Lord Ramacandra removed from Bhagavad-gita, As It Is (10.31 purport)

Help us by “liking” and “sharing” this post!

This article was sent to the BBT International the 17th Oct. 2013. We asked them to comment on the points raised. So far we have not received any reply.

By Ajit Krishna Dasa
rama-nama

Changes have been made to the purport of verse 10.31 in Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita:

Here is a complete comparison of BG. 10.31 in Prabhupada’s 1972-edition and BBT International’s 1983 edition:

1972-edition:

TRANSLATION

Of purifiers I am the wind; of the wielders of weapons I am Rama; of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.

PURPORT

Of all the aquatics the shark is one of the biggest and is certainly the most dangerous to man. Thus the shark represents Krsna. And of rivers, the greatest in India is the Mother Ganges. Lord Ramacandra, of the Ramayana, an incarnation of Krsna, is the mightest of warriors.

1983 edition:

TRANSLATION

Of purifiers I am the wind, of the wielders of weapons I am Rama, of fishes I am the shark,and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.

PURPORT

Of all the aquatics the shark is one of the biggest and is certainly the most dangerous to man. Thus the shark represents Krishna.

Jayadvaita Swami, editor in cheif for the BBT International, attempts to justify this deletion with the following statements:

“The shark may be a dangerous fish, but the locution “of the Ramayana” at once alerted me that something else fishy was going on. Is Lord Ramacandra a character from a book, like Alice “of Alice in Wonderland”? Sure enough, in the original manuscript the text about Lord Ramacandra doesn’t appear; it seems to have been added by the editor.

For certain, the editor of the First Edition was trying to be helpful. But sometimes we are better off without help. The word rama may of course refer to Lord Ramacandra—or to Balarama, or even to Krsna Himself. Nonetheless, our sampradaya acaryas comment here that rama refers to—whom? Lord Parasurama.” (http://bbtedit.com/node/199#GRE_10.31)

Lalitanath Dasa, editor for BBT International in Denmark, writes (translated from Danish):

”How many knows that the 1972 edition of Bhagavad-gita contains a number of unauthorized speculations, where the editor [Hayagriva Dasa] has added things, which Prabhupada did not give, and which are wrong? One example is 10.31 which sounds:

”Of purifiers I am the wind, of the wielders of weapons I am Rama, of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.”

Here in the commentary we find the following explanation of the above mentioned Rama:

”…Lord Ramacandra, of the Ramayana, an incarnation of Krsna, is the mightest of warriors.”

This sentence does not appear in Prabhupada’s original manuscript. It must have come from Hayagriva, who out of his educational attempts wanted to help the readers understanding. Although well intended is it unfortunately an unauthorized speculation, especially since the acaryas tells us in their purports that the Rama mentioned here in this verse is Parasurama (and therefore not Lord Ramacandra).”

(This can be read on Lalitanath Dasa’s blog: http://bg-redigeringer.blogspot.dk/2012/09/herren-rama-fra-ramayana.html)

What does the previous acaryas say?

Srila Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura:

Pavatam means “Among the fast-moving and purifying, I am the wind.” Here, the word ramah refers to Lord Parashurama. Because he is an avesha-avatara, a special jiva empowered by Shri Bhagavan and endowed with His shakti, he is included among the vibhutis of Bhagavan. In Bhagavatamritam, the following statement from the Padma Purana has been cited: “O Devi, I have explained to you the entire history of the shaktyavesha-avatara, Jamadagnya (Parashurama, the son of Jamadagni), the carrier of the axe.” Furthermore, Shri Bhagavan entered Parashurama. Bhagavatamritam describes the characteristic of an aveshaavat ara: “When Shri Janardana empowers an exalted jiva with one of His potencies such as jnana, that jiva is counted as an avesha-avatara.” “Among aquatics (jhashanam) I am the exalted makara, and of rivers (srotasam) I am Ganga.”

Sridhara Swami’s commentary

Of purifiers Lord Krishna’s vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is the wind. Of wielders of weapons His vibhuti is Parasurama who slew in battle all the ksatriyas or warriors class 21 times with His mighty axe. Among fish His vibhuti is a particular fish that can swallow a whole whale and lives in the deepest part of the ocean known as Makara and amongst all rivers, Lord Krishna’s vibhuti is jahnavia name of the holy Ganga.

