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Prabhupada's Bhagavad-Gita As It Is
Published in Urdu
by Amoghalila das
At the end of August 2001, Srila Prabhupada's complete Bhagavad-gita As It Is, translated into Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, went to press in Karachi. In early October, the first copies came back from the printer. Within the next two months, devotees around Pakistan distributed over four hundred copies of this long-awaited book, undisturbed by the political unrest in their country.
In 1985, Yasodanandana Prabhu (the late Prof. Yashpal Bhatia) translated Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is into Urdu. He had been very ill, and his family had given up all hopes of his survival. When he miraculously recovered, he took shelter of Lord Krishna at ISKCON Juhu, Bombay (now Mumbai).
His Holiness Giriraja Swami, then President of ISKCON Bombay and GBC for Pakistan, encouraged Yasodanandana Prabhu to translate several of Srila Prabhupada's small books into Urdu, and then undertake the complete Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Yasodanandana Prabhu's health remained poor and it was a great sacrifice for him to complete this major translation project during his final days. Just a few days after finishing the translation, Yasodanandana Prabhu passed away from this world.
The manuscript needed a lot of editing, so I took it to Yasodanandana Prabhu's brother Krishna Mohan, a well-known Urdu poet in Delhi, who went through it and made some corrections. Then, along with several Karachi devotees, we continued the effort to bring the Urdu up to modern Pakistani standards.
In late 1986, the famous Urdu scholar Rais Amrohvi, the retired editor of Jang, the leading Urdu newspaper of Pakistan, and author of a number of popular Urdu books on meditation and yoga, agreed to edit the manuscript. Unfortunately, after having completed only the introduction and first few chapters, Rais was murdered in 1988. Therefore, in 1990 the introduction and the first four chapters of the Urdu Bhagavad-gita As It Is were published under the auspices of Rais Amrohvi's Rais Academy.
For several years the work of editing the rest of the manuscript remained incomplete until Bhakta Kishore Lakha again seriously took up the task, assisted by a number of other Karachi devotees. Kishore also composed the whole book using our personal computer and Urdu software.
We gradually printed several complete chapters individually, timed to coincide with a series of major Gita Sammelans held in Karachi and various other towns in southern Pakistan, each on one chapter of the Gita. Originally inspired in the 1980s by one of ISKCON Pakistan's leading devotees, Sarvabhauma Prabhu (Dr. Sispal Sharma), these Gita Sammelans continue to be held every few months, organized by friends and life members of ISKCON, and attended by thousands of Pakistani Hindus.
Starting in 1999, a Sufi friend of ours, Zaffar Shah, very carefully edited and proofread the entire manuscript, making many final improvements. Despite a computer crash and a virus attack, both of which greatly delayed the work, the manuscript was finally ready in 2000, a faithful and complete rendering of Srila Prabhupada's English Bhagavad-Gita As It Is in modern Urdu.
Bhakta Kishore and Dhananjaya Prabhu took responsibility for getting the book printed. Earlier, Sri Nathji Das Prabhu (Dr. N. D. Desai) had given a major donation that enabled us to purchase computer equipment. This year the funds for printing Srila Prabhupada's complete Urdu Bhagavad-gita As It Is were donated by Srila Prabhupada's disciple Satyanarayana Prabhu, of the Sarasvati Trust.
Beginning with Yasodanandana Prabhu, everyone, including Rais Amrohvi, Bhakta Kishore, Zaffar Shah, Dhananjaya Prabhu, and at least a dozen other devotees involved, all rendered their services for Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada without compensation, so now the book is being distributed at a nominal price.
We are confident that Srila Prabhupada and all the previous acaryas are showering their blessings upon all those who worked so hard to produce the Urdu translation of the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, as well as to those who are distributing it, and those who are reading it.
Sankirtana yajna ki jai!
CHAKRA 27 December 2001
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