“The duty of the finger” (Bg. 4.38)

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This article was sent to the BBT International through their website (http://www.bbtedit.com/contact) and to Jayadvaita Swami’s personal e-mails (jswami@pamho.net and jayadvaita.swami@pamho.net) the 24th Oct. 2013. We asked them to comment on the points raised.

So far we have not received any reply.


By Bhakta Torben and Ajit Krishna Dasa

Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita 4.38, original 1972 edition:

Skærmbillede 2013-10-24 kl. 14.27.12

Jayadvaita Swami’s version (BBT International, 1983 edition):

Skærmbillede 2013-10-24 kl. 14.28.19

The sentence,

“And one who has achieved this enjoys the self within himself in due course of time.”

is changed to:

“And one who has become accomplished in the practice of devotional service enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time.”

This change is both needless and alters the meaning.

It is NEEDLESS because Prabhupada has not asked for it.

It alters the meaning, as the words “enjoys the self” is erased and replaced with “enjoys this knowledge”.

And the words “has achieved this” are substituted with “has become accomplished in the practise of devotional service”.

Furthermore the words “are culminated” in the end of the purport are NEEDLESSLY changed to “culminate”.

So there are NEEDLESS changes BOTH in the translation and in the purport.

Usually all this is explained away with something from the “original manuscript”. But on BBT International’s website we find no information about this change.

The “original manuscript” sounds like this:

Skærmbillede 2013-10-24 kl. 11.27.55

So AGAIN the “original manuscript” is seen to be closer to the 1972 original Bhagavad-gita than Jayadvaita Maharaj’s version.

On top of that, in the word-for-word translation the word “na – never” is changed to “na – nothing” and “svayam-itself” is changed to “svayam-himself”. Prabhupada personally did ALL the type-writing for the first six chapters of the so called “original manuscript”. In the “original manuscript” Prabhupada’s translation of “na” was “never” (Na-never) and his translation of “svayam” was “itself” (svayam-itself):

Skærmbillede 2013-10-24 kl. 14.13.44

So BBT International have CHANGED PRABHUPADA’S SANSKRIT TRANSLATION as it was PERSONALLY WRITTEN BY HIM, on his type writer. Prabhupada was very concerned with better knowing disciples that had become “learned” in sanskrit:

“…a little learning is dangerous, especially for the Westerners. I am practically seeing that as soon as they begin to learn a little Sanskrit immediately they feel that they have become more than their guru and then the policy is kill guru and be killed himself.” (from a letter to Dixit das on 18 Sep 1976)

Prabhupada gave this lecture from Bg. 4.38 and did not mention anything about changing anything:

Madhudvisa: Verse thirty-eight: “In this world there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism and one who achieved this enjoys the self within himself in due course of time [Bg. 4.38].”

Prabhupada: Yes. Knowledge: “I am part and parcel of Krishna, or God. My duty as part and parcel is to serve Krishna.” Just like this finger is the part and parcel of my body. The duty of the part and parcel is to serve.
(Bhagavad-gita 4.34-39, Los Angeles, January 12, 1969)


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