Kesava Kasmiri’s commentary (Kesava Kasmiri var inkarnation af Nimbarka Swami):

“Among purifiers Lord Krishna’s vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is the swift moving wind. Among weapon wielding warriors His vibhuti is the valiant hero Rama who is a lila avatar or divine pastime incarnation of the Supreme Lord Krishna being His catur-vyuya expansion Vasudeva. One should never think that Rama born of King Dasaratha in the solar line of the exalted Raghu dynasty is non-different from the Supreme Lord Krishna except in rasa or mood. The word Rama may also be interpreted to be Parasurama the son of Jamadagni and Renuka, who was a sakyavesa avatar or empowered incarnation of Lord Krishna who slew all theksatriyas 21 times with His mighty axe. Among rivers His vibhuti is jahnavi the daughter of the sage Jahnu known as the holy river Ganges.”

Madhvacarya’s commentary

“Being of the form of ananda or bliss, being completely spiritual of Himself, being the delighter of the people Lord Krishna’s vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is known as Rama. In the Shandilya section it states: Of blissful form, unlimited, from whom the world revels is known as Rama. Ra and ama are the root and together as Rama mean exceedingly pleasing to all.”

Ramanujacarya’s commentary

“Lord Krishna reveals that of things that purify and things that are the swiftest His vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is the wind. The words sastra-bhrtam means weapon wielding heroes of which His vibhuti is Rama but unlike other vibhuti which are indirect. Rama is an avatar or direct incarnation of the Supreme Lord Krishna who manifests Himself as Rama the paragon of weapon wielding heroes. Indirect vibhutis such as the Maruts or the Vasus are still jivas or embodied souls even though imbued with a filament of the Supreme Lords potency. In relationship to the Supreme Lord they are exactly like potencies serving Him as the weapons wielded by Rama are likewise serving Him.”

Reference: (http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-10-29.html)

We see that the previous acaryas express different views on this subject. It will surely be argued by the BBT International that our sampradaya acaryas Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura and Sridhara Swami states that it’s Parasurama who is referred to in BG 10.31. But as we also see some of the previous acaryas conclude that it’s – or at least can be – Lord Ramacandra Who is referred to in BG. 10.31 (Kesava Kasmiri and Ramanujacarya) Our other sampradaya acarya Madhvacarya seems not to express an opinion about this subject matter in his purport to BG 10.31. Madhvacarya refers to the “Sandilya section”, but I have not been able to trace down where this is from (maybe someone can help?)

So how can we reach a conclusion about this? One obvious thing to do would be to investigate if Prabhupada said something about it!

Srila Prabhupada on “Rama” in the Bhagavad-gita

Giriraja: There was some discussion earlier whether Krsna had an actual existence or whether He is imaginary.
Prabhupada: Why imaginary? He is in the history, Mahabharata. Mahabharata means greater, history of greater India.
Giriraja: Would you like a little more? (offering prasadam)
Ram Jethmalani: No thank you. I am trying to finish as much as I can.
Prabhupada: All right.
Ram Jethmalani: One of the historical pieces of evidence is that if Ramayana was historically earlier than Mahabharata, it is curious that there is no reference in the Mahabharata at all that any other gods of Ramayana. And if it will be the other way around, there is no reference to…
Giriraja: But there is reference in the Srimad-Bhagavatam…
Prabhupada: About Ramayana. Srimad-Bhagavatam there is reference of Ramayana. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the last writing of Vyasadeva.
Ram Jethmalani: In last writing it may contain, but between the two of them, there is no cross reference of any kind. Now, a personality like Krsna, when first set up, it must have become a phenomena at least.
Giriraja: But in the Gita Krsna says… He describes His different vibhutis, and there He says, “I am Rama.”
Prabhupada: “Amongst the warriors, I am Rama.” The reference is there. This very word is there. “Amongst the warriors, I am Rama.”
Giriraja: And it’s also described that the great sages in the forest who were worshiping Rama, they wanted to associate with Him in a particular way which was not possible because He was acting as the ideal king, so He said that “In My future appearance as Lord Krsna, I will fulfill all of your desires.”
Prabhupada: And besides that, in the Vedic literature, Brahma-samhita, this name Rama is mentioned.
ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan
nanavataram akarod bhuvanesu kintu
krsnah svayam samabhavat paramah puman yo
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
[Bs. 5.39]
Krsna is the original God and Rama is expansion. Not only Rama-other incarnations. Ramadi-murtisu. Rama, Nrsimha,
Varaha, many.
(Room Conversation with Ram Jethmalani (Parliament Member) — April 16, 1977, Bombay)

