What do scholars say about Srila Prabhupāda and his books


Prabhupada Books

Some personal comments about Srila Prabhupada
Excerpts from reviews of Bhagavad-gita As It Is
From reviews of Srimad-Bhagavatam
From reviews of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
From reviews of other major writings


SOME PERSONAL COMMENTS about Srila Prabhupāda

Note: Some of the scholars quoted here may now hold different posts or be affiliated with different institutions than the ones this file mentions. Our apologies for any outdated information. (Corrections are welcome.)

"[The biography] of Srila Prabhupada is pointed proof that one can be a transmitter of truth and still be a vital and singular person. . . . At what almost anyone would consider a very advanced age, when most people would be resting on their laurels, he harkened to the mandate of his own spiritual teacher and set out on the difficult voyage to America. Srila Prabhupada is, of course, only one of thousands of teachers. But in another sense, he is one in a thousand, maybe one in a million."

--Dr. Harvey Cox
Harvard University

"Besides being a man of deep moral strength, humility, and holiness, he was genuinely renounced. Unlike many modern gurus, he was content to live as his disciples did. Even when his health failed and he returned to the blazing heat of Delhi for his recovery, he sought nothing better than a poorly furnished room, without air-conditioning, in a Hindu temple where he had resided before coming to America. Srila Prabhupada's life. . . is the epitome of his ideal, an ideal that he set forth for others to follow. In an age of pervasive hypocrisy and cynicism, it is this kind of rare model that we need."

                    --Dr. J. Stillson Judah
Professor Emeritus, History of Religions
and Director of Libraries
Graduate Theological Union
Berkeley, California

"His books are significant contributions to the salvation of mankind."

                    --Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri
Former Prime Minister of India

"The great contribution of Srila Prabhupada was not just that he taught spiritual values, not just that he provided the answers to life's inevitable and ultimate questions, but that he inspired persons with consciousness to *live* those spiritual values and to discover those answers for themselves. Prabhupada's stature is awe-inspiring, and a consciousness radiated from him, steering many minds from material concerns to spiritual, helping them develop the inner strength to see that the 'self' could become a far more potent force than the body.

"In many parts of the world today men and women are seeking the consciousness Srila Prabhupada inspired, and thee followers believe that happiness and world peace can be achieved by the way of life Srila Prabhupada taught. For these Krishna conscious people, a new (though ancient) age is in the making. For them, a life of bliss, purity, responsibility, and civic service is no longer a dream belonging to an irreducible remote future, but is a vision almost within grasp. . . .

"Prabhupada was here in this world to show us how to live. His words and deeds. . . have the ability to make our souls joyous and free."

                    --Dr. Shaligram Shukla
Professor of Linguistics
Georgetown University

What scholars have said

NOTE: Some of the scholars quoted here may now hold different posts or be affiliated with different institutions than the ones this file mentions. Our apologies for any outdated information. (Corrections are welcome.)

"No work in all Indian literature is more quoted, because none is better loved, in the West, than the Bhagavad-gita. Translation of such a work demands not only knowledge of Sanskrit, but an inward sympathy with the theme and a verbal artistry. For the poem is a symphony in which God is seen in all things. . . . The Swami does a real service for students by investing the beloved Indian epic with fresh meaning. Whatever our outlook may be, we should all be grateful for the labor that has led to this illuminating work."

--Dr. Geddes MacGregor
Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
University of Southern California

"The Gita can be seen as the main literary support for the great religious civilization of India, the oldest surviving culture in the world. The present translation and commentary is another manifestation of the permanent living importance of the Gita."

               --Thomas Merton, Theologian

"I am most impressed with A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's scholarly and authoritative edition of Bhagavad-gita. It is a most valuable work for the scholar as well as the layman and is of great utility as a reference book as well as a textbook. I promptly recommend this edition to my students. It is a beautifully done book."

