Deleting “whatever” (Bg. 6.26)

Bg. 6.26:

Srila Prabhupada’s draft (so-called original manuscript):

Screenshot 2014-04-13 12.00.37

Original and authorized 1972 Macmillan edition:

“From whatever and wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.”

BBT International’s posthumously edited 1983 edition:

From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.

What did Srila Prabhupada think about the verse?

Visnujana: Verse twenty-six: “From whatever and wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self [Bg. 6.26].”

Prabhupada: This is the process. This is yoga system. Suppose you are trying to concentrate your mind on Krsna, and your mind is diverted, going somewhere, in some cinema house. So you should withdraw, “Not there, please, here.” This is practice of yoga. Not to allow the mind to go away from Krsna. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 6.25-29, Los Angeles, February 18, 1969)

The words translated as “whatever and wherever” is “yataḥ yataḥ”. In the 1972 Macmillan edition the word for word looked like this:

 yataḥ-whatever; yataḥ;-wherever

In BBT International’s 1983 edition this is changed to:

yataḥ yataḥ — wherever

Unfortunately these word for word synonyms are missing for 6.26 in the so-called original manuscript. But we do find something in Srimad-Bhagavatam:

yataḥ yataḥ — from whatever and wherever; (SB 7.15.32-33)

As a side note: This verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam in about the same subject as Bg. 6.26:

While continuously staring at the tip of the nose, a learned yogi practices the breathing exercises through the technical means known as puraka, kumbhaka and recaka — controlling inhalation and exhalation and then stopping them both. In this way the yogi restricts his mind from material attachments and gives up all mental desires. As soon as the mind, being defeated by lusty desires, drifts toward feelings of sense gratification, the yogi should immediately bring it back and arrest it within the core of his heart. (SB 7.15.32-33)

Again we left with the conclusion that Jayadvaita Swami and the BBT International are not bringing Srila Prabhupada’s books “closer to Prabhupada”. They are violating Srila Prabhupada’s, sastra’s and their own stated editing guidelines by making both needless and harmful changes in Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Prabhupada: Rascals are concerned with grammar. Actual workers are concerned with thoughts.

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sp-with-bg

Re-posted from krishna.org

The thoughts and the effects of such revolutionary literature are required. Not the grammatical. The so-called rascals, they are concerned with the grammatical. But those who are actually worker, they are concerned with the thoughts…

1972 Conversations, January, 1972, Room Conversation Including Discussion on SB. 1.5.11 — January 19, 1972, Jaipur, 720119RC.JAI

Prabhupada: These people or this revolution is meant for killing the sinful resultant actions of the people. This revolution. Janata agha, agha means resultant action of sinful life. Janata agha viplavah. Viplavah means revolution, this very word is used. Tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api[ SB 1.5.11]. Such revolutionary literature, even they are not properly composed. Yasmin prati-slokam abaddham. Not according to the grammatical rules and other rhetorical rules, but the, I mean to say, thoughts and the effects of such revolutionary literature is required. Not the grammatical. The so-called rascals, they are concerned with the grammatical. But those who are actually worker, they are concerned with the thoughts. What is the thought is there? Therefore, it is said that tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api, namany anantasya yaso “nkitani yat[ SB 1.5.11].

If there is simply the attempt is there how to glorify the Supreme Lord, that is a fact. It doesn”t matter whether it is written in correct language or incorrect language, it doesn”t matter. If the whole thought is targeted to glorify the Supreme Lord, then namany anantasya yaso “nkitani yat grnanti gayanti srnvanti sadhavah. Then those who are actually sadhu, even in spite of all these defects, because the only attempt is to glorify the Lord, then those who are sadhu, those who are devotee, they hear it. Srnvanti gayanti grnanti. Not only hear, they chant also the same thing. And not only chant, but grnanti, they apply in their actual life.

This is the Bhagavata sloka. Is it clear now? Yes. Tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo[ SB 1.5.11]. If the thought is revolutionary for transcendental realization, even it is not properly composed from grammatical and literary point of view, because the attempt is there for glorifying the Supreme Lord, all devotees, all great sages, saintly persons, sadhavah, grnanti, they accept. Yes. Grnanti srnvanti, hear with attention, and gayanti, and chant also. This is the principle. The only center is whether it is meant for awakening God consciousness. That is the central point, not the language(?). But it does not mean that it should not be correctly written. Correctly or incorrectly, if it is spoken by realized soul, that is important. Srnvanti gayanti. Somehow or other, if the attempt is to glorify the Supreme Lord; otherwise, if the attempt is to kill the Supreme Lord… Just like Dr. Radhakrishnan, what is the value of such erudition? A rascal. That is called (Sanskrit), jugglery of words. It has no value.

Anyone who is trying to present… Just like Aurabindo, he has no idea what is Krsna and writing so many nonsense things. Vivekananda, he has no idea. Dr. Radhakrishnan. Rabindranath Tagore, he has no idea what is God, but he is writing Gitanjali. That should be tested by life. Caitanya Mahaprabhu speaking apani acari prabhu jivere sikhaya, He behaves Himself perfectly and then teaches how to become a devotee. He is mad after Krsna, He is falling down in the sea. You see? So that is wanted. And the Bhagavata also says, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir [SB 1.2.6], how one has increased his devotion and love for Krsna, that is the test of it. Not these formalities. Another place Krsna says, api cet su-duracaro bhajate mam ananya-bhak. Even suduracarah, even not well behaved but unflinching faith in Krsna, sadhur eva sa mantavyah [Bg. 9.30], he is sadhu. Don”t consider about his misbehaviors. That is not consideration. That will be corrected. Because he has taken to Krsna consciousness, gradually those things, those defects will be corrected. ksipram bhavati dharmatma sasvac-chantim nigacchati, he will become very soon a great religious soul because he has taken to Krsna.

