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Russians lead ‘Gita Marathon’ every Dec

Even as a Russian court has rejected a petition demanding a ban on a translated version of Gita,International Society for Krishna Consciousness has been selling more than one lakh copies of the “controversial” book during the month of December every year in Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat.

Written by Mandar Chitre | Ahmedabad | Published: January 1, 2012 3:40:53 am

Even as a Russian court has rejected a petition demanding a ban on a translated version of Gita,International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has been selling more than one lakh copies of the “controversial” book during the month of December every year in Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat.

As part of “Gita Marathon”,an event during which ISKCON volunteers sell maximum number of Bhagwad Gita copies in a year,sale of the book picks up after December 6,which is Moksda Ekadasi,the day on which Lord Krishna is believed to have given his sermon to Arjun in the battlefield.

On December 26 and 27 this year,ISKCON volunteers sold around 10,000 copies of Gita in Veraval alone.

“It is difficult to say how many Bhagvad Gita copies we sell in a year,but in December every year,we sell a huge number across the world. This December,our branch in Delhi sold four lakh copies and in Mumbai,around three lakh copies were sold,” said Vyas Muni Prabhuji,an ISKCON preacher in Ahmedabad.

In a Siberian city of Tomsk in Russia,the prosecutors argued that the Russian translation of Bhagvad Gita spreads hatred among the non-believers. The court rejected their petition and India too described it as “patently absurd”.

In Ahmedabad,around 11 volunteers (swamis) from Russia and Ukraine leave for the city every morning at 8 after performing the daily prayers,Mangal Aarti. The lot,along with a few Indian volunteers (swamis) who help them with translation,visits markets,residential areas,schools and colleges to sell the books on Vaishnav sect.

“Our goal is to spread knowledge. We sell Bhagwad Gita,books on Krishna charitras,Ramayana and small books on karma,yoga and reincarnation. We go door-to-door and request people to read these books and visit our temple,” said Anand Gopal Das (27),a volunteer (swami) who was born in Ukraine and joined Vaishnav sect in Russia. Anand Gopal Das has shed his old name,Andre Nikitin.

According to Vyas Muni Prabhuji,there use no marketing tactics. The organisation charges a minimal cost of Rs 90,which they spend on the printing of the book. “We don’t distribute Bhagvad Gita as a religious book,we propagate it as a user manual of human beings,” says Vyas Muni Prabhuji.

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