A look at the worldwide activities of the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Breakthrough for Book Distribution
An important breakthrough has occurred in ISKCON's efforts to open all U.S. airports to unhampered book distribution. For years devotees have gone out to the crowded airports and sold the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to literally millions of travelers and for years the devotees have met opposition from angered airport managers. Now, finally, a meeting of minds seems at hand.
In the May issue of Airport Services Management magazine, editor Richard Coffey calls for an open dialogue between ISKCON and airport officials: "The Hare Krishna [people] are in the airports protected by the First Amendment and they will remain in the airports. So what do we do about it? Manage it. We'd make a stupid mistake underestimating the ability of the Krishna movement to meet us on every level of confrontation… So it appears someone will have to open a dialogue. The Krishna [people] are willing; so should we be."
Another article by Mr. Coffey in the same magazine describes his visit to the Minneapolis Radha-Krsna temple. He comes away impressed with the sincerity of the devotees and the seriousness of their mission to spread Krsna consciousness. He also confirms ISKCON's longstanding claim that all collections are used only to support the temples and book publication and distribution "not for individual gratification."
Since every airport official reads Airport Services Management magazine, Mr. Coffey's advice and observations should go a long way toward creating a more liberal atmosphere for book distribution at the nation's airports.
Srila Prabhupada's Books Draw Flood of Praise
Plaudits for the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada continue to pour into our offices from professors throughout the world. Dr. Geddes MacGregor, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, recently sent us this comment on Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is:
"In the West, no work in all Indian literature is more quoted (because none is better loved) than the Bhagavad-gita. Translation of such a work demands more than just knowledge of Sanskrit; it demands an inward sympathy with the theme of the Gita as well as verbal artistry, for the poem is a symphony in which God is seen in all things.
"His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is, of course, profoundly sympathetic to the theme. He brings to it, moreover, a special interpretative insight, a powerful and persuasive presentation in thebhakti tradition… The swami does a real service for students and laymen by investing the beloved Indian epic with fresh meaning. Whatever our outlook may be, we should all be grateful for the labor that has led to this illuminating work."
And from Dr. V. N. Shukla, Professor of Sanskrit and Hindi at Aligarh University in India, we received this appreciation:
"Before I met Srila Prabhupada about a year ago, I had known him through his enormous works on Krsna bhakti works which comprise the nucleus of all Indian-Vedic spiritual literature. To name a few of these works: The Bhagavad-gita As It Is; The Nectar of Devotion; Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; Teachings of Lord Caitanya; Srimad-Bhagavatam; Sri Caitanya-caritamrta; and Sri Isopanisad.All of these works are with commentary, and it is noteworthy to mention that the commentary on the Sri Isopanisad is one of SrIla Prabhupada's greatest contributions, for it completely refutes the impersonalist arguments of Sankaracarya. Sri Isopanisad is a book to be possessed by every Western scholar.
"Words fail me as I attempt to describe the height of scholarship and devotion manifested in the volumes mentioned above. Future generations will definitely find a better world to live in through the efforts of Srila Prabhupada, for he stands for the feelings of international brotherhood and the spiritual integration of all mankind sentiments which are the very backbone of India's Vedic sanatana-dharma [eternal religion]. Members of the literary world outside India, particularly in the West, should feel highly indebted to Srila Prabhupada, who has so scientifically acquainted them with what is best in Krsna-conscious India. I heartily call to the attention of all scholars, professors, and religious teachers the great importance and contribution of the books of Sri Swami Prabhupada."