ISKCON Communications Journal – Vol. 13 – 2022


When explaining Srila Prabhupada’s remarks, statements, discourses, positions — or adopting ways of applying them — what analyses and understandings justify our interpretations? Such hermeneutical matters are the themes of the first four writers in the 2022 ISKCON Communications Journal. There are three other articles worth exploring. All the articles are described below.

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1) Urmila recently organized ISKCON hermeneutics as an official institutional policy. She writes about the four goals of ISKCON hermeneutics, the nature of hermeneutics, and how to apply the methodology of ISKCON hermeneutics.

2) Because Srila Prabhupada’s followers and readers of Prabhupada’s books raise questions about how to understand some of Prabhupada’s statements, Hridayanada Goswami clarifies reasonable hermeneutical principles that can be used for this explanatory purpose. He elaborately quotes Srila Prabhupada himself and the Srimad Bhagavatam, giving serious philosophical arguments.

3) Graham M. Schweig works from his knowledge of both Vedic and Western hermeneutics, which he studied at the University of Chicago and Harvard. He offers various ways of understanding Prabhupada’s challenging remarks and forms of discourse. He describes how Srila Prabhupada’s teachings offer the world universal principles of devotion about the human condition, an awakening to the divine, a transformation of self, and absorption in divine love.

4) Joshua Greene’s article examines the pressing issue “why Prabhupada made remarks of his own that appeared supportive of Hitler or derogatory toward Jews”; it also mentions Prabhupada’s anti-Hitler comments. While addressing whether Srila Prabhupada was conscious of the consequences of his remarks, Greene assumes “some responsibility for failing to alert him when a comment was indeed indefensible and likely to provoke backlash.” Greene also considers what shaped Srila Prabhupada’s understanding of history.

5) Rembert Lutjeharms theologically discusses “the relationship between perfected devotion (bhakti), or pure love (prema), and the self.” Srila Prabhupada, “following the teachings of the nineteenth-century theologian Kedarnath Dutt Bhaktivinod, taught that perfected devotion is inherent or ‘dormant’ in the self and only needs to be ‘awakened’ or ‘revived’ by devotional practice.” His article is limited to addressing only the foundational question of whether devotion inheres in the self, not a range of related contentious issues. He addresses complicated questions about the self’s relation to devotion by articulating an explicitly Vedantic theology of devotion that draws upon Gaudiya theologians.

6) David Coolidge argues that Muslims need to construct perceptions of Gaudiya Vaisnavas and put “them into conversation with scholarly methodologies for cross-cultural engagement.” He finds an approach that is “rooted in an appreciation for the richness and complexity of the One Reality that ultimately contains all practitioners and their respective viewpoints.”

7) Caitanya Carana Dasa writes about the power of popular culture in shaping the public’s perception of life in general and Vaisnava spirituality in particular. His article develops the topic of intellectual and devotional engagement with popular culture. He describes other religious teachers and philosophers engage with popular culture. He covers the needs for engaging with it, as well as some concerns about that, along with examples of doing so within and outside ISKCON.

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Weight0,3 kg
Dimensions23,3 × 15,5 × 1 cm
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