Please help us by “liking” and “sharing” this post!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 marriage) 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
You must be logged in to post a comment.