BBT International and the Logic of the Naked Mother

logical-fallacy-1

In defence of Jayadvaita Swami’s editing of the Bhagavad-gita As IT Is BBT International write on their website:

And in the conversation where Srila Prabhupada complained so strongly about “rascals editors,” Srila Prabhupada said about Jayadvaita, “He is good.”

And:

Of course, regarding Jayadvaita Swami, the BBT’s chief editor, Srila Prabhupada wrote, “Concerning the editing of Jayadvaita Prabhu, whatever he does is approved by me. I have confidence in him. (letter to Radhavallabha, 7 September 1976)

But it is a logical fallacy to claim that a thing must possess the same characteristics now as it did in the past.

In Nyaya this fallacy is called Nagna-Matrika-Nyaya / The Logic of the Naked Mother. Srila Prabhupada explains:

This is nagna-matrka-nyaya. We change according to the circumstances. You cannot say that this must remain like this. (Morning Walk, May 5, 1973, Los Angeles)

In regard to BBT Srila Prabhupada explains this point:

Prabhupada: I have given you charge of this BBT, millions of dollars you are dealing, but it is not for your misuse. As soon as you misuse, that is your responsibility.
Ramesvara: Yes, but he says but still, you’ll know that I’m going to misuse it.
Prabhupada: No. That Krsna knows, when something charge is given. But because you are independent, I know that “Ramesvara is very good boy; let him be in charge.” But you can misuse at any moment, because you have got independence. You can misuse at any moment. At that time your position is different. (Morning Walk — June 3, 1976, Los Angeles)

Previously we have dealt with BBT International’s argument here and here.

BBT International’s “Jayadvaita-Swami-is-good-argument” has thus been show to be logically invalid. In other words, it is not enough to say that at one point in time Srila Prabhupada liked Jayadvaita Swami’s editing. We need more.

On top of that we have a few e-books out, documenting that Jayadvaita Swami has transgressed the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada. Please take a look at them:

No Reply from BBTI

Blazing Edits

Arsa-Prayoga – Preserving Srila Prabhupada’s Legacy

The BBT International and Jayadvaita Swami need to address the points presented in these books instead of relying on faulty logic.

Open Letter to Sivarama Swami

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This below e-mail was sent to Sivarama Swami through the e-mail address (asksrs@gmail.com) provided on this website. I hope that the devotees in charge of receiving the e-mails will forward the e-mail to Maharaja. In the meantime I will look for another e-mail address of his.

Dear Sivarama Swami. Dandavat pranama. Jaya Srila Prabhupada.

I apologize if answering this letter becomes a burden on your many other responsibilities.

Recently I heard a podcast from your website where you respond to a few questions about the changes made to Srila Prabhupada’s books.

I have a few comments and points I find important in relation to your response, and I hope you will find the time to answer each of them.

This is an open letter, so it will also be posted online.

The letter is attached to this e-mail, but you can also find it here:

Open Letter to Sivarama Swami

Thank you very much.​
Your servant,
Ajit Krishna Dasa

E-BOOK: No Reply From BBTI

We have created an e-book (free of course) from some of the articles on http://arsaprayoga.com. It is called…

No Reply From BBTI

The changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books that the BBT International does not want you to know about!

Screenshot 2014-05-10 10.32.28

READ ONLINE HERE (PDF):

e-book-no-reply-from-bbti-version-0.1-05-10-2014

DOWNLOAD THE E-BOOK HERE! (PDF)

Please share this e-book with as many as possible! 

“Enter Blazing” – Jayadvaita Swami Commits a Grammatical Error (Bg. 11.28)

universal-formThe Universal Form

Bhakta Torben Nielsen recently made me aware of this change to Bg. 11.28:

Original and authorized 1972-edition:

“As the rivers flow into the sea, so all these great warriors enter Your blazing mouths and perish.”

BBT International’s edited 1983 edition:

“As the many waves of the rivers flow into the ocean, so do all these great warriors enter blazing into Your mouths.”

So-called original manuscript:

There is no verse for 11.28 as the page is missing. But verse 30 mentions the words “blazing mouths”.

This is a very interesting change, because it is of a grammatical nature:

  • In Srila Prabhupada’s original 1972 edition the adjective “blazing” describes the plural noun “mouths”.
  • In BBT International’s 1983 edition the adjective “blazing” describes the plural noun “warriors”.

So which translation is grammatically correct – Srila Prabhupada’s or Jayadvaita Swami’s?

