Saturday, June 6, 2009

Uddhava Gita


Title: Uddhava Gita

ISBN: 0-912776-60-9

Author: Krishna-dwaipayana Vyasa, commentaries and purports by Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura

and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, translated by Bhumipati Dasa

Versions: Print, E-Book

Synopsis: Similar to the Bhagavad-gita, this book focuses on the instructions given by Lord Krishna to His friend Uddhava, just prior to the Lord’s returning to the spiritual world. Part of the Shrimad Bhagavatam, the teachings in this book are very similar to those found in the Bhagavad-gita, yet at the same time it delves into other topics not found in any other Vedic literature. Spoken directly by God, this book is a great read.

Krishna The Supreme Personality of Godhead


Title: Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

ISBN: 0-912776-60-9

Author: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Versions: Print, Kindle, PDF

Synopsis: Stories relating to Krishna’s life and pastimes are found in various Vedic literatures, with each focusing on particular aspects of the Lord’s life. This book is a summary study of the tenth canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), focusing mainly on the Lord’s birth, childhood activities, and several incidents from His adult life. A mixture of translations and purports, Prabhupada tells the story of Krishna’s life in a manner easily accessible to anyone, whether they be an advanced devotee or one who knows nothing about Krishna. The Lord was very mischievous as a child, performing pastimes such as stealing butter and yogurt, and playing with His cowherd friends in Vrindavana. The inclusion of these stories by itself makes this book worth reading.

Teachings of Lord Chaitanya


Title: Teachings of Lord Chaitanya

ISBN: 978-1-60293-002-5

Author: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Versions: Print, Kindle, PDF

Synopsis: This book is great for those who have questions regarding Krishna’s various expansions and forms. Lord Chaitanya taught love of God through the sankirtana, or congregational chanting, method. When He wasn’t chanting and dancing, He was instructing others on the science of Krishna worship. This book contains His essential teachings, with topics ranging from the history of creation to the real meaning of Vedanta.

Science of Self Realization


Title: Science of Self Realization

ISBN: 978-1-60293-006-3

Author: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Versions: Print, PDF

Synopsis: Along with the Bhagavad-gita, this book is required reading for anyone interested in any aspect of religion. This book, consisting of select articles from Back to Godhead Magazine, has knowledge and information that should have been taught to us growing up, but likely wasn’t. The highlights are the conversations between Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, and various spiritual and cultural leaders. Many people are confused by the existence of so many different religions, each having their own rules and regulations and name for God. This book explains the real meaning of religion and how there is only one God for us all to love and adore.

Ramayana of Valmiki


Title: Ramayana of Valmiki

ISBN: 817110156X

Author: Maharishi Valmiki, translated by M.N. Dutt

Versions: Print

Synopsis: This is the original story of Lord Rama, the incarnation of Lord Krishna who appeared on earth during the Treta Yuga. A somewhat lengthy work, this wonderful poem written by Valmiki is a very detailed biography of Lord Rama and the events surrounding His life. We’re not sure if the translator of this specific version is a devotee, and there appear to be many typos, which is quite typical of works produced by Parimal Publications. However, the original content is so wonderful since it contains direct quotations from God and His associates that it definitely makes the book worth reading.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Coming Back – The Science of Reincarnation


Title: Coming Back: The Science of Reincarnation

ISBN: 0-89213-114-14

Author: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and disciples

Versions: Print

Synposis: This is a great book that gives a detailed description of the principles of reincarnation and the eternal nature of the soul. The idea of reincarnation isn’t exclusive to Hindus, and this book proves that by citing passages relating to reincarnation from the Bible and other major religious scriptures.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bhagavad-gita As It Is


Title: Bhagavad-gita As It is

ISBN: 978-1-60293-000-1

Author: Krishna-dwaipayana Vyasa, translation and purports by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Versions: Print, Kindle, Web

Synopsis: This is the equivalent of the Bible in Vedic literature. It contains the conversation between Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His dear friend and cousin Arjuna. During Lord Krishna’s time on earth, some five thousand years ago, there was a great war that took place on the battlefield of Kurkshetra between the families of cousin-brothers, the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The Pandavas were the rightful heir to the throne held by the Kauravas at the time. Arjuna, one of the five principles Pandava brothers and their most skilled warrior, was preparing for battle but suddenly had a weakness of heart. Since he had close ties with many of the warriors on the Kaurava side, Arjuna was hesistant to fight. Lord Krishna, acting as Arjuna’s charioteer and spiritual master, gave him a discourse on the meaning of life and the constitutional position of the soul. This conversation makes up the bulk of the Gita. Though originally only a small chapter in the much larger book, the Mahabharata, the Gita has become the most famous and widely read Vedic doctrine since it was first delivered by Krishna.

The Gita has been studied by scholars, theologians, and great spiritual leaders for thousands of years. Many English translations exist but mostly they are tainted with the commentator’s personal views on religion. This version, by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhuphada, is translated and commented on without any adulteration to the original meaning of the text. The ultimate conclusion of the Bhagavad-gita is to surrender everything unto Krishna, or God, and become His devotee, and Prabhupada’s translation and commentary remains true to that message. This is a must-read for anyone interested in a higher form of knowledge.