So in the beginning if there is some defect, we should not consider that. We have to see how much his love for Krsna has increased, that is the test. Not the formalities. That is the test, how much he has sacrificed for Krsna, how much he is prepared to sacrifice for Krsna. If one takes Krsna for making business, that is different thing, that is not devotion. Salagrama, my Guru Maharaja used to say salagram bir badam hoy (?). Just like you have seen salagrama. So if somebody takes that and breaks peanuts, so there is no devotion. It is a show during, attracting the visitors, it is nicely decorated, but in their absence, take it and you will have stone. So all this mostly the temple show is going on like that. They have made it a show of business. The devotees will come and pay something and I may have devotion or not devotion, it doesn”t matter. One should be baccha bankaram suci (?), inside and outside perfect.

tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo
yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
namany anantasya yaso “nkitani yat
srnvanti gayanti grnanti sadhavah
[ SB 1.5.11]

And then against this,

na yad vacas citra-padam harer yaso
(jagat-pavitram) pragrnita karhicit
tad vayasam tirtham usanti manasa
na yatra hamsa niramanty usik-ksayah
[ SB 1.5.10]

Na yad vacas citra-padam harer yasah. You can present a literature very perfect from literary point of view, from metaphor and poetical, rhetorical, very perfectly written, citra-padam, attractive by language. Na yad vacas citra-padam, such kind of literature, if there is no description of the glories of the Lord, na tad vacas citra-padam. Just like there are so many sex literatures, very attractive, it is selling like anything. But we are not interested in those rascal literatures. Tad vayasam tirtham, such literature is considered as the place of enjoyment of the crows. Vayasam means crow. The crow take enjoyment in the garbage, you have seen? They won”t go in a nice place. They will come all together. Just like vultures, they come together to take pleasure in a corpse, dead body. But a white swan, raja-hamsa, he goes to a place where there is nice water, lilies and lotus and nice trees.

You have seen that St. James Park? They will find out such nice place. They won”t go to imitate the crows. The crows-like people will take pleasure in such nonsense literature, sex literature, or any such literature. So many nonsense literatures nowadays they are having good sale. Because people are becoming crows-like, they have no high idea, they have no sense of Krsna consciousness, naturally they will take. Just like hippies, they have become all bad taste, crows-like.

So we have to become swans, raja-hamsa, paramahamsa, paramahamsa. Paramo nirmatsaranam. Then you can understand Krsna consciousness. If you remain crows, then you cannot, that is not possible. By nature”s example we have to see if crows-like and swans-like, pigeons-like, birds of the same feather. Birds of the same feather flock together, is it not? So you have to change your feather, then he will be pleased. If you keep your feather crows-like, then you cannot mix with the swans, that is not possible. This is the test. There are classes of men like crows, and there are classes of men like swans. So we are preparing our devotee… (aside) What is that?
Devotee (1): Is anybody watching?
Devotee (2): No.
Prabhupada: So Krsna consciousness means swan-like, they should be like swans. Their behavior should be like swans. They should live in clean place, at refreshing place. So as soon as somebody will come to the temple, he will be… (aside) You have some papers I shall show?
Syamasundara: I just wanted to check and see if there”s somebody here. It”s Nanda-kumara.
Prabhupada: So keep this principle in view, that you have to become swan, not crows. They say that everyone, every religion is all the same. This is all nonsense. (indistinct) In Bhagavad-gita there are different types of religion, sattvic, rajarsic, tamasic. And our this… If you take it as religion, this is transcendental. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo [SB 1.2.6]. Parah means transcendental, it is not ordinary, aparah.

In aparah dharma, the materialistic dharma, there are ritualistic ceremonies how to make one perfect for accepting transcendental religion. But this Krsna consciousness is directly putting oneself in the transcendental. That is the special (indistinct). Caitanya Mahaprabhu… (aside) Why don”t you close it?

Caitanya-caritamrta says, krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya. If you become Krsna conscious, then it is to be supposed that you have finished all other types of religion. My Guru Maharaja used to cite one example that one”s friend was sitting on the high court judge”s bench. So he was speaking to another, “Oh, that Panchu was playing with us naked. He is sitting on the high court judge”s bench. Oh, how he was playing with us naked, how he is seated in the high court bench?” “Yes, I have seen, you have seen actually he is sitting.” “Oh, then he must not be getting salary.” He must not be getting salary. So this is the argument. Familiarity breeds contempt. So he cannot believe that he has become a high court judge. He thinks that “I am a rascal fool and my friend, how he can become high court judge? He must not be getting salary.” But is that very good argument that the high court judge is seated there without any salary? This argument is false(?). That is enviousness. Nirmatsarata. That is the habit of the conditioned soul. So if… (end)

Everyone will welcome Srimad-Bhagavatam, even though presented with so many faults (SB 1.5.11)

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1972-original-srimad-bhagavatam-cover

tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo
yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api
nāmāny anantasya yaśo ‘ṅkitāni yat
śṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanti sādhavaḥ

SYNONYMS

tat—that; vāk—vocabulary; visargaḥ—creation; janatā—the people in general; agha—sins; viplavaḥ—revolutionary; yasmin—in which; prati-ślokam—each and every stanza; abaddhavati—irregularly composed; api—in spite of; nāmāni—transcendental names, etc.; anantasya—of the unlimited Lord; yaśaḥ—glories; aṅkitāni—depicted; yat—what; śṛṇvanti—do hear; gāyanti—do sing; gṛṇanti—do accept; sādhavaḥ—the purified men who are honest.

TRANSLATION

On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.

