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The round two of the legal battle defending the Russian version of Yogeshwar Shri Krishna's Bhagwad Gita was won by the Russian Hindus this morning on 21 March 12. The Court of Appeal in Tomsk, Siberia, Russia upheld the judgement that was delivered on 27th Dec 11 by the trial court there dismissing a petition asking for a ban on the Gita.

By the way, a court of law in Moscow had undergone the same exercise twice in earlier years and had dismissed a similar petition.


One wonders why similar petitions with a prayer for similar relief are taken up for hearing time and again causing tension and provocation internationally. It is a clear cut principle of Jurisprudence that once a court of law has heard a case and passed an order, a similar case making a prayer similar to the one already dismissed will not be listed for hearing or for passing an order. Of course, an aggrieved client may approach a higher court in appeal for reversing the judgment of a lower court but two different courts of same status are barred from hearing the same case with a similar cause of action. Moscow and Tomsk, Siberia are parts of one country, Russia and yet this legal faux pas took place .One wonders why?


HISTORY OF THE IMPERIAL RUSSIAN EMPIRE BEARS WITNESS TO THE FACT THAT THE CZARS RULED FROM MOSCOW OR SAINT PETERSBURG A LARGE EMPIRE SPREAD OVER EUROPE AND ASIA. Their subjects professed different faiths including Hindu Dharma. An engraving of the 18th century portrays a scene of Hindu worship in a temple in Astrakhan However, there were no cases in Imperial Russian courts of law for banning a  Hindu religious scripture. The Orthodox Church had full control over its flock and suffered not from a sense of insecurity.

When the Russian Communists came to power after a successful bloody revolution in 1917, they abolished churches and banned Christianity. The Bolsheviks ensured that padres converted cross into hammer or ploughshare and worked like the proletariat for their daily bread. Any activity even remotely connected with Christianity was not only frowned upon by the Soviets but also suppressed ruthlessly. In view of a large scale bloodshed like it was in Rome when the Roman Empire had persecuted Christians, the Russian Orthodox Church was decimated. It was not until the last decade of the 20th century that they resufaced after the fall of the Soviet Union. Now the orthodox Church went into a revenge mode and that too with a vengeance.

Meanwhile the Russian youth too stood liberated after the fall of the Russian communism. They needed solace for the soul that was missing in the Orthodox Church where superstitions galore ruled the roost. When the Church found white Russians reading Gita in Russian language in trains, tubes, buses and colleges, they were alarmed. The white Russian girls started wearing saris, boys sported tilak on their forehead and wore dhoti Kurta, the Orthodox Church was alarmed. The same sense of insecurity gripped them as had happened before when the Soviet Union came into existence. The Church planned and LAUNCHED A FULL SCALE ATTACK ON THE RUSSIAN HINDUS, Their ISKCON temples were demolished. Land allotment for temples was cancelled by Mayor of Moscow under pressure from Church. The Church, much against teachings of Christ, even resorted to violence, both mental and physical.

In the olden days the Russian Orthodox Church enjoyed backing of the Imperial Russian Court too. It had a sense of security and was well provided for. Bishops and members of the clergy lived like Lords and had best of both the worlds.

Came the Bolshevik revolution and the Czar or Czarina were killed and consigned to history. The new rulers of the Soviet Union, Vladimir lenin , Stalin and their communist colleagues were dead against the orthodox Church as it had sided with the Czar . The Church was dethroned and crushed. Important buildings were converted into museum or put to official use. Christianity gave way to communism and that was the end of the Church. Such a massive suppression of Christianity and dissipation of the Church was never seen before.

Came Gorbochov and his Perestroika and in its wake it uprooted communism With the advent of Putin, came the Russian Orthodox Church where even the Head of the State prayed. Christianity was, of course, revived but the sense of insecurity persisted. No priest or padre was sure if the good days of the Church had really returned.

International Society of Krishna Consciousness made heavy inroads into the white Russian youth and middle class because there they found solace and spiritual peace. The enlightened youth could not be fed on superstitions and divine powers of the church and they felt detached with the Church. Prabhupad, founder of ISKCON published and distributed the Russian language version of the Bhagvat Gita of Yogeshwar Shri Krishna and it took the Russians by storm. Their disturbed minds found answers to their questions and problems in the solutions that Krishna had given to Arjuna in the battlefield of Mahabharat. Afterall, this life is a battle for survival on a day to day basis.

The Russians entered the ISKCON temples to pray, adopted Hindu names, dresses and vowed to be preachers of the Hindu dharma. The Russian Orthodox Church was aghast and could not swallow it.

Their long arm reached the longer arm of administration and the two vowed not to let ISKCON flourish. On one pretext or the other, their temples were closed or shifted to suburbs of Moscow and other metropolitan cities to keep the youth away from them. Land allotment made by Mayor of Moscow was cancelled under pressure of the Church. But the ISKCON had grown roots and become strong. They bore it with bravery of a warrior and let the international society know how secular the Russian State was. Cases for declaring the Russian version of the Gita banned as a Terrorist literature bent upon destroying Russian culture were filed time and again, here and there.

When the enlightened courts of Moscow dismissed the Church inspired petitions of average citizens, a new trick of knocking at the doors of a far off court in Siberia was made use of. The Church was hitting its head against a stone wall and bleeding. On one dismissal of a petition against the Gita,  the mad men, as described by the Russian ambassador in India, filed an appeal in a court of appeal. Now today, on 21 March 2012 came the welcome judgment of the Court of Appeal dismissing the mischievous and misconceived petition and appeal stand rejected legally. The worship in the ISKCON will continue undisturbed as heretofore. Yogeshwar Shri Krishna’s Gita and its Russian language version,Shrimad Bhagwat Gita As It is scripted and edited by Swami Prabhupad Ji, founder of ISKCON will continue to be read, preached and propagated among one and all.

It is hoped that the Russian Orthodox Church will now not describe teachings of the Gita as Satanic nor Yogeshwar Shri Krishna as devilish nor the Hindu Dharma as a harbinger of Evil.

I would like to mention here that scores of enlightened Russians, including diplomats like the Russian ambassador in India, Indologists,   administrators and legal luminaries stood by the ISKCON movement and teachings of Yogeshwar Shri Krishna. The Indian social order, high and low, parliamentarians and construction workers stood for Gita like a phalanx in the Roman battle formation until the trumpets sounded the tune of victory.

The Gita says that wherever is Shri Krishna, victory is there. Gita comprises sayings of Yogeshwar Shri Krishna that guides all human beings through trials and tribulations of life right upto the goal, the Lakshya.

By Chitranjan Sawant


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