Almost 400 pages about the changes made to Srila Prabhupada’s books.
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From the back cover:
“Arsa prayoga, lit. “rishi’s license,” means to honour the acarya by preserving his teachings in the originally published form, not changing what he has written to make it appear more effective or politically correct. There should be no confusion between the work written by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and edited by Howard Wheeler and the posthumous cent per cent revised copy proposed by Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. By changing Prabhupada’s books without explicitly saying so, they do a discredit to Srila Prabhupada, devotees and scholars. At present it appears that the revisions were made by the original author. This book is meant to be the truth about the editing of Prabhupada’s books carefully chronicled for future generations.”
Ramesvara Prabhu here speaks about the amazing transcendental pastime of creating the many paintings in Srila Prabhupada’s books – especially the Krishna Book.
He explains how Srila Prabhupada often gave personal instructions to each artist regarding the specific paintings they made.
Unfortunately almost all these transcendental paintings have been removed from Srila Prabhupada’s books and replaced with other paintings that were not made under Srila Prabhupada’s supervision and authorization.
Madhudvisa Prabhu has gifted us with a complete list of the changes made to Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna Book:
“The following links, one for each of the chapters in Srila Prabhupada’s “Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead“, will take you to a computer generated analysis of the changes which have been made by BBT to the book.
The comparison is made between Prabhupada’s Original 1970 Krsna Book as it appeared in the Bhaktivedanta Archives Vedabase 2003 in the “Early Editions of BBT / ISKCON Press Books” section and the Krsna Book that appears in the current 2013 version of the Vedabase.”
Find the complete list of changes to the Krishna Book here.
On his website (www.bookchanges.com) he also has an article examining many of the changes made to the Krishna Book:
The conclusion of the analysis dispels one of the most widespread myths propagated very actively by Jayadvaita Swami and the BBT International, namely that their new editions are “closer to Prabhupada”. This is not true:
“We can see that in the revision way more text has been modified NOT according to the tape recording than according to the tape recording. The system of revision is not at all understandable and seem to depend rather on the weather than on any definable principles. Every sane man would consider the revision a step back.” (Read the complete analysis here)
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The text below was sent to the BBT International through their website (http://www.bbtedit.com/contact) and to Jayadvaita Swami and Dravida Prabhu’s personal e-mails (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) the 7th Feb. 2014. We asked them to comment on the points raised.
So far we have not received any reply.
By Ajit Krishna Dasa and Bhaktin Anna Nygaard
In regard to the posthumous editing of Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Jayadvaita Swami has expressed (emphasis added by Arsa-Prayoga staff):
“Comparing each verse in the book with the text of the manuscript, I made only those changes that to me seemed worthwhile. I tried to be conservative and not make needless changes.” (Jayadvaita Swami, letter to senior devotees, October 25, 1982)
“As you know, and as we kept in mind while doing the work, Srila Prabhupada staunchly opposed needless changes.” (Jayadvaita Swami, Letter to Amogha Lila, 1986)
“When Srila Prabhupada conveyed to us the conclusions of the previous acaryas, he did so perfectly, preserving and transmitting the philosophy exactly as it is, neither watering anything down, nor covering anything over, nor leaving anything out. He gave us the essence of everything.
We therefore don’t need to add anything, subtract anything, or change anything. We need only faithfully serve Srila Prabhupada’s orders, and everything will be revealed.” (Jayadvaita Swami, Sri Vyasa Puja book August 19,1995)
On BBT International’s website we find this video:
Transcription of the video:
“Arsa-Prayoga is a very important principle. The editor should never have the mentality that he’s better than the author, that he has something more to contribute than the author does, that the author really doesn’t know what he is doing, but he knows what he is doing. That’s offensive! And that is…ruins everything!It is an offense to the acarya. The idea, however, that this sort of sanctity that the author’s text has, or that the words of the author have, somehow extends to the mistakes of the editors…is weird! “It’s an offense to correct the mistakes of previous editors!” Are they acaryas? Are they paramahamsas? Are they infallible? They are wonderful devotees, they did wonderful service. But they made mistakes. Understandably.”
Summing up Jayadvaita Maharaja’s standpoints from the above:
In 2009 Jayadvaita Swami admits that the principle of arsa-prayoga is very important, and that it is an offense to violate it. He admits that Prabhupada’s text has sanctity, and that the editors of Prabhupada’s books should never think they are better than Prabhupada and has more to contribute than Prabhupada.
