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Where would this (Srimad-Bhagavatam) come in, a book like this, in the study course?

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"Srimad-Bhagavatam" |"Where would this come in, a book like this, in the study course"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

Bhagavad-gītā is entrance, and then this is graduate. And Caitanya-caritāmṛta postgraduate.
Room Conversation with Professor Olivier -- October 10, 1975, Durban:

Prof. Olivier: Well, we have started a course, or we have a course here at our own university in Indology.

Prabhupāda: Here?

Prof. Olivier: Yeah. It is a scholar from Vienna that we have got to teach this course for us. But what he teaches and what kind of basic philosophy, I wouldn't know. There are about thirty or forty students. So in essence, they ought to start by making at least a detailed study, as I see it, of the Bhagavad-gītā as a basis for their whole philosophy.

Prabhupāda: So why not appoint somebody to teach Bhagavad-gītā As It Is? That is essential. And we have got step by step, so many books, fifty books, simply to understand God.

Prof. Olivier: Uh huh. You mean from the beginning right through the...

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. You can make them pass the entrance examination, the graduate examination, the postgraduate examination by studying these books. Yes.

Prof. Olivier: Well, this is apparently what one needs. This is perhaps what one needs, you know.

Prabhupāda: And our books are being appreciated, Europe, America, by big, big professors, universities. They are giving us standing order, even in Oxford University. What is that, Oxford University?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. I was just in London a while back.

Prabhupāda: No, that letter is there?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: I don't know if I have the one from Oxford. This is from Harvard. We just received this telegram from Los Angeles, Prabhupāda. "Amazing success from your library party—one hundred and fifty-two standing orders sold in just seventeen days of September in New England. Thirteen standing orders at Harvard. These books are very much being appreciated in America."

Prof. Olivier: These are for the sets.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes, a standing order of books even which haven't been published yet. Prabhupāda is translating on his dictaphone each night, throughout the hours of the night. And now about fifty books so far, many more to come.

Prabhupāda: The total number of books will be about eighty. Out of that, we have published about fifty. So the balance they are giving standing order, "As soon as published, you give..."

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: In the United States... These are many letters we have, just some of them, from different professors who are actually using Prabhupāda's books, professors from respectable universities such as Harvard, Yale, Duke. Professor Dimmock, who is the leading scholar of southeastern languages at the University of Chicago, he very much appreciates Prabhupāda's books.

Prabhupāda: He has written one foreword.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So these books are being accepted as the authority, at least in America and England, so far as studies of Indian culture are concerned, philosophy, sociology. And you can see the beautiful presentation. Each Sanskrit is there, transliteration so that anyone can chant, word-for-word Sanskrit to English translation, translation in English, and then the purport, a commentary.

Prof. Olivier: That's right. This is a good edition. Good edition.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Professor Dimmock, he says that there are many, many translations of Bhagavad-gītā, and he says that "By bringing us a new and living interpretation of a text already known to many, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda has increased our understanding manyfold." So although it's been prevalent in America... I know that when I was studying Humanities in college in the University of Florida, Bhagavad-gītā was required. And we read one edition, but it was very much limited. Until we come in contact with Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, the understanding is very much limited. But it's not a sectarian approach. It's purely scientific and realistic. There are many such reviews.

Prof. Olivier: Well, this is a good letter.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: All of our different books, just offhand. These are some of the colleges as of several months ago who placed standing orders for our books. Now, the professors, as we go from college to college in America, in the universities, they are using our books as textbooks, standard textbooks. They are seeing that the cost of the book is not the real criterion. The criterion is the quality of the teaching. Someone may be attracted by the cover... (break) ...transliteration is pronounced, different words, glossary for words which may not be so well understood by the neophyte, references. And for the different pictures, plate numbers and explanation. It's a complete edition. Nothing has ever been seen like this in the Western world. So there's great authority behind it.

Prof. Olivier: Yeah. This... Our university has almost an obligation to make a study in depth of all of these points.

Prabhupāda: And after studying Bhagavad-gītā thoroughly, then begins further, higher study-Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the same principles. Show.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The same format is used. There is color illustrations, introduction, and Sanskrit transliteration, word for word.

Prof. Olivier: Now, would this be... Would this be a... Where would this come in, a book like this, in the study course?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This is the postgraduate study of Bhagavad-gītā, yes. The Bhagavad-gītā teaches the general...

Prabhupāda: No, Bhagavad-gītā is entrance, and then this is graduate. And Caitanya-caritāmṛta postgraduate.

Prof. Olivier: Our great problem is at the undergraduate level.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. Well, there is the Nectar of Devotion and the Teachings of Lord Caitanya.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Nectar of Devotion and the Śrī Īśopaniṣad. These books are actually being used in undergraduate courses. These are some of the recommendations, see, offered as an undergraduate course. Mostly... This book is very, very interesting, this, "the complete science of bhakti-yoga." This explains scientifically the science of devotional service to God. That devotional service which is not practiced with reference to the Vedic literatures is simply a disturbance, just as if some chemist walked into an English laboratory or some foreign language laboratory and tried to do something, and he had no knowledge. So the same way, we should try to understand the science of devotional service from the authorities, so that it's not just...it doesn't become simply a disturbance in society. People lose faith in God that way. Śrī Īśopaniṣad also has the same format once again. The Sanskrit, transliteration, word for word. This is a very nice entrance book into Vedic understanding. This is the most important of the Upaniṣads. Many other books we have like that, paperbacks and hardbound. This is being used in many universities in America.

Prabhupāda: Temple University, it is a study book.

Prof. Olivier: Temple University?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. In Philadelphia.

Prof. Olivier: Yes, I have been there. There is an Islamic professor there, Professor of Islamics, Farooki. He was also here at the university lecturing in Islam.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This is University of Minnesota. This is a book review of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He says, "I know of no better introduction to the vast literature of kṛṣṇa-bhakti than Swami Bhaktivedanta's paraphrase of Canto Ten of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Purāṇa. Translators inevitably have to commute between felicity and fidelity. In this edition, Bhaktivedanta resolves the dilemma by presenting a purport of each chapter which is both readable and substantial." No one can argue with the authority of these literatures, it's a fact, because Śrīla Prabhupāda has not manufactured anything from his own mind. It's simply being presented, the Vedic literatures, as they are, in such a way that we in the Western countries, we can understand very clearly without any hesitation what is being said in each verse and each chapter. In other words, Prabhupāda is not presenting in order to confuse or to juggle words, but to actually give people understanding. That is why it's been accepted so readily. We have many such literatures.

MadhuGopaldas +  and Rishab +
July 18, 0011 JL +
August 30, 0012 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 1 +  and Let: 0 +