I am grateful that my book has received this distinguished award. But I can’t claim the credit for it. The credit belongs not to me but to the sages whose wisdom the book brings together in dialogue.
The biblical book of Ecclesiastes asks in the clearest terms what the point of our life is and for what it is that we work so hard, day after day, in our lives under the sun.
And the Bhagavad-gita, the jewel of India’s ancient texts of wisdom, examines these questions with the understanding that each of us, though struggling in a world of birth and death, is a spiritual spark of consciousness, immortal and imperishable.
From the Gita we learn how our karma — what we do in our lives, and what comes back to us as a result — can be not for vanity — for nothing — but for the perfection of spiritual realization. And we learn how, under the sun, such realization gives meaning to our lives.
The Gita’s divine speaker, Sri Krishna, says, “This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.”
So I owe the credit for this book, Vanity Karma, to the sages who have given us the wisdom of Ecclesiastes and the wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita, and most especially to my spiritual teacher, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Acknowledging where the credit rightfully belongs, I gratefully accept this award.
“Vanity Karma: Ecclesiastes, the Bhagavad-gita, and the meaning of life,” by Jayadvaita Swami, has won the 2016 Benjamin Franklin gold award for the year’s best book in the “religion” category. The award was announced by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the authority for the awards, at a ceremony on March 8 in Salt Lake City.
The IBPA is the largest publishing association in the United States.
“Vanity Karma” is published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the world’s largest publisher of India’s classic books of spirituality.