The context

Here we have the verses from Bg. 11.28-30 (original edition):

“As the rivers flow into the sea, so all these great warriors enter Your blazing mouths and perish.” (Bg. 11.28)

“I see all people rushing with full speed into Your mouths as moths dash into a blazing fire.” (Bg. 11.29)

“O Visnu, I see You devouring all people in Your flaming mouths and covering the universe with Your immeasurable rays. Scorching the worlds, You are manifest.” (Bg. 11.30)

We see that Srila Prabhupada describes the mouths of the universal form as “blazing” (Bg. 11.28) and “flaming” (Bg. 11.30), and compares them to a “blazing fire” (Bg. 11.29). There is no “original manuscript” available for Bg. 11.28-29, but the “original manuscript” for Bg. 11.30 also says “blazing mouths”, as mentioned above.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 11.49.21

Plate 31

The painting above this article is Plate 31 from the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Just like all other paintings in the book it was approved by Srila Prabhupada. On the painting we clearly see that the warriors are entering into the blazing mouths of The Universal Form – just like we are told that they are in the Bg. 11.28, 1972 edition.

Srila Prabhupada’s desire

Based on the above, there is no doubt at all that Srila Prabhupada wanted to use the adjective “blazing” to describe the mouths of the universal form. He never meant to say that the great warriors were “blazing”.

What does the previous acaryas say about Bg. 11.28? (as translated on bhagavad-gita.org)

Sridhara Swami’s commentary:

“As unlimited currents of water helplessly flow in innumerable rivers and are propelled from multiple channels into the ocean, the mighty warriors of the Kaurava and Pandava armies are seen to be helplessly propelled into the flaming, gnashing mouths of the visvarupa or divine universal form of Lord Krishna.” ()

Kesava Kasmiri’s commentary:

“How helplessly do the mighty warriors of the Kaurava and Pandava armies enter into the flaming mouths of Lord Krishna’s visvarupa or divine universal form? As helplessly as unlimited currents of water from innumerable rivers are propelled into entering the ocean.”

In his translations of Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura and Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s Bhagavad-gita commentaries Bhanu Swami also translates Bg. 11.28 as follows:

“As many swift currents of rivers flow towards the sea, so these heroes of the world enter Your flaming mouths.”

The sanskrit

Gaura Krishna Dasa, a student of sanskrit, sent me the following analysis of the sanskrit grammar:

Regarding the change in the translation of Bhagavad gita 11.28.

The word “abhivijvalanti” is in the 1972 edition taken as what in grammar is called a verbal adjective or a participle. A participle is basically a derivative from a verb but belonging in the group of adjectives. This particular participle is a participle in present tense, active voice for parasmaipada verbs. It is in neuter gender, plural number and in the accusative case which clearly indicates that it relates to “vaktraani” which is also in neuter gender, plural number and accusative case.

Sridhara Swami, Visvanath Cakravati Thakur and Baladeva Vidyabhusana have the same grammatical conclusion of this word as a participle and therefore in relation to “vaktraani” attributively, “blazing mouths”.

The “anti” ending in “abhivijvalanti” could preliminarily appear as a finite verb 3rd person in the plural number and present tense related to “nara-loka-viira” (the kings of human society), but this conclusion is in the least very strange. It would, if accepted, be a distortion of historical facts and it must be concluded faulty because this sentense already has a finite verb namely “visanti” meaning entering. So if we for the sake of example maintain “abhivijvalanti” as a finite verb, as it is done in the 1983 edition it would translate “as the many waves of the rivers flow into the ocean, so all these great warriors enter and blaze your mouth”, since “abhivijvalanti” can also not be taken as an adverb describing “visanti” attributively.

Conclusion:

“abhivijvalanti” must be taken as a participle – as done by the previous acaryas and the original 1972 edition – and not a verb as done in the 1983 edition.

Conclusion

The evidence against Jayadvaita Swami’s change is overwhelming:

1. Srila Prabhupada is very clear in his original Gita and his manuscripts – the mouths are blazing. Not the warriors.

2. Srila Prabhupada follows the previous acaryas who says that the mouths are blazing (flaming, gnashing).

3 The painting depicting this event (Plate 31 in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is) shows that it is the mouths of The Universal Form that are blazing.

4. According to sanskrit grammer it is the “mouths” that are “blazing”. Not the “warriors”.

Even if both translations could be correct (which they cannot), there would still be no justification – based on the above analysis – to change Srila Prabhupada’s translation of the verse.

It would not be possible to do this without overriding his own editorial decisions and thus violating the arsa-prayoga principle.

Please see additional evidence here.

