Friday, June 11, 2010

Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is

Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is

Original front cover. Copyright BBTBhagavad-Gītā As It Is is a translation and commentary of the Bhagavad Gita by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). It is known amongst other translations of the Bhagavad Gita for its strong emphasis on the path of bhakti yoga above all others, in line with the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The book has been widely distributed, largely through promotion by the modern Hare Krishna movement. It was first published in 1968 by Macmillan Publishers, with an unabridged edition in 1972.[1][2][3] It is now published by The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and is available in nearly sixty languages.[4][5]

1 Contents
2 Distribution
3 Varnashrama dharma
4 Criticism
5 Notes
6 See also
7 References
8 External links


Arjuna and Krishna as depicted on the 1980s cover of Bhagavad-Gītā As It IsFor each verse, the book (in complete editions) includes the original devanagari script, a Roman transliteration, word-for-word Sanskrit-English meanings, and English translation. An extensive commentary by Prabhupada is given throughout, based on various Gaudiya Vaishnava works, including: Ramanuja Bhasya (in Sanskrit); Sarartha-varsini-tika (Sanskrit) by Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura; Gita-bhusana-tika (Sanskrit) by Baladeva Vidyabhushana; and Bhaktivinode Thakur's Bengali commentaries.

Thus the book advocates the path of bhakti toward Krishna, who is seen as identical to Vishnu, in direct opposition to monistic interpretations. This has led to criticisms from a number of figures who disagree with Prabhupada's literal approach. Sivarama Swami refutes its criticisms in his book Bhaktivedanta Purports: Perfect Explanation of the Bhagavad-Gita, ISBN 1-887089-12-8, Torchlight, 1998.

Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is is written in the tradition of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, and the members of ISKCON consider the book authoritative and literally true (mukhya-vrtti). Like the majority of other Hindu traditions, Gaudiya Vaishnavism regards the Bhagavad Gita as the essence of the Vedic knowledge and the Upanishads.

Some editions of the Gita come with prefaces by Allen Ginsberg, George Harrison, and Thomas Merton.

This translation is probably the one most sold outside India due to the efforts of the conspicuous Hare Krishna devotees on the streets, in airports, and in other public places. The book also enjoys brisk sales within India. It has been published in fifty-eight languages, including French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Latvian, Macedonian, Hungarian, Croatian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Tamil, and Telugu.[5]

Varnashrama dharma
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Socially, Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is suggests a way of life derived from the Manu Smriti and other books of Hindu religious and social law and applied for the contemporary Western world. In this way of life, ideal human society is described as being divided into four Varnas (brahmana - intellectuals, kshatriya - administrators, vaishya – merchants, shudra - workers). Within his writings Prabhupada supports the view that one becomes a member of one of the Varnas not by birth but by one's personal qualities (guna) and the type of work (karma) one actually performs (BG 4.13). Society is described as best ruled by a benevolent kshatriya sovereign, who is to govern according to rules set by scriptural tradition and preserved by self-controlled and pure-hearted spiritual leaders (brahmanas). The kshatriya sovereign (like courts in many democratic states) may also order capital punishment.

Brahmanas, elders, women, children and cows are said to deserve special protection, with animals, especially cows, being preserved from slaughter at all costs. Prabhupada encourages readers to adopt a lacto-vegetarian diet and gives agriculture as the ideal economic basis of society. Ultimately Prabhupada gives the conclusion that society should be "Krishna conscious" -- enlightened by devotion (bhakti) to Krishna (God).

Because Prabhupada writes from the viewpoint of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya, some regard Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is as being a sectarian work, with the translation and commentary written as to present Gaudiya Vaishnavism as the correct path preached by Krishna in the Gita. Some of the verses are not so much translations as they are interpretations with a Gaudiya perspective, using English words not found in the original Sanskrit to convey a particular message.

Prabhupada often translates the Sanskrit word deva ("god") as "demigod," a translation many Hindus find objectionable. However, when the word deva refers to Krishna, he translates it as "Lord".

^ Maheswar Neog Professor Maheswar Neog Felicitation Volume (1990)
^ Bhaktivedanta Swami, A. C. (1968). The Bhagavad-gita As It Is, first edition. New York: Macmillan.
^ Rosen, S. "The Macmillan Miracle". Retrieved 2008-06-02.
^ Cole & Dwayer 2007, p. 34
^ a b The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust offers a 2006 "summary PDF file showing which books have been translated into which languages.". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
See also
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Hare Krishna
Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Cole, Richard; Dwayer, Graham (2007), The Hare Krishna Movement: Forty Years of Chant and Change, London: I. B. Tauris, ISBN 1-84511-407-8
Goswami, Satsvarupa dasa (2002), Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Vol 1-2 (2 nd ed.), Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, pp. vol.1 1133 pages vol.2 1191 pages, ISBN 0892133570
External links
Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is at
Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is at Bhaktivedanta VedaBase Network.
Bhagavad-gītā As It Is at Vanisource.
Bhagavad-gītā As It Is - Macmillan 1972 Edition at
Retrieved from ""
Categories: International Society for Krishna Consciousness texts | Vaishnavism

