Imperishable Add-on Edit (Bg. 15.1)

Plate 35 of the 1972 Edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.  This painting is not to be found in the 1983 Edition of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Plate 35 of the 1972 Edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
Not to be found in the 1983 Edition.

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 15.1

Original and authorised 1972 edition:

The Blessed Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.”

The draft a.k.a. “the original manuscript”:

The Supreme Lord said: It is said that there is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down; and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.”

Uauthorized 1983 edition:

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is said that there is an imperishable banyan tree that has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.”

From lectures:

Pradyumna: (Translation:) “The Blessed Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.”

Prabhupada: So this is the description of Vedic literature. Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah [Bg. 15.15]. That will be described. (Srila Prabhupada, Lecture, See Spiritual Identity Everywhere,
73/10/28 Bombay, Bhagavad-gita 15.1)

Nitai dasa: Translation: The Blessed Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.

Purport: After the discussion of the importance of bhakti-yoga, one may question, “What about the Vedas?” (Srila Prabhupada, Lecture, The Purpose of Vedic Study 74/02/26 Calcutta, Bhagavad-gita 15.1)

No objections from Srila Prabhupada.

Comment

1) We here observe that Jayadvaita Swami, after scanning the authorized verse, takes the usual route to an old draft (the so-called original manuscript). An idea for which he has no proper justification.

2) He decides to change “The Blessed Lord”. Here he could have chosen to use Srila Prabhupada’s words from the draft’ translation of Bg. 15.1 which reads “The Supreme Lord said”, but he chose instead to go to the English synonyms and use “The Supreme Personality of Godhead”.

3) Next he decides to add “It is said”. This he took from the drafts’ translation of Bg. 15.1.

4) Then he decides to add an adjective to “banyan tree”. He could have gone back to the English synonyms and used the word “eternal”. But instead he took a trip to the drafts’ purport where he for some reason chose the word “imperishable” over the word “indestructible” which is also in the purport. NOTE: The word “imperishable” is omitted from the purport of both the original 1972 edition and the 1983 edition which makes his choice even more strange.

5) He then changes “which” to “that” even though “which” was both found in the draft and was grammatically perfectly fine. In other words, he found the word “that” not in the English synonyms, not in the translation and not in the purport. But in his own mind.

Hundreds of changes to Srila Prabhupada’s Gita have been documented online. And we see Jayadvaita Swami again and again randomly chose words sometimes from the manuscripts’ translations, sometimes from the English synonyms, sometimes from the purport and sometimes from his own mind.

For the most part it is very hard to find any objective and identifiable criteria for his changes. Especially for changes such as those above. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of such changes in the Gita alone.

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