The Book Changes and Gitar Gan

gitar-gan

The Non-Original Gitar Gan with the edited verses from the unauthorized 1983 Bhagavad-gita As It Is (I cannot find a picture of the original Gitar Gan)

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

The Gitar Gan is Srila Prabhupada’s poetic rendition of Srimad Bhagavad-gita in the Bengali language.

So far Gitar Gan has never been translated into English. Online we find a version with the original Bhagavad-gita verses added as a translations (here). On the Vedabase we find a version with BBTI’s edited verses added as translations (also available online). Both are without English word-for-word meanings.

Obviously, none of these are precise translations, since Srila Prabhupada’s Gitar Gan is a poetic rendition and not a literal translation of the Gita.

I would humbly like to submit that there is a GREAT need for a literal English translation of Gitar Gan.

Why?

Because it could be key in deepening our understanding of many of the controversial changes made to Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita after his departure:

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.”

​Are the mouths blazing or are the warriors blazing? Gitar Gan seems to give us the answer:

jvalita tomara ei mukhe

jvalita-firing/flaming/blazing; tomara-your; ei-these; mukhe-mouth

jvalita: blazing (appears twice in the word-for-word synonyms in the Caitanya Caritamrta. Both times is it translated as “blazing”)
tomara: your (can be found 1000+ times in Caitanya Caritamrta).
ei: these (can be found 2000+ times in Caitanya Caritamrta).
mukhe: mouth/in the mouth/on the mouth/and more (found many times in Caitanya Caritamrta).

TRANSLATION: “Your blazing/firing/flaming mouths” (made with the help of several bengali speaking devotees found on facebook).

Anyone who does not agree with this translation, please give us your opinion.

Bg. 2.35​:

Is Arjuna a “coward” or is he “insignificant”?

Bg. 2.30:

Is the soul “eternal”?

Many such questions could be answered if we had an English translation of Gitar Gan.

IMPORTANT: I am not suggesting that we can change in the original Bhagavad-gita As It Is by referring to Gitar Gan. But we might be able to expose many of the needless and offensive changes made by Jayadvaita Swami.

An English translation of the Gitar Gan is therefore an urgent need.

I urge anyone who reads this to help find some qualified Bengali speaking devotees who can and will take up this important task.

Please contact me if you have idea ideas on how to procede with this project.

Your servant,
Ajit Krishna Dasa

Removing “eternal” from Bhagavad-gita As It Is (2.30)

This article was sent to the BBT International the 20th Oct. 2013. We asked them to comment on the points raised. So far we have not received any reply.

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

Bg 2.30 – original and authorized 1972-edition:

“O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is eternal and can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any creature.”

Bg 2.30 – unauthorized 1983 BBT International edition:

“O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any living being.”

Why has the word “eternal” been removed? What does Prabhupada say? Here are something from his lectures:

“O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is eternal and can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any creature.”

Prabhupada: Dehi nityam avadhyo ‘yam dehe sarvasya bharata. Dehe, dehe means body, within the body. This topic began, dehino ‘smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara. Deha, dehi. Dehi means one who possesses the body. Just like guni. Asthate in prata. The grammatical. Guna, in, deha, in, in prata. Dehin sabda. So the nominative case of dehin sabda is dehi. Dehi nityam, eternal. In so many ways, Krsna has explained. Nityam, eternal. Indestructible, immutable. It does not take birth, it does not die, it is always, constantly the same. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. In this way, again he says nityam, eternal. (730831BG.LON)

Another lecture:

Devotee: 30: “O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is eternal and can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any creature [Bg. 2.30].”

Prabhupada: Now, after putting forward all definitions and arguments from different angles of vision, of different philosophers, thesis, now Krsna concludes, “My dear Arjuna, take it for certain that the soul within is eternal.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 2.27-38 — Los Angeles, December 11, 1968

Even in Srimad Bhagavatam Prabhupada writes that BG 2.30 confirm the eternality of the soul:

“The living entity is unborn and eternal, and as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (2.30),…”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.49

Then why take “eternal” out the of the Bhagavad-gita, As It Is?

BBTI attempts to give this justification:

“The words “is eternal” (First Edition) do not appear in Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript. The word nityam here means “eternally” — or, as Srila Prabhupada gives it, “always.” It modifies avadhyah. Thus, “always unfit for being slain.” Putting that negatively, as the original editor chose to do, the “always” becomes “never” — “he can never be slain.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => GRV: 2.31: “Editing varnasrama-dharma out of the books?

There a quite some problems with this proposed justification:

  • We do not know what Hayagriva Prabhu and Prabhupada agreed upon while carefully working together on the Bhagavad-gita. Prabhupada might have wanted the word “eternal” to be there. We do not know and therefore we can’t change anything. Why? Because we can’t change in Prabhupada’s books based on “maybe”, “perhaps”, “I think” etc.) This “principle of caution” ought to implemented in ALL editing work.
  • Prabhupada himself used the word “nityam” in lectures and said that meant that the soul is eternal. In one of the above lectures Prabhupada even says that “Krsna concludes, “My dear Arjuna, take it for certain that the soul within is eternal.” So Krishna says in BG 2.30 that the soul is eternal. But BBT International thinks otherwise and overrides Prabhupada’s own words and corrects his sanskrit. 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)

  • The result of these changes and their proposed justification will make it seem – for new devotees and scholars – that Prabhupada’s sanskrit was not good enough. Imagine that a new bhakta or bhaktin heard or read one of the above lectures by Prabhupada were he says that nityam in BG 2.30 means the soul is eternal. And then the new bhakta or bhaktin later reads that this is actually not correct sanskrit, and now the BBT International has corrected it by removing it from the translation. What kind of impression will this new bhakta or bhaktin get of Prabhupada and his knowledge of sanskrit? Will it increase their respect for him? Of course not! What will it say about the way we honor the acaryas in our sampradaya? Is this arsa-prayoga – to respect the authoritative sages?