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ISKCON Studies Journal Vol. 1

May 2009

Book Review: The Caitanya Vaiṣṇava Vedānta of Jīva Goswāmī: When Knowledge Meets Devotion

Stefanie Schott

Ravi M. Gupta
Abingdon, Routledge, 2007
ISBN: 9780415405485

Book Review: The Worldview of Personalism: Origins and Early Development

Tattvavit Dāsa

Jan Olof Bengtsson
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006
ISBN 0-19-929719-3

Book Review: Interpretations of the Bhagavad-gītā and Images of the Hindu Tradition

Merudevī Dāsī

Catherine A. Robinson
Abingdon: Routledge, 2006

Book Review: The Rival Positions in the IRM–GBC Controversy within ISKCON. Authorised statements by Krishnakant Desai and Christopher Shannon

Ferdinando Sardella

Ed. Rahul Peter Das
Halle (Saale): Sudasienwissenschaftliche Arbeitsblatter, Band 9. 2006
ISBN 10:3-86010-844-1

Book Review: The Rival Positions in the IRM–GBC Controversy within ISKCON. Authorised statements by Krishnakant Desai and Christopher Shannon

Måns Broo

Ed. Rahul Peter Das
Halle (Saale): Sudasienwissenschaftliche Arbeitsblatter, Band 9. 2006
ISBN 10:3-86010-844-1

A History of Education in ISKCON

Yadunandana Swami

In his role as principal of Bhaktivedanta College, ISKCON’s first theological seminary, Yadunandana Swami is uniquely placed to author this introduction to ISKCON’s often troubled educational history. In it he speaks with some of the people who were responsible for the development of education in ISKCON and charts the development of ISKCON education from being primarily concerned with teaching children to focusing on the Society’s adult members. This paper provides a context for understanding education in ISKCON today.

Social Theory and Schisms in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Braja Bihārī Dāsa

This paper focuses on ISKCON’s schisms – what attracted ISKCON members to leave the organisation and form their own groups, often in competition with ISKCON. We will examine the history of these groups and apply several social theories to that history – theories that can be helpful in explaining why members take part in schisms. ISKCON provides a particularly useful forum for examining schisms in religious organisations, since events are recent and most of the key participants still alive.

The Analysis of Norms in Statements on Interfaith Relations

Simon M. Haas

What makes for an effective and enduring statement on interfaith relations? What principles should one apply in formulating such a text? This article identifies the need to focus on norms in the drafting and critical assessment of such formal documents. It demonstrates how norms form the basis of every functional statement on interfaith relations. Neglect of the normative dimension in the creation of such a document, the author argues, diminishes the value of the document correspondingly and gives birth to a formal text that has less than complete integrity. The author then illustrates how a normative analysis tends to expose internal pressures, ambiguities, and contradictions in a formal text. Attention to norms therefore helps tighten drafting and offers a compelling, if not a necessary, approach for the critical analysis of statements on interfaith relations.

Hermeneutical Strategies in Jīva Gosvāmī’s Bhāgavata-sandarbha

Ravi M. Gupta

The task of a Vedantic commentator is to show that his philosophical viewpoint consistently and comprehensively explains the entire body of scriptural texts. This interpretive task becomes especially challenging in two areas where scripture often makes conflicting statements: the nature of Brahman and the relation of the world to Brahman. In this essay, Ravi Gupta shows how Jīva Gosvāmī addresses these two Vedantic concerns from a Caitanya Vaiṣṇava standpoint in Bhāgavata-sandarbha. The key to Jīva Gosvāmī’s hermeneutical strategy lies in the concept of Bhagavān, which is the starting point for the doctrines of a three-fold Godhead and a three-fold energy. Gupta argues that these two well-known doctrines are more than ontological claims about the nature of Divinity; they also serve as hermeneutical tools to explain, interpret, and reconcile conflicting scriptural statements.

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