Journal of Vaishnava Studies

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Antony Brennan: Every year many words are written about religion, most with no lasting value and not based on any real research, so it is a happy event when one comes across a publication like the Journal of Vaishnava Studies (JVS). Requiring a high standard from its authors, JVS publishes material specifically focused on the study and understanding of the Vaishnava tradition. The journal presents the research of Vaishnavas and scholars of Vaishnavism. This works to present both the practitioner and academic perspectives of the tradition.

Published biannually, JVS was founded in 1992 by Editor Satyaraja dasa - devotee, scholar and author of more than 20 books. It has been called the most important academic journal in the field of Hindu studies generally and in Vaishnava studies in particular.

JVS has been lauded for its thoroughness and ground-breaking scholarship. Columbia University’s Southern Asian Institute has praised the Journal for its visionary approach and for its high quality. In his textbook, “A Survey of Hinduism” Professor Klaus Klostermaier notes that “Journal of Vaishnava Studies carries important scholarly as well as devotional articles likely to stimulate research and disseminate knowledge on this major religion associated with the name of Vishnu.”

The Journal has attracted the top scholars in the field of Vaishnava studies. Each issue assembles a group of articles that are genuinely informative and are written to be read by scholars as well as those not familiar with the intricacies of the study of Vaishnavism. JVS is thematic and each issue has a particular focus.

Previous issues have covered themes such as the Ramayana, Vaishnavism and Modernity, and Yoga. The most recent issue, released in the Spring of 2007, has the theme Sacred Biography and contains biographies of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Jiva Goswami along with biographical pieces about Narayana Bhatt and others. Each article is complete with bibliography and references.

The current issue, themed Gita Comes West, is JVS Vol 16, No. 1/ Fall 2007. It contains ten fascinating and well researched articles over more than 200 pages about how the Bhagavad Gita came to the West. The articles tell the story of how the Gita arrived in Europe in the 1870s and the influence the Gita had on philosophers such as Emerson and Blake and other people such as T. S. Elliot. Also included is ‘Of Mothers and Messengers: Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada As He Is.’ This piece by Vineet Chandra, tells the story of Srila Prabhupada presenting the teaching of Krishna to the west.

“Not only have you elicited work from a wide range of good scholars, but you have organized a series of thematic issues which will remain useful for years to come.” This praise for the journal comes from Francis X. Clooney, S. J., Professor of Comparative Theology at Boston College, Boston, U. S. A.

If you are interested in subscribing or obtaining more information you can contact Satyaraja Prabhu at satchmo868@aol.com

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