Where I differ from Garuda Dasa

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

If you are involved in the controversy about the posthumous changes made to Srila Prabhupada’s books then I guess you know who Garuda Dasa (Graham M. Schweig) is. Otherwise you can easily inform yourself by searching the internet.

To avoid any misunderstandings about my position in relation to Garuda Dasa I will now explain where and why I disagree with him on the topic of the posthumous editing of Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Unlike me Garuda Dasa wants a new edition, or version, of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. He is not satisfied with the work of Jayadvaita Swami, but at the same time he thinks we still need some posthumous editing. Garuda would like to do this editing himself – with a small group of qualified devotees.

I strongly disagree with him, and I recently presented my worries to him thus (slightly edited):

“You keep bringing up a couple of quotes to support posthumous editing, for example this one:

‘Our editing is to correct grammatical and spelling errors only, without interpolation of style or philosophy’ (Letter to Rupanuga Dasa, February 17, 1970).

And then you add that Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on editing his books can be summed up in the mantra “no changes, no mistakes,” and that this mantra must guide the posthumous editing of his books.

I find your argument fallacious for the following reasons:

1) There is no evidence that Srila Prabhupada included the idea of posthumous editing when he spoke these words. The context was that he was present to supervise the work – if he so desired.

2) Srila Prabhupada spoke out against posthumous editing on several occasions.

3) Srila Prabhupada’s own example was that he did not change his guru’s or previous acarya’s mistakes when he found them. Srila Prabhupada would not even allow corrections of grammatical mistakes made by the editors of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (see more below).

4) Caitanya Mahaprabhu also did not correct the mistakes of the acaryas.

So why do you want to extrapolate these quotes to include posthumous editing?

Why not do as Srila Prabhupada did, i.e. let the books be! And then perhaps create separate booklets to explain the mistakes?”

Garuda Prabhu first said he more or less agreed with me. But a few days later he wrote this:

‘I’ve looked into every one of the changes in the BGAII with the help of an extremely competent devotee. My conclusion: I can accept up to 25% of the editing, and even some of it very good. But at least 75% of the editing was totally unnecessary, even intrusive. With just the 25% of valid editing, no second edition would have been necessary.’ (Garuda Dasa, Facebook post, May 2020)

Garuda says he can accept 25% of Jayadvaita Swami’s editing. And then he wants to do some editing himself. First we had Srila Prabhupada’s Gita, then we had Jayadvaita Swamis new edition, and now Garuda might take over Jayadvaita Swami’s role as a posthumous editor, and then we will have a third.

It should be obvious that Garuda Prabhu’s attempts will not settle the matter. Intelligent devotees are against all sorts of posthumous editing. Why? Well, first of all because of the above mentioned reasons. But also because no matter how well-articulated your reasons are for making a certain change you cannot get Srila Prabhupada’s approval. And that is certainly needed.

This affair can only be settled by reference to an absolute principle. We are fortunate to have this principle. It is called arsa-prayoga. It means that we cannot make any changes to the acaryas words (without explicit instructions from the acarya himself). This settles the matter. There is nothing further to discuss.

But as long as we have conditioned souls taking up roles as authorities on the editing of Srila Prabhupada’s books there will be disagreements as to what constitutes a good, or the best, editor, and what constitutes a good reason to change. One editor will reject the other editors, and new, differing editions of Srila Prabhupada’s books will be published.

My position is, therefore, that this dispute cannot be settled with reference to conditioned souls no matter how good they are at editing. It can only be settled by reference to an absolute principle – arsa-prayoga.

Post November 18, 1977 all editing stops, and thereafter only commentaries on the books are allowed. Everyone can, if they so desire, make their individual commentary describing the mistakes in the original Bhagavad-gita As It Is. And then they can personally publish it at their own cost, and also get all the material profit.

Unfortumately Garuda’s attempts, however well-intented, will result in more frustration. We will have more and more new editions, or versions, of Srila Prabhupada’s Gita. People will lose their trust in Srila Prabhupada’s books, and in the Krishna consciousness movement.

With Garuda Dasa at the helm of the ongoing editing the changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books will not be stopped.

Your servant,

Ajit Krishna Dasa

**********

Objections answered

A devotee wrote:

“The suggestion to correct transcription errors made by Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, who made mistakes and aren’t gurus or acharyas, doesn’t fit the description of your quote.”

and

“Srila Prabhupada’s editors were not acaryas. They’re conditioned souls. They made mistakes.”

