Russian court mulling ban on “extremist” holy book that incites to violence: the Bhagavad Gita

With Chechnya and the Caucasus always simmering with jihad, and Beslan, and jihad attacks and plots in Moscow and everywhere, Russian authorities are waking up to the possibility that religious texts can incite people to violence. And so they’re considering banning…the Bhagavad Gita. No kidding.

The Lok Sabha is the lower house of Parliament in India.

“Lok Sabha storm as Russian court decides whether to ban Bhagavad Gita,” from NDTV, December 19 (thanks to HJS):

Moscow: The Lok Sabha was adjourned this morning over protests against the demand for a ban on the Bhagavad Gita in a Russian court.

In a Siberian court, state prosecutors have petitioned that the Gita, distributed locally by ISKCON members, is “extremist” literature. The court in Siberia’s Tomsk city is scheduled to deliver its verdict today….

Earlier today, Congress MP Milind Deora tweeted, “Absurd to suggest the Bhagwad Gita is even remotely pro-violence! Hope Russian Courts appreciate its intrinsic appeal in a pluralistic India.”

The case, which has been going on in Tomsk court since June this year, seeks to get a Russian translation of Bhagvad Gita As It Is written by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), on the Hindu religious text banned in Russia and declaring it as a literature spreading “social discord”, apart from rendering its distribution on Russian soil illegal….

The prosecutor’s case also seeks to ban the preaching of Prabhupada and ISKCON’s religious beliefs, claiming these were “extremist” in nature and preached “hatred” of other religious beliefs.

“They have not just tried to get the Bhagvad Gita banned, but also brand our religious beliefs and preachings as extremist,” Das said….

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  1. says

    The Gita is actually known to some as the kolai nul, the “book of carnage”. The difference between this and the Qur’an is striking. The setting is a fierce battle to liberate the lands from evil rulers – I would say similar to liberating Spain from Islam or defeating Hitler. Not once does it call for killing people just because of their belief or nationality. Arjuna actually grieves for the loss of great warriors on the opposing side.

  2. says

    You’ve gotta be kidding me!

    Apart from it (Bhagavad Gita) being delivered to Arjuna by Lord Krishna (he was the charioteer) in the battle between the Kaurava vs. Pandava in the epic story of the battle of Mahabharata, the story of Bhagavad Gita is tame by anyone’s definition. Btw, FYI, I am an agnostic.

  3. says

    Having read both the B.G. and the Koran and investigating the belief systems of both (16 yrs. LEO and investigator, now retired) I can tell you that there is a big difference in the two. The B.G. does not sanction murder and it does not demand Jizya or any other payment by non-believers. It does not ok lying as a weapon of Jihad nor does it advocate any of the things we find in the Koran that allows it to mistreat unbelievers. The comparison between the two is ridiculous. Note: I am not a Hindu.

  4. says

    Legacy of the anti-religious Communist era?

    They want to ban an “extremist” violent text, read this, Skeptic’s Cruelty and Violence in the Quran … this ‘sacred’ book has lots of violence to ban.

    Not exactly the Golden Rule, this one #21:

    (Q 2:178) O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his (injured) brother, prosecution according to usage and payment unto him in kindness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. He who transgresseth after this will have a painful doom.

    Somebody murders one of your slaves, go and murder one of his? … Inverse GR?… Hey, we found equality in Koran!

  5. says

    Great! Maybe its the vodka or maybe Russians are just too stupid. Bu they support Iran and protect it against sanctions, they help Iran build reactors. They have a never ending love fest with the Islamists the world over. Sometime I feel the Russians deserve what is coming to them in a few years.

    Let the 3 million or so Muslims in Moscow flourish. Let the already 30% Muslim representation in the Russian army flourish. Russian men are falling like flies and face down in the mud in a pile of vomit. The women folk cant find enough bridegrooms. So, let the already high marriage and conversion rates of Russian women to Central Asian and Caucasus Muslim men flourish.Pardon me, but this is my utter surprise at the stupidity of the Russians speaking.

  6. says

    [b]Great! Maybe its the vodka or maybe Russians are just too stupid. They have a never ending love fest with the Islamists the world over.[/b]

    Sadly, You are correct (to a degree), KaffirPagan. Do not forget that at some point, several years ago, Russia was also considering (seriously) joining OIC. Russia has a very peculiar (and complex) geopolitical situation, but it does not refute a complete irresponsibility and crookedness of the current, so called, Kremlin “elites” who would do anything to stay in power and use any pretext to, including a debilitating concept of Eurasian-ism, which implies games with Islam.

