It came to our knowledge that the court of the Siberian city of Tomsk is considering a petition by the state prosecutors to ban the distribution of the Russian translation of a Hindu ancient scripture called the Bhagavad Gita.
It seems that the distribution of this book by the local members of the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) has upset the local government for no good reason and has led to a senseless petition that is discussed in court during these very days.
By approving this petition and banning the distribution of the Bhagavad Gita or declaring it illegal, Russia will have moved back into the dark ages of burning books and disallowing freedom of expression and basic human right. Surely the greatness of Russia as a cultural giant and world leader does not warrant this action.
We hereby strongly protest against the efforts that are made to ban the distribution of the Bhagavad Gita as what the prosecutor claims to be “extremist literature”. The only extreme value of this ancient scripture is its great unfathomable wisdom of life. The prosecutors are appealing to the court to declare the Bhagavad Gita as a literature spreading ‘social discord’ while in truth the Bhagavad Gita only propagates social harmony and lofty human values.
We do not know if the prosecutor is driven by Christian fundamentalists and we do not care. Nor do we have any association with the ISKON organization. We consider a petition for banning this scripture a great offence against humanity as a whole, and a humiliating and shameful act done out of ignorance and narrow sightedness.
We are not of the Hindu faith, but have studied the Bhagavad Gita, as well as other great spiritual texts. This sacred text contains universal truths expressing highest wisdom and benevolence.
We are shocked to find out that a local court is Russia is even considering such a petition to ban the distribution of this book and trust that the court will decide to move against the petition and for the freedom of wisdom and life.
We implore and urge the high officials of the Russian embassy in Canada to convey our opinion to the Russian government and to ask them on our behalf to move immediately towards declaring this petition wrong and illegal.
Please convey this message to any high official in the Russian government that may be in a position to set things right and prevent this shameful banning of wisdom.
Please find below a short list of people who join the appeal expressed
in this letter.