My answer:

As soon as the book the approved there can be no more changes without the direct approval and instruction of the guru.

While discussing the editing of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura’s Brahma Samhita we find this recollection by Ramesvara Dasa:

“Once it’s approved it’s eternal.” That was his quote. “Once it’s approved it’s eternal.” One of the heaviest incidences came up I think in ’76 or ’77, we wrote to Prabhupada about publishing his spiritual master’s book the Brahma-samhita. Because it had already been introduced to chant in the Gurukulas, we were chanting it all over ISKCON. And although Prabhupada in ’75 said, “You cannot read the Gaudiya Math publications, you cannot approach my spiritual master or Bhaktivinoda directly. You have to learn their teachings through me, through my books, through my lectures.” This was a big incident in ’75 because the devotees were buying Gaudiya Math publications and reading directly. And Prabhupada completely smashed it. So it was either ’76 or ’77 we wanted to print Brahma-samhita. Prabhu­pada approved it and he wrote a very heavy letter to Radhaballabha. Because we were asking Prabhupada about editing changes. I’m not sure if he wrote the letter or if it’s on a tape or maybe it’s both. I think Radhaballabha had a room conversation with Prabhupada and I wasn’t present. Tamal was there. And in addition to that I think there’s a letter. Anyway, between the letter and the room conversation, the instruction was given that “You cannot make any changes in my spiritual master’s book.” “What about the incorrect grammar?” Prabhupada’s reply, “You cannot change one comma, not even a comma, not even a punctuation mark, that is the etiquette.” So that was just another one of those super heavy instructions that the etiquette in dealing with a great acarya’s books is that whatever he has done it’s eternal and it can never be changed. And I believe that all of this was part of Prabhupada’s training us. He wanted to train people who would be entrusted with his books. And who would in turn train the next generation of BBT men, managers and production managers in this fanatical, literally fanatical transcendental phobia about changes. Prabhupada went out of his way to train us. Some of the instructions were so extreme that one might say they’re exaggerated. But they’re not exaggerated. This is exactly what Prabhupada wanted. (Ramesvara Dasa, Interview, 1979)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Saravati Thakura had editors. It was their job to properly edit the Brahma Samhita. But as we see Srila Prabhupada would not even allow corrections to the grammatical mistakes of the editors of the book.

We should follow in Srila Prabhupada’s footsteps by not allowing any changes to whatever Srila Prabhupada has approved to be in his books.

If Srila Prabhupada was here we could ask him, and he might give his approval to such corrections. But since he is not here, and thus cannot give his approval, it is offensive to continue editing his book.

Intelligent devotees can foresee how havoc can come from trying to correct the editors’ mistakes:

-Can only their grammatical mistakes be corrected?

-Is it considered a mistake if an editor has left passages from the so-called original manuscript out?

-How do we know if something is an editorial mistake, or a transcendental mistake made by Srila Prabhupada? Or perhaps not a mistake at all. There are many grey areas.

I think there will be differing answers to these questions, and then we are again left with conditioned souls as our editorial guides, instead of an absolute principle – arsa-prayoga.

And then we have not made progress towards stopping the continues changes and corrections to Srila Prabhupada’s books?

BBT International Cutting in Srila Prabhupada’s Lectures

There is an error in the below video:

I thought the lecture was from 1976, but in fact it is from 1975. The 1976 edition of the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam was, obviously, not printed in 1975, and thus we now know with 100% certainty that BBT International inserted the wrong text in the transcript.

They cut out the audio read from First Canto 1.7.7 1972, and then in the transcript they inserted the text from First Canto 1976.

From Original Nectar to Poisonous Sap

From Original Nectar Transformed to Distastefull Sap

From Original Nectar (left) to Poisonous Sap (right)

“Though the water of the Ganga is pure and sweet, when received by the roots of bitter or poisonous trees growing on its bank, it becomes distasteful sap in the trees. Similarly when the Vedas come from the mouths of these faithless people, the meaning becomes distasteful and gives results which are opposite to the normal results.” (Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura, Srimad-Bhagavatam Sarartha Darsini, 11.14.8p., as translated by Bhanu Swami)

With their +5000 posthumous changes to Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is alone it is strikingly strange how the BBT International do not seem to notice how they themselves function as a poisonous tree who transforms pure nectar into distasteful, poisonous sap.

