CREDOS : Gita’s greatness - III

Arthur J Pais:

Prabhupada, who started his revivalist Hindu movement in the mid 1960s across America, called his own translation “Bhagavad-Gita As It Is.” His idea was to use the Gita to understand the divinity of Krishna. “The general pattern translators have followed in rendering Bhagavad Gita into English has been to brush aside the person Krsna [Krishna] to make room for their own concepts and philosophies,” the Prabhupada version of the Gita declared. “The history of the Mahabharata is taken as quaint mythology, and Krsna becomes a poetic device for presenting the ideas of some anonymous genius.”

In Prabhupada’s translation, Krishna is “both the goal and the substance of the Bhagavad Gita.” To others, the Gita argues for a unitarian religious belief. “In a world torn by bigotry and small mindedness, the Gita, like books belonging to other religions, shows that there is a common moral stance in all religions,” says Mabel Fernandes, an Indian educator. “Take, for instance, what Krishna tells Arjuna: ‘Hell has three doors: lust, rage and greed. ... He who passes by these three dark doors has achieved his own salvation.’”

Huxley himself regarded the Gita as part of what he called the perennial philosophy — the ethical strands common in all religions. He notes, “it is perfectly possible for people to remain good Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or Muslims and yet to be united in full agreement on the basic doctrines of the perennial philosophy.” To Shyamala Chivukula, the Gita’s value is that is accessible not only to the intellectual but also to a layperson: “Anyone can read it and be benefited by its clear vision and answers to life’s problems.” —, concluded