  7. says

    We should sue Koran and Hadith in the USA and European courts, since those books can be proven to induce violence and hatred of the non-Muslims and Muslims who do not submit to its teachings of hate.

    After all, those terrorists plunging planes into WTO on 9/11/2001 did not shout Hail Mary, Shema Israel, Our Father, OM, or whatever Hindu chant, but Allahu Akbar, which had become a war cry of all Islamic the terrorists in the world, responsible for over 90% of ALL violent activities against civilians.

    Since Koran and Hadith are the key sources of this supremacist ideology of hate of non-Muslims, and promoter of pedophilia, polygamy, apartheid and murder, it needs to be expunged of those vile messages inciting violence against both Muslims and non-Muslims.

    Islam is a blasphemy against humanity and incompatible with the Universal De3claration of Human Rights, which most Muslims countries refused to sign. Those countries should be expelled from the UN because they should not be allowed to spread their lies and defamation of the countries like US and Israel, who respect human rights of ALL its citizens, and enjoy the freedom we have in the US.

  8. says

    “Islam is a blasphemy against humanity and incompatible with the Universal De3claration of Human Rights, which most Muslims countries refused to sign

    That is true…I am reminded of another article which contained information about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and then the Islamic replacement the “Cairo Declaration of Human Rights”

    “Remember also that in Islamic law, the freedom of conscience is extinguished. The great Lebanese statesmen Charles Malik saw this up close among Muslims in Lebanon. And so when he served as a rapporteur for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1947 and 1948, and helped draft the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he made sure that it contained a statement about the right to be free from coercion in matters of belief.

    Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

    One would think that would be a given, something taken for granted by all people. But Islamic countries protested against it and later drew up their down Declaration of Human Rights, in Cairo. The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights says that the sole arbiter of what rights human beings have is the Sharia, Islamic law. And Sharia makes the free exercise of one’s conscience a capital offense. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, said, “If anyone changes his religion, kill him.”

  9. says

    This page has a good summation on Yoga and Vedanta as taught by the Gita.

    see Gita ch. 2, v. 45 – 48 for the key to Krishna’s wisdom: be without the three gunas, (i.e., the field of multiplicity), rise to the level of resolute intellect and experience one’s Self as a field of unfettered happiness, all the while engaged in activity and one’s earthly duties.

  10. says

    It’s been a while since I read the Bhagavad Gita. But I do seem to recall that it was about some warrior king having qualms about leading his forces onto the field of battle, on which many kinsmen and even wise men would surely be killed, and the god Krishna impersonating his charioteer to convince him to go out and perform the martial duties fundamental to his station in life.

    But the Russian Court probably is as clueless about anything theological as any of its counterparts elsewhere in the “post-Christian” world.

    Something tells me, however, that this action by a Russian court reflects a deep-seated unease about a new and possibly uncontrollable group invading the spiritual space of Russia and upsetting an apple cart that has been badly upset a good many times already in the recent past. Russia has a long tradition of heavy-handed government interference in people’s associations and of persecution of minority and heretical religious groups, from the Raskolniki down to the Baptists. But now that Stalin has been officially eschewed, the Russian court has to find some kind of tame-sounding turn of legalistic phrase to make their decision to ban the Hare Krishna folks seem reasonable and “moderate” to the rest of the world, and to that portion of Russia that knows about and envies America’s First Amendment (and/or similar constitutional provisions enforced in other countries–as an American, I simply know my own country best).

  11. says

    For the moment, looks like Russians can sleep easy knowing that none of those notorious terrorists inspired by the Bhagavad Gita will attack them! But for the future, at least there’s a small precedent for pursuing other holy books that may “incite violence” 😉

  12. says

    This is truly absurd. I have read the Bhagavad Gita in the original Sanskrit, along with Shankara’s commentary. As others have said, it is quite tame compared both to the Qur’an and even the Old Testament, and consists of a discussion between a warrior, who before a battle has qualms and says to his charioteer: “Isn’t it wrong to kill? How can I kill my relatives?”, which leads to a long discussion of his place in the world and morality and so forth. It isn’t exactly pacifist, but it is hardly warmongering, and it certainly doesn’t call for violence against non-Hindus. There’s no more reason to condemn the Bhagavad Gita as encouraging violence and divisiveness than the Iliad, the Chanson de Roland, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the Tale of the Heike, or War and Peace.

