The man, who likes to multiply, willingly combines his commitments in a ternary mode. He followed a triple university course: philosophy at Paris IV, modern literature at Paris VII and classical Indian studies at Paris III. Holder of a doctorate in philosophy and another in the history of religions centered on a Brahmanical school, Marc Ballanfat Today, his professional life revolves around three areas: he teaches preparatory classes for the Grandes Ecoles, at the University of Paris IV and at the Center Sèvre, while translating Indian texts. “I observe in my students at Paris IV a very keen interest in another vision of the world, in the philosophies of India in particular. But I make them understand that it is not a question of adopting these uncritically or of idealizing India. To be a philosopher is to keep a critical mind,” he insists.
A critical spirit that the philosopher Simone Weil, "witness of a detestable era, who wanted to think about it in an attempt to reverse its course", in the words of François L'Yvonnet, professor of philosophy and publisher, brought to the maximum high point.
“I observe among my students a very keen interest in another vision of the world, in the philosophies of India in particular. But I make them understand that it is not a question of adopting these uncritically or of idealizing India. To be a philosopher is to keep a critical mind. »
Marc Ballanfat came to take an interest in the thinking of the author of Gravity and Grace, and to dedicate a book to him when he realized that Simone Weil was also passionate about India. “She is a remarkable philosopher for her tolerance and openness. She was ready to question all traditions without limiting herself to Western philosophy. For her, the important thing was to put her thoughts into practice,” he observes.
On one level in Indian philosophy
Although the author of several works on the philosophies of India, Marc Ballanfat sees himself above all as a translator. During his doctoral studies, he realized that many texts had not been translated into French. “If we want people to be interested in Indian philosophies as a whole, we must be able to provide them with clear, comprehensible and intelligible texts. This is the job of the translator. » Told him to feel close to the humanists of the Renaissance. “Without their extraordinary work of translation, today we would not be reading Plato, Epictetus or Aristotle. They are the ones who are at the origin of what we now call the humanities,” he points out. The translation he is most proud of? That of the Bhagavad Gita, published in 2007 before being reprinted. “It allows students to enter fully into Indian philosophy without it seeming too difficult to them”. Marc Ballanfat has translated several other Brahmanic, Buddhist and Jain texts, notably for the Hermann editions. His project for the next few months? Start writing a book in duet with a great Buddhist teacher, he says without further details.