PROOF POSITIVE: AN APPEAL TO JAYADVAITA SWAMI FOR CLARIFICATION (PART 2)

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BY: THE ASSEMBLED DEVOTEES

Jul 25, 2014 — GLOBAL (SUN) —

No Opportunity for Questions?

In the 2003 Honolulu conversation cited in the first installment of Proof Positive, Jayadvaita Swami stated:

“there was no opportunity to like send Prabhupada back and forth, like sending him the second chapter and getting it back and asking questions; it just didn’t happen.”

In the 15 months prior to Srila Prabhupada approving the 1972 Bhagavad-gita blue-print/galleyproof, Jayadvaita wrote to His Divine Grace on six different occasions regarding book production. Srila Prabhupada replied each time, often with detailed explanations and instructions. Though the statements found in some of these letters (see below) refer to books other than Bhagavad-gita, they are still a definitive indication that Srila Prabhupada had made himself available for final proofreading, questions on editing, and other details of book production, and that he already was communicating and interacting with Jayadvaita on such matters.

And, as indicated below, Srila Prabhupada also went to New York and spent approximately 14 days there in July and August of 1971. The record shows that Jayadvaita had plenty of opportunity to send Prabhupada the Bhagavad-gita blue-prints, manuscripts and queries, as well as to meet personally with His Divine Grace. Srila Prabhupada also made a standing offer directly to Jayadvaita in a meeting in Boston in 1969 regarding publishing of the unabridged Gita:

Jayadvaita: [referring to the “original” manuscript] Some of it has been edited by Rayarama, but you can see around it and go to the original behind it.

Srila Prabhupada: So whatever is lacking, you ask me. I will supply you.

Why, then, did Jayadvaita Swami state there was no opportunity, and why didn’t he ask his questions when he had the chance?

(Emphasis is added in the following letters and some have been abbreviated):

Letter to Jayadvaita- Bombay, March 17, 1971:

“My Dear Jayadvaita, Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated 21st February, 1971 and noted the contents carefully. I do not know what may have happened to the letter dated 9th January, 1971, but I have not received it.

Regarding your questions:

12:12: The ultimate point is to come to the stage of loving Krsna and all other indirect processes are subsidiary….

14:27: Impersonal Brahman is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness because without coming to the brahma-bhutah platform and remaining engaged in the activities of brahman nobody can be joyful….

I have dictated the missing purports from Chapter IX and they are set enclosed herewith. So far changing the working of verse or purport of 12:12 discussed before, it may remain as it is.”

Letter to Jayadvaita- Los Angeles, July 3, 1971:

“My Dear Jayadvaita, Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated 30th June, 1971 and have noted the contents carefully. Your report on the progress of Srimad-Bhagavatam, first four cantos, is very much encouraging, so continue this work very seriously. I have again begun translating work and have so far sent Satsvarupa Prabhu three tapes from 4th Canto, 8th chapter, and will be sending many more.”

Letter to Jayadvaita- Los Angeles, July 13, 1971:

“I am in due receipt of your letter dated 10th July, 1971 and have noted the contents. Also I have received the laid-out sheets for tapes no. 1 & 2 and they are very well done. Thank you very much. I was so much pleased to see that already the tapes were edited and laid out and this is encouraging me to translate more and more. You can give Ch. 8 of S.B. canto 4 the title “Dhruva Maharaja enters the forest to meet the Lord”.

…Very soon I am coming to N.Y. and we can discuss further on these matters.

Letter to Jayadvaita- Calcutta, February 18, 1972:

“My Dear Jayadvaita, Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of February 5, 1972, and have noted the contents. Yes, because no one else can do them, I shall do the sanskrit synonyms. You simply send me now the manuscripts as required by you, and I shall send back either dictaphone tapes or tape-recorder cassettes.”

Letter to Jayadvaita- Calcutta, March 5, 1972:

“My dear Jayadvaita, Please accept my blessings. I have also received your letter along with Bali Mardan’s….As I have informed, Pradyumna and Syamasundara will be sending you regularly completed transcriptions of my translation work by post, that will avoid the high cost of sending tapes, which besides are very expensive and may be lost easily in mail, and because I am here if they have questions I can answer and make the final proofreading, and this will expedite everything. One thing, now you say the date for printing by MacMillan Co. is set for August 1st, but last time you said June 1st, so I am wondering how long this delaying business shall go on?”

Letter to Jayadvaita- Los Angeles, May 28, 1972:

“My Dear Jayadvaita, Please accept my blessings. I have received your letter dated May 26th, 1972, along with the blue-print copies of Bhagavad-gita As It Is from MacMillan Company. It is very nice. So I shall be looking forward to seeing the entire manuscript and book sometime around first July, 1972.”