In their own purport to the same verse BBT International writes:

“Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has given a most interesting example, as follows. The water of the Ganges is always pure and very sweet. On the banks of that great river, however, there are several types of poisonous trees whose roots drink up the Ganges water from the soil and use it to produce poisonous fruits. Similarly, those who are atheistic or demoniac utilize their association with Vedic knowledge to produce the poisonous fruits of atheistic or materialistic philosophy.”

Stay away from the poisonous trees!

poisonous-tree

ISKCON Censorship in Action

At ISKCON Mayapur a devotee, Jitavrata Dasa, was publicly humiliated for speaking the truth about the book changes. He was asked to stop his vyasa puja offering.

Read the complete vyasa-puja offering below (the part that Jitavrata Prabhu was not able to speak has been marked with bold).

Nama Om Vishnu padaya Krishna prestaya bhutale
Srimate Bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine
namas te Sarasvate deve Gauravani pracarine
nirvisesa sunyavadi pascatya desa tarine

Dear Srila Prabhupada ,

please accept my humble obeisances unto your worshipable Lotus Feet.

You brilliantly shine as the most glorious servant of your Lordship Sri Sri Radha Madhava.

As time goes by, and as ignorance is dispelled, you are appreciated as the most important personality in our movement ,most definitely because you are the founder acharya under whose guidance everyone must abide in order to understand the instructions of the disciplic succession that are within your books.

You are without a doubt the most merciful guru to empower even today whoever takes shelter of your instructions. We all feel very fortunate to be under the shelter at your Lotus feet. They are guiding us back to Godhead beyond the shadow of a doubt.
It is only because of you that we can find the potency to continue your great mission of bringing immortal happiness to the entire world. Your greatest joy is to see your books distributed far and wide, because your books unlock the doors to the treasure house of pure Love of Krishna.

As time goes by, your Divine presence is becoming more intensely felt because we realize that it is only by your mercy that this movement is carrying on. You are everyone’s well wisher and your spiritual attributes are unfathomable.

As ISKCON is your body, you want to see it flourish and grow beyond material limits, in great spiritual happiness and health for all the generations to come. So many nice devotees have joined your movement and are very much eager to serve at your Lotus Feet with great joy.

Please give us the intelligence to not change the bonafide process that you are giving us, as to avoid causing you so many troubles. It was first given by Krishna and has worked wonders millions of years ago, it is still now working so many wonders and will continue to work wonders in the milleniums to come.

As you are the spirit maintaining ISKCON thru sickness and health, please give us the intelligence to understand the supreme importance of protecting all the original English versions of your books that you have personally approved and rendered thereby eternal.
You have compiled these books with great endeavor, choosing each word and sentence very carefully under the full guidance of Lord Krishna sitting next to you. Your very specific combination of words acts like a powerful mantra to cut thru the illusory energy of Maya and revive our remembrance of Krishna

By changing these word arrangements thinking to know English better than you is the greatest offense as it removes the bonafide value of your writings. You taught us that 5 things permits Kali’s influence to infiltrate our consciousness. Meat eating, intoxication, gambling, illicit sex and if all four are absent then Kali is allowed to reside where there is hording of gold. Our biggest protection is the chanting of a minimum of 16 rounds every day, and keeping the association of the devotees. These simple instructions if carefully practiced will protect us from down falls.

You told Rameswara your BBT Trustee that your greatest fear was that after your departure, bonafide instructions will be taken out of your books and non bonafide things will be introduced, that is why you strictly forbade any book changes and you really made this instruction very clear to him. Unfortunately Rameswara left after a series of unfortunate events and even though these instructions were left in writing when Rameswara was interviewed for the production of your Lilamrta, that interview was never utilized and simply sat in the archives forgotten for over 30 years. As the enemy is invisible but its influence can be seen. Kali has infiltrated somehow or other,maybe someone is hording some gold or breaking the principles who really knows, but somehow Kali has found a way to modify your books, making it look seemingly harmless, claiming the changes will be closer to what you really meant , but Kali has in fact opened wide the doors for future changes. Next Kali will make us believe that watering down the philosophy will greatly increase our membership among those who are especially angry that you are just too strict and conservative with your principles, so better make a few compromises, where is the harm? And then Kali will tell us next that there is no need to chant Jaya Prabhupada , it is not necessary . Kali’s goal is to really minimize your importance and gradually take you out of the picture .Kali says” no no a little book change that is alright,where is the harm we are making the books better, Prabhupada didn’t know how to speak english we are just helping him out especially since now we even know sanskrit better than him”. Is this why you emphatically stressed no book changes,as you could foresee these attacks from the fox like Kali?

