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Practical Action in Politics? — Letters

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We welcome your letters.
Write to BACK TO GODHEAD
51 West Allens Lane
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19119

I am a professor of political science and have encountered your BACK TO GODHEAD magazine many times throughout the past few years.

It seems that your movement has been criticized as having rather naive solutions to the critical world problems of today’s society. Granted that if everyone in the world simply meditated upon God and chanted Hare Krsna, there would be little need for an international power struggle between nations; still, the likelihood of such a Utopia is slim.

In the face of perhaps a global nuclear holocaust, is there any scope within Krsna consciousness for practical action—say as in the realm of politics?

Louis M. Nicholson
Chicago, Illinois

Our reply: Yes, we are taking practical action to solve the critical problems of the world. Unfortunately, our critics are unable to appreciate that we strike at the heart of the problem.

The heart of the problem facing society is sense gratification. Thinking that sense pleasures produce real happiness, people are feverishly pursuing sense gratification. And they align themselves with this or that leader in the hope that he will gratify their senses. Since all leaders do not agree on how to derive the optimum sense gratification, we have ideological divisions and conflict. This ongoing struggle has evolved into the present global nuclear threat. People need to be educated to understand that sense gratification is the cause of their distress and that human life is a rare and unique opportunity to awaken full God realization.

Our practical action consists, therefore, of preaching Bhagavad-gita so that people can adjust their misguided lives toward the path of pure devotional service. If the world’s leaders can somehow be convinced to take to Krsna consciousness, then they can organize society around Krsna conscious ideals. Just as in former times Lord Krsna convinced Arjuna, a political leader, to fight for the cause of God consciousness and defeat the demonic elements, so our mission is to convince present-day leaders to do the same. This is obviously not an easy mission. We require all the help we can get. Whether one is a political scientist, philosopher, administrator, statesman, or warrior, we invite him to cooperate with our mission to establish the devotional way of life in all spheres of society.

We do not expect—nor is it our goal—that people will sit all day and chant and meditate on God. But if they have enlightened leadership, they can be guided to work in such a way that all their talents and resources can be pooled for the progressive benefit of the social body. This is practical action—fighting ignorance with the sword of knowledge.

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I’d like to say that I think BACK TO GODHEAD magazine is the most interesting and fascinating magazine I have ever read. It is deep, philosophical, and refreshing. I really look forward to getting it every month. And the Hare Krsna religion has changed my life and thinking a great deal.

But I still believe in Christ and the Bible. So there’s something that has been bothering me. Can you tell me why the Second Commandment—”Thou shalt not take unto thee any graven images”—appears to contradict the worshiping of the Deities in your temples? Please let me know your thoughts.

Delia Jarvis
St. Louis, Missouri

Our reply: According to all world scriptures, God, the Supreme Person, is omnipotent. There is nothing He cannot do. He can appear anywhere and anytime, and He does appear, especially in response to the prayers of His pure devotees.

The Vedic scriptures of India describe the personal forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and His eternal associates in great detail. And the Vedas assert that when these forms are fashioned out of material elements like stone, wood, brass, and so on, Krsna Himself, at the request of His pure devotees, will appear in them to accept our worship. The Deity forms are therefore not idols but the Supreme Lord Krsna Himself. With material vision we are unable to see the spiritual form of God, but Krsna is so kind that He agrees to appear in a form that we can see. So although we should not imagine a form of God and worship that, we should understand that Krsna is non-different from His authorized Deity form in the temple.

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What a great magazine you have. It’s a blessing to receive such inspirational messages and photos every month. As a graphic artist, I applaud your magazine’s design and illustrations. Each and every issue is proof of the living reality of the message of Swami Prabhupada. Haribol!

Greg Golem
Detroit, Michigan

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I am a United States citizen from India. A few days back I found the January 1983 issue of BACK TO GODHEAD lying on the road at the University of Maryland campus in Catonsville, where I was attending a workshop.

The magazine was fresh and crisp, as if it had fallen there very recently. I picked it up instantly and touched the cover picture of Lord Visnu to my forehead in reverence.

It occurred to me that Lord Krsna wanted me to have it. Now I want to read all the issues. Therefore please enter my subscription right away.

Dharmendra Swamp, M.D.
Rockville, Maryland

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