               --Dr. Samuel D. Atkins, 
Professor of Sanskrit,
Princeton University

"As a successor in direct line from Caitanya, the author of Bhagavad-gita s It Is is entitled, according to Indian custom, to the majestic title His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The great interest that his reading of the Bhagavad-gita holds for us is that it offers us an authorized interpretation according to the principles of the Caitanya tradition."

               --Olivier Lacombe, 
Professor of Sanskrit and Indology,
Sorbonne University, Paris

"I have had the opportunity of examining several volumes published by the Bhaktivedanta Book TRust and have found them to be of excellent quality and of great value for use in college classes on Indian religions. This is particularly true of the BBT edition and translation of the Bhagavad-gita."

--Dr. Frederick B. Underwood,
Professor of Religion
Columbia University

"If truth is what works, as Pierce and the pragmatists insist, there must be a kind of truth in the Bhagavad- gita As It Is, since those who follow its teachings display a joyous serenity usually missing in the bleak and strident lives of contemporary people."

               --Dr. Elwin H. Powell, 
Professor of Sociology
State University of New York, Buffalo

"There is little question that this edition is one of the best books available on the Gita and devotion. Prabhupada's translation is an ideal blend of literal accuracy and religious insight."

               --Dr. Thomas J. Hopkins
Professor of Religion
Franklin and Marshall College

"The Bhagavad-gita, one of the great spiritual texts, is not as yet a common part of our cultural milieu. This is probably less because it is alien per se than because we have lacked just the kind of close interpretive commentary upon it that Swami Bhaktivedanta has here provided, a commentary written from not only a scholar's but a practitioner's, a lifelong devotee's point of view."

--Denise Levertov, Poet

"The increasing numbers of Western readers interested in classical Vedic thought have been done a service by Swami Bhaktivedanta. By bringing us a new and living interpretation of a text already known to many, he has increased our understanding manyfold."

               --Dr. Edward C. Dimock, Jr.
Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations,
University of Chicago

"As a native of Indian now living in the West, it has given me much grief to see so many of my fellow countrymen coming to the West in the role of gurus and spiritual leaders. For this reason, I am very excited to see the publication of Bhagavad-gita As It Is by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It will help to stop the terrible cheating of false and unauthorized 'gurus' and 'yogis' and will give an opportunity to al people to understand the actual meaning of Oriental culture."

               --Dr. Kailash Vajpeye
Director of Indian Studies
Center for Oriental Studies
The University of Mexico

"The scholarly world is again indebted to A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Although Bhagavad-gita has been translated many times, Prabhupada adds a translation of singular importance with his commentary."

               --Dr. J. Stillson Judah
Emeritus Professor of the History of Religions
and Director of Libraries
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California

"Srila Prabhupada's edition thus fills a sensitive gap in France, where many hope to become familiar with traditional Indian thought, beyond the commercial East-West hodgepode that has arisen since the time Europeans first penetrated India.

"Whether the reader be an adept of Indian spiritualism or not, a reading of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is will be extremely profitable. For many this will be the first contact with the true India, the ancient India, the eternal India."

               --Francois Chenique
Professor of Religious Sciences
Institute of Political Studies, Paris

"It is a deeply felt, powerfully conceived and beautifully explained work. I don't know whether to praise more this translation of the Bhagavad-gita, its daring method of explanation, or the endless fertility of its ideas. I have never seen any other work on the Gita with such an important voice and style. . . . It will occupy a significant place in the intellectual life of modern man for a long time to come."

               --Dr. Shaligram Shukla
Professor of Linguistics,
Georgetown Univerity

What scholars have said

NOTE: Some of the scholars quoted here may now hold different posts or be affiliated with different institutions than the ones this file mentions. Our apologies for any outdated information. (Corrections are welcome.)

"This is a work to be treasured. No one of whatever faith or philosophical persuasion who reads these books with an open mind can fail to be both moved and impressed."

