem, which mean a scholar should contribute the most energetic ten –year to his academic period of maturity. How did you consider this?
Huang: I intended to finish “Classical Poetics of India”, and then made comparison between Chinese and India poetics. Before this, my classmate Zhao Guohua planned to translate “Mahabharata”, because this book had so many words about four to five million, he invited me and several other classmates to translate together. And I was just studying classical poetics for India, so I said to him: you first did it, and I would translate it after I finished “Classical Poetics of India”. Mr. Jin Kemu supported this work, and he translated the first four chapters and gave us a demonstration. In these years when I began to translate, the situation for the press was good, but when I had translated the first volume, the press had emphasized economic benefits, so we did not find a press that could publish our book. At the end of 1990, the Press of China Academy for Social Science focused on academic and accepted my publishing plan. So our project started again. At this time, I would finish my “Classical Poetics of India” and could participate in translation work. But just at this time, Zhao Guohua suffered myocardial infarction and passed away. The press found me and expected me to host this project. On one hand, I considered this work itself was very meaningful, translated the most important Indian epics into Chinese was a cherish culture heritage; on the other hand, I also wanted to achieve Zhao Guohua’s last wish, so I decided to be responsible for it. In the past, scholars in French and America once translated “Mahabharata”, but he translated it alone, so he did not finish it when he passed away, which left regret. We were translated it together, so we could finish it finally.
Xu: what was the important meaning for translating “Mahabharata”?
Huang: “Mahabharata” and “Ramayana” were considered as two epics in India. To translate “Mahabharata” was meaningful in indology and poetics for domestic academic circle. “Mahabharata” focused on heroic epic, narrated with dialogues, so you could add many contents, including various myth and legends, fables, as well as religion, philosophy, politics, law and moral principles, etc. in this sense, “Mahabharata” became a “encyclopedic” epic finally. Because oral culture was very popular in ancient India, it adopted this way. It was a special ways for India predecessors to collect and save national cultural thinking heritage, which they consciously did so in the process of this epic development. just because of this, India predecessors considered this epic as “The Fifth Veda”, namely considered it as “bible”. It can be said if we do not understand “Mahabharata”, we cannot explain Indian culture. On the other hand, translating “Mahabharata” is very helpful for us to conduct comparative study of epic. India has epic, Greece has epic, and minorities in China also has their own epic. Chinese has a big say over the problems of studying epic. In the past, some people said that Han Chinese also had epic, so “Life” and “Gong Liu” in the “Bible” and others were also considered as epic. This was not conform to epic concept, because epic was defined as long narrative poem generally, and connected closely with tales. China had historical records in very early time, and thus prohibited development of tales and epic. However, oral literature for minorities in China was very developed and also had epic. If these epics and those in many other nations can be bridged and studied, that would be very interesting.
Xu: as long as “Mahabharata” is a encyclopedic epic, does it have high requirement to translator’s intellectual culture?
Huang: Yes, it is. Because this epic has encyclopedic nature, so when translating, you should not only translate stories, but also involve in religion, philosophy and moral principles and other contents. If we do not have knowledge in this aspect, we cannot translate. I do well in these aspects because I always focus on accumulating knowledge of all aspects. At the late stage of “Culture Revolution”, I had an uncertain future and had nothing to do, so I read many books about India culture in that period of time, including works of India religion and philosophy and so on. I read English “India Philosophy” and also translated it at the same time because I had no other things to do. Later this book was published by Commercial Press in 1980, when Mr. Ji Xianlin trained postgraduate in Peking University, almost everyone had this book. Because I translated the book based on my own understanding, the translation was easy and smooth to understand and became a guide for knowing India philosophy. Just because I had many knowledge accumulation in these aspects, later I could be qualified for the translation fo “Mahabharata”. For example, I translated religious philosophy poems “Bhagavad Gita” in “Mahabharata” and religious philosophy “Peace Chapter” with abundant contents.
Xu: can you talk about your feelings when you are as the director of Foreign Language Institute?
Huang: taking as a leader is to serve the society for me. Mr. Feng Zhi focused on talents and me when he was the director of foreign language institute. So I had deep feelings with foreign language institute. As the director, I should create conditions for everyone and let scholars study contentedly. I myself also did so and set myself an example to others. Even if I was the director, I did not give up academic research and should make achievements. Requiring others was also the requirement to myself. I also focused on talents, as long as you were talents and studied well, I would support. And I would try my best to reduce complicated personal connection. I always thought no one was perfect, and I would try to resolve disputes outside the academy, to create a harmonious academic environment.
Xu: I have learned a lot when chatting with you. Could you give some advice to these young researchers?
Huang: like our research institution, if someone wanted to study, it would hard to find so good condition in China. China Academy for Social Science was a academic palace and a blessed place for scholars. It took time to conduct research, without daily accumulation, wanting to study was only a castle in the air. Academic research was not completely depending on talents, acquired diligence was also very important. We taught in university and could be busy with research work, this condition was very hard to find in China. When Mr. Ji Xianlin learned in Germany, he concentrated on learning all the year round, and he had accumulated firm foundation in ten years of time. When he returned China, he still did so. As a department head, due to work, he should get up reading and learning at four o’clock in the morning. He said to me: in three or four hours in the morning, he finished all the work that should be done in the morning. He persisted for a lifetime; this kind of spirit was very admirable. Later in his eighties, he wrote “History of Sugar”, which was not easy and average person was hard to do it. During meetings held in the institution, I often said to young people and let them build up high quality, because “setting up high targets could reach intermediate level finally”. We should learn from those great scholars that we have acknowledged and should take them as examples and standards. Even if we did not gain those achievements, we could also gain a lot as long as we made efforts. If we did not set up high standard, we could not reach intermediate level.