PURPORT

It is a qualification of the great thinkers to pick up the best even from the worst. It is said that the intelligent man should pick up nectar from a stock of poison, should accept gold even from a filthy place, should accept a good and qualified wife even from an obscure family and should accept a good lesson even from a man or from a teacher who comes from the untouchables. These are some of the ethical instructions for everyone in every place without exception. But a saint is far above the level of an ordinary man. He is always absorbed in glorifying the Supreme Lord because by broadcasting the holy name and fame of the Supreme Lord, the polluted atmosphere of the world will change, and as a result of propagating the transcendental literatures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, people will become sane in their transactions. While preparing this commentation on this particular stanza of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we have a crisis before us. Our neighboring friend China has attacked the border of India with a militaristic spirit. We have practically no business in the political field, yet we see that previously there were both China and India, and they both lived peacefully for centuries without ill feeling. The reason is that they lived those days in an atmosphere of God consciousness, and every country, over the surface of the world, was God-fearing, pure-hearted and simple, and there was no question of political diplomacy. There is no cause of quarrel between the two countries China and India over land which is not very suitable for habitation, and certainly there is no cause for fighting on this issue. But due to the age of quarrel, Kali, which we have discussed, there is always a chance of quarrel on slight provocation. This is due not to the issue in question, but to the polluted atmosphere of this age: systematically there is propaganda by a section of people to stop glorification of the name and fame of the Supreme Lord. Therefore, there is a great need for disseminating the message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam all over the world. It is the duty of every responsible Indian to broadcast the transcendental message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam throughout the world to do all the supermost good as well as to bring about the desired peace in the world. Because India has failed in her duty by neglecting this responsible work, there is so much quarrel and trouble all over the world. We are confident that if the transcendental message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is received only by the leading men of the world, certainly there will be a change of heart, and naturally the people in general will follow them. The mass of people in general are tools in the hands of the modern politicians and leaders of the people. If there is a change of heart of the leaders only, certainly there will be a radical change in the atmosphere of the world. We know that our honest attempt to present this great literature conveying transcendental messages for reviving the God consciousness of the people in general and respiritualizing the world atmosphere is fraught with many difficulties. Our presenting this matter in adequate language, especially a foreign language, will certainly fail, and there will be so many literary discrepancies despite our honest attempt to present it in the proper way. But we are sure that with all our faults in this connection the seriousness of the subject matter will be taken into consideration, and the leaders of society will still accept this due to its being an honest attempt to glorify the Almighty God. When there is fire in a house, the inmates of the house go out to get help from the neighbors who may be foreigners, and yet without knowing the language the victims of the fire express themselves, and the neighbors understand the need, even though not expressed in the same language. The same spirit of cooperation is needed to broadcast this transcendental message of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam throughout the polluted atmosphere of the world. After all, it is a technical science of spiritual values, and thus we are concerned with the techniques and not with the language. If the techniques of this great literature are understood by the people of the world, there will be success.

When there are too many materialistic activities by the people in general all over the world, there is no wonder that a person or a nation attacks another person or nation on slight provocation. That is the rule of this age of Kali or quarrel. The atmosphere is already polluted with corruption of all description, and everyone knows it well. There are so many unwanted literatures full of materialistic ideas of sense gratification. In many countries there are bodies appointed by the state to detect and censor obscene literature. This means that neither the government nor the responsible leaders of the public want such literature, yet it is in the marketplace because the people want it for sense gratification. The people in general want to read (that is a natural instinct), but because their minds are polluted they want such literatures. Under the circumstances, transcendental literature like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam will not only diminish the activities of the corrupt mind of the people in general, but also it will supply food for their hankering after reading some interesting literature. In the beginning they may not like it because one suffering from jaundice is reluctant to take sugar candy, but we should know that sugar candy is the only remedy for jaundice. Similarly, let there be systematic propaganda for popularizing reading of the Bhagavad-gītā and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which will act like sugar candy for the jaundicelike condition of sense gratification. When men have a taste for this literature, the other literatures, which are catering poison to society, will then automatically cease.

We are sure, therefore, that everyone in human society will welcome Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, even though it is now presented with so many faults, for it is recommended by Śrī Nārada, who has very kindly appeared in this chapter. (Source: http://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/1/5/11)

Istagosthi about book changes, January 2003 in Honolulu, Hawaii (Part1)

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Govinda dasi in Honolulu on Jan 26, 2003 (Originally posted on adi-vani.org)

hawaii-govinda-dasiPrabhupada in Hawaii with Govinda Dasi and other devotees

Govinda dasi:  When we had the meetings here [Honolulu Temple], one of the things that Jayadvaita Maharaja said was that they [the BBT trustees] did not ever prevent devotees from printing the books. But we had a letter from Dhanistha dasi, she’s an old book distributor. I don’t know her personally, but she wrote a letter saying that she had approached, she called Jayadvaita in 1996 or 95, to print the books, 5,000, she had the money to do it, and she approached in as simple and stupid a way as possible, just like “Please, just for sentiment,” and so forth, and she was refused.

There’s some reason going on, that they don’t want Srila Prabhupada’s books. You have these books available, but the BBT newsletter in the temple lobby states clearly that the temples cannot buy from Krishna Books Inc.

Devotee: They can buy them from the BBT, but at higher prices than the changed books. But just for the record, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Govinda dasi: OK, I’ll just go over the notes from the meetings. As you know, we had a series of meetings with Jayadvaita Maharaja: two meetings, actually. And one of the things that we had to make very clear is that this is not a personal issue—that we don’t like Jayadvaita’s writing, or we don’t like his editing work. That really isn’t the issue at all. It’s nothow the books were edited; it’s the fact that they were edited.

The issue is not—and of course, he took it a bit personally but I think he did understand eventually that that wasn’t our point—that we think he’s a great writer, and he should write and edit many books—but not Srila Prabhupada’s books. They should be left as they are. So that’s the main issue, actually, the main issue.

