Hindi: भगवान भी डरता है
Phonetically: “bhagavaan bhee darata hai”
Direct translation: “God also fears”
Full translation/English counterpart: “Even God fears hard work”
AG: “So my dad always says, like, even god is afraid of hard work. I don’t know why, I think it’s just, like, to encourage me to work hard, and like, not really, I guess, worry about anything hindering me as long as I put in my effort, I guess? And like, he always tells it to me whenever I’m going through a rough time, just like, oh, I’m putting in a lot of effort, and putting in a lot of work, and it’s not working out, and you just gotta keep working, because even God’s afraid of hard work! So it’s always, like, kind of inspiring and stuff.”
Does he tell you this in English?
AG: “I mean, it’s like in half and half. Like sometimes he’ll tell me in English and sometimes he’ll tell me in Hindi, but it’s the same kind of concept. It’s not like a direct translation, but it’s pretty good of a translation, so…”
Can you tell me what it is in Hindi?
AG: “I think he said ‘bhagavaan bhee darata hai’ which is like ‘God fears too,’ but in English he adds the hard work. So in Hindi it’s like a little bit more generic. But when he uses it in the context, it’s like God is afraid of hard work as well.”
Is it used outside your family? Is it a common saying?
AG: “No, like, I haven’t heard it at all. I think, like, my dad’s the only one I know who ever says it. He just started saying it sometime and we’ve just been like, ok yeah, makes sense, and we haven’t really heard it outside my family.”
This proverb is significant to AG because her father tells it to her when she is struggling. She finds it inspiring and reassuring. AG is Indian, born in the United States, and raised bilingual.
We were discussing family mottos and sayings.
AG often expresses that she feels familial pressure to work hard and do well in academics. She says that her success in school comes less from raw talent and more from her work ethic. This proverb is a way to reassure her and comfort her that it is understandable to be stressed sometimes. From what AG said, this proverb might not exist significantly outside her family. She says she has never heard of it outside her family, and her father just started saying it at one point. Because of its bilingual nature, it is difficult to find any exact matches.