Rameswara Prabhu , has witnessed first hand your reactions over some changes the press was planning for your books. He was coming of course to get your approval as you always personally directed every details of your books publications. He saw how very angry you were when presented with so called book changes for the seemingly better, and that was the most frightening experience Rameswara ever had to see you this angry ,he felt very similar to what Hiranyakasipu felt when he saw Lord Nrisimhadeva. Hiranyakasipu was actually so scared that he fought the Lord with his eyes closed. You repeatedly told Rameswara that you do not want your books changed. You also told Hayagriva your editor in 1972 that you had approved all the verses in the Bhagavad Gita and that there was no need to change any of them, that once approved they are eternal. Rameswara carefully noted down all the details of these super heavy lessons and in 1979 he gave a long interview for the Lilamrta describing everything that happened . He had never seen anyone so angry, There were also many others who were involved with the press like Radhaballava das , Bali Mardana, your BBT artists and various editors who received your clear instructions about not changing your books except for the few absolutely needed corrections. When we finished the Chaitanya Caritamrta marathon in 75, Rameswara told you afterwards that in the subsequent printing the finished paintings would replace the unfinished ones. You said no, no book changes, but Prabhupada he said we are just putting the finished paintings in , they are the same paintings .but three times you forbade him to do so, because you wanted to stress and emphasize that no matter how good the reasons seems to be, you did not want your books changed, once approved they are eternal.

But now we see that so many changes have been made, your very clear instructions on this matter have been forgotten in the archives for more than 30 years and as they are now seeing the light of the day we are faced with the difficult task of undoing this blunder, difficult because Kali has brainwashed us and anyone who criticizes these changes is shown the door . Kali ‘s might is right and devotees are scared to talk about this ,because they don’t want to be kicked out of ISKCON. So what to do?
We want to correct these transgressions from your orders so that we may qualify to be the recipients of your full mercy .

This is why we pray at your lotus feet to please give us the intelligence to understand how you are too monumentally big for anyone to correct your books . What you wrote was already approved by you, and you did not want it changed in any ways. Please give ISKCON at large the spiritual intelligence to understand this principle of arsa- prayoga. I do not see how we can get your mercy while keeping you in an angry mood over the changing of your books, this is the most serious offense to think that we can touch your writings. Please consider our ignorance and we beg you to please enlighten those who do not see the evil in these activities. Your books are worshipable deities being non different than Bhagavan Sri Krishna and we know them to contain all of your devotional ecstasies. In the first Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam , Chapter five, the verse of text eleven says: On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes , etc. , of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest. The original English version of your books are the seed mantra to all worldwide translations of your books, the ultimate reference in authenticity, that anyone could refer to. What will scholars think when they find out your books were tampered with, they will refuse to study the bogus ones.

No outside influence can stop your ISKCON, but to allow from within that your books may be modified is non different than killing you. You said that you live eternally in your books, but if they are modified then they are no longer your books, Kali has found a way of silencing you by playing the changing game to suit its evil purposes while still presently hiding behind your good name.Do we need to form a Ksatriya force to keep this Kali at bay? Please Srila Prabhupada give us the intelligence to see clearly, guide us on the right path, and inspire your BBT to print all your original versions once again. But I see hope in the horizon , happy days are returning because of your Jayapataka Swami who is getting his visa extended for his visit on this earth, all by the mercy of Lord Nrisimhadeva and by the mercy of his disciples, so that he may finish your big plans for Mayapur. Rameswara your great book distribution general is coming back to hopefully retire in Mayapur. Please illuminate their hearts with your full splendor and please kick Kali far away. Allow us to remain very close to you Srila Prabhupada , let your instruction of no book changes be known in ISKCON at large. Let the truth of your instructions shine. Let us all work united under you, under your unchangeable immortal instructions.

Jaya Sri Sri Radha Madhava,
Jaya Supremely powerful Lord Nrisimhadeva,
Jaya O most merciful Sri Sri Panca tattva,
Jaya o most magnanimous Srila Prabhupada!

Your worthless dog
Jitavrata das

 

“Man” Not Sexist

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

I was mildly disturbed to read Yadavendra Dasa’s “Treacherous Intervention” posted March 19th in the Sampradaya Sun.

Yadavendra Prabhu notes that in the two editions of Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972 and 1983) the text of verse 4.23 differs from Srila Prabhupada’s typewritten text in the original manuscript.