He feels that the 1972 edition is not in keeping with manuscript, which he only has access to, and is not available to anyone else that he knows about. And that’s just not the issue. The issue is that when you write something, even if you have an original manuscript—I’m a writer, and I may have three [versions] in the trash before I print something—but whatever I sign my name to and I print, that is the final edition. That’s what I approve for the world to see. And that’s really the issue here.

Srila Prabhupada approved of his Gita. He not only approved of it; he spent ten years lecturing from it. Every verse of the Bhagavad-gita, except for a few verses in the First Chapter, Srila Prabhupada spoke on over a period of ten years. He had ample opportunity to say, “Change this, change this, change this.” But he only requested a couple of changes. There was ‘cattle raising’ he wanted changed to ‘cow protection,’ and I believe there was one other, dhyana-yoga or something like that. Those were very small changes.

Bhaktisiddhartha Prabhu: He wrote that book twice, because the original Bhagavad-gitamanuscript was stolen during his household life. It must have said exactly what he wanted it to say, because he wrote it twice.

Govinda dasi: It was mysteriously, that was before, in the early times. Personally, being a writer and an artist, it has always amazed me that somebody could start over from scratch. I think about that sometimes, when I start getting discouraged with some work. Srila Prabhupada started over from scratch: no Xerox copy, no computer. That’s dedication. So anyway, he knew what he was doing.

And somehow or other, anyway the issue is that you can’t change books post-disappearance or posthumously. And as we discussed, Keli, Satyahit’s wife, did a lot of research on the word ‘bowdlerizing.’ Bowdler was a fellow that lived in the 16th century or 18th century—it was after Shakespeare—and he was the fellow that changed all the books. The original meaning was expurgated, meaning that he went over Shakespeare’s books, and he changed any passages for English schoolgirls, if they had any risqué parts, he took them out. So when a book is changed posthumously, among the scholarly community it’s called bowdlerizing. It’s sort of like bastardizing, it has that connotation. I have information from a Ph.D., Hari-kanta, she sent me an email stating that it has a bad connotation.

And also Dr. John Trimble, the professor of English that I took a course from in 1998. I was unaware in 1998 that the books had been bowdlerized, because I had my own set. I’m like so may other Srila Prabhupada disciples sitting at home with their own sets of books. But unknown to me, my spiritual master’s books had all been completely changed. So when I was in Texas, I went out and got myself a Gita at the local temple. And I opened it up, and I said, “What the hell happened to this book!?” [laughter] Excuse me; I was in Texas. It didn’t even sound anything like Srila Prabhupada’s Gita. So I went to Professor Trimble, and he explained that it had been bowdlerized. And so, Dr. Trimble was the first person to tell me this word; I’d never heard of it before.

So Keli contacted him, and Dr. Trimble wrote a letter back, which is a very interesting letter. Bear in mind that Dr. Trimble wrote Writing With Style. There’s not a writer on earth that doesn’t have this book. There are two [main reference books for writers]—Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, and Writing With Style.

Devotee: Without getting into that debate, because then we could be here for quite some time… I don’t want to get into that debate, because by going into that debate, I am violating Srila Prabhupada’s order not to change one word. Srila Prabhupada didn’t care… In other words, to say that we haven’t changed the philosophy… well, we were told that about so many things. To say that “We haven’t changed the philosophy, so that’s alright,” is really a slap in the face to Srila Prabhupada, who specifically said, “Don’t change it.” So what part about, ‘Don’t change it,’ or the word ‘no,’ don’t they understand? In other words, you can come up with all kinds of rationalizations—‘it’s closer to the manuscript,’ ‘we didn’t change the meaning’—you can go on and on. But we have our spiritual master pounding his desk, saying, “Don’t change one word; this is your American disease.” And even now, there’s a discussion that we should start taking out some of the passages that are not politically correct.

So in other words, you may come up with so many disingenuous arguments—‘Well, it doesn’t change the meaning,’ or ‘It’s closer to the original manuscript’—and this is only 25 years after Srila Prabhupada is gone that this has come to pass, that all the books have been changed. What’s going to happen in another 25 years, another 25 years, another 25 years? We will be just like the Christian Bible! Whatever an institution decides is politically correct or economically viable will then become the standard. So we’re going, “No! No changes. That’s what Srila Prabhupada said, that’s what the scholarly community says, and that’s what thesastra says.” So we don’t even want to go into the manuscript (which of course, nobody is allowed to see), and we don’t need to go into whether they changed the meaning or not. I just come back to, “What part about ‘no’ don’t you understand?”

Satyahit Prabhu: Jayadvaita Swami said that the intention for the future is to write new booksadapted from Srila Prabhupada’s teaching. In other words, their plan is not to go on distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books but to adapt the philosophy and write new ones.

Devotee: In other words, “We don’t like this, we’ll take out this, we’ll change this, we’ll do that.” So, people can do as they like, just don’t put Srila Prabhupada’s name on it. Srila Prabhupada didn’t write it, Srila Prabhupada didn’t authorize it, Srila Prabhupada didn’t approve it; don’t put his name on it. Put your name on it, and go get your own scholarly reviews, and go get your own devotees to distribute them. As for us, what Srila Prabhupada did is good enough for me, it’s good enough for all the other acaryas, it’s good enough for all the Vaisnava sampradayas on the planet—I’m personally going to stick with that. And if somebody wants to do something different, be my guest. I just don’t want to be there when the Yamadutas show up.

Govinda dasi: Bowdlerizing is what happened to the Bible, and Bowdler was responsible for a great deal of what happened to the Bible. I’m not an authority on this, but Keli, Satyahit’s wife, has done a great deal of research on this, and the changes to the Bible—there were many of them made—basically, it’s been bowdlerized.

Now, this is from a PhD named Dr. Holly Ogren, regarding the definition and usage of the word ‘bowdlerizing:’ “Generally, the word has a negative connotation for the person doing the bowdlerizing. If you can access the Oxford Dictionary, you can find more information to support this position.”

