I FIRST SAW HARE KRSNA devotees in Denver, 1969 or ’70, during my first year at the U.S. Air Force Academy. They were chanting on the street, and one of them gave me a Back to Godhead magazine. I flipped through it, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it. It seemed too strange as strange as the devotees looked. I had no idea the magazine dealt with the essential questions of life.
Now I’m the editor of that magazine. About four years after my first contact with devotees, I received a small book Srila Prabhupada’s Krsna, the Reservoir of Pleasure. This time I was ready for it. I was sincerely searching for the meaning of life, and Prabhupada’s message made so much sense. I wasn’t bothered that it came in a foreign package.
Now I’m a member of a team trying to present the philosophy of Krsna consciousness in interesting and inspiring ways to readers old and new. One challenge we face is reaching people who are like I was thirty years ago, people for whom Back to Godhead’s message seems so foreign they won’t give it a second thought. They look at devotees and think, “What could those weird-looking Hare Krsnas possibly have to say that’s relevant to me?”
When I finally started to listen, I realized that everything devotees said reinforced and expanded on the religious instruction of my youth. I found that the basic message of Krsna consciousness is universal and easy to understand. Simply stated: God exists, we’re subordinate to Him, and our duty is to love and serve Him.
Because most people believe in God, they would probably agree with this statement. So what does Krsna consciousness have to offer them? More Knowledge. Even the Godfearing seem to know little about God and lack inspiration to love and serve Him, nor do they know how. Our God-fearing world grows increasingly ungodly. Back to Godhead aims to deepen our understanding of God and our loving relationship with Him. It presents the science of God from the most comprehensive books on the subject: the Vedic literature.
Because everyone is a child of God, information about Him is relevant to all of us. People who sincerely want to understand God and their own place in the cosmos can get help from the time-honored information available in the Vedic literature. The true seeker accepts knowledge even if it apparently comes from a foreign source. The Vedas are no more eastern than the sun, which also rises in the east but shines on people all over the world.
Back to Godhead is concerned with eternal, universal truths, with complete reality. Whether you’re from China, Europe, India, or America, the same natural laws propel you from childhood to youth to old age and, finally, to death. Do you know what’s going to happen then? Unfortunately, that’s a piece of information most people don’t have. Fortunately, it’s part of the vast knowledge easily available from the Vedic literature and the pages of Back to Godhead.
If you have any suggestions on how we at BTG can improve our presentation of this information, please let us hear from you.