21 February 2012, 15:40
Prosecutors' complaints in Bhagavad Gita book case legitimate – expert
Tomsk, February 21, Interfax - The translation and interpretation of the ancient religious and philosophical scripture, Bhagavad Gita As It Is, which prompted legal proceedings in the town of Tomsk, is very different from the Hindu original, said Alexander Dvorkin, chairman of the board of experts from the Russian Justice Ministry, who conducted the analysis.
"The manifesto book of the Krishna Consciousness Society, Bhagavad Gita As It Is, is not immediately related to the original, being a free and not quite skilled translation," Dvorkin told a press conference at the Interfax office in Tomsk on Tuesday.
Asked whether the prosecutors' complaints about the Russian translation and comments thereto were lawful, Dvorkin said: "Yes."
Krishna Consciousness Society misinterpreted such complaints as being directed at the original, not its translation, Dvorkin also recalled.
In summer 2011, Tomsk regional prosecutors filed a lawsuit to recognize the book Bhagavad Gita As It Is with comments by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the international Krishna Consciousness Society (ISKCON, also known as the movement Hare Krishna), as extremist literature.
The plaintiffs alleges that the book "fans religious feuds, denigrates human dignity based on gender, race, ethnic origin, language, origin, and religious affiliation."
The trial drew broad response in India, where the issue was discussed in parliament. The Indian foreign minister issued a statement on the matter.
Russian Foreign Ministry official Alexander Lukashevich reiterated earlier that the object of the trial was the Russian-language edition of the book Bhagavad Gita As It Is, not the holy book Bhagavad Gita.
Lukashevich said the book is a translation of the original book from Sanskrit into English. The book was translated into Russian in 1984.
Bhagavad Gita (which translates as 'Divine Song' from Sanskrit) is a work of ancient Indian literature and a holy Hindu book, which presents the main philosophy of Hinduism.