The award-winning book Vanity Karma: Ecclesiastes, the Bhagavad-gita, and the meaning of life is now available as a high-quality ebook at the Kindle Store, on Google Play, and on iBooks.
What is life for? What may give it meaning? Does it have any meaning at all?
Such questions are independently explored both in the wisdom book Ecclesiastes and in the Bhagavad-gītā. In Vanity Karma, wisdom meets wisdom as these two perennial classics come together, uniting in a fascinating exploration.
Jayadvaita Swami, an American monk in the Indian tradition of Krishna spirituality, offers us a deep and authentic spiritual understanding that, we may find, can infuse our lives with meaning and with joy.
“As a scholar of Ecclesiastes, I am deeply impressed with his grasp of the book’s message. I enthusiastically recommend this book to all.” –Tremper Longman III, author of the New International Commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes
Vanity Karma is the winner of the 2016 Benjamin Franklin gold award given by the Independent Book Publishers Association for the year’s best book in the category “Religion.”
The 2016 Srila Prabhupada Tributes book – “the open Vyasa-puja book” – is now available as a pdf file from www.sptributes.com. Physical books have already been mailed.
Each year, all initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada are welcome to write offerings for the book. And any disciple who sends an offering will receive a physical copy of the book.If you were initiated by Srila Prabhupada but didn’t receive an invitation to contribute, please write to sptributes (at) gmail.com in order to be added to the mailing list.
The scans for this chapter are the latest in a series that shows all the revisions done for the transliterations, word meanings, and purports of the second edition. Nearly every revision also has a note explaining why it was done, along with an image from the BBT’s oldest manuscripts, allowing you to verify the history for yourself.
Jayadvaita Swami did his revisions for the second edition on a physical copy of the first edition. The scans show that copy. (Revisions to the translations aren’t shown, because he edited them separately, not in the book itself.) Each chapter forms one downloadable pdf file.
The scans for this chapter give you much to see.
You’ll see the extensive first paragraph to 9.26 (patram puspam phalam toyam). This paragraph appeared in the 1968 abridged edition, and devotees often relished and quoted it, especially its memorable line “Who is such a fool that he does not want to be Krsna conscious by this simple method?” In the 1972 edition this paragraph was left out. In the 1983 edition it has been restored.
You’ll see twenty-six of Srila Prabhupada’s Sanskrit quotations recovered (seven in the purport to text 2 alone).
You’ll see several places where the 1972 edition includes Srila Prabhupada’s explanation for a Sanskrit word but leaves out the word he is explaining — and the second edition restores the missing word. (For example: avasam in the purport to text 8, udasinavat in text 9, and vyapasritya in text 32.)
You’ll find out about new translations the original editor pasted into the manuscript over Srila Prabhupada’s (and see examples).
You’ll also see the thirteen verses for which the original word-for-word meanings were done by a BBT Sanskrit editor, not by Srila Prabhupada himself.
Apart from images for specific changes, the scans for this chapter include thirteen complete sample pages from the original manuscripts, including four pages showing those BBT-supplied word-for-word meanings.
Whether you’re for “the changes,” against them, or neutral, here’s another opportunity to see what the changes actually are.
For devotees who have been critical of the second edition but are thoughtful and open-minded, the scans for this chapter provide ample food for thought.
Lately I’ve had occasion to recall Bridge on the River Kwai, a classic film from the 1950s. The film concerns a fictional Colonel Nicholson, a British officer in World War II, a man of determination and courage, who is confined with his officers and men in Burma in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Nicholson rallies the spirit of his men by leading them in building a bridge critical for the Japanese supply line, but he becomes so obsessed with the project that he loses sight of the interests of his country.
The film has nothing to do with Krishna consciousness, but sometimes when we ask ourselves why people do the things they do, the complex figure of Colonel Nicholson may provide a helpful psychological model.
BBT Africa holds an annual conference, each year in a different part of Africa, as part of the BBT’s partnership with the African temples, members, and supporters of the Hare Krishna movement. The first conference was held in Durban, South Africa, in 2010. In the following years it was held in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Phoenix (Mauritius), and Accra. This year the conference returns to Durban.