Pinching Words

Q. In your Bhagavad-gita ‘ in text 9.11 the word ‘mudha’ is translated as “rascals,” “fools,” etc. Please don’t use words that pinch new learners. This is my humble request.

A.  As Prabhupada himself would point out, he is simply repeating Krishna’s words. Krishna certainly has the right to label someone a fool, and people should know who Krishna considers foolish. That’s part of the wisdom of the Gita. Krishna makes distinctions.

As followers of Srila Prabhupada we don’t feel it is proper for us to interfere with his preaching style. If he felt it was important to repeat Krishna‘s words in pointing out who is foolish, it’s not our position to challenge him.

We ourselves might use a gentler approach when preaching, and Prabhupada did that also, but if Prabhupäda felt that strong words were sometimes needed, we have to agree with that assessment. Besides, we might not be able to predict the effect of strong words. Someone might read them and think, “Oh, Krishna says I’m a fool. So I should stop being a fool and surrender to Him.”

Srila Prabhupada often spoke strongly and he inspired thousands—maybe millions—of people to become devotees of Krishna.