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Glossary Terms for Worship

Glossary Terms for Worship
Puja – usually refers to ritual worship of the murti
Bhajan – adoration; indicates worship with love. Often refers to devotional singing or the hymns themselves
Seva – indicates service (and the appropriate mood of worship)
Yajna – sacrifice (an important aspect of worship)

The early morning hours are the most peaceful and conducive to worship, prayer and meditation. In India, people tend to get up much earlier than in Britain.
Hindu worship encompasses a broad range of activities, including even dance and drama (see Expressions of Faith). In this section we focus on practices which to the Western mind seem more clearly "acts of worship."

Hindu worship displays a number of distinct features:

The presence of the Divine is perceived in diverse ways and tends to be inclusive. Thus, there is a complex array of focuses of worship (see Focuses of Worship).
Much worship is performed individually, though in some traditions, like many in the UK, communal worship plays a central role.
Hindu worship often takes place outside the temple, especially in the home.
There are no specific days of worship, though days of the week are associated with particular deities (e.g. Shiva is honoured on Monday and Hanuman on Tuesday). In the UK, Sunday has become most important, as most Hindus are working during the week.
The time of day is important. The hours on either side of dawn are considered most auspicious for worship, for they are influenced by the quality of goodness (see Prakriti and Guna). In India many temples begin their first public ceremony between four and six in the morning. Other ceremonies take place during the day; evening worship is particularly popular.
Worship is often more spontaneous and less tightly regulated than in much Western religion, and individuals are usually quite free to join and leave ceremonies.
Hindu worship often appears to lack the solemnity we sometimes associate with religion. God can be worshipped with awe and reverence but also with warmth, joy, and affection, as if He is a close friend or a loved one.
"For me, the highlight of the day is the morning worship. It is such a sweet and peaceful experience, and one I hope that I will never lose."

Dhamodharmoorthy dass

Mandir: The Temple

Indian tradition holds that a town or village without a temple is uninhabitable. The Mandir is not primarily considered a place for communal worship but the home of God, or the particular Deity. Temple activities thus revolve around the sacred image(s) installed upon the altar.

An appointed priest, or team of priests, normally perform the puja. One of the main functions of the temple is to create an atmosphere surcharged with spirituality and hence temples are often built on holy sites. During quieter periods the temple provides opportunity for peaceful reflection. At other times, it is a bustle of noise and activity.

Temples vary considerably in size, beginning with tiny outdoor shrines and humble village mandirs. The larger temples are elaborate and often the centre of an ashram (place of spiritual culture) with a large number of brahmana priests living within or nearby. The temple of Balaji in Tirupati ( South India) is reckoned to be the largest, with a total staff of over 6,000.

There are a number of architectural styles, but the chief ones are North Indian (Nagara) and the South Indian (Dravida). Details for temple construction are laid out in certain scriptures such as the Vastu-shastra and the Shilpa-shastra (see Shruti: The Four Vedas). To help build a temple (e.g. through offering financial support) is still considered an act of piety.

In the UK, the first temples tended to be converted public buildings, such as school halls and churches. They often have an orange flag flying from the roof. Now there are an increasing number of purpose-built mandirs, in both modern and traditional styles (or a combination of both.) Temples in Britain, unlike those in India, often double up as community centres where Hindus can meet and organise social, cultural, and charitable events. Throughout the UK, there are now about 150 temples featuring regular worship.

Temples vary considerably, but the diagram here show some of the important features of traditional buildings in North India. Buildings in the South or outside of India are often quite different.