Now hear what Dr. Trimble has to say. Keli wrote Dr. Trimble:

Dear Professor Trimble,

You don’t know me, but I’m a friend of a former student of yours, Bonnie McElroy [Govinda dasi]. She and I are both members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The principal editor of our spiritual master’s books is here in Hawaii promoting his editorial changes, which many of our members are very unhappy with. Bonnie remembers a conversation she had with you a few years ago about bowdlerizing, and after reading Dr. Bowdler’s Legacy: a History of Expurgated Books in England and America by Noel Perrin, I realized that this is what the editors of our spiritual master’s books have been doing. Their rationalization and plea is to correct the grammar and English—supposedly to make it more acceptable to the scholarly community. They have gone farther by changing the meaning through subtle word jugglery. The reason I have written is to ask you, ‘What is the scholarly response to posthumous editing, especially of religious texts?’ Our community is meeting with the editor tomorrow; could you please write me. It would be good to know your response for further discussion.

Dr. Trimble’s reply:

Dear Carol,

Regularizing the spelling and grammar is one thing; “improving” the meaning is another, especially when such changes aren’t expressly acknowledged. I think the editor should be challenged. At the very least, he should have to justify every “improvement” that isn’t strictly grammatical. The burden of proof is on him, not on you.

Hope this helps,
John Trimble

Now this is from a scholar, the best writer; he wrote the legal encyclopedia. So this guy knows his stuff. So this argument, that ‘We’ve made it more acceptable to the scholarly community,’ just doesn’t fly.

Devotee: I was at a meeting at the LA temple with a number of senior devotees—and one devotee was putting forth the idea, “Well what about the scholars?” Another devotee  said, “So what if there are a couple of scholars that think this or that; the whole Vaisnava community is in an uproar about it; I think maybe we should worry about that first.”

The second thing I always like to point out is that 99.99% of all our glorious scholarly reviews are done from the original authorized and approved version, and I don’t that we have more than a handful that are done from the new version. In other words, all of our scholarly reviews—of which there are hundreds—are done from authorized and approved versions, and not from the new ‘better for scholars’ version.

Govinda dasi: So really, the issue is not how he changed the books; it’s the fact that they are changed. Also, that the concept of bowdlerizing is a Western concept; it’s a scholarly concept. But there’s another concept that has a Sanskrit name: it’s arsha prayoga. It means ‘respect for the spiritual master’s words.’ That you respect them—if he says that the sky is pink and white polka-dotted, then it’s pink and white polka-dotted—that’s how it is with the disciple. There are so many stories like that in the Vedas, where the guru tests the disciple in this way. So basically, we have to have respect for Srila Prabhupada’s words. He saw, later on, he saw the American disease. I’ve got so many things that are written about the American disease of changing things. [See for example, letter 74-11-24 to Bhakta das]

Satyahit Prabhu: That reminds me of something Jayadvaita Maharaha said, that Srila Prabhupada authorized him to go ahead and make any changes he wanted…

Govinda dasi: Jayadvaita Maharaja seems to believe that he has a carte blanche, open-ended permission that ‘you can change all my books’ from Srila Prabhupada. I do not know where he has gotten this, because it is not written anywhere, and it contradicts…

Devotee: There is one letter, authorizing him to do some editorial work while Srila Prabhupada was here on the planet. It wasn’t a carte blanche for ever and ever, and as far as I know it was in regard to a certain title only for certain editorial work

Devotee: Because Srila Prabhupada authorized and approved it and as she just said, it’s calledarsha prayoga: that the respect for what the spiritual master authorized and approved is such that he tells the disciple, “That’s a snake,” and the disciple sees a rope, he goes, “That’s a snake.” And if he goes later, “That’s a rope,” then the disciple goes, “Oh, it’s a rope.” So we print them as they are, and later on we intend to print little addendums showing some minor corrections. And if they had done this, nobody would object. Just like you were saying, Srila Prabhupada wanted ‘cow protection’ not ‘cattle raising.’ So the solution is to start printing Srila Prabhupada’s authorized and approved books, and if you have a problem with something, put it down somewhere else, or put it in a footnote, put it in an addendum. Print the manuscript that it originally came from, if you want to be so close to the original manuscript, and say, “This is the original manuscript, but this is what Srila Prabhupada authorized and approved. And as Govinda dasi was explaining to me, it wasn’t just that Hayagriva was an English professor and one of Srila Prabhupada’s original disciples, but Srila Prabhupada spent two years with him going over the manuscript.

Govinda dasi: Before Jayadvaita joined the movement in May of 1968, Hayagriva had already been working with Srila Prabhupada on the Bhagavad-gita for two years already. I lived with Srila Prabhupada and Hayagriva in Los Angeles. They worked for hours every day. This is before Jayadvaita joined the movement. And so why—the Gita is a song: the Song of God. It’s poetic, beautiful, in Sanskrit it’s actually poetry. Why would Krsna out of the blue send an English professor, a PhD in English, who happens to be a poet, who happens to have the writing style of a Merton and Thoreau, and all of the early transcendental poets? That was an accident, right? He just happened to send in 1966. Havagriva is not the issue. We’re not saying that Haygriva is a pure devotee. That’s not the issue; the issue is that Krsna was sending Srila Prabhupada whatever he needed to do his work. And He sent him a very qualified man to do this editing.

I take one example: “The Blessed Lord said.” It’s been changed to “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said.” This is not something that we want to quarrel about. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Blessed Lord… but how do we know that Srila Prabhupada and his editor didn’t sit down and discuss this point, and decide on “the Blessed Lord said?” We don’t know that because we weren’t there, and actually, Jayadvaita wasn’t there. It was something that was going on already. Jayadvaita joined in Boston on 1968, like May or a couple of months before. We were in Boston at that time. Gourasundara and Srila Prabhupada and I were staying in Boston for a month in May of 1968, about the time he joined and was working for the press.

