Russian court rejects petition to ban Hindu scripture
Activists of the right-wing Hindu organization Shiv Sena burn a Russian flag in India on December 26, 2011.
December 29th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

Russian court rejects petition to ban Hindu scripture

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - A Russian court has rejected a petition that sought to ban a Russian translation of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's most important texts.

Hindus around the world expressed outrage after prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk said the scripture promoted extremism and social discord.

The billion-plus adherents of Hinduism consider the 700-verse Gita, written as a message from God taught by Lord Krishna, as sacred.

A district court rejected the complaint Wednesday, according to the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency.

"We expected a fair decision - we got it," said Alexander Shakhov, a lawyer representing the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). "It shows that there are still sanity and open-mindedness in Russia."

Sanjeet Jha, the head of the Hindu Council of Russia, said whatever allegations had been made were baseless.

"Whoever decided to do this was without thorough knowledge of this ancient literature," said Jha, a businessman from India who has lived in Russia for two decades.

"We are very thankful to the honorable court," he said. "This case concerns not only Hindus living here in Russia but throughout the world. The Gita has great meaning in our culture and civilization."

Jha estimated Russia's Hindu population at about 200,000.

ISKCON said it was first notified of a complaint filed by the public prosecutor's office that objected to the third Russian edition of the Gita with commentary by ISCKON founder Swami Prabhupada.

The Hindu American Foundation in the United States said prosecutors took words from the Gita out of context and wrote a complaint to the Russian Embassy in Washington.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Books • Courts • Hinduism

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. bob smeegul

    would things be any better in the world, if we were all mezmerized by a bunch of female gods..... maybe

    January 1, 2012 at 6:25 am |
  2. Greg Powell

    May you and I both have our best year ever of abiding in Jesus, being filled by the Holy Spirit, and resting in Abba's arms. May we love with God's love and patience, battle with God's power and courage, and walk in His ways and will. Since His desire is that every single human on earth be saved and come to a full knowledge of the truth, may we pray and work to that end, trusting in His power, crying out for His grace and mercy. May we be more conformed to His moral likeness and less conformed to the world system than ever. May we bring more pleasure to God, more cause for celebration to the holy angels, and more frustration to the demons than ever. May this be our best year ever because God got so much glory from our broken, humbled, devoted, obedient lives; and because so many hurting, screwed up, sinful image-bearers experienced unmerited, non-judgmental, affectionate, and sacrificially practical love when they let us into their lives; and because we were more zealously focused than ever on the expansion of the Kingdom of Jesus, one heart at a time... starting with our own.

    January 1, 2012 at 3:44 am |
  3. Greg Powell

    Please read http://www.FindingLifeInJesus.com

    January 1, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • ASDF

      Calm down old man.

      January 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  4. jason bourne

    FYI, Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of tamil tigers was a methodist(Christian) and not Hindu. Many of the leaders of LTTE were christians.

    December 31, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Smirnov

    I can't believe the court didn't ban the 'Gita',these Indians are taking our Moscow and St.Petersburg and they're destroying our country and culture.

    Russia has donated billions of dollars in AID to India,we're also one of India's largest trading partners,and we've given India's military many weapons and aircraft's,we help develop India's nuclear program and donated all the material required,and today these ungrateful Hindu fanatics are burning our flag and in the future they could potentially bomb us with the nuclear bomb we made for them.

    We should impose sanctions on India,they're not a reliable ally in the region.

    December 30, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • Kevin

      Russian aid to India and current foreign relations do not give your country the right to persecute Hindus. Religious freedom and civil liberties exist either for everyone or for no one. When you start limiting the rights of one group you endanger your own.

      December 30, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • Nk

      Smirnov, had too much Smirnoff? You sound delusional.. get help.

      December 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  6. Brian

    Hinduism is a violent and barbaric religion,you can see these Hindu radicals burning the Russian flag the same way Middle easterners burn the American flag.

    I think we should ban the immigration of Indians,and we should bring back all of our jobs we outsourced or we should outsource them to another (poorer)country,

    It must be tough for a non-Hindu to live in India.

    December 30, 2011 at 3:06 am |
    • Abhi

      Okay, so first, you suggest that we ban ALL Indians coming to the United States, when clearly not ALL Indians are Hindu (you yourself "pity" those non-Hindu individuals who live in India). Clearly this is just a brash and ignorant comment that deserves to be denounced.