  13. says

    How many Hindus after reading the Bhagvad Gita, flew planes and rammed them into buildings killing 3000 people?
    How many Hindus after reading the Bhagvad Gita, screamed Om and killed 13 US soldiers in Fort Hood?
    How many Hindus after reading the Bhagvad Gita, kill, maim or otherwise hurt their wives, sisters, mothers, daughters?

    Banning of any book is meaningless unless the koran was banned first. That is the one book which has incited most number of people to violence.

  14. says

    The Bhagavad Gita does provoke violence, look what happened in Denmark. So does the Bible example – Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia…etc etc…

    Let us all adopt the one peaceful book – the Quran and live in peace like in Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia…etc etc…

  15. says

    It’s an absolute scandal to compare the Bhagavad Gita with quran. The Bhagavad Gita is an epic story of a war between cousins, the Pandavas and the Kauravas for the trone. Like many epic stories of wars in the bible it is not a threat. The ultimate goal of Gita teaching is to lead man to resolve his own conflicts and to react in a less egotic way. The dialogue between Krishna is all about meaning of life. And not a single sentence is about war on other religions. I read it myself many time, even with better comments than the iskcon (Hare Krishna)comments. It’s a fact it’s not usual for hindus to be proselytes like iskon; but they are not more a threat to freedom than many christian proselytes. And the argument to protect the russian orthodox identity is not less than a way to build a new inquisition. I know many hindus, they are Israel friendly more than the rest of the world. They fight against the same islam threat than Israel in the democratic state of India. And if people better would take just a little time to study the Indian civilization, they would also know the great discovers this civilization brought to us and finally respect it——

  16. says

    Peter, it is not in Robert mind to compare Bhagavad Gita to quran. He is not an inquisitor, but did you read my answer previously ? And this also Robert answer to muslims threat against iskcon in Denmark ——

  17. says

    Russian court mulling ban on “extremist” holy book that incites to violence: the Bhagavad Gita

    What a bunch of morons. As though India and Nepal are attacking their neighbors while inflamed with readings of the Bhagavad Gita. As though Hindus are committing acts of violent terrorism in Russia while clutching copies of that same book.

    As for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), I do tend to find them a bit cultish for my taste. But violence? I have *never* heard of a single act of violence connected with them.

    Oh, wait”here they are *victims* of violent Muslims:

    “Denmark: Muslims attack Hare Krishna temple”

    I know that some posters opine that Russia”not being hampered by Western sentimentality and political correctness”is more than equal to the task of facing the Jihad threat.

    Then I see things like this, or hear about Russia selling nuclear parts to Iran, or making insane compromises leading to a virtual Shari’ah state in Chechnya, and I believe they are as at sea as is the West”just in rather different ways.

  18. says

    I suspect much of Russia’s unease with the West and with itself stems from its identity crisis and its historical inferiority complex WRT the “West.” No wonder Peter the great started the so called modernization of Russia after his visits to Holland and other “Western” countries having witnessed their accomplishments first hand.

    Russia straddles the Eurasian landmass. It is confused and does not know where it belongs. It wrongly thinks of Europe as its enemy. Heck it is even wary of harmless Poland! Much of its support for Muslim countries that oppose the West is extended for the sole purpose of defying the Western countries. I read somewhere in the news that Russia says it will stand with Pakistan were Nato to attack Pakistan and is now threatening the disruption of the Northern Distribution Network.

    Russia needs to see that its true salvation lies with Europe. It is undermining its own civilizational foundations by undermining the West by standing with Islam. It is after all a Christian nation. Russia should never forget that its mother church in Byzantine was usurped by the Turks.

    Regarding their banning of the Gita- Russians have full right to exert their Orthodox Christian identity within their nation. However, when the Caucasus are burning and when now Moslem’s comprise 30% of the army and about 25% of its citizentry, banning the Gita is an example of misplaced priority.

