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