Receiving the Magyar Translation of The Urantia Book
By István Hargitai, Cleveland, Ohio
On October 21st of this year, I arrived home from work and was told by my wife that a parcel was waiting for me. To my surprise I found three volumes of Az Urantia könyv, the Magyar (Hungarian) translation of The Urantia Book, which I ordered some time ago from Tamara at Urantia Foundation. Examining and touching each volume swiftly turned my surprise to a feeling of overwhelming joy as if I were witnessing a miracle.
As I was paging through the book with an undisguisable excitement, all of a sudden my thoughts flashed back to the spring of 2001 when I first found an extraordinary rendition of translated parts of the text of The Urantia Book into Magyaron the internet. Having attempted to translate the Foreword myself about 10 years prior, and having realized that my translation was a gross distortion and a complete injustice to the original English, I was glad to see the high quality work which I had found.
I immediately sent an e-mail to the author, and the message, which I sent in Hungarian, went something like this: “I am glad to see a partial text of the Urantia Revelation for the first time in Hungarian. I have been a student of this book for twenty years, and it would be great to be able to discuss it in Hungarian. If you can find the time, please write to me.” In his reply, Gábor Cseh, the young translator, expressed his special excitement in receiving a letter from a far-off land written in Hungarian. He mentioned, parenthetically, that as a general rule, we Hungarians feel at home in the grand universe.
In his initial letter, Gábor explained his motivation in undertaking the translation of sections of the Urantia Papers. At that time, he felt he could not undertake the enormous task of translating the entire text. Therefore, he created an internet “home page” with the hopes of enticing other translators with better language skills and deeper insights to finish the task. This page also welcomed constructive criticism and cooperation from others.
In the absence of an overview or a methodical analysis of the translated sections, Gábor considered it paramount to focus on two major topics: 1) the portrayal of the teachings of Jesus with the effort to place the interpretation of the text in its proper context, and 2) the coordination of certain sections dealing with the Thought Adjuster.
As he was translating the story about the young man who was afraid, Gábor felt energized and empowered by the passage. The following words also rang as a personal challenge directed at him: “…learn to feast upon uncertainty, to fatten upon disappointment, to enthuse over apparent defeat, to invigorate in the presence of difficulties, to exhibit indomitable courage in the face of immensity, and to exercise unconquerable faith when confronted with the challenge of the inexplicable.” (291.3) 26:5.3.
By January 2002, Gábor posted that he had completed Papers 6, 12, 42, 56, 57, 104-111, 116, 119, and 130. He was working on Paper 112 and would follow with the remainder of Part III, the Foreword, and finally, all the remaining Papers. Such an undertaking, according to his own estimate, would take at least ten years.
Toward the second half of this same year, the translation project came to a halt. Gábor discontinued the web page due to lack of public interest and his own personal commitments. Yet he continued translating sections that he found extremely relevant and important, all the while feeling that he was not the most qualified person for this undertaking. He would have to wait for the time when an individual with a special “calling” and proper skills would step forward and officially commence working on an authorized Hungarian Translation Project.
I wrote to Gábor and encouraged him to continue on with the project despite the lack of enthusiasm for a Hungarian translation. This was the time when he felt he was not the one called to undertake such a monumental task. I called his attention to a poem by the great Hungarian poet Endre Ady, who in his “Seed Underneath the Snow” suggested that there is often a dormant period for ideational thought before new values are embraced by a spirit-hungry readership. And then I lost contact with Gábor.
As time marched on, I saw Hungarian translations posted by others and visited web pages dealing with the Urantia Revelation. I did not like any of them! Most were marred by immature and inaccurate comprehension of the original English text; they lacked spiritual insight. Others were tainted by what I call the exalted ego effect. I would revisit our correspondence and realize how fortunate I was to have been privy to Gábor’s train of thought; deep and probing, yet graced with humility. I could not escape the feeling that as Gábor grew in spirit and wisdom, with perseverance, his process of translating The Urantia Book would be aided with encouragement, illumination, and insight from our ministers of the spirit realm, including his own Thought Adjuster.
In December 2006, to my great astonishment, I received an e-mail from Gábor via Steve Caruso of the Ohio Association of Urantia Association International (UAI), informing me that he had completed the Hungarian translation of The Urantia Book. The e-mail also had the text of the encouragement letter that I had sent to him.
In 2008, upon the invitation of Gábor, I was priviliged to join the translation review team that was originally formed in 2006. The review was completed in May of 2009. Now that the book was ready, we needed to find money for the printing. Another miracle happened and a South American reader donated the required funds. To be honest, back in 2001, I never thought I’d see the Fifth Epochal Revelation printed in my native language. With the book in hand, it proves once again the truth of the battle cry of Ascendant Pilgrims: “In liaison with God, nothing—absolutely nothing—is impossible” (291.3) 26:5.3.
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