A Muslim bussiness man has a change of heart

Around one and a half years ago, while distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books on a street in Blantyre, Malawi, I met Mr. Khan, a Muslim businessman from India. He was amused to see an Indian sadhu in a dhoti and kurta on the busy streets of a remote Central African country and asked me in Hindi what was I doing. I explained to him that I was from the Hare Krishna movement and was distributing books about how to develop love for God. At that time he bought some small books. A few days later, when we met again on the street, he started criticizing Srila Prabhupada, saying that he uses abusive language and calls people rascals.

When I met him again on the street after a few days, he had started appreciating the books and said that Srila Prabhupada was actually very intelligent. After that I met him quite a few times on the street and also we crossed paths a couple of times while devotees were doing harinaam sankirtan. He consequently bought Bhagavad-gita As It Is. During the marathon, when I met him at his lodge (he runs three lodges), he said that he was going to India in February and wanted to visit Varanasi and buy copies of the Vedas, as he had knowledge of Sanskrit and liked to read in Hindi.

Recently, we received a consignment of one Hindi and three Gujarati Srimad Bhagavatam sets. I thought that the local Gurudwara (Sikh temple) would take the Hindi set for its library, as the priest likes to read in Hindi and has read some of our books, but the Gurudwara committee declined to buy it because it was too expensive. So I was wondering who would take the Hindi set. as now there are not many people who want to read in Hindi. There was one person, and I told him we have the Srimad Bhagavatam set in Hindi. He said that I could bring it and he would take a look at it. The next day I went to his lodge and explained that Srimad Bhagavatm is the ripened fruit of the tree of the Vedas. He asked the price, and by the mercy of guru and Gauranga agreed to pay in three installments. I felt that the Bhagavatam set in Hindi came all the way from India in a ship for three months just for this Muslim gentleman. read more

The untold story of Nelson Mandela & the Bhagavad Gita

Hare Krishna. I thought you might like to know a little bit of the untold side of Nelson Mandela. He came several times to ISKCON’s Ratha Yatra in South Africa while he was president of the nation. The first time Bhakti Tirtha Swami met him, in the course of their conversation, Maharaja quoted a Gita verse. Half-way thru the verse, Mandela quoted the rest of it. BT Swami was surprised. He asked “You know the Gita?” Mandela said “Try me.”

Every Gita verse Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja knew, Nelson knew as well. Naturally, BT Swami asked “How is this?” Nelson Mandela explained that he was imprisoned on Robbins Island along with some of his fellow leaders of their political party, the ANC. One of them was an Indian-bodied lawyer. The South African government tried to break them by giving them mindless labor and routine.

Realizing that they needed to keep their minds actively engaged, the Indian lawyer taught Nelson Mandela Gita verses which they quoted and discussed back and forth to transcend their daily drudgery. Nelson Mandela told Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja that learning the Gita helped keep him sane and did much to infuse his view of the world and his strategies for bringing independence and a better future for the South African people. read more

Bhagavad Gita Catursloka Tika 10.8-11

(BG 10.8)   Now, while engaged in describing the devotion of those who are the most exclusively dedicated to the Lord, He explains the factual situation of the Self, knowledge of which both generates and nourishes such devotion, in the verse beginning aham. I, Krsna, the original Personality of Godhead, am the origin of this entire universe, beginning with Brahma, Rudra and the other demigods.

This same fact can be read in the Atharva Upanisads (Gopala-tapani Up. and Narayana Up.): “It is Krsna who gave knowledge previously to Brahma and who spoke the Vedas to him,” “Then the Supreme Person Narayana desired, `Let Me beget offspring,” “From Narayana Brahma was born. From Narayana Prajapati was born. From Narayana Indra was born. From Narayana the eight Vasus were born. From Narayana the eleven Rudras were born. From Narayana the twelve Adityas were born.”–in which context Narayana is understood to mean Krsna, and “The son of Devaki is the Lord who favors the brahmanas (brahmanyo devaki-putraù).”

The Upanisads say the same also as follows: “In the beginning there was only Narayana, not Brahma or Siva or the gods of water, the moon, or this heaven or earth. Neither were there the stars or the sun. He was present all alone, and so was not content. From within His meditation arose the devotional hymn which the sages of the Chandoga Sama Veda call stoma, designated in eighteen separately named divisions.” read more

Is Writing Books Offensive?

Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.3, Salem, 5th June 2006

That very ancient science of the relationship of the supreme is today told by me to you because you are my devotee as well as my friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science. 