      Secondly, what on earth do you know about Hinduism? In what position are you to make judgement about Hinduism? Can you site one incident where mainstream Hindus violently attacked anyone in the United States? How is the religion in anyway violent and/or barbaric? Hinduism is a diverse and complex religion at its heart, just as Christianity is and there are extreme sects. In any religion there are extreme groups. Christianity, Islam, etc. included.

      In fact, unlike Christianity and Islam, Hindus do not actively seek out to convert other individuals. They do not try to convince other people that their path is the true way, or shove their religion in other people's faces. They do not act in the name of religion to promulgate violence.

      Bigotry and religious hatred should not be tolerated. You, sir, should go to hell.

      December 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Brian

      Aren't the Shiv Sena and Tamil tigers Hindu terrorist who carry out terrorist attacks in the name of Hinduism.

      Also,most Hindus may not actively seek out to convert other people,but non-Hindus and people of lower castes(untouchables)are persecuted in Indian society,which makes their life miserable and forces them to convert.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Nk

      Brian, your comments are so ignorant. One can only laugh at it. But just in case, thought to show you some light, may be some of your ignorance will wear off.
      You are pointing to Hinduism as if I can point to your Christian slavery, that you committed not too long ago, like the witch hunting you did not too long ago (still do some places), like the mass killing of colored folks all around the world not too long ago (and still continuing), etc... Weren't these violent acts committed by Christians... what a bloody violent Christian religion, heh? Shouldn't everyone say that to you? [Forgive me for judging you to be a Christian, I could recount similar tales for all religions]
      The fact is humans are a complex and flawed species and religious motives/behavior can inherit human fallacy. Thank goodness that there are always a minority who at all misuse religion towards flawed human goals.
      As far as the so called Hindu "misdeeds" you tried to point out, those are based on politics, not religion. One was a separate homeland demand due to discrimination and the other is so called "protecting hindus" political party. They have nothing to do with Hinduism.
      As far as the minorities in India are concerned, they are the most flourishing minorities if I dare say of all the countries. Brian, how many "non Christian" head of state/governors you had? or for that matter, a female president? Can you count anyone? Zero is the answer. But India had Muslim presidents, Sikh Prime minister, female Prime ministers, Christian head of major party, in a 80% Hindu country. Sometime I wonder, Hindus are too generous, If I take a leaf out of American political system: no "non christian" president, no females president..... sometime I wonder many Americans (e.g Brian) are the biggest hypocrites.

      December 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • mustaq

      actually hindu religion is very tolerant . look at the muslim religion, they are hell bent on killing other people in the name of religion. killing shiites and ahmadis and kafirs. that is all nonsense. and then they have got the guts to say that muslim religion is about brotherhood of mankind eventhough it is all false. muslims want to kill jews and christians and hindus. little do they know that they were converted forcibly against their will from hindus or buddhist or siks or christians to muslim miserable hood.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  7. gupsphoo

    Hinduism is no better than Christianity, Islam, Shintoism, etc. All religions are tools to brainwash gullible people.

    December 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Lola

      i'll k2ll you if you disagree!!!! Cinderella had size 10 shoes !

      December 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  8. hesalive

    John 3:36.

    December 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Hallalooyah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      Oh wait. It's just more moldy old gibberish that soounds like bullsh!t and proves nothing.

      December 29, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Nk

      Another Christian fanatic.... trying to prove his "mythology" is the correct one!!
      Have you sent your dollars for converting Indians lately?

      December 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • AGuest9

      "Since ancient times, the philosophers' secret has always been this: we know that God does not exist, or, at least, if he does, he's utterly indifferent to our individual affairs–but we can't let the rabble know that; it's the fear of God, the threat of divine punishment and the promise of divine reward, that keeps in line those too unsophisticated to work out questions of morality on their own.:" – ROBERT J. SAWYER

      December 30, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  9. Ynot11

    Being a person who studies religion, I have found that most religions grew out of a need for a moral compass as society evolved from when humanity lived in small groups, where you knew EVERYONE in your village, to when these smaller groups became joined into larger groups. Most social/religious groups extended the concept of altruism from self/kin/village to expand to larger humanity as a result. So love, compassion, virtue, etc. crop up in all the major religions. Form varies. Please remember, most people worry about day-to-day, not big concepts. So respect for the individual will almost always pay off, no matter what the religious affiliation said individual follows. We are all human.