    However, with the resurgence of Orthodox Christianity in Russia in recent times, a backlash against non-Abrahamic faiths is to be expected. Islam would be much tolerable to the Christians than would Hindusim or Buddhism because, say what you will, both are similar in their rejection of idolatry and their iconoclasm, their common religious figures, their use of penance, resurrection and eternal hell fire-eternal life as central dogmas of their faith.

    The creator and his creation are separate for the Christians and Moslems, while every human being (even inanimate things like rocks, animals, trees!) is potentially divine in Buddhism and Hinduism. The creator and creation are inseparable. Now this is unacceptable! Also Eastern religions with their weird concepts of reincarnation, realization of the GOD within, unusual practices like yoga, meditation is a serious anathema to the Abrahamic faiths. So when a Christian or Moslem society reasserts its religious identity, the first victims are always pagans because they are the common enemy. Only after the pagans are vanquished do they turn against themselves– Moslem vs Christian, Jews vs Christians, Jews vs Muslim. Even in Europe, the Christians vanquished the Pagans first and then later turned against the Jews. Ditto Mohammed. He smashed the idols of Kabbah and then killed or drove off the Jews and Christians from the peninsula.

    This is just history repeating itself. Nothing more. Cheers! So no hard feelings really. Pagans are meant to be slaughtered.

    Anyway, the dubious organizations like ISCON and Krishna consciousness that proselytize false Dharma have often been found to be fronts for CIA operations. Probably, the Russians are thinking of banning the Book not because of the book per say but because of what organizations do.


  19. says

    Kaffir Pagan

    Every time you use the phrase ‘Abrahamic Faiths’ you are using a nonsense phrase invented by Mohammedan propagandists.

    If you haven’t read this interview with Australian priest and critic of Islam, Mark Durie, you should.

    In it, among other things, he talks about this ‘abrahamic faith’ canard.

    “When non-Muslims go into interfaith dialogue without a good understanding of Islam, they are severely handicapped. The dialogue can easily be manipulated to become an exercise in da’wa, or proclaiming Islam.

    “A good example is the label “Abrahamic faith.”

    “**This is a Koranic term, and in Islam it stands for the idea that Abraham was a Muslim.** {my emphasis – dda}

    According to the Koran, the faith of Abraham is Islam.

    “**Getting Jews and Christians to speak about “Abrahamic religions” has been a great coup – it is a manifestation of the Islamization of our religious discourse.** ” {my emphasis – dda}.

    It is a Muslim invention, cooked up for the purpose of fooling naive Jews and Christians and, ultimately suckering them into Islam. Anyone who *knows* what Judaism or Christianity are about, can see that what Islam does with biblical stories and characters is not simple plagiarism but destructive and in many cases, *reversal* – destructive reversal, suggesting malice aforethought.

    Furthermore: how do you propose to explain away the fact that a thoroughly-religious Jew, Franz Rosenzweig, who knew his own faith very well and had given careful consideration to the basic tenets of others, classified Islam as being based on assumptions that are thoroughly nonbiblical or even antibiblical?

    I would also suggest to you that to express what appears to be glee over say, an anticipated Islamisation of (nominally) Christian Russia, is most unseemly and indeed ugly and unhelpful.

    NO sane and decent non-Muslim should exhibit pleasure over the prospect of ANY non-Muslim person, organisation or nation – however much they may personally dislike that person, organisation or nation- being devoured and destroyed by Islam.

    There *is* real persecution of Christians by some Hindus in some parts of India. You may choose to deny that – or, worse, to excuse and support it – but it is real. The Barnabas Fund, who are scrupulous in their research and would never say things lightly or make things up, testify to it; just as they testify, continuously, to the Muslim persecution of Christians, and the ‘secular’ totalitarian tyrannical Chinese and North Korean persecution of Christians.

    Nevertheless: there is NO WAY I would see an Islamic conquest/ takeover of India as anything but a terrible tragedy for the entire non-Muslim population of the planet. You will not see me dancing on India’s predicted grave as you, just now, appeared to be dancing on Russia’s predicted grave.

  20. says

    Regarding their banning of the Gita- Russians have full right to exert their Orthodox Christian identity within their nation. However, when the Caucasus are burning and when now Moslem’s comprise 30% of the army and about 25% of its citizentry, banning the Gita is an example of misplaced priority.

