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.
Let’s take a break from the world of religious surveys, topical headlines and public policy and do something different this week. And that is share with Texas Faith followers what you are reading this summer and why you are reading it.
For a number of reasons, summer is known as a time of reading. That could be because of so many summer books coming out. It could be that we all have more time to read on vacation. Or it could be that summer is less stressful.
Whatever the reason, here is the question for this week:
What are you reading this summer? And why?
Your answers will help inform our readers about your cast of mind — and the topics that you consider important.
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas
This summer I will be reading the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This book is very significant as it deals not only with how great God is, but it also goes into volumes of detail about how sweet God is. The personal character of God, the attributes of God, the various forms and body of God, and even the activities of God are elaborated in this ancient manuscript.
How can someone love another person about whom they have no knowledge? One can have gratitude for an unknown benefactor but real personal love requires attachment to personal details.
“Wait a minute! Are you saying that God is a real person?” “Yes! For would it be logical to conclude that the sun is cold after experiencing the heat of its rays? So similarly would it be logical to conclude that our source lacks form and personality?”
The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam reveals the sweetness of God, Krishna, only after extensively dealing with the subject of how God and His energies interact with this material realm. These details are so extensive that scientists become baffled. It is pure in its purpose, for you will not find the goals of material benefits or even salvation put forward in this sacred literature. The goal in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is simply to reawaken our natural dormant love and mood of service towards God. The goal is not to gain wealth or to secure a position in Heaven or to gain anything from God, but rather to be in the mood of giving to God, the mood of love.