    December 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Swing and a miss

      You didn't study very well. Religion grows out of ancient minds trying to understand things like death and lightning, and inventing answers that really don't hold up later when knowledge develops.

      It also develops when some in the tribe realize how much power there is in saying they have a superior knowledge or contact with the Gods, and use it to gain control. The latter is where "morality" comes from, which really is just one persons opinion that gets turned into religious law. That's how the creepier aspects of the Bible came into being.

      Because let's face it: no real God would have you kill your children if they are disobedient. No real Messiah would insist that you give all your money away, and abandon your family to serve him.

      December 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  10. David Johnson


    Maybe. But if the message was by a single god, wouldn't you expect there to be a single message?

    In your favor, I believe the Hindus believe that Krishna does sometimes answer prayers to other "gods", even though he is the only one true god. I think this shows an unselfish character. Not like that nasty, selfish Christian god.


    December 29, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  11. mdblanche

    I'm guessing that photo was Exhibit A for the prosecutors.

    December 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Nk

      No this is the typical western media! Show the most shocking reaction (of those 1%). Generalize it to be the 100% voice to make fools like you to believe what the vested media wants you to. Sheep.

      December 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  12. David Johnson

    From the article:

    "Hinduism consider the 700-verse Gita, written as a message from God taught by Lord Krishna, as sacred."

    Hmm... This seems oddly familiar... Could have sworn I've heard it before.

    Isn't this like: The Koran is a message from God taught by Muhammad?


    Isn't this like: The Bible is a message from God taught by Jesus?

    There are about 14 major religions in the world. Just for grins, let's say that one of these 14, is worshiping the one true god.

    And let's assume each one of the 14 religions has a good place (Heaven?) and bad place (Hell?).

    You have a 1 in 14 (7%) chance of choosing the correct god and going to the good place. There is a 93% chance you will choose incorrectly and will suffer in a bad place.

    But you Christians know that your god is the one true god. You know because... Now what was that reason again? LOL


    December 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • B787

      These 14 religions that you spoke off. It could be that there is One God and people around the world are just interpreting HIS True Words differently.

      After all, the Holy Bible was not written by God but by prophets..

      December 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Kevin

      "It could be that there is One God and people around the world are just interpreting HIS True Words differently. "

      I think the problem with this hypothesis is that the interpretations are so vastly different. Kill apostates, don't kill apostates... eat pork, don't eat pork... eat cow, don't eat cow... meditate, don't bother... tie yourself to a tree with chest pins, don't do that you're insane... etc. It's hard to see how these are different interpretations of the same message. And if they do stem from the same message, what does that say about our ability to reliably translate it?

      December 30, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • Eckythimble

      "It's hard to see how these are different interpretations of the same message."
      Which is exactly why only an OBJECTIVE moral compass can have any validity for humankind. All the 'my scripture is holier than yours' proponents of course don't cut it and I think several hundred pointless religious wars prove that one. Funnily enough, just as there IS an objectively real Spirit supporting every proton in your body, there also IS an obejctive moral compass staring at us in the face every day, which has not been twisted into any holy scripture, yet few perceive it, fewer still understand it and even fewer heed it.

      December 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Did someone call for a moral compass? We already have a compass in Mark from Middle River. So, the job has already been filled.


      December 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Eckythimble

      @David Johnson: Great idea. Let's tax half the income of everyone to build some expensive temples in the centre of every city to celebrate the Gospel According To Mark From Middle River and declare instant war on all other "heathen" religions. Also, in case the masses get nervous about having to actually live according to the moral principles of MFMR, reassure them that this is absolutely unnecessary and they only have to turn up to the temple once per week (with cash for the preacher). Then for the next 1,500 years instruct our artists to paint pictures of nothing but details from the life of Mark From Middle River. Then when new scientific inventions to prevent the spread of STDs arise long after Mark has gone, let's put a funny hat and cape on an old virgin man to instruct Africa to ban them because Mark would "obviously" have said so.

      December 31, 2011 at 5:44 am |
    • David Johnson


      That would be a problem for me, since Mark is a Republican. Let's keep searching for a new god. A cute girl this time. We had Isis at one time. She was said to be hot.



      December 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  13. The Central Srutinizer


    December 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.