If the world had no mental laborers, if material development separated from spiritual development, it would also be very terrible. In any way, it need generations of intellectuals to pass down this spirit and thus support the balance of the society. As young scholars, they need this kind of spirit, do not let society interfere with all aspects about academy. People’s basic requirement on material was few. Now the whole society has the trend of desiring for quick returns. And there were also many things with surface form in academic system. Though I am old now, but learning is just the same as before, there always have so many things that will be done and wanted to be done, so I am very happy everyday. You have better conditions than those of ours, so you should cherish and make full use of them.
Xu: what academic plan will you make in the future?
Huang: after I retired from leader position, just like the old saying “Out of office, out of care”. Relaxation on spirit will be more energetic on academics. Originally I was responsible for translation “Mahabharata”, and had greater pressure just like the foolish old man who removed the mountains; meantime there were many daily affairs in the institution. After retirement, I concentrated my energy on academic research. I tried my best to get rid of those social appointments, and expected to put all my energy into academic research. Now I usually read books and think questions at home, the more questions I think, the more active thinking I will imagine and comprehend by analogy. Learning cannot make efforts at the last moment; only read more can rise abruptly based on accumulated strength. We should have questions in mind when reading, and give careful consideration when writing.
Xu: what is your research concentration now?
Huang: now I return comparative research between China and India poetics. In fact, I could select many subjects. For example, we can study the epic “Mahabharata” and conduct comparative research among different epics. Moreover, I was also very interested in religious philosophy in India. Why did I say it was a lucky thing to learn Sanskrit due to fate arrangement? Because there were so many cultural heritages in India, and few people understood Sanskrit, some people who studied India ancient culture did not understand Sanskrit, they could study only through Chinese translation materials or English materials. However, I was lucky because I could study original works by Sanskrit and translate some things. In the aspect for studying India religious philosophy, since modern times, Japanese is always having scholars who have a good knowledge for Sanskrit, especially for Buddhism research, it has made lots of work. For many years, “Tripitaka” that our scholars usually use is the “Taisho” version revised by Japanese scholars. Japan’s academic research and textual research work are all very solid though sometimes it has a bit tedious tendency. But the focus for textual research tradition is also a exegetical tradition in China, they inherit very well. This learning attitude is worth learning.
So I have so many things to be done forever, and feel I am like a rich man, but this is spiritual wealth. My research focus now is the comparison of ancient poetics between Chinese and India. We are always focusing on relative literature in these years, but I found that it seems more on comparative literature principles or introductions published in China, and has made a big difference. I think that comparative literature is like a good arrow and should hit the mark. Theory need practice. Only practice can test theory and improve theory. In fact, it is hard to do comparative literature, which needs deep research on the parities or multi-parties that are compared. Research function of comparative literature is not one plus one equals two, but must be one plus one equals three. Of course, just because of difficulties, it also increases enjoyment of research. After I finished “Classical Poetics of India”, I tried to write several papers on comparative poetics. For example, “India Classical Poetics and Theory of Western Modern Literature” broke some concepts for India classical poetics and western modern literature theories and connected them together. Another chapter is “Zen and Charm”, after India Zen was introduced into China, it became Chinese Zen. Chinese Zen also compared poetry to Zen, which was very popular in Son dynasty and paid attention to hint and implication. The rhyme theory in India classical poetics also paid attention to hint and implication, but representation form of the two theories were different. This kind of comparative research was very interesting, which not only opened up ancient poetics between China and India, but deepened understanding of cultural exhibition for each nation. Therefore, I always kept strong interests in this research.
After retiring from leader position, though my time was relatively abundant, time and tide waits for no man, after all I was very old. I would extend my time for plan and did not do according to a strict schedule. I was still based on my way and started from the materials. I first translated some of the ancient poetics in India some were translated completely, some were translated selectively. In a sense, if some people in our country needed to know or study India ancient poetics, they would have these basic materials. Meantime, I still read many ancient poetics materials of China, conducted comparative research to ancient poetics between Chinese and India by special subjects, and expected to write a monograph finally.
Xu: finally, would you like to talk about your insights on life?
Huang: we should not be proud, not self-centered, and have humble heart. The universe is vast, history is long, so individual is very small. As long as we can do something for society, present a little life value, we have not lived in vain. This is a life lesson that we gained in translation of “Mahabharata”. Though “Mahabharata” adopted expression way of religion, it was also some experience conclusion for human life. For example, it focused on person’s social responsibility: it was ok as long as you fulfilled your social responsibility, regardless of personal gain or loss. Only this, you can fulfill your social responsibility in a unconventional attitude. I think one person should be not only persistent, but be unconventionally. Persistence is to fulfill responsibility; unconventional does not care about results and returns. For example, we should be persistent in learning and neglect undeserved reputation. Society provides condition for us to engage in spiritual work, so our responsibility is to provide spiritual findings. Is it not a very happy thing for fulfilling responsibility and for doing what we like?
Xu Chang: female, 1973. she got Doctor of Arts D.A., graduated from German department in Peking University. Now she is a deputy researcher of Foreign Literature Research Institute in China Academy for Social Science. Her research direction is German literature in modern times. She has published some papers such as “Possible literature—Robert Musil’s communist utopia”.
Translated by Xu Qiyuan.
Editor: Wang Daohang