In summary, Srila Prabhupada stated:

“So whatever is lacking, you ask me. I will supply you.”
(1969 meeting in Boston)

“Very soon I am coming to N.Y. and we can discuss further on these matters.”
(he then spends 2 weeks in New York)

“if they have questions I can answer and make the final proofreading”

“I have received your letter dated May 26th, 1972, along with the blue-print copies of Bhagavad-gita As It Is from MacMillan Company. It is very nice. So I shall be looking forward to seeing the entire manuscript and book sometime around first July, 1972.”

In total, Jayadvaita corresponded with His Divine Grace on six different occasions between February 1971 and May 1972.

Jayadvaita Swami stated:

“there was no opportunity to like send Prabhupada back and forth, like sending him the second chapter and getting it back and asking questions; it just didn’t happen.”

Response to the author of “No More Cattle Raising on the Planet of the Trees”

Book Change Rebuttal

Response to the author of “No More Cattle Raising on the Planet of the Trees”

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In the following we will discuss the article “No More Cattle Raising on the Planet of the Trees” that was recently posted on the Dandavats website (http://www.dandavats.com/?p=14403).

The author attempts to prove that Srila Prabhupada instructed his editors to make changes and corrections to his books after his disappearance. In support of his conclusions the author quotes from the “Rascal Editors” conversation and from a mail exchange between Ramesvara Dasa and Tamala Krishna Goswami.

A careful analysis, however, reveals that the author’s conclusions are invalid. He is correct when he says that after the “Rascal Editors” conversation Srila Prabhupada approved that further editing could be performed. This is revealed in the mail exchange between Ramesvara Dasa and Tamala Krishna Goswami (see Appendix 2 in the author’s article). But his conclusions about HOW editing could be continued, and FOR HOW LONG it could be continued are fallacious. He specifically commits three logical fallacies that invalidate his conclusions:

  1. SELECTIVE EVIDENCE/CHERRY PICKING
  2. NON SEQUITUR
  3. TAKING A QUOTE OUT OF CONTEXT/CONTEXTOMY

In order to properly understand Srila Prabhupada’s last instructions on editing (that we know of) we have to take a closer look at the letter Tamala Krishna Goswami wrote Ramesvara Dasa (see Appendix 2 in the author’s article), because a crucial sentence has been left out of the author’s analysis (reproduced here in bold):

“Your suggestion that in the future any mistakes which are found can be reported to Satsvarupa Maharaja, Jayadvaita Prabhu, Radha Ballabha Prabhu, or yourself, and after sufficient investigation and confirmation these mistakes can be rectified is accepted. As we are working on this Fifth Canto planetary system, whatever corrections are required to be made, we will get approved by His Divine Grace and then send them on to you so that the new edition will be free from any of these discrepancies.

[…]

“Although He has certain doubts in regard to the perfectness of our service, He is quite confident that you will do the needful to make any corrections that are required. [handwritten:] I explained the contents of your letter and Satsvarupa’s, and Radhaballabha and He seemed satisfied that things were not being unauthorizedly changed, while at the same time whatever corrections needed to be done were being made.” (Letter to Ramesvara from Tamala Krishna, July 22, 1977)

From these quotes we can understand that Srila Prabhupada did not want any more editing that was not “sufficiently investigated” and “confirmed”. Nothing should be “unauthorizedly changed”. Now, the questions is:

WHO will ultimately confirm and authorize the editing?

We get a hint about whom by looking at the sentence that the author has left out:

“As we are working on this Fifth Canto planetary system, whatever corrections are required to be made, we will get approved by His Divine Grace…”

So it seems the four above mentioned devotees were not just changing the books themselves. They were sending their changes to Srila Prabhupada for final approval. This seems to be the procedure that Tamala Krishna Goswami is talking about.

By leaving the sentence about the edits to the fifth canto out the author commits the fallacy of “selective evidence” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking_(fallacy).

Some might argue that MAYBE the changes to the fifth canto were the only changes that were sent to Srila Prabhupada, and not any other changes. But “maybe” is guesswork. And we do not make changes to the books of the acaryas based on guesswork (maybe, I think, perhaps etc). A principle of caution must be observed in editing Srila Prabhupada’s books. Better safe than sorry!

So contrary to what the author argues we find no evidence in the exchange between Ramesvara Prabhu and Tamala Krishna Goswami to support the conclusion that these four above mentioned devotees could edit without having Srila Prabhupada approve or disapprove all their changes.

The author’s conclusion about posthumous editing simply does not follow from it’s premises, and therefore he also commits the logical fallacy “non sequitur” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_sequitur_(logic)) which cover all arguments in which the conclusion does not follow from the premises.

