Bhagavad Gita Texts Up for Experts to Judge

Russia’s human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said it should be up to experts rather than judges to decide on disputed Bhagavad Gita texts that a Siberian court tried to ban as extremist.

A Siberian district court in late 2011 rejected a petition seeking a ban on a Russian translation of the Hindu scripture of the Bhagavad Gita historical book. Tomsk prosecutors then cited experts from the Tomsk University saying that the Russian translation contained paragraphs that promoted extremism.

“Tomsk [judges] considered something they should not have… It should have been up to theologians and historians,” Lukin said during his visit to Tomsk.

The trial prompted a flurry of highly critical publications in the international media. A day before the Siberian court rejected the petition, Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna met with Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin and called on him and the Russian government to provide help to resolve the issue quickly.

Lukin warned against court decisions based on judge’s opinions rather than expert examinations.

“Winston Churchill once said: Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn’t misuse it,” Lukin added.

The disputed Russian translation of “Bhagavad Gita: As It Is” was written by founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

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