Purport read more

FALSE INTERPRETATIONS A Reply to a Christian Scholar's Criticisms

Arild Romarheim, lecturer at the Menighetfakultetet  (the conservative Lutheran congregational faculty) in Oslo has revealed a surprisingly unscholarly attitude toward the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita in his book Krishna, Buddha, Allah eller Christ (“Krishna, Buddha, Allah or Christ”, Oslo Luther, 1974)

Of course, it must be taken for granted that Mr. Romarheim, being a Christian theologian, will naturally be sceptical towards faiths other than his own, but we find his very superficial arguments against the teachings of Krishna to be unworthy of a man in a respectable academic position. In fact, his explanation of Krishna-bhakti (the religion of devotion to Krishna) is so full of mistakes and misinformation that it is hardly worth attempting a comprehensive reply to it.  But we can focus on some of his more serious errors in order to show that he is eminently unqualified to offer any opinion whatsoever on this subject.

We do not agree with Mr. Romarheim that the origin of Krishna-bhakti is Hinduism.  While it is true that the term  “Hinduism” is very commonly accepted in both the West and India, it is unscholarly and uncharitable.  The word “Hindu” is not of Indian origin at all.  It came from the Islamic Persians, and referred to the Sindh province of old India beyond the eastern borders of Persia.  When, during the Middle Ages, Islamic invaders crossed these borders in search of conquest, they called the Indian people Hindus, and their land Hindustan (the place where Hindus dwell). Because the zealous Muslims considered the Indians to be heathen idolators, this word “Hindu” had very derogatory implications.  Still today in the Persian language the word “Hindu” is synonymous with “thief.” read more

In defense of Srila Prabhupada

By Thomas J. Hopkins, Ph.D, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Franklin and Marshall College, USA (A Response to: ‘His Divine Grace and the Revised Bhagavad-Gita’ by Joseph Vekerdi)

I have read the English translation of Joseph Vekerdi’s essay in Life and Literature entitled ‘His Divine Grace and the Revised Bhagavad-Gita’. I must say that I find it disappointing as a scholarly statement on Prabhupada’s translation, the Gita itself and the Hindu tradition as a whole. I have no doubt that Vekerdi is a competent Indologist in some area of study, but he is clearly outside his field of competence in this essay.

Vekerdi’s critique of Prabhupada’s translation can be divided into two categories: his criticism of how certain verses are translated and his denial that Prabhupada represents ‘traditional Indian Hindu religiousness’. Although Vekerdi’s most serious error is in the latter category, I will begin with his critique of specific translations .He fortunately gives only a few examples, because each represents a complex pattern of misunderstanding. read more

That is the best book!

I was on sankirtan with Mangal-Aarti on a bitterly cold winter afternoon at Eaton Centre and had spoken to a few people and was just recuperating from the snow and rain a little, standing in the shade.

A man walked by and I asked him,”Have you tried yoga or meditation, sir?” He stopped for a while, as I showed him some pictures, but I could tell he wasn’t going to buy a book. He walked away, but from the corner of my eye I spotted a thin, tiny man with an old, torn jacket and a little hat and a cigarette in his hand.

He pointed to the Bhagavad Gita with the finger that was looped around the cigarette and said, “That is the best book!” He had a thick, raspy accent I was unfamiliar with — maybe from Australia or Africa — so at first I didn’t know if I’d heard him correctly. But when he came a little closer and repeated himself, now touching the pictures, I understood. I immediately broke out laughing and said, “Yes! Have you read it?” read more

The Materialistic Demeanor Revisited

caitanya

Our eighth year of “primary education” passed in an American Dependent School in Okinawa. During that eventful year we heard that we would have to decide for ourselves what had caused our existence, that the average man used less than one fourth the potential of his brain, and that God was never to be discussed in school.

Our studies of physical science had culminated in the visualization of the fleshy structure of the human brain. Electrical impulses flashing on the circuitry inside a man’s head are supposed to be responsible for all thinking, feeling, and willing. Life, memory, and the living zone are strange. The head is filled up with thoughts. The mind projects itself outside the body. We wondered, “What would we be thinking if we were using all the power of the brain?”

We had encountered sectarian religionists whose shallowness had turned us toward the camps of the atheists. We passed amidst the “humanists” and received many promises which were never to be fulfilled. Burning in despair we went past childhood’s end. The prospects for enjoyment which had been pointed out to us by our teachers proved inadequate. After exhausting many the sauri of philosophy, we realized we had been deceived all along, from the earliest beginning. We felt doomed, not for not knowing answers, but for not even being able to frame proper questions. read more

Important work

About a week before Gita Jayanti, one devotee in Bombay went out to distribute Srimad Bhagavad Gita.At one place, he knocked the door but no one replied. He did not give up and again knocked the door, still it was unanswered. With firm determination to distribute Bhagavad Gita, he again knocked with a much greater force.