Krishna Chandra Das of the ISKCON Daiva Varnashrama Ministry (IDVM) has been included in the World Book of Records for reciting all 700 verses of the sacred text Bhagavad-gita from memory in the minimum time of 73 minutes.
The record was originally achieved on January 27th 2020, from 5:12pm to 6:25pm in Bellary, Karnataka, South India, and was recognized at that time only in India by the India Book of Records. More recently, on December 31st 2020, Krishna Chandra Das received a certificate from the World Book of Records, UK.
Not to be confused with Guiness World Records, the World Book of Records is run by ALMA, an organization that has been promoting educational causes in India and at a global level for the past 20 years. Krishna Chandra’s record will be included in its 2020 India edition.
Previously a practicing doctor in Bangalore, the capital of the state of Karnataka, Krishna Chandra was initiated by IDVM Minister Bhakti Raghava Swami in 2007. He then began developing farm communities, conducting village preaching and raising awareness of cow protection and organic agriculture under the ISKCON Daiva Varnashrama Ministry’s banner.
Krishna Chandra first served as co-director of the Sahyadri Sri Krishna Balarama Ksetra farm in Hebri, near Udupi. In more recent times, he has been serving on the inspiration of his guru at the ISKCON center in the village of Korlagundi, near the town of Bellary in Karnataka. There, he has been helping to develop a farm community and preaching in surrounding villages.
Krishna Chandra’s love of learning verses, or slokas, began when he found that memorizing many slokas from the Vedic scriptures greatly enhanced his ability to teach Krishna consciousness.
“Also, many people express doubts that it was possible for the whole Bhagavad-gita – all 700 slokas – to be spoken on the battlefield of Kuruksetra,” he says, referring to Lord Krishna’s speaking the Gita to the warrior Arjuna five thousand years ago. “I wanted to convince those people that it did not actually take such a long time, and prove that this actually happened at Kuruksetra. To do so, I have recited the whole Bhagavad-gita from memory in less than an hour and 15 minutes.”
Although the erudite Krishna Chandra already knew 150 to 200 verses by heart, memorizing all 700 took another level of dedication.
“For six months continuously, I chanted all 18 chapters of Bhagavad-gita every single day,” he recalls.
Having achieved the world record, Krishna Chandra is continuing to pass on the lifechanging spiritual knowledge of Bhagavad-gita to others. At the ISKCON center in Korlagundi, he has been teaching 7 to 14-year-old local school children his techniques for memorizing verses, and several can already recite two to three chapters. During the pandemic, classes take place with masks, social distancing and sanitization in place, even though COVID cases are very low in the area. When under five children attend, they’re usually indoors with these precautions; lessons take place outside when, at times, up to 30 to 40 participate.
Krishna Chandra also teaches adults – local villagers including farmers – the wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita every Sunday.
In the future, he wants to help his guru Bhakti Raghava Swami establish gurukulas (traditional schools) and farm projects to spread the message of the Bhagavad-gita.
“Everybody’s searching for peace of mind and happiness,” he says. “And all the formulas for these have been given in Bhagavad-gita.”
The formula for peace, Krishna Chandra explains, is given in chapter five, verse 29, “bhoktaram yajna tapasam,” where Lord Krishna says, “A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.”
Krishna gives the formula for happiness, meanwhile, in chapter ten verse nine, “mac-citta mad-gata-prana,” saying, “The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.”
Finally, the essence of Bhagavad-gita is described in chapater 18, verses 65 and 66, where Lord Krishna says, “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend. Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”
“In these verses Lord Krishna says, ‘man-mana bhava mad-bhakto, that we must always fix our mind on Him,” Krishna Chandra says. “So by remembering these slokas spoken by Krishna, we are remembering Krishna. Because there is no difference between Krishna Himself and Krishna’s words. They are transcendental.”