    Where do you get those numbers? Yeah, there is a high concentration of Muslims in the Caucausus. And then there is Taterstan. But aside from that, most of the Muslims in Russia were Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks and so on. In the 10 years after the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russians in those countries – Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, et al have returned to Russia, while Kazakhs, Uzbeks, et al have returned to their countries.

    On Russia’s right to exert itself as a Russian Orthodox nation, that’s fine, but that country – prior to Communism – had a practice of not converting its East Siberian populace – mainly Mongol races practicing Buddhism & Shamanism, which are as un-Christian as Hinduism. More accurately, Hare Krishna & ISKCON is a cult, which they could have moved against w/o doing anything about the Bhagvad Gita, & nobody would have noticed. By banning the Gita itself, they needlessly upset Hindus, but more seriously for Russia, have for the first time that I can recall, signalled Indians that they are no friend of Indians. I mean, in the Lok Sabha, it was a Congress legislator, rather than one from any Hindutva party, who protested about this. The Bhagvat Gita itself is not a separate book – it’s a part of the Mahabharata. Does that imply that the Mahabharata would be banned in Tomsk or wherever?

    I agree w/ DDA though – bunching Christianity & Judaism along w/ Islam is downright fraudulent. As has been discussed here on several occasions, the ‘people of the book’ status that the quran ostensibly gives these 2 is really more than offset by what it says in other places. Also, there is no way you can deny that even in Saudi Arabia, while Hindus have a lower status than Christians, there is no ban on Hindus working in that country, but there is a ban on Jews. That ought to tell one about whether the Muslims really hate Pagans worse than Jews.

    While DDA is right that there is a real persecution of some Christians by some Hindus, I’d say, w/o either denying or endorsing it, that more often than not, it’s a reaction to in-your-face proselytization by Christians of Hindus. In major cities, it doesn’t happen, but it does tend to happen in remote & tribal areas, and when their sensitivities are rubbed the wrong way, they react, and the backlash is perceived as a Hindu-on-Christian persecution. Personally, I do support the right of anybody to regard other religions as false, but if you keep telling that to someone in his face, you can see how it will rub someone the wrong way. In some states, in reaction to this, laws have been enacted banning conversion. And guess what – while it violates the right of Christian missionaries to convert anybody, it also prevents Muslim dawa artists from doing the same.

    I do however agree w/ DDA that there is no reason to gloat about any Islamization of Russia, which I think won’t happen before Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and all its southern Muslim neighbors go totally Islamic. If it does ever happen, then geographically, it will be as tragic as the Muslim conquests in the 7th century of everything from Spain to India: a Muslim empire from the Bering strait to Senegal, and from the Arctic Ocean to the Arabian Sea is too monstrous to contemplate. At that stage, a nuclear war would be unavoidable – almost on the same grounds as the Bhagvad Gita preaches: one has to take up arms in the war of righteousness against evil.

  21. says

    Yours is the most spot on comments concerning the Gita I’ve read so far. I read a translation of the Gita back in college and was left with the impression that Arjuna was engaged in a interior struggle concerning where his duty lay when loyalties conflict and the personal cost is great.

    Banning the Gita would be like claiming King Lear should be banned because it advocates invadeing and making war on ones own homeland with a foreign army, a act the character Cordelia performs, but is hardly one of the major moral points of the story.

  22. says

    Yes, there is persecution of Christians by Hindus in India. But not on anything like the scale of persecution of Christians by moslems worldwide. Nor is the persecution of non-Hindus a religious duty explicitly commanded by Hinduisms central religious texts so far as I am aware.

    I believe we can deal with the lunatic fringe of most religions. And all religions will have their lunatic fringe. But when lunacy is not the reservation of a fringe element and hatred of the non-believer is a central theme and teaching? When genocide is held as a high and noble goal? When perpetual war on the non-believer and persecution of the conquered are advocated as a religiously ordained way of life and such is tantamount to a societal act of worship? At that point things do become a little more serious.

  23. says

    You wrote: ‘Yes, there is persecution of Christians by Hindus in India.’

    You meant to write: Yes, there is persecution of Christians by certain Hindus in India.’

    95%(unscientific)of Hindus don’t view Christianity as a threat. For example, there are christians(the KKK and the like) out there who view hindus as being lower. But the total percentage of them are miniscule compared to the overall christians that are good-hearted.