SMIRNOV, Boris Leonidovič

SMIRNOV, Boris Leonidovič. Kozljaniči, Černigov gub. (now Černigiv, Ukraina) 1891 — Ašhabad 2.5.1967. Russian (Ukrainian?) Physician interested in Indology. Professor of Medicine and Member of Turkmenistan Academy of Science in Ašhabad. Son of a physician. Graduated 1914 from St.Petersburg Academy of Military Medicine, served in WW I, then worked in Ukraina. Specialised in nervous disorders, PD at Kiev. In 1918, in the age of 27, he started the study of Sanskrit and was ever since much interested in the language, literature and philosophy of ancient India. He was active Theosophist and gave public lectures on telepathy, was arrested in 1928 and sent to Joškar-Ola. From 1935 nervous physician in Ašhabad, here 1938 and dr. 1939, soon Professor of Nervous Disorders at Turkmenistan Medical Institute. In 1956 a severe illness forced him to retire as the Director of the same Institute. Confined to bed he worked on the Mahābhārata translation.

In his evaluation Grincer emphasizes the phological exactness of Smirnov’s translation and his wide reading in Indological literature, calling it one of the most important publications in Soviet Indology in the 1950s. For the first time it was possible for the Russian public to get an idea of the whole of the Mahābhārata. In the selection, an emphasis was put on philosophy (Bhg, Sanatsuj., Mokṣadharma) and mythology, but the most important episodes (Nala, Rāma, etc) were also included. All is accompanied by good introductions and notes. He also praises the easiness and poetical value of the translation. Smirnov’s literary remains contain an edition of the Bhagavadgītā with Sanskrit-Russian vocabulary, prepared in 1958.

Publications: Mahabharata. Perevod s sanskrita. 1-5 Ašhabad 1955-61 (1. Dve poèmy iz kn. III. 182 p. 1955; 2. Bhagavadgita. 361 p. 1956; 3. Epizody iz kn. III, V. 597 p. 1957; 4. Epizody iz kn. III, XIV. Kn. XI, XVII, XVIII. 676 p. 1958; 5. Mokšadharma. Osnova osvoboždenija. Kn. XII gl. 147–367. Primeč., tolkovyj slovar’ – ukazatel’, konspekt-oglavlenie. 1-2. 749+402 p. 1961).

Mahabharata. 2-e perevod. 1-2 & 5-7. Ašhabad 1959-63 (1. Rev. ed. 180 p. 1959; 2. Rev ed. 1-2.  402+202 p. 1960-62; 5. Mokšadharma. Kn. XII gl. 175–367. 1-2. 749+391 p. 1961; 6. Lesnaja. K. III, gl. 80–175. 616 p. 1962; 7. Kniga o Bhišme. Otdel Bhagavadgita. Kn. VI, gl. 13–24 [Bhg. = 25–42]. Kniga o poboišče Palicami. Kn. XVI. 340 p. 1963.

Medical publications mainly on anatomy and physiology.

Sources: P. A. Grincer, Sov. vostokoved. 1958:6, 151f. with photo; Vasil’kov & Sorokina 2003, 354f. with photo (different); *Russian Vikipedija with photo.

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