One day Srila Prabhupada called me in to his room in Boston. He had a Back to Godhead in his hand. He was livid. He said, “Look at this! Look what they have done!” He showed me. I was like, “OK, what did they do?” The Back to Godhead had—and I’ve still got this Back to Godhead—it had a picture of Srila Prabhupada, black and white, and a big statement: “This man has changed the world.” He was very upset. He said, “This, this is the beginning of falldown. To consider, to refer to the spiritual master as a man shows that the consciousness of the disciple does not see the spiritual master correctly. Call them!” So Rayarama was brought on the carpet.

My point here is that this was the mood at the press at the time Jayadvaita Maharaja joined. He was a new devotee. Satsvarupa was the president, Rayarama was the editor of Back to Godhead; Srila Prabhupada later removed him, and I don’t know the exact history on that, but he did not agree with Rayarama’s point of view on the spiritual master or on how Back to Godhead should look. There was an issue with skull on the cover. Srila Prabhupada was like, “A skull on the cover? Pictures of Krsna should be through Back to Godhead! Not skulls!”

So Srila Prabhupada was very on-target about what he wanted. He could see how the consciousness was moving in any disciple. I can remember so many instances. I was really angry about something one day, and he said to Gourasundara, “Govinda dasi is fighting a war.” He could read your mind, from 3,000 miles away, from Krsna-loka away. How about right now? As if we don’t believe he’s sitting right here listening to this discussion. We do. He’s right here, and he’s very happy that we’re defending his books.

My concern is this: I just got a Back to Godhead magazine, and it showed a big party in Poland with over 100,000 people: a big festival. 93,000 plates of prasadam distributed. And it had a picture of the book table, and on the book table was not Srila Prabhupada’s Gitas; on the book table was the changed version. And what we have to realize, as Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, is that Srila Prabhupada’s books have almost been lost. Twenty years they’ve been practically out of print. They’ve almost been lost. How serious is this? This is very serious. Probably the most important thing we can do with our lives is to reinstate his books. I believe that historians are going to look at this era, because you know history and historians have a way of bringing things out. All religions have a very rocky beginning, I have been told by scholars. I’m not a scholar myself. But when they look at this era, there’s no way that the political turmoil and all of the strange things that have happened since Srila Prabhupada left can be hidden; there’s just no way. They’re going to look at this era as being the Dark Ages, or like the Vatican Inquisitions, or an era where they fed the Christians to the lions, or—what did they do to Saint Thomas, crucify him upside down? They’re going to look at this era with great suspicion. My concern is, will they know by that time which one is the original Bhagavad-gita? Will they actually know? If this million-dollar lawsuit had not been won, and these books not put back into print, the world would not have Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita fifty years from now. That is basically the truth, and that’s a very serious thing.

Govinda dasi: One time, I was illustrating—and this is how closely Srila Prabhupada worked with his writers and artists. I was illustrating those early paintings in the Prahlad books. It was very simple, this was in the early days when we were first devotees. I had only been a devotee for a couple of months, so I really didn’t know very much—not that I know very much now, but I mean I really didn’t know. We didn’t even have a Gita in those days, guys. There weren’t any books, only the three volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam that Srila Prabhupada had brought from India. And we read those; but there’s a picture where Prahlad is boiled in oil. And so there are all these demons that go and stick him, and Srila Prabhupada described all those demons. So I would draw each picture and then go and show it to him. Just like he would talk with Hayagriva about each change in his manuscript. So in the course of this particular drawing, he told me how each of these demons looked. And I had never seen a demon, so I didn’t know. So I looked at some comic books, and got some ideas, they had some tails and some horns, and I kind of made some demons up s best I could. And I took it in and showed it to him, and he said, “Yes, that’s very good. There are such demons in jungles in Africa and South America, like that.” And I said, “What?” I was, after all, college educated, I was in my fourth year of college when I joined Srila Prabhupada, left abruptly—never have regretted that decision. So I thought I knew everything that existed in the world, because that’s what they told me in college, you know, biology, anthropology and all that. So I said, “I didn’t know that!” In other words, he had said that there were such demons in the world, and I didn’t know that. He looked at me and said, “There are many things you do not know.”

And I think we underestimate; the problem with the movement, with our whole ISKCON, is not really realizing who Srila Prabhupada is, and underestimating who he is. This is the bottom line; this is why these books have been edited. This is why all these things have happened in the way that they’ve happened. And I think in the future, Srila Prabhupada will be recognized more for who he is. Already we have since 1996, when Srila Prabhupada re-entered the society in the form of the Centennial, I think that people appreciate him more. Those of you who lived through the 1978-86 eleven guru days know what I’m talking about. And that’s a separate subject; I don’t want to get into it, I want to stick to the books. But I have a couple of notes here.

One of the things is that Srila Prabhupada accepted his books in 1972 as transcendental. As I said, he lectured on every verse in the Gita. And he constantly pushed book distribution and said his books were transcendental. So Srila Prabhupada said that his books were transcendental then, and yet now these same books aren’t good enough, they’re not transcendental?

Govinda dasi: And another point is, he never actually gave authority to change his books after his departure. He specifically said, “Any changes should be seen by me.” He says many things [about the book changes], and you should read them, and they will be available on the new web site, www.adi-vani.org. And people will be able to write letters in to email@adi-vani.org. The purpose of this website is to have all the many disciples—and there are batches in Europe, batches in India and all over the world—and they’re not unified. The idea is that they will all write letters. And even if the BBT doesn’t change right now, we want to leave a broad enough band of history, a broad enough volume of work that when historians pore over this in 50 years, and we’re all dead and gone and forgotten—and all of us will be, including the biggest leaders—they will be able to see which books were Srila Prabhupada’s books, and they will be able to see what Srila Prabhupada’s original disciples had to say about the changes. This is what we’re trying to do. It’s not a political ‘right now’ thing; it’s a future thing. Other people have other ideas; this is my idea. But basically, we have to leave enough history that Srila Prabhupada’s books don’t get lost.

