Breaking headline from Iskcon News: Devotee scientists have discovered way to make religious scripture interestingHanuman das
Here is another guest blog article, which analyses “ISKCON News” website, especially their propagation of fake books. iskconnews.org website is maintained Anuttama das, GBC member, and inventor of Bowling varna-asrama, below you can what nonsense they are supporting.
Ever find yourself reading the Bhagavad Gita or the Srimad Bhagavatam and thinking “Alas this religious scripture is so boring. Can’t I just watch Harry Potter?”. Well prabhu the GBC has finally found a way to solve the problem of the Vedas being boring and outdated religious scripture; just rewrite them so they are more interesting and politically correct (Why didn’t I think of that?). Iskconnews.org (The official news source for Iskcon as approved by the GBC and run by GBC member Anuttama Das.) is getting the word out to devotees that religious scripture doesn’t have to be boring anymore. Introducing the “Sita’s Fire” trilogy by Vrinda Sheth, the wife of the famous Vishwambar Sheth of the kirtan group the Mayapuris (You might remember the “kirtan” track “Shiva Shiva” from their album “Mridanga”. That was a nice song.) Here is the link to the article promoting the books on Iskcon News:
But because reading news articles is boring and hearing criticism is entertaining I will forthwith proceed to put excerpts from the article here and then make fun of them.
Here’s a nice quote introducing the books:
In the royal city of Ayodhya, a realm ruled by the Sun dynasty, where peace reigns among the citizens while discord simmers behind the palace walls, a prophecy predicts that a son of the Sun dynasty will slay the immortal Ravana and defeat his demon army—but how will a mere human succeed where all the gods have failed?
In the new and improved Ramayana Lord Rama is a “mere human”. This makes the story more interesting because we don’t have to be envious of a God who has infinite beauty, power, intelligence, etc., we can just pretend that God doesn’t exist and we are just watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
Here is another quote:
Meanwhile, Ayodhya’s emperor is torn between his own needs and the needs of the empire. His rebellious third wife, Kaikeyi, raised as a warrior, is haunted by her past.
In the new Ramayana that doesn’t suck anymore Kaikeyi is now a strong modern women who doesn’t let any man tell her what to do. She is the CEO of an internet start up company and earns more money than King Dasarath. In this new version she also has a black belt in Karate and can kick her husband’s but if he gets smart with her.
Here is some more nectar about the “Sita’s Fire” books:
A truly original reimagining of the classic Indian epic, the Ramayana, as told primarily through the eyes of the women behind the throne, Shadows of the Sun Dynasty reveals an entirely new perspective on an ancient story.
Now we all know the Vedas are a bit outdated. Srila Vyasadeva lived a long time ago as was a bit of a male chauvinist. Srila Vyasadeva should have given the women in his Ramayana more of an equal role with the men. This new Ramayana series fixes the problem. Now here is a quote by Garuda Das that certifies that the new Ramayana is up to date with the latest feminist trends:
What especially stands out in this edition of the Ramayana is the celebration of the feminine voice: the female characters who would normally be overshadowed by their male counterparts are now invested with agency and power. The extraordinary positive contributions from such female personalities leaves the reader with a fresh view of this amazing tale.” — GRAHAM M. SCHWEIG, PHD, author of “Bhagavad Gītā: The Beloved Lord’s Secret Love Song.
Now all joking aside here is a relevant quote by Srila Prabhupad:
Bhagavad-gītā is not an ordinary book written by a poet or fiction writer; it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Any person, if he is fortunate enough to hear these teachings from Kṛṣṇa or from His bona fide spiritual representative, is sure to become a liberated person and get out of the darkness of ignorance.
Bhagavad Gita 18.72(purport)
Unfortunately the new and improved Ramayana is now “an ordinary book written by a poet or fiction writer” and thus will not help anyone “get out of the darkness of ignorance”.
My understanding of Prabhupada’s teachings is one should not whimsically change the scripture to make it “more entertaining” to the materially conditioned mind. This is offensive. Furthermore in the article about the trilogy it said that Vrinda Sheth read from her book publicly at the “book launching” event. I will opine that this is worse nonsense than the activities of the professional Bhagavatam reciters in India. At least the professional Bhagavatam reciters are actually reciting the original text and people are getting at least somewhat purified.
And one last complaint; why is this nonsense being promoted and glorified on the official Iskcon news website? Maybe Iskcon News should hire people who have read Prabhupada’s books. In this way nonsense articles can be kept to a minimum.