Vellore Iskcon Daily Schedule

Iskcon-Vellore Temple Daily Schedule
Daily Schedule
Early Morning Program
The early morning program, starting at 5:00h, is specifically recommended for serious spiritual seekers. According to the Vedic system this morning period, one and a half hours before sunrise, is called brahma-muhurta and spiritual activities performed at this time have a greater effect than at any other time of the day. It is at 5:00h that the Lord gives His first darsana (audience) of the day.
Following this darsana is Tulasi puja, or worship of Tulasi-devi, a most dear devotee of Krishna who has taken the form of the Tulasi plant. (In fact, it is an injunction of the Vedic scriptures that leaves of the Tulasi plant must be placed on each dish offered to the Deities of Sri Krishna, or His expantions.) The devotees chant special prayers while walking in circles around Tulasi-devi, and then end by singing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra for a few minutes more.
Next is Japa, or chanting rounds. The devotees use a string of beads called japa-mala, chanting one entire maha-mantra Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare on each of the 108 beads on the string. These 108 beads are called one round and the initiated devotees within the Hare Krishna movement chant a minimum of sixteen rounds every day.
The most important aspect of japa is being attentive to the sound vibration. The audible chanting of the maha-mantra in the assembly of devotees is recommended for all genuine spiritual enthusiasts and this program will help you to chant effectively. This japa period is known to make one strong in spiritual life and joyous throughout the day.
Mid-Morning Program
At 7:00h the Deities give Their audience, for the second time of the day, in fresh attire, decorated with beautiful, fresh scented flowers and jewelry. The assembled devotees sing verses from the Brahma-samhita glorifying the Lord. These beautiful prayers, originally written by Lord Brahma, were recorded by George Harrison of the Beatles and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada liked this recording so much that he asked for it to be played each morning during this darsana.
After paying obeisances to the Deities the devotees turn their attention to the murti (form) of Srila Prabhupada and offer their prayers and obeisances. This is called guru-puja (worship of the spiritual master). Following guru-puja is an ecstatic kirtan where all the devotees join in to congregationally chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and dance, joyously, in front of the Deities.
The last section of the morning program is class. At this time a distinguished speaker from the temple community recites verses from the ancient Vedic text, Srimad-Bhagavatam, discussing the intricate meaning of the text and its relevance to our day-to-day life. On the weekends, and for special occasions, other important texts may also be recited and discussed.
Following class is breakfast, which is served in the temple room and always ecstatic. If you weren´t able to make it for class, or before, then a small donation will be requested for having breakfast.
Lunch Program
The lunch program starts at 12:30h with darsana of the Deities and congregational singing. This is one of the more popular times for guests who are able to visit during their lunch breaks from work. After kirtana (the congregational chanting of the Lords names) there is an introductory class explaining the philosophy and culture of the Hare Krishna movement; this usually finishes with a questions and answers session. (Any of the temple devotees will be happy to answer your questions at any time, or lead you to someone who can, should you not want to ask during this session.)
After the introductory class lunch is served for all those who have attended; if you couldn´t make it earlier, to participate in the class, then a small donation will be requested for taking lunch at this time.
Evening Program
The evening program is yet another chance to immerse yourself in the bliss of Krishna consciousness. This begins at 18:00h with a class on the Bhagavad-gita. The teachings of Bhagavad-gita are considered to be the abcs of spiritual life. Being conversant with this text, therefore, is a must for the serious practitioner. This class often finishes with a questions and answers session taking us up to 19:00h when there is another opportunity for having darsana of the Deities.
This is another favorite of our guests who come to hear Bhagavad-gita and then dance in exctasy. This kirtana, sung in front of the Deities, is called Gaura-arati. It is a seven-verse prayer written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and is sung with a special melody meant for this particular time of the evening. Gaura-arati is a prayer glorifying Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the most merciful incarnation of the Lord, who began this sankirtana movement (the Hare Krishna movement) five hundred years ago in West Bengal, India.
After Gaura-arati many devotees like to prepare for taking rest. It can be a hard schedule, even for those who have been doing this for many years, but the reward cant be measured. The treasure of following this daily routine can be profoundly felt by all those who follow it. Protecting this schedule by taking rest early can be an important part of maintaining ones spiritual life.
You are welcome to come and experience any part of our daily program. By taking part and benefiting from the ecstatic mood and wonderful association you are guaranteed to gain something very special.
Sunday Love Feast
The Sunday program is an integral part of every temple, as it´s on this day that the entire Hare Krishna community tend to come to the temple to serve the Lord, chant His holy names, dance in ecstasy and feast on the delicious prasadam (food prepared and offered to the Lord).
Sundays morning program is the same as the rest of the week. From then on, though, it´s particular to Sundays. The normal lunch program doesn´t happen on Sundays, but instead, what has been called the ‘Sunday Love Feast’, takes place.
It starts at 15:30h with temple resident devotees sing bhajans (sweet devotional songs) in the temple room. These always create a very deep and spiritual atmosphere, setting the mood for the rest of the program. At 16:30h there is Dhoop-arati (singing and service to Their Lordships), followed by a lecture, usually given by a distinguished guest-speaker and always by a senior devotee with a deep understanding of Krishna consciousness.
After the lecture comes the part of the program everyone is eagerly waiting for: the prasadam feast. This is served in the temple room and restaurant by temple residents and guest volunteers.
Following the feast, from 18:00 to 19:00h, is a question and answers session in the temple library; usually hosted by the speaker from the lecture. Then Gaura-arati at 19:00h as described above. (If one is quick enough, they can catch the flower garlands worn by Their Lordship´s at the end of this arati.)
You are welcome to come and experience any part of our daily program. By taking part and benefiting from the ecstatic mood and wonderful association you are guaranteed to gain something very special.
Finally, there is reading from Krishna Book in the temple room until 21:00h, when the final arati starts. This is the final darsana of the day with Their Lordships dressed in Their night dress. The lights are dimmed and the atmosphere is always very special.