Understanding Different Perspectives of Srila Prabhupada’s Statements
Recap of ISKCON Communications Global Conference
More than 100 leaders and devotees doing communications services from around the globe including India, the US, the UK, South Africa, and Europe joined the online conference on Saturday, January 22nd.
The headline event for the conference, “Reconciling Different Perspectives on Srila Prabhupada’s Statements”, by Radhika Raman das (Utah State University Professor, Vaishnava scholar, and author) dove into hermeneutics (or mimamsa), the theory and method of interpretation; how to understand statements from scripture.
“The same text can mean very different things, based on the understanding or interpretation of the reader/listener”, he said. The perspective of the reader/listener does make a difference in the interpretation and “not all interpretations are made equal and every tradition creates boundaries of what is considered acceptable or not,” he said.
Radhika Raman das used a Christian proverb, Matthew 5, as an example. Applying the Christian interpretations on this proverb within the bounds of the tradition radically differs from say a Marxist lens, as it no longer fits within the bounds of the tradition. An individual’s reading/hearing brings one’s own historical context and affects how one hears/reads. Therefore one must be self-reflective, he suggested.
A few scholarly principles Radhika Raman das left for everyone to take away for reading and understanding Srila Prabhupada and the acharya’s statements:
ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) has a Hermeneutics Committee that studies such statements within the hermeneutical principles, which Radhika Raman das is a member of. There is a course on this is offered for anyone to take or for a whole yatra by contacting Urmila Dasi: email@example.com
Other topics covered during the conference included: an overview of ISKCON Communications by Anuttama das, GBC Member and Global Minister of Communications, “Identifying Bias in News Media” by Madan Gopal das, Co-Director of Communications North American and how this affects the ability to decipher the information.
Updates from the Communications Global team on the Bangladesh Crisis from Yudhistir Govinda das and Bhakta das, Director of Communications of India and Australia, and ISKCON New’s new website and management led by Managing Editor, Kamala Radha dasi.
May 15, 2022
Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium