Danish BBT(I) editors covers the greatness of Bhagavad-gita and Prabhupada

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In Denmark we, unfortunately, just got a translation of the unauthorized 1983 BBT(I) edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

On its back cover we find these words (translated from Danish):

“Bhagavad-gita, India’s great book of wisdom, is a 5.000 years old dialogue between two friends about life’s big questions. This Danish translation includes the original text with the explanations by Srila Prabhupada, the 20. Century’s great exponent of Bhagavad-gita’s philosophy.” (http://www.harekrishna.dk/wp-content/PDF/2013/Nyt_fra_HK_11_2013.pdf – scroll to the end)

Contrast this to the glorification of Prabhupada found on the original cover (which the Danish editors of the BBT International–Lalitanath Dasa and Jahnu Das–have deleted from Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is.)

Skærmbillede 2013-11-13 kl. 16.38.45

Take note of the following:

1. That the Bhagavad-gita is “…a dialogue between two friends about life’s big questions”.

This drags the Bhagavad-gita down to regular “armchair philosophy”. What comes to mind when hearing that “two friends are conversing about life’s big questions”? For me, it’s not even the debating of two skilled philosophers that come to mind. More likely it is the dry, mental speculations of two buddies looking at the stars while out fishing one night!

2. “This Danish translation includes the original text with the explanations by Srila Prabhupada,…”

It would be too nice to call this a lie. The 1983 edition certainly features a lot of things not to be found in the original text. Corrections to Prabhupada’s Sanskrit translations have been done. Words, sentences, verses, paragraphs, paintings have been removed, added and changed by the hidden co-authors from BBT International. This is all documented here:

https://arsaprayoga.wordpress.com/category/no-reply-from-bbt-international/

3 “…Srila Prabhupada, the 20. Century’s great exponent of Bhagavad-gita’s philosophy.”

Here Prabhupada is described as “the great exponent”. Contrast this to the original Bhagavad-gita where it is said that Prabhupada is “the leading exponent of Krishna consciousness”. That he is “the world most distinguished teacher of Vedic religion and thought,…”, and that he is a “self-realized devotee of Krishna”.

It’s hard to fathom why the BBT International and their Danish editors are covering up the greatness of both the Bhagavad-gita and Prabhupada. An explanation is needed!

In previous post we have described how the cover art on the new Danish Bhagavad-gita is unauthorized:

https://arsaprayoga.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/cover-up/

Everyone will welcome Srimad-Bhagavatam, even though presented with so many faults (SB 1.5.11)

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1972-original-srimad-bhagavatam-cover

tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo
yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api
nāmāny anantasya yaśo ‘ṅkitāni yat
śṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanti sādhavaḥ

SYNONYMS

tat—that; vāk—vocabulary; visargaḥ—creation; janatā—the people in general; agha—sins; viplavaḥ—revolutionary; yasmin—in which; prati-ślokam—each and every stanza; abaddhavati—irregularly composed; api—in spite of; nāmāni—transcendental names, etc.; anantasya—of the unlimited Lord; yaśaḥ—glories; aṅkitāni—depicted; yat—what; śṛṇvanti—do hear; gāyanti—do sing; gṛṇanti—do accept; sādhavaḥ—the purified men who are honest.

TRANSLATION

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.

PURPORT

It is a qualification of the great thinkers to pick up the best even from the worst. It is said that the intelligent man should pick up nectar from a stock of poison, should accept gold even from a filthy place, should accept a good and qualified wife even from an obscure family and should accept a good lesson even from a man or from a teacher who comes from the untouchables. These are some of the ethical instructions for everyone in every place without exception. But a saint is far above the level of an ordinary man. He is always absorbed in glorifying the Supreme Lord because by broadcasting the holy name and fame of the Supreme Lord, the polluted atmosphere of the world will change, and as a result of propagating the transcendental literatures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, people will become sane in their transactions. While preparing this commentation on this particular stanza of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we have a crisis before us. Our neighboring friend China has attacked the border of India with a militaristic spirit. We have practically no business in the political field, yet we see that previously there were both China and India, and they both lived peacefully for centuries without ill feeling. The reason is that they lived those days in an atmosphere of God consciousness, and every country, over the surface of the world, was God-fearing, pure-hearted and simple, and there was no question of political diplomacy. There is no cause of quarrel between the two countries China and India over land which is not very suitable for habitation, and certainly there is no cause for fighting on this issue. But due to the age of quarrel, Kali, which we have discussed, there is always a chance of quarrel on slight provocation. This is due not to the issue in question, but to the polluted atmosphere of this age: systematically there is propaganda by a section of people to stop glorification of the name and fame of the Supreme Lord. Therefore, there is a great need for disseminating the message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam all over the world. It is the duty of every responsible Indian to broadcast the transcendental message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam throughout the world to do all the supermost good as well as to bring about the desired peace in the world. Because India has failed in her duty by neglecting this responsible work, there is so much quarrel and trouble all over the world. We are confident that if the transcendental message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is received only by the leading men of the world, certainly there will be a change of heart, and naturally the people in general will follow them. The mass of people in general are tools in the hands of the modern politicians and leaders of the people. If there is a change of heart of the leaders only, certainly there will be a radical change in the atmosphere of the world. We know that our honest attempt to present this great literature conveying transcendental messages for reviving the God consciousness of the people in general and respiritualizing the world atmosphere is fraught with many difficulties. Our presenting this matter in adequate language, especially a foreign language, will certainly fail, and there will be so many literary discrepancies despite our honest attempt to present it in the proper way. But we are sure that with all our faults in this connection the seriousness of the subject matter will be taken into consideration, and the leaders of society will still accept this due to its being an honest attempt to glorify the Almighty God. When there is fire in a house, the inmates of the house go out to get help from the neighbors who may be foreigners, and yet without knowing the language the victims of the fire express themselves, and the neighbors understand the need, even though not expressed in the same language. The same spirit of cooperation is needed to broadcast this transcendental message of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam throughout the polluted atmosphere of the world. After all, it is a technical science of spiritual values, and thus we are concerned with the techniques and not with the language. If the techniques of this great literature are understood by the people of the world, there will be success.

When there are too many materialistic activities by the people in general all over the world, there is no wonder that a person or a nation attacks another person or nation on slight provocation. That is the rule of this age of Kali or quarrel. The atmosphere is already polluted with corruption of all description, and everyone knows it well. There are so many unwanted literatures full of materialistic ideas of sense gratification. In many countries there are bodies appointed by the state to detect and censor obscene literature. This means that neither the government nor the responsible leaders of the public want such literature, yet it is in the marketplace because the people want it for sense gratification. The people in general want to read (that is a natural instinct), but because their minds are polluted they want such literatures. Under the circumstances, transcendental literature like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam will not only diminish the activities of the corrupt mind of the people in general, but also it will supply food for their hankering after reading some interesting literature. In the beginning they may not like it because one suffering from jaundice is reluctant to take sugar candy, but we should know that sugar candy is the only remedy for jaundice. Similarly, let there be systematic propaganda for popularizing reading of the Bhagavad-gītā and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which will act like sugar candy for the jaundicelike condition of sense gratification. When men have a taste for this literature, the other literatures, which are catering poison to society, will then automatically cease.

We are sure, therefore, that everyone in human society will welcome Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, even though it is now presented with so many faults, for it is recommended by Śrī Nārada, who has very kindly appeared in this chapter. (Source: http://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/1/5/11)

Bhaktivinoda Thakura on unscrupulous men who interpolate the Vedas

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Bhaktivinod-Thakur-7-207x300

Raghunatha dasa Babaji, “In the course of time many unscrupulous men have interpolated chapters; mandalas, sections; and mantras into the Vedas for self-interested reasons. A Vedic text may be discovered somewhere, but that does not mean that all parts of the book are authentic. Texts that have been authenticated through the ages by the acaryas of the bona fide sampradayas are the Vedas. Sections or even entire books rejected by these authorities are unacceptable to us.”

Jaiva Dharma, Part One: Pramana, Evidence, and Prameya, Truth

Jayadvaita Swami has also interpolated, substracted and re-arranged sentences, words, paragraphs, chapters, forewords and paintings from Prabhupada’s already authorized books. His editing work was never approved or authenticated by Prabhupada.

Then, are his edited books authentic?

Shocking statement by Danish BBT editor Lalitanath Dasa

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Some statements by Prabhupada on his Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1972 edition:

“In all countries all over the world the Bhagavad-gita is read by philosophers, psychologists, and religionists. We are also finding very good sales with our Bhagavad-gita As It Is. This is because the commodity is pure gold. There are many editions of the Bhagavad-gita, but they are not pure. Ours is selling more because we are presenting the Bhagavad-gita as it is.” (SSR 1c: A Definition of God)

“In either case, you should please try to introduce into every college and university our Bhagavad-gita As It Is. That will surely be a great service. The Bhagavad-gita is well read everywhere, and you need only to convince them that this is the best edition.” (Letter to Jayapataka, Los Angeles 30 January, 1969)

“Our Bhagavad-gita As It Is is so much important to the world for uplifting it from darkest condition of ignorance,…” (Letter to Jayadvaita, Calcutta 5 March, 1972)

Contrasted to this we find these shocking words from one of the Danish BBT(I) editors who is behind the new release of the Danish translation of the posthumously edited and therefore unauthorized 1983 edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is (sent to me personally by e-mail):

“Even though I might be able to tolerate reading it (for everything from Prabhupada is of course ecstatic) it still contains too many mistakes for me to read it without curling my toes and become irritated” (Lalitanath Dasa, editor for BBT International, 08.23.2012)

ld-om-gitaPicture art by Bhakta Max Ystrøm Køngerskov

We might note the self-contradictory nature of Lalitanath Dasa’s statement. He thinks it’s ecstatic, but he is curling his toes and becoming irritated. These are not signs of ecstasy. These are negative material emotions.

What did Prabhupada think of editors who saw mistakes in his books:

SP: That is his tendency, to correct. That’s very bad. He should not do that.

RVD: So I’ll just forget this, then.

SP: The system is: whatever authority has done, even there is mistake, it should be accepted.

RVD: Oh.

SP: Arsa prayoga. That is ha… He should not become more learned than the authority. That is very bad habit.

RVD: He was always wondering how he should think. So I’ll tell him that. He thinks, “If I think I see a mistake, what should I think?” I’ll tell him what you just said.

SP: He cannot see mistake. He is mistake (laughter). That is being done by this rascal. I don’t want.

If you do not like Lalitanath Dasa’s statement about Prabhupada’s beloved Bhagavad-gita As It Is, you can write to him by using the below e-mail and explain to him the reasons why you think he is wrong:

lalitanatha.rns@pamho.net

lalitanatha@krishna.dk

Jayadvaita Swami ignores Prabhupada’s instructions to avoid controversy

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Jayadvaita Swami finds himself as the main character in one of most controversial dramas in ISKCON, namely the posthumous editing of Prabhupada’s books.

But…

Regarding Jayadvaita it is good for him to avoid controversy.” (Letter to Ramesvara, Bombay, 25 November, 1974)

And on a morning walk where Jayadvaita Swami and others were talking with Prabhupada about publishing matters that could cause controversy amongst devotees:

 “As soon as there is some controversy, avoid it.” (Morning Walk, April 10, 1976, Vrndavana)

Back-To-Godhead-Jayadvaita-Swami

Taking these instructions into consideration, the question arises:”Why is Jayadvaita Swami still deeply involved in this controversy?” He is actively debating the issue, writing articles, making videos, giving seminars and continuing his work of re-writing Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

E-mail exchange between Jayadvaita Swami and Ajit Krishna Dasa (Part 2)

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JSportraitJayadvaita Swami

ajit-original-gita4Ajit Krishna Dasa

What follows is a continuation of an e-mail exchange between me, Ajit Krishna Dasa, and Jayadvaita Swami (Part 1 can be accessed here).

Jayadvaita Swami answered my e-mail in the following way (29th October 2013):

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
Not for publishing, forwording, quoting, etc.

[Ajit Krishna Dasa:] What other topic ought to be prioritized higher than this?

[Jayadvaita Swami:] For you, from what I hear: Following the four regulative principles.

From what I understand, you are living with a woman to whom you are not married. Since the laws for the next ten thousand years so deeply concern you, you might want to start with the first four.

Bye.

My reply to Jayadvaita Swami (6th November 2013):

Dear Jayadvaita Swami! Dandavat pranam! Jaya Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my e-mail despite your kartik vows to focus more on chanting and reading.

The topic we exchanged about was the changes made to Prabhupada’s books, and you said you were busy. So even though I am happy to receive your reply I am surprised to see that you are prioritizing the topic of my marital status higher than answering the questions regarding the changes made to Prabhupada’s books. In your reply you didn’t mention anything at all about the changes made to Prabhupada’s books.

You once wrote an introductory manual to debate and argumentation called “Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking“. Over the years you have given seminars from this book, and it has been used at the Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education. A seminar can be downloaded from your personal website.

stss-jas-vihe-title

The topic for the first section of “Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking” is “Arguments”. Among other things you here mention different types of fallacies. One of them is called “Topic Switching”. You write:

Topic Switching

Also known as Diversion, Changing the Subject, and Red Herring.

[…]

Avoiding the question: Your opposer says something which does not answer the question he was asked.

[…]

REMEDY:

Refuse to be diverted. Restate the original topic and stick to it.”

(Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking, p. 10)

You have not answered the questions regarding the book changes, but have instead switched the topic to my personal marital status. According to your own manual I should refuse to let you divert me and instead restate the original topic:

The changes made to Prabhupada’s books!

In addition, switching the topic from the changes made to Prabhupada’s books to speaking negatively about my personal marital status is a specific type of “Topic Switching”, namely “Argumentum ad hominem” also called “character assassination”, “poisoning the well” or “Give the dog a bad name and hang it”. You mention this type of fallacy on page 17 in your manual:

Argumentum ad hominem

”attack on the person”

Instead of addressing the argument, one tries to discredit the person who made it.

This form of argument is famous as “the refuge of the scoundrels”.

It may involve innuendo or direct name-calling.

[…]

It can be a powerful device before a sympathetic audience.

