Barak Obama gets Bhagavata Gita!

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By Dhruvananda Dasa

Dear devotees

Recently I visited my hometown of Murwillumbah, situated in the Tweed valley area of northern New South Wales Australia, near to New Govardhana farm where I had the great fortune of spending my childhood.

One of my old best friends hung him self so I took lots of books and prasadam for his family. I regret that I didn’t do more for him earlier.

While in the area I visited a Prabhupada disciple by the name of Krsna Lolya Mataji. Her and her husband travelled a lot helping start temples in U. S. A, Hawaii & Australia. It was the first time I had seen her in 10 yrs. I entered her house and found her making glass beaded necklaces for the deities in Alachua and she relayed this story to me.

She told me that her family grew up on the same street as Barak Obama.

Her brother has been a friend of his ever since. When they where all teenagers they would go to the local Hare Krsna Temple and Barak came a few times and really enjoyed the kirtan and Prasadam.

She explained that when Obama was running for President she thought that she should try to give him a Bhagavata gita. So she ordered the best copy she could and hand made a real nice cover for it and sent it to her brother in the U. S. A to give to him personally.

She said that on the day of Obama’s coronation he received a mountain of gifts. I was thinking, “Oh no, it would have been lost in the pile.” But she told me her brother waited till the next day when things had quieted down some what and personally handed him Bhagavag gita As It is, in its beautiful hand made cover case.

She prays that it is close to him. Maybe its even in the white house now.

your servant

Dhruvananda Dasa

(formerly uddhava dasa gurukuli)

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1 Lakshman Das

The Lord is equal to all, but He moulds people differently that we all perform various duties to maintain our life. Some will be leaders and we shower praises to them because they assume great offices and control social administration. The elected President of the richest democracy enjoys a great say in this world and everyone tries to clip him to own side is not unusual. Whatever a great person tells, we try to follow. As Lord Krishna tells to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita (3.21)

yad yad acarati sresthhas tat tad evetaro janah
sa yat pramanam kurute lokas tad anuvartate

Translation and Purport by : His divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami prabhupada.
Translation :
Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
Purport :
People in general always require a leader who can teach the public by practical behavior. A leader cannot teach the public to stop smoking if he himself smokes. Lord Caitanya said that a teacher should behave properly before he begins teaching. One who teaches in that way is called acarya, or the ideal teacher. Therefore, a teacher must follow the principles of sastra (scripture) to teach the common man. The teacher cannot manufacture rules against the principles of revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures, like Manu-samhita and similar others, are considered the standard books to be followed by human society. Thus the leader’s teaching should be based on the principles of such standard sastras. One who desires to improve himself must follow the standard rules as they are practiced by the great teachers. The Srimad-Bhagavatam also affirms that one should follow in the footsteps of great devotees, and that is the way of progress on the path of spiritual realization. The king or the executive head of a state, the father and the school teacher are all considered to be natural leaders of the innocent people in general. All such natural leaders have a great responsibility to their dependents; therefore they must be conversant with standard books of moral and spiritual codes. [As-They-Surrender-Unto-Me ] [VTE]

Barrack is a neutral, for he is born of a mixed lineage with a black father and a white mother. Great souls like Mahatma Gandhi influenced him in his life even while he schooled in Indonesia. As said, he attended the bhajans of Hare Krishna and therefore is not an alien to Bhagavd Gita.

Comment posted by Lakshman Das on June 13th, 2010
2 Akruranatha

During his presidential campaign Barack Obama mentioned that in his home growing up, the family Bible sat comfortably on the shelf along side the Koran and the Bhagavad-gita.

I have heard another up-and-coming U.S. politician, Corey Booker — who is mayor of Trenton, New Jersey but has a national TV presence and seems destined for higher office — also say he keeps the Koran and Bhagavad-gita alongside the Holy Bible.

Both are Democrats, both are African-American, both are Christian, but I hope it becomes a trend for more politicians of all backgrounds to talk about Bhagavad-gita. These two very smart and influential politicians (Obama and Booker) are on to something powerful and important in the changing attitudes of the American electorate.

This week marks the annual national convention of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), and a number of devotees including me will be attending to encourage hotel and motel owners to keep Bhagavad-gitas in their guests’ rooms like Gideons Bibles.

At last years convention in Washington D.C. the organizers felt they could not give us a slot to speak on the main stage because they felt the subject was too “religious” and might offend non-Hindu members. (My impression is that AAHOA is probably at least 90% Hindu).

Anyway, I hope to convince them that it is not about sectarian religion but about providing some of the world’s greatest books to inspire and comfort and enlighten their guests. It is true that different religious traditions have some different things to say on different points, but they also have a lot in common and they also ought to have this in common: Their main authoritative texts should be available in the dresser drawer of our hotel and motel rooms.

Lev Tolstoy, who knew something about literature, reportedly stated there are two very great books: Holy Bible and Bhagavad-gita.

Bhagavad-gita is a required part of the core curriculum at one of the subsidiary colleges of University of California at Santa Cruz, as I am often reminded on book distribution.

So it should be natural that political leaders in the United States are becoming familiar with Bhagavad-gita, and it should not make anyone feel that they are becoming religious sectarians. Rather, it shows that they can remain religious and at the same time be more universal and enlightened and become familiar with all the greatest and most influential spiritual literature the world has to offer.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on June 14th, 2010

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