We see from the above conversation with Prabhupada that he didn’t raise any objections, when Giriraja stated that Ramacandra was mentioned in Bhagavad-gita. On the contrary he supported Giriraja’s statements:

Giriraja: And it’s also described that the great sages in the forest who were worshiping Rama, they wanted to
associate with Him in a particular way which was not possible because He was acting as the ideal king, so He said
that “In My future appearance as Lord Krsna, I will fulfill all of your desires.”
Prabhupada: And besides that, in the Vedic literature, Brahma-samhita, this name Rama is mentioned.

Giriraja here refers to the pastimes of Lord Ramacandra. Not those of Lord Parasurama. And Prabhupada supports the statements by saying: “And besides that,…”

The whole context of the above conversation revolves around Lord Ramacandra and the Ramayana. And Prabhupada refers directly to verse 10.31 to prove to Ram Jethmalani that Ramacandra is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita:

Prabhupada: “Amongst the warriors, I am Rama.” The reference is there. This very word is there. “Amongst the warriors, I am Rama.”

Besides these statements from Prabhupada contradicting the BBT International, there is another obvious objection to the deletion of Lord Ramacandra from Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is, namely that during his manifest lila Prabhupada never made any objections to Ramacandra being mentioned in his own Bhagavad-gita As It Is. He never asked anyone to remove Lord Ramacandra from the purport to verse 10.31. Maybe he didn’t because he preferred Ramacandra to be there? This is certainly possible taking into consideration that he mentioned that Lord Ramacandra was mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita and used this verse to support the idea.

This, of course, does not mean, that “Rama” in verse 10.31 can not also refer to Lord Parasurama. Even if our sampradaya acaryas took “Rama” to refer only to Lord Parasurama (as seems to be the case with Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura and Sridhara Swami), still our job as diksa- and siksa-disciples of Prabhupada is to accept Prabhupada’s mood and analysis of the verse. It is not our job to be leap frogs jumping over Prabhupada to the previous acaryas. And it is certainly not our job to be more intelligent than our acarya and change his teachings.

The most devastating effect of this change is that it will make Prabhupada’s words in the above conversation appear uninformed and false. In this way Prabhupada’s authority will be reduced. Future devotees, and any other person who will study this verse, will come to think that Prabhupada was wrong when he stated that “Rama” in BG 10.31 referred to Lord Ramacandra. It will also give them the impression that a disciple can see mistakes in the acaryas words. The principle of arsa-prayoga will not seem important to them. In this way doubts about the purity of Prabhupada and his books will be instilled in new devotees. We see that Jayadvaita Swami says there is something “fishy” in Prabhupada’s gita, and Lalitanath Dasa says there are “unauthorized speculations” in it. They state these things publicly, and this will gradually ruin the faith of devotees (and potential devotees) who are not yet so strong in their spiritual lives.

3 thoughts on “Lord Ramacandra removed from Bhagavad-gita, As It Is (10.31 purport)

  1. Hare Krishna. It upset me very much to hear that Lord Ramachandra has been removed from Srimad Bhagavad Gita As It Is by His Divine Grace Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. Good job exposing and speaking up for Srila Prabhupada As He Is. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

  2. Lacking greater perspective, individual cases of posthumous editing at seem negligible or even beneficial. I don’t think persons who follow and champion the BBTi editing realize that over time, they are going to end up with the same problem followers of Jesus have (knowingly or unknowingly) today. Namely, the authenticity, purity and completeness of the Bible’s message. Thus, in all honesty, they will have won themselves a seat on a bandwagon earthbound religion.

  3. Pingback: No Reply from ISKCON / BBT on Changes to Prabhupada’s Books | ISKCON & BBT Prabhupada Book Changes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s