BBT(I) MYTH: Hayagriva’s memory failed him

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

Did Hayagriva Prabhu’s memory fail him when he said that he was working closely with Srila Prabhupada in the spring of 1967?

Fra Hayagriva Dasa’s The Hare Krishna Explosion:

“Daily, I consult him [Prabhupada] to make certain that the translation of each verse precisely coincides with the meaning he wants to relate.”


On BBT International’s website it is stated:

“Hayagriva does speak of consulting Srila Prabhupada “daily” throughout the spring of ’67. But Hayagriva’s memory must have been tricking him: In the time he speaks of, he was in San Francisco, Srila Prabhupada in New York.“

How did Jayadvaita Swami reach this particular conclusion? No matter how I analyze the situation, I reach the conclusion that Hayagriva’s explanation holds true.  I could be wrong, so if anyone has some input, I am all ears.

Let’s look at history :

We know that Prabhupada was in San Fransisco where Hayagriva was also from 19th of January 1967 until April 9th 1967. This can be seen by looking at Prabhupada’s letters. Hayagriva wrote in his book The Hare Krishna Explosion that Prabhupada arrived in San Francisco the 19th of January 1967, and that is also precisely the day when the first letter from Prabhupada is sent from San Fransisco. Hayagriva also wrote that Prabhupada took off from San Francisco April 9th, and the last letter Prabhupada sent from San Fransisco is sent 7th of April. The first letter he sent from New York, where he left to from San Fransisco, was sent 10th of April.

Regarding spring, a short search on the internet shows that spring in San Francisco lies in the months of March, April and May. From Hayagriva’s book we know that the period in which he was very busy editing the Bhagavad-gita As It Is under Prabhupada’s personal supervision, and where he consults Prabhupada daily about the verses to ensure that they accurately convey what Prabhupada wants, took place between March 1st and March 21st 1967.

So there are no inconsistencies in Hayagriva’s memory when he says that he and Prabhupada cooperated in the spring of 1967. Nor is there anything at all hindering that this cooperation took place throughout the complete period of time when Prabhupada was in San Fransisco which is 82 days. Taking Prabhupada’s eagerness to send the Bhagavad-gita As It Is to the press, it would not at all be unimaginable that he was very involved in the editing of the book in these 82 days. Actually, who can believe anything else? One can do a lot of work in 82 days. Especially when you only need 2-4 hours of sleep every night.

Who knows the details of what was going on there? No one really knows the precise extend to which Prabhupada was involved in the process of editing. But in one period he was, according to his cheif editor Hayagriva Dasa, daily consulted with nearly every verse to make certain that the translation precisely coincided with the meaning he wanted to relate. Therefore the thousands of changes done by the BBT International to the verses and purports of the 1972 edition are for the most part based only on guesswork.

This is clearly an unsafe, irresponsible and unacceptable editing protocol.

If my calculation are correct – and I think they are – then the BBT International and Jayadvaita Swami ought to either correct or remove their mistaken calculation from their respective websites. If I am wrong, then I would like to see my calculation countered by another analysis done by the BBT International and/or Jayadvaita Swami.

Will they do any of these things? Or will they just let their analysis stay on their websites, even if they are wrong? Time will tell.


3 thoughts on “BBT(I) MYTH: Hayagriva’s memory failed him

  1. “The incident of Kirtanananda and Hayagriva chapter may now be closed. We shall always pray to Krishna for their recovery and we should not seriously take their counter propaganda. I am sure they will flap for some time without any effect on our Krishna Consciousness, service. Let us go ahead with our work and everything will be all right. Most important thing at present is to deal with MacMillan Co. Regarding editing of my books it was rightly entrusted to you from the very beginning but Kirtanananda wanted that the editing should be done by Hayagriva. But I understand from your version that in some places of Gita Upanisad he has followed Swami Nikilananda who is quite unaware of Krishna Consciousness. By their present behavior it appears that Hayagriva belongs to the same feather and Krishna has saved His Gita Upanisad by transferring the whole thing into your hands. Now please do your best and hand it over to MacMillan Co. for necessary action.” SPL to Rayarama 67/11/15

    “As he (Raya Rama) is now engaged in finishing Gita Upanisad, it is understood that he cannot work (outside for money). The editing of Gita Upanisad is already much delayed. I think it was in this month of November last year my compilation of Gita Upanisad was finished. The editing work was first entrusted with Rayarama, but as he could not finish it the work was transferred to Hayagriva. In this way even within one year the editing work could not be finished. This is not very encouraging. Now it must be finished within three weeks and hand it over to MacMillan Co.” SPL to Brahmananda 67/11/18

    “If there is good English it is welcome but we should not edit as Hayagriva has replaced “devotional service” with “knowledge of self”. Knowledge of self is not complete until one is actually engaged in devotional service.” SPL to Brahmananda 67/12/12

    =Brahmananda Das

    • Dear Brahmananda Prabhu! Dandavat pranam! Jaya Srila Prabhupada!

      You have given us three quotes. It would have been nice if you had somehow shown us the relevance of these quotes in regard to posthumous editing.

      The information in these three quotes does not supply the necessary or sufficient evidence to do posthumous editing of any of Prabhupada books.

      The quotes are from 1967 and this means that they were working on what became the abridged version of the BG. Prabhupada worked on this book with his editors and later approved the final version of it. So we can take it for granted that the things Prabhupada was not happy about were changed to something Prabhupada wanted. At least the book was approved.

      Later he worked on the abridged version with Hayagriva, and again Prabhupada approved the galley proofs and the complete manuscript was sent to be published. After that the gita was distributed, and Prabhupada lectured from it for several years on a daily basis. And as we all know he never asked for more than 1-3 things changed. On of the them was “cattle raising” to “cow protection”. And that was done in 1975.

      The point is that we don’t want to speculate about whether or not Prabhupada wants more changes. Maybe Prabhupada would simply prefer we followed the principle of arsa-prayoga and in this way showed our loyalty to his editorial decisions (including the choice of his editors). Maybe he would be more happy if we just followed arsa-prayoga. Have the BBTI ever thought about that?

      And one thing is sure:

      Following area-prayoga and just leaving it as it is – that is SAFE. It is safe for us, and it is safe for those newcomers who read the gita, As It Is. Because that book is transcendental even if it has some wonderful transcendental mistakes. The mistakes were approved by Prabhupada somehow, because he asked the gita to be sent to the press. So Prabhupada is protecting us from any “mistake” in his books, because he had the final responsibility of approving them.

      Your humble servant,
      Ajit Krishna Dasa

  2. On her facebook profile Govinda Dasi (ACBSP) wrote about this article:

    Govinda Dasi: How ridiculous! I was also there in the spring of 1967, in San Francisco, with Srila PRabhupada. Hayagriva was in and out of his apartment on Frederick street everyday. Shyamsundar Prabhu recalls that as well. So does BBT say that my memory, as well as Shyamsundar’s memory, also “failed” us?

    Govinda Dasi: Srila Prabhupada had already been working with Hayagriva on editing in New York since summer of 1966, and when Hayagriva came out to San Francisco, they simply continued their work there. There are SO MANY witnesses to this. AND there is even a book written describing the 1967 San Francisco scene–“The Hare Krishna Explosion.” BBT has simply rewritten history, because NONE of them were there. They have not only edited Prabhupada’s books–they have “edited” history as well!

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