By using the lower case pronoun for Krishna, aren’t you minimizing his position?

by June 23, 2020
I certainly don’t want to minimize Krishna’s position in any way. Simultaneously, it’s important to bear in mind that:
1. There’s no such convention of upper case pronoun for God in Sanskrit or most of our traditional languages (these languages don’t have the idea of upper and lower cases at all).
2. Using upper case pronoun for God in English was just a temporary historical convention.
Capitalization, punctuation and spelling were not well standardized in early Modern English; for example, the 1611 King James Bible did not capitalize pronouns:

For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.

— Psalm 33:21, KJV

Nowadays, that convention is considered more or less outdated.
The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style says (p145):

Most publishers, religious and general, use the lowercase style … to conform to the two most popular versions of the Bible (the bestselling New International Version and the historically dominant King James Version).

What CWMS does say is this:

[Capitalizing] gives a book, at best, a dated, Victorian feel, and at worst, an aura of irrelevance to modern readers.
That’s worth thinking about—no one wants to their work to be considered dated or irrelevant.

3. Many of my articles were published in newspapers and they would inevitably change the God pronoun case to lower – and soon stared asking me to make that change before submitting.
4. After consulting with senior Vaishnavas who have been guiding me in writing such as HH Jayadvaita Maharaj, I decided to adopt the lower case pronoun as my standard.
​5. While my writings are read by devotees, I try to write in such a way that new people can also access them. So, rather than using a convention that signals to perceptive readers of religion / spirituality that I am out of touch with current conventions, I let the message speak for itself without leaning on the crutches of a convention of dubious contemporary value.  In this, I hope and pray that I am following our broader tradition, which let the glories of Krishna come out through the message written in ​Sanskrit and Bengali without using or needing any grammatical aids to convey Krishna’s supreme position.
6. I respect the many devotee-writers who choose to use the upper case pronouns. I find my feelings echoed on this blog:
If you capitalize pronouns that refer to God to show reverence for His name, fantastic! Continue doing so. If you capitalize pronouns that refer to God to make it more clear who is being referred to, great! Continue doing so. If you are not capitalizing pronouns that refer to God because you believe proper English grammar/syntax/style should be followed, wonderful! Continue following your conviction. Again, this is not a right vs. wrong issue. Each of us must follow his/her own conviction and each of us should refrain from judging those who take a different viewpoint.
About The Author

Leave a Response