Because right now, even though they’re printing—they just printed 10,000 Gitas, right?—for the last 20 years, how many millions of the other Gita have been distributed? All over Poland, all over Russia, all over the whole world. So, what will the historians think? That was the originalGita. Of course, there may be three or four more versions or editions by then. So that’ll be just like the Bible. It could easily turn into the Bible, and we don’t want this to happen. So our mood here is we’re just a handful, but there are many, many Srila Prabhupada disciples, sitting in their homes with the Bhagavad-gitas, who are disgruntled and don’t have a forum to speak what they have to say. We want to give them a forum. This is our goal.

Govinda dasi: Srila Prabhupada liked the original books and paintings. For the record, there’s a lot of information that’s available to people, where Srila Prabhupada describes that, “The early paintings are full of bhakti; why did you remove them from the books?” He liked the mood. This was, and for those of you who came later, I want you to know that Srila Prabhupada oversaw every step of the production in many, many ways.

Devotee: The early paintings have a look of pastel, and the colors of Krsna’s form are so, so attractive.

Govinda dasi: They’re full of bhakti. When the spiritual master is present, he has the Midas touch. He touches anything and it’s surcharged with bhakti. He touched us, and we were infused with bhakti. Look at the stuff we did; we were 20-year-old kids, green behind the ears. It was because his energy was working through us; he was using us, we were willing warm bodies, and he guided us from within, he guided us from without, he watched over us, and he was over our shoulder. For example, that original purple Gita, I was staying with Srila Prabhupada in LA, and I drew the cover picture for it. He would come shuffling into my room and look over my shoulder while I was drawing the picture. Macmillan cut the book down; he didn’t like that. He wanted it to be with all the purports, so the next one was. So he wasn’t happy with the fact that they wanted not so much repetition.

And then so far as the Teachings of Lord Caitanya, you mentioned that earlier, because that’s going to be on the press next. That book, we did the drawings while we were living with Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada described how the drawings should look. We were very poor in those days, so we didn’t do full color; we did black-and-white drawings.

I had never been to India, and I had never been to Jagannath Puri temple. And there’s a drawing in there of Jagannath up on an altar, for those of you who have seen it. Maybe a lot of you haven’t even seen it. But Srila Prabhupada described in detail how Jagannath was up on this altar, how the room was dark—it’s dark in those big old Orissan temples—and how the pujari is sitting there and receiving the flowers. He would tell us each step of the way for these drawings. And the same way with the early paintings of Jadurani. Jadurani painted those paintings in the next room, Srila Prabhupada was living in the New York apartment, he was living in the bedroom—he did everything in this one room—and in his living room, me and Gaurasaundara and Jadurani sat and did drawings all day. He would walk in, and he would even pose for us. Sometimes he posed, he showed us how a dhoti was wrapped one day. He wrapped adhoti—an elaborate dhoti, the kind Krsna wears—and stood in a threefold posture. His favorite pose was Lord Nrsimhadeva. He would come in and roar, and you would see the whites of his eyes. [devotees: “Haribol!”] And we were just new kids—but he was actually really into Nrsimha-lila big time—but he showed us each step of the way. We can’t think that ‘We did this,’ anymore than we can think ‘Hayagriva edited this, Hayagriva did this.’

Srila Prabhupada was working through us all, and the people who came to think that ‘I am the doer’ and ‘I am doing this’—and I know a few, and they’re not around anymore. One of them was my ex-husband. Srila Prabhupada said, “He suffered from too much intelligence.” He left because he was brilliant. He thought that he knew more than his guru. Srila Prabhupada said, “He’s suffering from too much intelligence; he thinks he knows more than his guru.” He was brilliant, there’s no question; he wrote books at 21 years old. But that doesn’t cut it. Srila Prabhupada came from Krsna-loka to write some books, print some books; and the fact that they have been altered is the worst thing that could happen. Everything else will be lost in the wash, but his books… He used to say that “Even if we lose all the temples, you have my books.” But we don’t have his books. My point is, his books have been—until the past year—completely lost, except in my bookcase, and so forth. So this is a very significant thing, that he oversaw the production with the artists and the writers, and he infused the work with his own bhakti. That’s why those early writings and those early paintings are so… shining. I look at this painting, and I don’t know how I did it. I look at that one, and I don’t know…[note: Srila Prabhupada’s room in New Navadvipa is decorated with several paintings done by Govinda dasi and other artists directly under Srila Prabhupada’s supervision.] I don’t have the same mood now; I think none of us really do, as we did while Srila Prabhupada was present.

So he saw the American disease of changing things, and he talks about it in a number of different places, that “The American disease is that they will try to improve and they will change.” One time, one devotee came here, and Srila Prabhupada gave him like an hour’s instruction—I was in the room—how he should do deities. He wanted Gour-Nitai deities. And then at the end of it, he said, “My wife wants to make silk. Can we kill the silkworms?” You know, you’ve got to douse them at the end. And after he left, Srila Prabhupada was shaking his head. He said, “These American boys. Next they will be asking me if they can kill cows to make mrdangas!” Because he was disgusted with this American disease of always wanting to change things and ‘improve’ things. And he reached the point where, toward the end—and you can see around the 1976 letters in all this material that we have—he basically said, “No changes.” Because if he gave them an inch, they would take a mile. Which is why, even though there may be some so-called ‘imperfections’ that you may claim that scholars may see, it’s better not to make any changes because the temptation of a barber is to cut too much hair, and the temptation of an editor is to clip too much or to change too much.