               --Dr. Gary Gelade
Professor of Psychology
Oxford University

"It has been my great pleasure recently to have read the Srimad-Bhagavatam in the superb edition authorized by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. . . . I am sure this monumental work will go far to bring the sublime message of the Bhagavatam to numerous Westerners who would otherwise miss this opportunity."

                --Dr. Alex Wayman
Professor of Sanskrit
Columbia University

"The Srimad-Bhagavatam is extremely useful for all those interested in ancient India, whether their interest be that of the philosopher, the student of religion, the historian, the linguist, the sociologist or the political scientist. . . . Undoubtedly, this work of Swamiji's is a great contribution to the troubled human society of today's world."

               --Dr. Sooda L. Bhatt
Professor of Indian Languages
Boston University

"The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust editions of famous religious classics of India, with new translations and commentaries, are an important addition to our expanding knowledge of spiritual India The new edition of Srimad-Bhagavatam is particularly welcome."

               --Dr. John L. Mish
formerly Chief, Oriental Division
New York Public Library

"For those who have no access to the Sanskrit language, these books convey, in a superb manner, the message of the Bhagavatam. In addition to being a scholarly work, it directly reflects the spiritual aspirations of a religious community which has gained considerable popularity in America."

               --Dr. Alaka Hejib
Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies
Harvard University

"It is axiomatic that no book can be expected entirely to satisfy all its potential readers. Here is one, however, which can be said to come remarkably close to that ideal. . . . we have here the ideal of what an edition of a Sanskrit text for a Western audience should be."

               --Dr. R.E. Asher
Professor of Linguistics
University of Edinburgh

"In the diversity of religious approaches offered by the yogis of India, the most significant, of course, is the way of Krishna consciousness. It is amazing to see how Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami has in less than ten years succeeded, by his personal devotion, untiring energy and efficient direction, in organizing the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Now, he has undertaken the stupendous project of rendering the entire Bhagavata, the great devotional classic of India, into English. His edition is learning blended with devotional feeling and inspired by a definite purpose of communicating the intense lyrical and devotional quality of the Bhagavata. Srila Prabhupada has done an excellent service by his able rendition of 'the abode of joy' that the Bhagavata is."

               --Dr. Mahesh Mehta
Professor of Asian Studies
University of Windsor
Ontario, Canada

What scholars have said

NOTE: Some of the scholars quoted here may now hold different posts or be affiliated with different institutions than the ones this file mentions. Our apologies for any outdated information. (Corrections are welcome.)

"It is a remarkable document of great historical and sociological importance, giving a picturesque presentation of the socio-religious climate in the India of Sri Caitanya's times and the far-reaching social and religious changes wrought by him. As a literary piece, it is regarded as a work of great merit, having no parallel in the whole of Bengali literature. As a religious text, its sanctity is comparable to that of the Bhagavad-gita

"This English edition translated by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is superb. It contains the original Sanskrit and Bengali verses with their English transliteration, synonyms and elaborate purports, easily bearing testimony to the author's profound knowledge of the subject."

               --Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor
Emeritus Chairman and Profess
Department of Philosophy
Government Postgraduate College
Gyanpur, India

"I am most happy to have these handsomely printed volumes which embody the work of so learned and sincere a believer in the message of the Caritamrita."

               --Dr. Daniel H.H. Ingalls
Chairman, Department of Sanskrit
and Indian Studies
Harvard University

"I can recommend Sri Caitanya-caritamrita as a source of rich insights for every serious student of consciousness."

               --Dr. Rory O'Day
Department of Human Relations
University of Waterloo
Ontario, Canada

"It is a genuine joy to have this momentous biographical work on the life of Bengal's great saint Caitanya, prepared by his best-known modern interpreter, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada."

               --Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer
Associate Professor of Ethics
and the Phenomenology of Religions
Graduate Theological Union
Berkeley, California

"Year by year, interest in Eastern religious thought and philosophy grows in America. The editing and translating of the important Sri Caitanya-caritamrita will make a substantial contribution to those who seek information about Indian concepts."

