Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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The Revived ISKCON Communications Journal Addresses Key Issues with Intellectual Vigor
By Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Nov 13, 2023

By advancing spiritual and academic discourse within ISKCON, the recently revived ISKCON Communications Journal (ICJ) has emerged as an annual platform for engaging in theological and philosophical discussions and addressing contemporary sociological and institutional issues. Doing so reflects ISKCON’s intellectual vigor and an openness to contributions by sympathetic outsiders. The articles written by devotees are rooted in the teachings of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda and offer profound insights into complex spiritual understandings and societal concerns.

The 2023 ICJ came out in early November. In alignment with current publishing trends, the ICJ recently shifted from primarily printed copies to freely accessible online content to ensure a broader audience and greater impact. E-book versions of the current and back issues are located here

In the 2023 ICJ, some contributors reflect on the future of ISKCON. Jayānanda Dāsa provides valuable sociological insights as he delves into the necessary conditions for ISKCON’s survival and growth as a mainstream religion. Jānakī Devī Dāsī calls for institutional courage to deal with the state of child protection in ISKCON, and Viśākhā Devī Dāsī discusses making balanced judgments about women’s activities in ISKCON.

The ICJ’s editorial team and advisory board encourage in-depth discussions and meaningful exchanges, as is demonstrated, for example, by the publication in 2021 of two articles by partners in a long-running Christian and Vaisnava dialogue. Across the three volumes published thus far, the journal presents a blend of spiritual and academic discourse meant to stimulate thoughtful reflection and engage outsiders and ISKCON members alike.

Indeed, ICJ bravely addresses controversial topics, such as Srila Prabhupada’s remarks on Hitler and the Jews and his comment on “rape.” Joshua M. Greene discusses the former in the 2022 issue, and Graham M. Schweig, in ICJ 2023, provides a very nuanced understanding of the latter (guarding against misinterpretations while presenting the profound theology of devotion to Krishna). Such discussions are crucial and offer readers the opportunity to grapple with challenging passages and gain deeper insights into Prabhupāda’s teachings.

Interestingly, the ICJ is linked to the annual ISKCON Communications conference in Europe. Some authors featured in the 2022 ICJ were invited to present their topics at the 2023 Communications Conference in Italy. These conferences serve as a forum for further in-depth discussions.

The ICJ is a collective effort, with the editors and contributors hopeful of a good reception by the thinkers and leaders of society. In the words of Mahāprabhu Dāsa, the director of ISKCON Communications Europe and rejuvenator of the journal, “May it be a source of enlightenment, a bridge for understanding, and a platform for growth.”

Devotees can order printed copies of the journals through the Bhaktivedanta Library Services in Radhadesh, Belgium. 

Photo courtesy of Tirachard Kumtanom.