Devotee: Just like the Caitanya-caritamrta, there’s a letter from Mathila-dhish about, obviously anyone that was there for the Caitanya-caritamrta marathon knows that the artists, one would fall asleep, another would come and try to finish it. It was a two-month marathon to produce fifteen books. So then after there was more time and energy, and money and facility, they told Srila Prabhupada, “Well we can touch them up and fix them.” Srila Prabhupada said, “No changes.” Then they tried to tell him, da-da-da-da, and Srila Prabhupada said “No changes.” And then they tried again, saying “We just want to finish it, Srila Prabhupada,” and the third time, very furious, “No changes.”

Govinda dasi: One of the points that I really want to make here is that Srila Prabhupada did oversee his work. He really did; it wasn’t like it was just going on. Even the Caitanya-caritamrta, he was on top of it every moment of the day. Srila Prabhupada got up at two in the morning, and started his translation work. His book work was the most important thing he was here to do. And he kept saying that. So he did watch over it. And things were close, like a family in 1966. They were very close in ’67, ’66, there were only a handful [of devotees], and we would sit around in Srila Prabhupada’s quarters in the evening. We were like small family in New York, and we would talk. And so he would have very close direct contact with all of us. And that contact he had with Hayagriva, he was working on the manuscripts, it wasn’t like later when you had to make an appointment to see Srila Prabhupada; you walked into his room, and in and out all day long! And he sat with you and talked with you and worked with you. This was what the Bhagavad-gita was born amongst, this was how it was edited. So Srila Prabhupada worked closely to get the books like he wanted them, and even if there were a few so-called ‘errors,’ they were still acceptable to him.

And as I said, the underlying danger here is the one, the core danger here is seeing Srila Prabhupada as an ordinary man. This is the greatest danger, and I mentioned that ad [in an early Back to Godhead magazine], and after he left in 1977, a decade of forgetfulness ensued. And in this era, many mistakes were made and many wrongs were done, and there was a confusion surrounding his whole disappearance and everything really kind of fell apart. And those of you who lived through this know that it is true. 90% of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples either left or were forced to leave. In 1996 Srila Prabhupada began to enter back into the center of ISKCON, with the Centennial, and simultaneously with the winning of the court case, his original books started coming out again, so that his work will be preserved.

So my concern is that in 50 years, what will history see? If we allow the gate to be opened for the changes, they will go on. There are already indications that they’re thinking of making other changes.

Bhaktisiddhartha Prabhu: There’s a forum on COM that discusses proposed changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books. The major theme that they’re discussing is ‘the removal of sexist and racist language.’ They’re talking about removing whole sections of Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Tejo-prakash Prabhu: Jayadvaita told us when he was here that nothing has been changed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Govinda dasi: That’s not true.

Devotee: Not true.

Bhaktisiddhartha Prabhu: There are thousands of changes.

Tejo-prakash Prabhu: So where’s their credibility?

In The Early Days (Govinda Dasi)

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Govinda Dasi

A number of devotees attended the recent (January 2003) series of meetings in Hawaii on the book changes. Jayadvaita Maharaja attended the first two meetings, and Nischintya Prabhu attended the third one (Jayadvaita Maharaja was out of town). I attended all three meetings and believe that much was accomplished. Many valuable points were gleaned from these sessions – both inspiring as well as grueling. These meetings are being transcribed, and are available on adi-vani.org for those who are interested.

We held the meetings in Srila Prabhupada’s room at New Navadvipa Dham, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Memorial Tirtha (the Honolulu ISKCON temple), where Srila Prabhupada lived, worked and translated his books. His presence is very strong at our Hawaii temple. We all prayed for Srila Prabhupada’s divine presence at these meetings, and humbly requested that he inspire us to reach understandings based on his transcendental viewpoints, rather than our own limited ones. In my heart, I feel that Srila Prabhupada has urged me to speak out on this issue. I usually do not get involved in controversial matters unless the issue is of great importance. And the issue of Srila Prabhupada’s books, in my opinion, is of paramount importance. I have had many realizations and wish to share them here.

It is unreasonable to consider that Srila Prabhupada would intend to give up the results of two years of editing the book with Hayagriva and go backwards to the original manuscripts.

First, it seems that Jayadvaita Maharaja takes this matter too personally.

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A little learning is dangerous

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According to Satsvarupa Goswami in his Prabhupada Lilamrita Srila Prabhupada said arsha-prayoga establishing a no change policy:

But one day while sitting in the garden with Tamala Krsna, Svarupa Damodara, and others, Srila Prabhupada became very disturbed when he detected a mistake in one of his already printed books. Tamala Krsna was reading aloud a verse from the First Canto which began, “Munayah sadhu prsto ‘ham.” Srila Prabhupada had him read the synonyms.

Tamala Krsna read: “munayah-O sages; sadhu-this is relevant; prstah-questioned… ”

“Sadhu?” asked Srila Prabhupada. Thus he uncovered a thoughtless mistake made by the Sanskrit editors. Sadhu means “devotee,” not “this is relevant.” Srila Prabhupada became very angry and denounced the “rascal Sanskrit scholars.” “A little learning,” he said “is dangerous. Immediately they think they have become big scholar, thinking, “I shall arrange!’ And then they write all nonsense.” He continued speaking about the mistake for half an hour. He was disturbed. He ordered Tamala Krsna to write at once to the BBT and stop these speculations by his disciples-changing his books in the name of editing The devotees were startled to see Prabhupada so angry; he was supposed to be peacefully relishing a Srimad-Bhagavatam reading here in his garden. Such a change was very serious, he said, because it changed the meaning. “Even if the authorized acaryas would make a mistake,” he said, “it would not be changed. This is arsa-prayoga. In this way the acaryas are honored.” (Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita, chapter 52 “I Have Done My Part”)

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?