Another very important point is that neither in the “Rascal Editors” conversation nor in the exchange between Tamala Krishna Goswami and Ramesvara Dasa do we find any information about posthumous editing. They were spoken/written within a context where Srila Prabhupada was around to approve or disapprove the editing work of BBT. The conversation and the letters came into existence because Srila Prabhupada and some of his disciples were dissatisfied with some of the editing work done by the BBT – not because anyone asked Srila Prabhupada about how editing should be done after his disappearance.

The burden of proof is on the devotee who states that we can project, extend or expand the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada on book editing from one context (when he was around) into a completely different context (when he is no longer around). In connection with the book changes no one has been able to lift this burden of proof successfully, and the author’s attempt also fails:

The author argues that since the letter written by Tamala Krishna Goswami states that “in the future” the editing should follow the above mentioned procedure, and since Srila Prabhupada never asked them to stop this procedure, therefore this procedure must still be followed after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. There are several problems with this argument:

  1. The letter was signed by Srila Prabhupada, but was written by Tamala Krishna Goswami. So we cannot know for certain how Srila Prabhupada understood and interpreted the words “in the future”. We cannot even be sure he took special notice of the words.
  1. We humans often use “in the future we should do such and such” in a very unspecified way – and often it is implicit that there is a timeframe involved, or that if certain factors are changed then the procedure must also be changed or stopped. For example, if I tell my wife that “in the future” the procedure is that she should have my breakfast ready at 9:00a.m., then I do not also have to state the obvious fact that if I die today, then she should stop that practice tomorrow. Similarly, based on sastra and Srila Prabhupada’s clear instructions on the arsa-prayoga principle it can be argued that he did not also have to tell his editors that if he leaves his body, then they should stop the editing. At least there is NO PROOF for the contention that the editing should continue.
  1. If one states that the words “in the future” also refers to the time after Srila Prabhupada left his body, then one is clinging to the same faulty reasoning as the ritviks. Ritviks state that the word “henceforward” in the famous July 9th letter (also written by Tamala Krishna Goswami and signed by Srila Prabhupada) should be taken to mean that ritvik initiations should continue after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. But neither the author nor any other ISKON leader will accept that interpretation of the word “henceforward” in the July 9th letter. Thus they have a double standard – i.e. they apply a different set of principles for similar situations. Unless the author wants to fall prey to the same faulty reasoning as the ritviks, he has to admit that there is no proof that “in the future” refers to the time after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance.

Summing this point up:

Nothing seems to suggest that the instructions on book editing given by Srila Prabhupada in the “Rascal Editors” conversation and in the exchange between Ramesvara Dasa and Tamala Krishna Goswami can be extrapolated into a context where Srila Prabhupada is no longer around. So by insisting on this unjustified extrapolation the author is effectively invalidating his own argument by committing the logical fallacy of quoting out of context/contextomy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context).

We do not have one single instruction from Srila Prabhupada where he allows for posthumous editing of his books. However, he actually taught us how to deal with the transcendental mistakes of the acaryas.

First of all he gave philosophical instructions about the dangers of violating the arsa-prayoga principle:

“If one is too big, there is no mistake. Arsa-prayoga means there may be discrepancies but it is all right. Just like Shakespeare, sometimes there are odd usages of language, but he is accepted as authority. I have explained all these things in my Preface to First Canto.” (Letter to Mandali Bhadra, Jaipur 20 January, 1972)

“So unless one is self-realized, there is practically no use writing about Krsna. This transcendental writing does not depend on material education. It depends on the spiritual realization. You’ll find, therefore, in the comments of Bhagavatam by different acaryas, even there are some discrepancies, they are accepted as arsa-prayoga. It should remain as it is.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.23-24, Vrndavana, March 31, 1976)

Prabhupada: This of should be strictly forbidden.
Radha-vallabha: So no corrections. That makes it simple.
Prabhupada: They can divide the synonyms. That’s all.
Radha-vallabha: Synonyms. So even…
Prabhupada: That is his tendency, to correct. That’s very bad. He should not do that.
Radha-vallabha: So I’ll just forget this, then.
Prabhupada: The system is: whatever authority has done, even there is mistake, it should be accepted.
Radha-vallabha: Oh.
Prabhupada: Arsa-prayoga. That is ha… He should not become more learned than the authority. That is very bad habit….

