Origins

Bhaktivedanta's translation and commentary of the Bhagavadgita, published as The Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, is the single book that nearly every ISKCON devotee has read, and in many cases it has served as an entrée into the movement. During the late 1960s and 1970s, ISKCON devotees often distributed the text on college campuses, at airports, and in public parks. They engaged in this practice as a form of sankirtan, or public spreading of Krishna Consciousness, as well as a means of gaining donations to support their cause. Printings of Bhaktivedanta's translations of Bhagavatam, including Krsna (an excerpt of the longer work) and the complete Srimad-Bhagavatam also served the same function.

Though ISKCON devotees do not consider them sacred texts per say, the collected writings, lectures, and notes produced by Prabhupada and his direct disciples serve as guides to the practice of Krishna Consciousness. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust has published several hundred editions in numerous languages of these texts in paper and digital formats, and the study of them -- along with Bhaktivedanta's translations of the Gaudiya sacred texts -- occupies an important part of the lives of many devotees.


Study Questions:
     1.     What scriptures have authority to the followers of ISKCON?
     2.     Describe the plot of the Bhagavadgita and the Mahabharata. Why are they important to ISKCON followers?
     3.     What is the Bhagavatam? How is it used?
     4.     What was Bhaktivedanta's role in the spreading of these texts?

Back to Religion Library