Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.John Calvin's 500th birthday rolls around next month, and the theologian's influence will be observed in ceremonies and seminars across the country. Our own Texas Faith panelist Cynthia Rigby is participating in Calvin conferences in North Carolina and Russia this year.
If you only knew of Calvin's participation in a trial that led to a heretic being put to death, you would think he was a sinister figure bent on punishing his foes. Actually, he was one of the most influential theologians the world has ever known. His work on the sovereignty of God, for example, remains a bedrock of the Reformed tradition. What's more, his emphasis on empowering young Genevans to read on their own reflects the premium he placed on education.
Love him or hate him, 500 years later Calvin remains a force with which theologians --and the larger world --must grapple. And that leads us to this week's question:
What thinker has most influenced you? Please explain.
and here was the response:
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas
A teacher is only as good as their example. The person who has been the most influential thinker in my life is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Prabhupada's life was the embodiment of his teaching, the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. He gave a perfect example of how one can be a 100% pure devotee of God, free from any sin by accepting God's grace.
The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita are that one should always think of God, become His devotee, worship Him, and offer our respects to Him (BG 9.30). How this is done can be easily understood by simply examining the life of Srila Prabhupada.
At very beginning of his youth, Prabhupada had deep attraction towards God. It wasn't however until his later years did people begin to realize his greatness.
With the mission to make the teaching of Bhagavad Gita available to the English speaking world, he ventured to the U.S.A. in 1965 with no money, just a box of books, and his faith. Traveling on freight ship at the age of 70, he suffered two heart attacks. Going straight to New York City, he struggled to open a learning center by 1966.
By the age of 82 his last year in this world, he managed to establish over 130 temples across the globe, he formally accepted over 10,000 sincere students and wrote over 80 volumes of books translated from Sanskrit. It was noted that the success of his teaching was that his example upheld all his instructions.
Hare Krishna :)
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das
To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here