In 1995, twelve years after Prabhupada’s disappearance, Jayadvaita Swami said that we should not add, subtract or change anything in the teachings Prabhupada has given us. Earlier, in 1982 and 1986, Jayadvaita Swami claimed that they had in mind not to make needless changes in their editing of Bhagavad-gita As It is, because Prabhupada staunchly opposed such needless changes. They only changed what they felt was worthwhile changing. However, Jayadvaita Swami further states that the sanctity that Prabhupada’s texts have do not apply to the work done by Prabhupada’s editors (he seem not to appreciate the fact that this work was later approved by Prabhupada. Does Prabhupada’s approval not have sanctity?)
In this way Jayadvaita Swami makes it seem as if he did not add, subtract or change any of Prabhupada’s direct words (except for the grammatical errors, capitalisation and commas). However, during the last three decades, we and many other devotees have observed and documented numerous needless changes made by Jayadvaita Swami to Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is. And in spite of Jayadvaita Swami’s own seeming interest in not adding, subtracting or changing anything in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, the posthumously edited books contain all of these three types of edits (adding, subtracting and changing).
We will now start a series of articles documenting the changes made to the sanskrit synonyms (word for word meanings) in the first six chapters of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Why only the first six chapters?
According to Jayadvaita Swami the first five or six chapters of the draft (often referred to as the ”original manuscript”) to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is was personally typewritten by Srila Prabhupada himself.
Jayadvaita Swami writes on his website:
”Some books Srila Prabhupada wrote out in longhand or typed himself. These include Easy Journey to Other Planets, Sri Isopanishad, the first and second cantos of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the first five or six chapters of Bhagavad-gita As It Is,…” (Jayadvaita Swami, Editing the Unchangeable Truth, How Were the Books Written?, Reprinted from ISKCON Communications Journal, Volume 11, 2005)
If anything has sanctity, apart from the finished manuscripts that Prabhupada sent to the press for printing, it must be the words that he himself wrote on his type-writer. We would most certainly not expect to see any changes made to these. Even if they contain mistakes, these mistakes should not be corrected according to the principle of arsa-prayoga.
However, we do see significant changes made to the sanskrit translations that Prabhupada personally wrote on his type-writer. By comparing the posthumously edited 1983 edition with both the 1972 MacMillan edition and the so called “original manuscript” we see that the 1972 MacMillan edition is much closer to and faithful to Prabhupada’s original words.
This is especially interesting because 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)
We now publish for the first time a complete list over all the changes made to Prabhupada’s personally type-written sanskrit translations. Here is the complete list for Chapter One.
Ramesvara Prabhu writes about the recently discovered interview with him from 1979-1980 made for the Prabhupada Lilamrta:
If Ramesvara Prabhu have not already given the above information to the BBT International we hope he will do so soon. How can we change paintings that Prabhupada personally designed?
Here is the text:
“Hare Krsna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! I was very surprised to discover that the full unedited transcript of my Prabhupada Lilamrita memory interviews in 1979-1980 survived and were discovered during a visit to the Bhaktivedanta Archives in 2012. These recollections were given when my memory of Srila Prabhupada was fresh and sharp. Kindly excuse any deficiencies in this recounting. I beg to remain your aspiring servant, ramesvara dasa” (Facebook update from Robert Grant (Ramesvara Dasa) 09.07.2013)
“Dear Respected Prabhus, Pamho, AGTSP!
The total body of instructions given by Srila Prabhupada about editing his divine books go far beyond these few recollections. I would draw your attention however to Srila Prabhupada’s selection of art paintings published in his books. What many may not know is that His Divine Grace, planned, and in many cases personally designed the paintings in The Krsna Books and the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, even going as far as sometime sending a line drawing sketch of his own to the artists. Under his divine direction, and being empowered by him, devotional artistic abilities were awakened in his artists. Being thus empowered by his order, they produced 63 paintings for the Krsna Books in one year, and more than 50 paintings for Bhagavad Gita As It Is in one year. The full story of Srila Prabhupada creating ISKCON Press and getting this divine production out of literally a handful of surrendered artist disciples is a true miracle, as amazing as any other marathon in ISKCON history! Your aspiring servant, Ramesvara dasa” (Facebook comment from Robert Grant (Ramesvara Dasa) 09.07.2013)