[…]

REMEMBER: Knocking the person does not knock out the argument.

(Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking, p. 17-18)

You mention five ways to deal with the attack. Out of the five I have chosen:

3. Point out what is going on–your opponent is stooping to name-calling.

4. Demand the person give evidence to back up his personal attacks and show that they are relevant.

5. Accept the pejorative label & then demand that your opponent address himself to the real argument.

(Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking, p. 17-18)

Regarding the fourth and fifth option I have the following comments:

It is a fact that I am living with a woman, Bhaktin Anna, to whom I am not yet married [we got married (civil marraige) 22nd Nov. 2013]. We do follow the regulative principles, and do not engage in illicit sex unless you want to use the hyper-strict definition that also includes living together as engaged, but without physical intimacy. If you are not referring to this hyper-strict definition, then you lack the evidence to back up your accusation that we don’t follow the four regulative principles.

Anna and I are looking for a qualified, pure brahmana to perform the Vedic marriage ceremony. In our understanding being pure includes being loyal to Prabhupada’s teachings/his original books. We are actually in the process of arranging a stay on Hawaii, because we know some of your godbrothers there whom we consider very loyal disciples of Srila Prabhupada. They are dedicated to printing and distributing his original books. We hope to have the fire sacrifice done there [That plan did not work out so far].

The Danish yatra is small, and the propaganda for the BBT International’s book changes has been extensive for decades. Therefore, even though things are now gradually changing, to find a person who has both the overall purity, the skills to perform the fire sacrifice and the loyalty to the original books is difficult. So for now Anna and I have to settle with just wearing engagement rings on our fingers and are planning to have a civil marriage, because finding a bona fide brahmana is so difficult.

I do value any advice regarding my marital status, if it comes from a true well-wisher. However, I sense you’re raising the topic for some other reason! And since the topic of my marital status has no logical connection to the truthvalue of my conclusions about the changes you have made to Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is (and other books) I humbly beg you to follow the guidelines regarding arguments and fallacies that you yourself teach devotees through your Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking manual and seminars.

Strong speaking will not suffice when it comes to the topic of the changes made to Prabhupada’s books. We are thousands of devotees eagerly awaiting your promised answers flavored with some straight thinking– and directly related to the points I raised in my blogposts and the e-mails I have sent to you.

I beg to remain your servant,

Ajit Krishna Dasa

BBT International does not follow the correct editing protocol for posthumous editing (Govinda Dasi)

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govinda-dasiGovinda Dasi

I think the primary issue at hand is the posthumous editing protocol that has NOT been followed by the BBTI.

Yes, many devotees agree that no editing should have been done, other than the very few things mentioned by His Divine Grace (like the cattle raising and trees).  But most devotees think the thousands of changes are unwarranted.

Yet, there are others who find the edited Gita more to their liking.  And they prefer to read and distribute this Gita.

So now both are available from the BBT.  And devotees can choose which they prefer, or better yet, buy both and compare them.

But the REAL ISSUE here needs to be addressed.

That is: the correct protocol for posthumous editing MUST BE INTRODUCED by the BBT in order for Srila Prabhupada’s books to be considered authentic.

At the present time, the edited books are not authentic or true copies of the originals.  Without dating the editions, numbering them, and placing the editors’ names on the cover and/or title page, the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, so-called Srila Prabhupada’s Gita, is now considered by the academic community to be a non-authentic replica, not true to the original writings of His Divine Grace.

In other words, what is being pawned off as “Srila Prabhupada’s works” is really not authentic, and therefore is not respected by the world of scholars. It is seen as an undated edition, a conglomeration not to be trusted or considered worthy of study or scholarly examination.

When a book is posthumously edited, and changes comprise more than a certain percentage of the text, certain protocol must be followed in order for the book to be considered a genuine work of the author.  This has not been done by BBT.

Academic acceptance was quite important to Srila Prabhupada; there is much evidence of this.  He was quite eager to receive scholarly reviews for his writings, and to publish them in his books.

However, the academic reviews that are printed in the “new edition”, the posthumous edition, were in fact written and intended for the original edition, published while Srila Prabhupada was present.  The BBT has simply tacked these reviews onto the edited Gita, as if they were written for it–when in fact, these scholars never saw the posthumous edition.  This is not only unprofessional, but it is unethical.  This greatly compromises the status of Srila Prabhupada’s works.

This is an issue we should all be concerned about.  This is the issue that needs to be corrected by the BBT.

The correction is quite simple.  There are many websites devoted to such correct protocol.  Simply including the editors names, the date of editing, and the number of the edition will go a long way in correcting this glaring anomaly.  The BBT should take action on this as soon as possible, before scholarly reviews expressing this very fact become public.

Thank you for your time and concern,

Govinda dasi, ACBSP
HareKrishnaHawaii.com