[…]

Prabhupada: Why finish it? Whatever is done is done. No more….
Radha-vallabha: Well, now that this system of no corrections anywhere, that makes it very simple. Then he can’t do anything. I don’t think he wants to, either. It makes it more simple for him. It makes him very uncomfortable.
Prabhupada: No corrections.
(Room Conversation 27 february, 1977)

Srila Prabhupada also taught us by his own practical example. The article “Srila Prabhupada’s Instructions on editing are in his own books” (by Prahlada Nrisimha Dasa) reveals how Srila Prabhupada himself dealt with the transcendental mistakes made by the previous acaryas (he did not change or touch them). Here are two examples from the article:

“In the Caitanya-caritāmṛita, Madhya-līlā 9.358, Srila Prabhupāda cites his spiritual master Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, who points out that in the seventy-fourth verse of this same chapter there is an apparent error made by Kṛṣṇa dāsa, Kavirāja Gosvāmī. Srila Prabhupāda, just to teach us the principle of arsa-prayoga, [please see quotes from Srila Prabhupāda on “arsha-prayoga” at the end of this article] does not touch the words of Kṛṣṇadāsa Kaviraja Goswami, but leaves this apparent error as it is, out of respect for the transcendental book. Even though Srila Prabhupāda’s own spiritual master, the most pure and intimate confidential devotee and associate of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu himself, had clearly pointed out that this is an apparent error and is apparently wrong.

Furthermore in the purport to that seventy-fourth verse, mentioned above, Srila Prabhupada mentions nothing; only at the end of the chapter, after Srila Kṛṣṇadāsa Kaviraja concludes his narration, does Srila Prabhupāda even mention the apparent mistake.

That Caitanya-caritāmṛita, Madhya-līlā 9. 358 purport is cited here for your reference:

“Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura points out that in the seventy-fourth verse of this chapter it is stated that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the temple of Śiyālī-bhairavī, but actually at Śiyālī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the temple of Śrī Bhū-varāha. Near Śiyālī and Cidambaram there is a temple known as Śrī Muṣṇam. In this temple there is a Deity of Śrī Bhū-varāha. In the jurisdiction of Cidambaram there is a district known as southern Arcot. The town of Śiyālī is in that district. There is a temple of Śrī Bhū-varāhadeva nearby, not Bhairavī-devī. This is Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s conclusion.”

This is a very good lesson to make a clear and prominent note of how Srila Prabhupāda, the teacher by example, has chosen to edit (or rather not edit) the words of the spiritual masters or previous acharyas’ writings.”

[…]

“We will cite another place were Srila Prabhupāda left a seeming mistake as it is, even though it may be considered “wrong.”

“Ambikāvana is situated somewhere in the Gujarat province. Ambikāvana is said to be situated on the river Sarasvatī, yet we do not find any Sarasvatī River in the Gujarat province; the only river there is Savarmati. In India, all the big places of pilgrimage are situated on nice rivers like the Ganges, Yamunā, Sarasvatī, Narmadā, Godāvarī, Kāverī, etc. Ambikāvana was situated on the bank of Sarasvatī, and all the cowherd men and Nanda Mahārāja went there.” (KRSNA Book 1970 edition Volume 1 Chapter 33 / Vidyādhara Liberated and the Demon Śaṅkhāsura Killed)

In this quote from Srila Prabhupāda’s original KRSNA book, Prabhupāda mentions that although it says, “Ambikāvana is said to be situated on the river Sarasvatī, yet we do not find any Sarasvatī River in the Gujarat province…” Prabhupāda does not change the text to correct the seeming mistake.” (Prahlada Nrisimha Dasa, Srila Prabhupada’s Instructions on editing are in his own books)

The article has additional examples and many other interesting points in regard to the topic of book changes.

Sastra also confirms that the mistakes of the acaryas should not be corrected:

“Anyone who finds any fault with a devotee’s description of Krishna is a sinner. If a devotee writes a poem, no matter how poorly he does it, it will certainly contain his love for Krishna. A fool says ‘visnaya’ while a scholar knows the correct form is ‘visnave’, but Krishna accepts the sentiment in either case. If anyone sees a fault in this, the fault is his, for Krishna is pleased with anything the pure devotee says. You too describe the Lord with words of love, so what arrogant person would dare criticize anything that you have written?” (Chaitanya Bhagavata 1.11.105-110)

The conclusion is that there is no mention of posthumous editing in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings other than:

1) The clear statements about not changing the works of an acarya (the arsa-prayoga principle).

2) Srila Prabhupada’s own example of not touching the mistakes of the previous acaryas.

3) Sastric injunctions on not to correct the mistakes of the acaryas.

