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.”
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:
Govinda Dasi relates how Srila Prabhupada instructed her and other young devotee artists to paint devotional paintings, how he minutely supervised their work and how unfortunate it is that most of these authorized paintings have been removed from Srila Prabhupada’s books.
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.
“Now, how do we know that… Srila Prabhupada went over things very thoroughly. He went over this drawing. He corrected me, he watched what I was doing, many things. Teachings of Lord Caitanya, we also worked on the drawings for that while we were in Los Angeles, and I’m bringing this up because there’s a similar change in this regard. Teachings of Lord Caitanya originally had five or six black-and-white drawings. In those days we couldn’t afford to print color. So, Gourasundar and I did five or six black-and-white drawings, and Srila Prabhupada very meticulously went over them. He told us exactly what to put. I had never been in the Jagannath temple, I had never even been to India, and I wasn’t allowed in anyway. And he told me everything that was inside, where the pujari sits, Jagannath was up on this thing, it was dark all around—he gave me specific instructions on how to do that drawing; that drawing and all the rest that are in there.
So that’s how meticulous he was. I didn’t work with Hayagriva; Srila Prabhupada was busy working with Hayagriva. I was typing his letters, editing his letters, cooking his chapattis and stuff like that. But Srila Prabhupada was working on his books, OK? Now, those drawings were all removed from the subsequent edition of Teachings of Lord Caitanya, the drawings that Srila Prabhupada personally oversaw. He was quite distressed by this. He said, “Why have you removed those drawings? I had those done. Why did you remove them?” And they put some very nicely, highly beautiful, technically accurate paintings in there. Being an artist, I can relate to this from the artistic point of view. Also the Krsna Book, the artistic paintings, the early paintings were technically not as proficient as the ones that were later substituted for the early ones. But Srila Prabhupada was very distraught. He said, “Why did you remove those early paintings? They were full of bhakti.”” (Govinda dasi and Jayadvaita Swami in Honolulu on Jan 19, 2003)
“Prabhupada has on some occasions found errors in text he personally wrote, and complained about the lack of editing.”
Prabhupada wanted his English edited, but to a limited degree only. Where does Prabhupada state that he wants his personally typewritten sanskrit translations edited? In the Rascal Editor conversation (1977) Prabhupada specifically became angry at changes to his sanskrit translations:
Prabhupada: The nonsense, they are… They are correcting my trans… Rascal.
In 1977 Srila Prabhupada also said they could only divide the synonyms – not change them:
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.
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)
In chapter one of the 1983 edition of Bhagavad-gita there are around 130 changes to Srila Prabhupada’s own personally typewritten sanskrit translations. You can see the change here:
TAMPERING WITH PRABHUPADA’S PERSONALLY TYPEWRITTEN SANSKRIT TRANSLATIONS (BG, CHAPTER ONE):
If any links are broken I shall gladly provide them.
65.92% of the changes to the sanskrit synonyms in chapter one are “Modifications not according to Srila Prabhupada’s draft while the original edition follows Srila Prabhupada’s draft.”
In light of the above statements from Srila Prabhupada, how is this justified?
Jayadvaita Swami has not only corrected mistakes. I have documented this in an e-book. Here in something from the introduction:
Many changes have been made to Srila Prabhupada’s books since his departure in 1977. As we all know this has caused a lot of controversy.
This e-book presents new evidence to the effect that the BBT International, and Jayadvaita Swami in particular, have overstepped their authority by making changes that Srila Prabhupada did not want.
The articles in this e-book will show you that the changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books cannot be justified by arguments like
• 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
On the contrary, these articles will document that the BBT International have
• Deleted many of Prabhupada’s own chosen words and sentences (even those also found in his ”original manuscript”)
• Added their own words and sentences (which means these word and sentences are also not to be found in the ”original manuscript”)
• Changed Prabhupada’s own personally typewritten sanskrit translations.
• Made unnecessary change of syntax (sentence structure).
We humbly ask that you read this e‐book, and also visit the website http://www.arsaprayoga.com for much more information and many more examples of changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books.
Ter Kadamba Das: Ajit krishna Prabhu. I deleted your comment because I find it offensive to the Vaisnavas. Jayadvaita Swami is my param guru, and I cannot allow you to use my timeline to blaspheme him. The gaudia vaisnava parampara is a siksa line, and that means we don’t just read Prabhupada’s books and then speculate on the meaning – we check with the senior devotees, the self realized souls, if we have understood correctly. You do not do that, and that makes your arguments invalid. Even worse is to take segments of letters or conversations (rather than the books themselves) in order to push our own issues. I posted an article by HH Sivarama Swami because that makes it authorized. Whatever I may come up with in my tiny brain is superfluous if I don’t check it with the self realized souls. The same goes for you. You have effectively sacrificed the association of the devotees in order to push your issue about the book editing, and I find that sad. I don’t mean to attack you, I am truly writing this in an attempt to help you, even though it may not seem so. For what it is worth, I consider you a devotee of the Lord, and I believe you are honestly trying to serve Prabhupada to the best of your ability. Hare Krishna my friend!
You say you find my comment offensive. If you hear blasphemy of devotees there are three things you can do. In the Nectar of Devotion it is stated:
“If someone is heard blaspheming by words, one should be so expert that he can defeat the opposing party by argument. If he is unable to defeat the opposing party, then the next step is that he should not just stand there meekly, but should give up his life. The third process is followed if he is unable to execute the above-mentioned two processes, and this is that one must leave the place and go away.” (NOD, Ch. 9, Blasphemy)
Instead of deleting my comment it would have been better service to your param guru if you had defeated my arguments.
You say I do not consult senior devotees to check my understanding. In fact I do. I have quite a network of senior devotees and friends whom I consult often, and who encourage me in my opposition against the changes to Srila Prabhupada books. I have simply chosen to listen to OTHER senior devotees than you listen to. You have used your discriminative powers and chosen your authorities, and I have used my discriminative powers and chosen mine (including my own Guru Maharaja who was against the changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books).
Our respective authorities simply contradict each other on certain points. If we want to find out who is correct regarding the book changes, and who is actually blaspheming who (am I blaspheming your param guru, or is your param guru blaspheming Srila Prabhupada?), then we have to see who’s points are backed by guru, sadhu and sastra, logic and observation.
If you had answered the points I raised in my comments, then we actually would have had a chance to settle the matter and see who of us is actually following bona fide authorities.
You claim I “take segments of letters or conversations (rather than the books themselves) in order to push our own issues.” But as I mentioned before, instead of simply deleting my comment and throwing unsubstantiated accusations it would be a better service to your param guru if you actually defended your own case with the help of guru, sadhu and satra, logic and observation.
In order to defend your case, and thus bring this exchange to a befitting level of intelligence, you need to show specifically what is wrong with the points I presented, including whatever quotes from Prabhupada I posted.
I hope you will do that, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Your humble servant,
Ajit Krishna Dasa
Ter Kadamba Das deleted both my above comments shortly after they were posted. Later he deleted the whole thread, including his own opening statement.