For the first time, the Hungarian edition of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is was presented at the Libri bookshop in Budapest. About 60 guests participated at the program, with many standing around the small stage or listening to Sivarama Swami from the bookracks. The turn up well exceeded the expectations. At the end, the spiritual leader of ISKCON Hungary signed copies with personal notes and recommendations.
The book has been available in translation for many years in Hungary, but could only be obtained through book distributing devotees. However, 2019 has been announced to be the year of Bhagavad Gita in Hungary, therefore the organizers thought it was timely to make the Gita available through bookshops. The purpose of the Year of the Bhagavad Gita is to bring the Gita to all Hungarians through colorful programs and online channels, so that by the end of the year, not only every Hungarian household have a copy of the book but this oldest and most efficient compendium of wisdom should be read and applied by as many people as possible. Therefore Srila Prabhupada’s Gita hit the shelves of Libri for the very first time.
The inauguration speech was made by Sivarama Swami who remembered how difficult it was to distribute Vedic literature in Hungary during the Communist regime, before the change of the political system. He also explained that before this new edition, the book was continually corrected to gradually weed even the smallest errors or misprints out. The spiritual master introduced many basic truths, wisdom, new concepts the new reader would find in the book and how these could help improve the quality of everyone’s life and help to achieve the ultimate goal of life.
Bhagavad-Gita is held by many to be the Bible of India. It was written more than 5,000 years ago, with its verses begin a concise record of the conversation between Krishna and his friend, Arjuna, before the great battle of Kurukṣetra was fought. The conversation was addressed to those going to war and was heard by many thousands. Later it was committed to writing and several saintly teachers added their comments and purports. During the Indian spiritual renaissancein the 15th century it again became the focus as it was declared the most important holy book of the Bengali Vaiṣṇavism, which spread the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra.
The Gita was spoken in Sanskrit and many scholars and linguists tried to translate it, among others, the great Hungarian poet Mihály Babits, who got the inspiration from the writer Géza Gárdonyi. The translation was made more difficult by the fact that Sanskrit is a sacred language intertwined with religious traditions, therefore knowing the grammar and the vocabulary is not sufficient for giving a full rendition of the text in another language.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, the great international teacher of Krishna Consciousness, however, highlighted the distortions in the translations available in articles published in India and by personally visiting professors and political leaders, and emphasized that the text can only be properly interpreted from the aspect of the Bengali Gaudīya Vaiṣṇava traditions. He started to translate to English not only the Sanskrit verses of Bhagavad Gita, but those of the other great classic, the Srīmad Bhāgavatam. The presently available Hungarian translation of the Bhagavad Gita was made based on this translation.
The Hungarian Bhagavad Gita includes the original Sanskrit verses, a translation word by word, the full Hungarian translation of the verses, complemented by purports by Śrīla Prabhupāda with additional information and stories, therefore the reader gets a very thorough and interesting work.
Following the crowded presentation event, Bhagavad Gita is now permanently available in the shops and the webshop of Libri.