Pictures from Hare Krishna  Ratha Yatra in London in 2018.

WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8409

Date uploaded in London – – – 27 July 2020   

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Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.

By R. Nanjappa


Prabhupada underscored the importance of both theology (religion) and philosophy, and so the foundational scriptures. It was necessary to study and understand them properly. For this, there was a need for authentic translation, by persons who come in the line of Disciplic succession- i.e the Parampara.

He himself took the initiative in translating the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavatam and Chaitanya Charitamrita which were basic to the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. With all his other activities, he devoted time for regular translation work, even on his sick bed.

 His translation of Bhagavad Gita – titled Bhagavad Gita As It Is- is the largest selling translation in the world. In 1976, he gave a print order for 1 million copies. The required paper had to be transported in 95  railway box cars, running to a length of 2 kms! 

 His initiated disciples were asked to undertake serious systematic study of their scriptures. Today, we have excellent translations and commentaries on them by many Western scholars of their tradition. Such work has not been done by any traditional Mutt in India so far in respect of their canonical works. Only the Gita Press, Gorakhpur- an independent organization – has undertaken large scale publication of Hindu scriptures. Before Prabhupada, they alone concentrated on the publication and popularisation of the Gita.

 Books- forms of Literary Kirtana!

Prabhupada gave utmost importance to the printing and distribution of his books.He considered it as a form of Sankirtana-literary kirtana. He said that these books should rain on people, as bombs rain on cities during the war. So far, ISKCON has distributed 516 million Vaishnava-Hindu religious books worldwide, translated into many world languages. In this regard, Prabhupada is perhaps the world’s largest Best Selling author! [All this is voluntary work, without official support or backing.]

The critical importance of authentic books was brought home in dramatic circumstances.. ISKCON movement caught on among American youngsters fast. Even University campuses had Krishna enthusiasts. Many scholars appreciated the ISKCON literature.  The local Jewish and Christian groups and other elements were alarmed by this trend. In order to discredit ISKCON and its leaders, they instituted a court case against them, charging that ISKCON was an undesirable cult, indulging in brainwashing and other undesirable techniques to attract and retain the youngsters. An ISKCON member was arrested, and  subjected to brutal measures by the police. The charges created quite a sensation drawing tremendous media attention.  In the final stages of hearing in the New York Supreme Court, the representative of ISKCON submitted to the Court that a movement must be judged by its authentic literature and requested the court to peruse their literature. He submitted 84 volumes of translated Sanskrit scriptures- 70 of them works of Prabhupada, with commentaries. On 17 March 1977 the Judge declared:

“The Hare Krishna movement is a bona fide religion with roots in India that go back thousands of years…”

This was a great victory for Prabhupada and his movement. His American disciples worked hard to marshal and present all the facts.

 Neglect of Scriptural studies in India

In India, so-called religious people generally do not study their theology or philosophy systematically. They are unfamiliar with the canonical works of their tradition and cannot present or defend their faith intelligently. They do not relate to modern developments. Even in the case of Vaishnavism, one can compare the state of literature before and after Prabhupada. Gaudiya Vaishnavism, and especially the bhakti strain did not get much serious attention from academic or educated circles before Prabhupada appeared on the scene. It did not attract mass attention. Certainly, no Vaishnava danced in public in the name of Krishna!

 Though Bhagavad Gita had many English translations, most of them did not treat Krishna as an actual  historic personality. Even Mahatma Gandhi considered the Mahabharata war an allegory. Modern academic commentators studiously avoid theistic interpretation, and make it sound like a secular management manual. Dr. S.Radhakrishnan did write about Krishna as a definite historic figure. But in the body of his translation, he did not mean Krishna as a Personality when he interpreted “I” or “Me”- words 

 that Bhagavan uses. [See his comments on 9.34  for example. He talks of “the unborn, beginningless, Eternal who speaks through Krishna” – an impersonality. (In contrast, in  chapter 12, verses 2,6 & 7, Bhagavan clearly says that those who worship Him as a Person are the best of Yogis, and He saves them from  mortal samsara.) It was Prabhupada who declared boldly to the whole world that when Bhagavan says “I”, it means Krishna as a Personality (and no vague Advaitic Impersonality). And Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead- a phrase that Prabhupada coined. There is no room for doubt or scope for compromise.

Thus Prabhupada did not merely propagate blind faith, but promoted scientific understanding of their faith among the followers.

In fact, Prabhupada stressed that Vedic knowledge could withstand scientific scrutiny and hence could be established on scientific basis. He even initiated Bhaktivedanta Institute for such scientific studies.

No orthodox Mutt in India has brought out an authentic translation and commentary of their canonical scriptures in a systematic manner, with rigorous standards of scholarship, and superb editing and publishing.


Prabhupada stressed that modern life has become complicated in the name of progress. Man has forgotten the chief aim of life which is God realization- getting free of the Samsara- the cycle of birth and death. Modern life caters to the body and to gratify its sensations. Man thus misses the purpose of human birth. Prabhupada is the only modern Indian Guru who declared this boldly on the world stage, without mincing words or entering into philosophical blah-blah. He said that Krishna Consciousness was the only antidote to this materialism. ISKCON stood for a simpler and more natural way of life, as stated in the aims of its organization.

He said that the traditional agrarian life provided the ideal background for a life filled with Krishna consciousness- economy based on agriculture providing good natural food, with the economy propelled by the power of the cow and its products. This would provide the setting for a community based on simple living and high thinking. ISKCON has set up such communities or eco-villages for its members, which also educate their children according to ISKCON principles in the Gurukula way. All these communities are also dedicated to intensive study of their scriptures and Vaishnava literature.

Thus Prabhupada showed how to link Krishna Consciousness with the practical, economic and educational aspects of life. No other Indian orthodox Mutt has done this, even after Prabhupada’s example.

                                                       ***                           to be continued

tags – Sri Prabhupada-3

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