He notes that the original manuscript uses the words “a person” whereas both of the two published editions uses “a man”. He concludes that this is highly sexist, and he argues that the editors must have been on the bodily platform, influenced by male pride and have misinterpreted Srila Prabhupada’s words.

Is Yadavendra Prabhu correct?

The answer is “No!”, and here is why:

Yadavendra Prabhu’s conclusion can be immediately falsified if we can find an instance where Srila Prabhupada uses the word “man” (in his translations, lectures and purports) in the same sense that it is used in the two published editions of Bhagavad-gita As It Is 4.23.

A search on the Vedabase, and in the original manuscripts reveals that there are indeed instances where Srila Prabhupada uses the word “man” in precisely that same way. We find it in for example Bg. 2.70, 4.39 and 6.7.

Original Manuscript 5.7 (“not the man who”):

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 13.23.23

Original Manuscript 4.39 (“A faithful man”):

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 13.26.28

Original Manuscript 6.7 (“To such a man”):

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 13.31.35

Srila Prabhupada gave lectures on all three of the above-mentioned verses, and he did not complain about their wordings.

The word “man” is used in all of these three verses in both the 1968 and the 1972 edition, and we know Srila Prabhupada said they could keep the verses of the 1968 edition in the 1972 edition. He must have been satisfied with them.

In Srila Prabhupada’s purports the word “man” or “men” is used in a similar sense (as in the two published editions) hundreds of times. It is very easy to find them by doing a search on the Vedabase.

This disproves Yadavendra Prabhu’s idea that it is sexist to use the word “man” like it is used in the two published editions – unless he wants to argue that Srila Prabhupada was sexist. But his point is precisely that Srila Prabhupada was not sexist, but that the two editors were.

I guess my point is that if we want to criticise Srila Prabhupada’s editors we must first do our own research properly lest we make fools of ourselves.

 

 

No Objection

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

Jayadvaita Swami admits that it constitutes evidence against making a change if Srila Prabhupada read and/or lectured from a translation or purport without objecting to it:

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 13.05.46

“And yet we have several places where Śrīla Prabhupāda speaks of chapter six as the “Sāṅkhya-yoga chapter,” and of course he saw the chapter published with that title and never objected.”

The above quote is from Jayadvaita Swami’s annotated scans: Chapter Six from J. Swami’s edited copy of the 1972 edition. This is a chapter from the copy of the 1972 edition of Bhagavad-gītā As It Is on which Jayādvaita Swami marked the revisions for the edition of 1983.

Direct link to the annotated scans of Chapter Six (look for the headline “About sankhya”):

http://bbtedit.com/gitafiles/72_Gita_showing_revisions_06_chapter_6.pdf

JAYADVAITA SWAMI – SELF-APPOINTED GHOSTWRITER

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

Definition:

“ghostwriter
ˈɡəʊstrʌɪtə/
noun
a person whose job it is to write material for someone else who is the named author.

However, the difference between the usual ghostwriter and Jayadvaita Swami is that the latter is forcing his service upon the author (Srila Prabhupada), after the author’s demise.

We got rid of the eleven self-appointed zonal “gurus”. But we still have Jayadvaita Swami who, as the self-appointed ghostwriter, is forcing his editing on Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada has no say in this regard. He is simply being forced to accept the ghostwritten material of Jayadvaita Swami.

And so is everyone else.

Hare Krishna!

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Grammar mistake in 1983 Gita (Bg 9.31)

BBT International / Jayadvaita Swami are making their own share of mistakes. Here is a new one brought to my attention by Bhakta Torben Nielsen.

From the original 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is (Bg 9.31)

17880556_10155300261850962_8701180303661613560_o

No mistakes here.

From Jayadvaita Swami’s unauthorized 1983 Bhagavad-gita As It Is (9.31)

17741302_405450219811127_1864148414_n

There is no full stop before “How”, and therefore “H” should not be capitalized.

The mistake is also to be found on vedabase.com (Bg 9.31)

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 11.50.33

Mistakes are inevitable in this material world. I personally prefer the mistakes made by Hayagriva Prabhu, the only editor Srila Prabhupada approved to edit his Bhagavad-gita As It is.

New Video Series on the Book Changes

We are gradually producing videos on the book changes. Check our playlist at Youtube, and remember to subscribe for new videos.

Kindly share the videos on social media – especially on Facebook.

Thanks for watching and helping Srila Prabhupada.

Book Changes – Playlist