By: Staff Russian Legal Information Agency on Feb. 25, 2012
TOMSK, February 24- RAPSI (Russian Legal Information Agency). Experts and scientists gathering at the all-Russian conference "Bhagavad Gita in history and modern society" at the Tomsk University on Friday said they were perplexed over the Tomsk prosecutor's office's lawsuit seeking to declare "Bhagavad Gita as It Is" commentary extremist.
"Bhagavad Gita As It Is" is a Russian translation and commentary of the original Bhagavad Gita Hindu scripture. It was written by founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The book was translated into more than 60 languages.
The Tomsk prosecutor's office initiated the case in June 2011 following an inspection of the Tomsk Society for Krishna Consciousness.
According to Tomsk University experts cited by the local prosecutor's office, the dogmata described in the book incites religious hatred, humiliates the dignity of people on the basis of sex, race, nationality, language, origin and attitude toward religion.
Later Kemerovo University experts found that the book has signs of extremism.
A Tomsk district court held against the prosecutors' request to recognize the book as extremist on December 28. The Prosecutor's Office challenged the judgment on January 23. The regional court will hear the appeal on March 6.
"The Society for Krishna Consciousness has nothing to do with traditional Hinduism. Their policy book "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" is far from the original Hindu scripture. It is a rather liberal and not too skillful translation, and, to make it worse, it is a double translation. First it was translated from Sanskrit into English, then from English into Russian. It exceeds the original text three or four times," Dvorkin told journalists in Tomsk.
He also called the book's commentary "man-hating and insulting to the followers of other religions." Dvorkin said the Society's activities are "criminal" and "using unlawful methods."
Chief researcher of the Indian Research Center at the Oriental Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Irina Glushkova told RIA Novosti that there are various schools of Hinduism "and each school is based on its own scripture or commentary."
Glushkova continued that "from this point of view "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" has the right to exist as any other commentary or scripture. It is a fundamental principle of Hinduism and there is no any other Hinduism whoever says it, Dvorkin or the Tomsk prosecutor's office," she said.
Meanwhile, Tatyana Lyubimova, Doctor of Philosophy, Philosophy Institute's chief researcher , said that most ancient scriptures, including Bhagavad Gita, were revised or adapted over the years so that modern people could better understand them.
Maxim Osipov, a representative of the World Steering Board of the Society for Krishna Consciousness, said that the commentary to "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" is a precise and clear reflection of the religious tradition taught by Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The prosecutor's office's petition to declare "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" an extremist text has sparked public indignation in India and was called a violation of Hindu rights. Several lawmakers have called on the Russian government to stand up for the rights of Hindus in Russia.