               --Dr. Gerald A. Larue
Professor of Religion
University of Southern California

"The appearance of an English translation of Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami's Sri Caitanya-caritamrita by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami is a cause for celebration among both scholars in Indian studies and lay-people seeking to enrich their knowledge of Indian spirituality. . . It will fill a most serious lacuna in our libraries and in our courses on the religious traditions of India. . . .

"For the first time we possess a readily accessible edition for this great religious classic that will provide opportunity for scholars in Indian literature and followers of the Krsna cnsciousness tradition alike to compare the original text with a modern English translation and become acquainted with the deeper spiritual meaning of this work through the learned commentary of Sri Bhaktivedanta. . . .

"Anyone who gives a close reading to the commentary will sense that here, as in his other works, Sri Bhaktivedanta has combined a healthy mixture of the fervent devotion and aesthetic sensitivity of the devotee and the intellectual rigor of a textual scholar. At no point does the author allow the intended meaning of the text to be eclipsed by the promotion of a particular doctrinal persuasion. . . .

"These exquisitely wrought volumes will be a welcome addition to the libraries of all persons who are committed to the study of Indian spirituality and religious literature, whether their interests are sparked by the motivations of the scholar, the devotee or the general reader."

               --Dr. J. Bruce Long
Department of Asian Studies
Cornell University

What scholars have said

NOTE: Some of the scholars quoted here may now hold different posts or be affiliated with different institutions than the ones this file mentions. Our apologies for any outdated information. (Corrections are welcome.)

"The book 'Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead,' should prove to be an important addition to materials for college courses in religion. It is one of the best sources in English for gaining insight into the bhakti [devotional] religious tradition."

               --Louis Roberts
Executive Chairman
Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Syracuse University

" 'Krsna' is an important book both for the new student of the history of religions and for the professional scholar. It is a helpful and significant contribution to the growing phenomenon of interest in the religions of Asia."

               --William A. Johnson
Professor of Philosophy
Brandeis University

" 'Teachings of Lord Caitanya' is an authentic and lucid account, in English, of the life and philosophy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The spiritual movement initiated by 'the Great Master' five hundred years ago has profoundly influenced millions of men and women in India ever since, and is presently making its mark throughout the world.

"Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. . . has done a great service to the English-speaking world by making this spiritual treasure available in English."

               --Dr. K.L. Seshagiri Rao
Professor of Religious Studies
University of Virginia

" 'The Perfection of Yoga' is most useful for anyone wishing to understand the meaning of yoga. It also introduces the student to the study of Bhagavad-gita and shows how direct and simple yet, in another sense, how profoundly complex is the path of spiritual growth through yoga practice. It is a scholarly book, yet has a direct personal meaning for all--a powerful combination."

               --Dr. Frank Ledwith
Professor of Psychology
University of St. Andrews
Fife, Scotland

"I think the best feature of the Hare Krishna movement is that it is providing scholars with excellent translations of the rarest books on Krishna-bhakti."

               --Dr. Larry D. Shinn
Danforth Professor of Religion
Oberlin College

"I have read Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami's books with great care, attention and profound interest, and have found them to be of incalculable value to anyone who is curious about India's spiritual and cultural heritage. The author of these books displays on every page an astounding scholarship in the subjects treated, and also an understanding and ease of exposition of abstruse ideas, which are rarest gifts."

               --Dr. H.B. Kulkarni
Professor of English and Philosophy
Utah State University

"The publications of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust are very valuable documents and will no doubt become classics for the English reader of Indian religious literature."

               --Dr. Jerry M. Chance
Chairman, Department of Philosophy
and Religion
Florida A & M University

"These books are not only beautiful but also relevant to our times, as we as a nation search for new cultural patterns for our way of life."

               --Dr. C.L. Spreadbury
Professor of Sociology
Stephen F. Austin State University

Prabhupada Books

             Lotus - Sri Isopanisad

             Bhagavad-gītā As It Is (original 1972 Macmillan edition - 60 MB PDF)