BACK TO GODHEAD is a monthly publication issued by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). This publication is principally concerned with promulgating through the medium of essays, poems and articles the truths expounded by Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic texts. This magazine was founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is also the founder-acharya of ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada used to say that although Krishna and Rama took their births in India, they are not solely the “Property” of India or Indians any more than Christ is the “Property” of the Middle East. God and His truths know neither boundaries nor nationalities. Narrow sectarianism and ethnocentrism are only pitfalls on the path to liberation. God is neither Christian nor Jew, neither Moslem nor Buddhist nor Hindu—He is beyond all such designations. He is, in the Gita, Krishna, the Knower Who is not known, the Enjoyer, who, in His spiritual Kingdom, enjoys Bliss-Knowledge-Absolute.

True devotees of Krishna neither reason nor argue about Him. “He who replies to words of Doubt, Doth put the Light of knowledge out,” wrote Blake. For the devotees, Krishna is an established fact. The devotees do, however, spread “Krishna consciousness” to others, to convince them of Krishna’s existence through the science of devotion. Devotion to God is a “Yoga,” a science, and it is to teach this science that Srila Prabhupada come to America. His method was simple: the chanting of the holy name of God, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare” a sixteen-word chant prescribed by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 15th and 16th centuries as being especially effective in this age of “Kali,” an age characterized by atheism, ignorance, chaos, and disagreement.

Spiritual foods, dancing, singing and chanting the praises of the Supreme Lord, study of the Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam are all parts of this bhakti-yoga method. This method boasts such illustrious adherents as Brahma, Shiva, Laxmi, Kumara, Narada, Vyasadeva, Madhva, Chaitanya, Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Prabhupada. As a confused mankind begins to enter into its third global war, it is the duty of those advanced in bhakti-yoga to speak out and educate the unenlightened.

It is partly with such quixotic intentions that Back to Godhead is being issued. Following the orders of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami, Srila Prabhupada began the initial publication of Back to Godhead in 1944. This bi-monthly, published from 1944 to 1956 in Vrindaban, India (90 miles southeast of Delhi, was Krishna’s playground during His stay on earth) established Swami Bhaktivedanta as the leading personalist in India.

The editors welcome suggestions, essays, poems, letters, and articles concerned with krishna-katha (topics).

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Readers outside India may never have heard of Noida, where an impressive ISKCON temple opened in February. It's a planned township across the Yamuna River from New Delhi. Started in the 1970s, it has grown steadily, and since 1998 ISKCON's presence has grown along with it. By focusing on spiritual education, Govind Dham, as the temple is known, is sure to benefit many people in the greater Delhi area.

Skeptics sometimes challenged Srila Prabhupada on whether ISKCON was helping people in any practical way. He would often reply that ISKCON's contribution was education – giving people the highest spiritual knowledge, to their eternal benefit. An example of the refined spiritual information that ISKCON, in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, presents to the world appears in Satyaraja Dasa's article in this issue, "Sehnsucht: When Vocabulary Encourages Yearning for Krishna." Another example of the practical value of ISKCON's message appears in "Death and Dying in the Vedic Tradition," an excerpt from a new book by Giriraja Swami. What could be more relevant than learning how to face one's death?

"Finding Shelter," by Navina Syama Dasa, also gives practical knowledge. Faced with the unrelenting challenges of life, where can we turn for sure relief? 
Hare Krishna. – Nagaraja Dasa, Editor

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