As cited above Tamala Krishna Goswami writes to Ramesvara Dasa:

“Your suggestion that in the future any mistakes which are found can be reported to Satsvarupa Maharaja, Jayadvaita Prabhu, Radha Ballabha Prabhu, or yourself, and after sufficient investigation and confirmation these mistakes can be rectified is accepted.” (Letter to Ramesvara from Tamala Krishna, July 22, 1977)

Besides the obvious problem that none of the changes made post-1977 can be approved by Srila Prabhupada, there is also the problem that HARDLY ANY of the changes made to the Gita have been “sufficiently investigated”. The changes were made by Jayadvaita Swami – more or less alone. And as we see there are many discrepancies in his editing. And most of his changes are directly violating clear instructions from Srila Prabhupada. For example, Srila Prabhupada did not want any needless changes.

“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)

But the Gita (and other books) is filled with thousands of needless changes. Many of these are mentioned in the e-book “No Reply from BBTI” which is easily found by searching the internet.

This e-book shows how the attempted justifications used by the BBTI are very problematic. BBTI usually argue that:

  • We are changing Srila Prabhupada’s books back to what he actually said in his original manuscript.
  • We are making the book “Closer to Prabhupada”.
  • We are only correcting grammar, commas, capitalization etc.
  • We are only correcting the mistakes of previous editors.
  • No unnecessary changes have been made.

But the articles in the e-book documents that the BBTI has needlessly:

  • Deleted many of Srila Prabhupada’s own chosen words and sentences (even those also found in his ”original manuscript”).
  • Added their own words and sentences (which means these words and sentences are also not to be found in the ”original manuscript”).
  • Changed Srila Prabhupada’s own personally typewritten sanskrit translations.
  • Made needless change of syntax (sentence structure).

So even if we – for the sake of argument – accept the conclusion that some changes could be made posthumously (for which there is no evidence), then we would still be in a situation where the BBTI has violated the instructions on how Srila Prabhupada wanted his books edited while he was still around to supervise the work.

All the articles in “No Reply from BBTI” have been sent to Jayadvaita Swami, Dravida Dasa, BBTI and the author of “No More Cattle Raising on the Planet of the Trees”. But so far we have received no replies to the points raised – hence the name “No Reply from BBTI”.

We humbly ask you to read this e-book, and also visit the many different websites made by devotees who are skeptic towards the changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books. The author of this article shall promptly send you links to “No Reply from BBTI” and other relevant websites on your request.

Your servant, Ajit Krishna Dasa

Rebuttal of Hridayananda Dasa Goswami’s Claims on the Book Changes

Danesh Dasa posted the following on the facebook group “Hridayananda Das Goswami – Friends and Disciples”:

“Hridayananda Maharaj on the revised 2nd edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

“I Support This Edition”

“Jaya Advaita Swami and Dravida Prabhu sincerely worked to restore Prabhupada’s original text, and to clear up obvious mistakes by typists. Surely Prabhupada would appreciate this. Further, no one has ever shown that these corrections altered in any way Prabhupada’s philosophical teachings. Thus I support this edition of Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita.””

Here is a screenshot: Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.55.31

Let us take a look at each of Maharaja’s statements:

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami:

“Jaya Advaita Swami and Dravida Prabhu sincerely worked…”

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami here commits the fallacy of “begging the question” and the fallacy of “Ipse dixit / bare assertion fallacy”:

“Begging the question means “assuming the conclusion (of an argument)”, a type of circular reasoning. This is an informal fallacy where the conclusion that one is attempting to prove is included in the initial premises of an argument, often in an indirect way that conceals this fact.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question)

Jayadvaita Swami and Dravida Prabhu did their job sincerely only if they pleased Srila Prabhupada, and we are disagreeing about precisely that. Therefore Maharaja is “begging the question”.

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami needs to give some evidence in support for his claim. But instead of giving evidence he just states it, and this is the fallacy of “Ipse dixit / bare assertion fallacy”:

“Ipse dixit, Latin for “He, himself, said it,” is a term used to identify and describe a sort of arbitrary dogmatic statement which the speaker expects the listener to accept as valid.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipse_dixit)

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami:

“…to restore Prabhupada’s original text, and to clear up obvious mistakes by typists.”

Here Hridayananda Dasa Goswami commits the fallacy of “selective evidence / fallacy of incomplete evidence”:

“Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking_(fallacy))

It is correct that Jayadvaita Swami and BBTI in some cases have changed the books back to what Srila Prabhupada said in the so-called original manuscripts. But is this really a good idea? Normally your drafts end up in your trash bin. If someone took your drafts out of your trash bin and changed your essay back to what you wrote in your drafts without consulting you first, I think you would feel insulted. Here is an article that deals with this unusual idea of changing a text back to its draft:

https://arsaprayoga.com/2013/10/15/jayadvaita-undoes-prabhupadas-work-on-gita-manuscript/

What Hridayananda Dasa Goswami fails to communicate (and possibly comprehend) is the sad fact that in many cases Jayadvaita Swami and BBTI have brought Srila Prabhupada’s books further away from the so-called original texts. They have deleted Srila Prabhupada’s own chosen words and sentences and added their own. They even changed hundreds (if not thousands) of his personally typewritten sanskrit translations. And in most cases there was no reason to do it at all – other than the whimsical preferences of the editors. I have documented many instances of this sort of editing in my e-book “No Reply from BBTI” and on my website www.arsaprayoga.com (see links below).

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami:

“Surely Prabhupada would appreciate this.”

Here Hridayananda Dasa Goswami again commits the fallacy “Ipse dixit / bare assertion fallacy”.

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami:

“Further, no one has ever shown that these corrections altered in any way Prabhupada’s philosophical teachings.”

Since Hridayananda Dasa Goswami presents no evidence to back up his claim, he again commits the fallacy of “Ipse dixit / bare assertion fallacy”.

He claims that no one has been able to demonstrate that Jayadvaita Swami and BBTI have made changes to the philosophy. But by publishing the 1983 edition of the Gita it was openly declared that it is perfectly okay to violate the principle of arsa-prayoga. This is a serious philosophical deviation, and this offensive mentality is now woven into each and every page of Srila Prabhupada’s books, and everyone who reads them will be contaminated by this mentality.

Besides this, now there might only be very few philosophical mistakes made by Jayadvaita Swami and BBTI, but what about the future? If the door is not closed forever, then the changing business might go on forever, since one change justifies the next. Srila Prabhupada was afraid of this (see the famous “Rascal Editors” conversation).

We also know that Jayadvaita Swami has made his own mistakes. One example of this is his changing “Visnu Form” into the “Visnu platform” (Bg. 2.61). This seems to be a change that takes the Gita in the mayavada direction. And here is a link to an article that demonstrates how Jayadvaita Swami has changed a sentence in the Gita so it gets the opposite meaning of what Srila Prabhupada originally said:

https://arsaprayoga.com/2014/08/12/small-word-big-difference/

Do we want more of these kinds of changes?

Another significant point in this regard is that Hridayananda Dasa Goswami presents an hidden premise, namely that:

All changes that are not of a philosophical nature are okay.

This hidden premise can be disproved by quoting Jayadvaita Swami and the BBTI:

“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)

Now, as we see Srila Prabhupada did not only disapprove of philosophical changes to his books. He also disapproved of “needless changes”. Therefore, if we can find any needless changes in the 1983 edition of the Gita, we know that Jayadvaita Swami and the BBTI have displeased Srila Prabhupada. My contention is that Jayadvaita Swami and the BBTI have made many needless changes (thousands). I have presented some of them in my e-book “No Reply from BBTI”:

https://arsaprayoga.com/2014/05/08/e-book-no-reply-from-bbti/

This e-book shows how the attempted justifications used by the BBTI fails. BBTI usually argue that:

  • We are changing Srila Prabhupada’s books back to what he actually said in his original manuscript.
  • We are making the books “Closer to Prabhupada”.
  • We are only correcting grammar, commas, capitalization etc.
  • We are only correcting the mistakes of previous editors.
  • No unnecessary changes have been made.

But the articles in the e-book documents that the BBT International have needlessly:

  • Deleted many of Srila Prabhupada’s own chosen words and sentences (even those also found in his ”original manuscript”).
  • Added their own words and sentences (which means these words and sentences are also not to be found in the ”original manuscript”).
  • Changed Srila Prabhupada’s own personally typewritten sanskrit translations.
  • Made needless change of syntax (sentence structure).

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami:

“Thus I support this edition of Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita.”

If Hridayananda Dasa Goswami had studied this issue carefully he would not support the 1983 edition of the Bhagavad-gita.

Some might argue that Hridayananda Dasa Goswami’s statement is not supposed to be a thorough defense of his views. That is perfectly fine – as long as we recognize that his above statement is completely useless in any kind of debate on the topic.

The interesting question is:

Will Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ever post a thorough defense of his view on this controversial topic? Or does he expect his disciples and well-wishers to blindly accept his statements without any supporting evidence?

We are many who would love to see how he will attempt to justify the editing of Jayadvaita Swami and the BBTI.

Your servant, Ajit Krishna Dasa