Jayadvaita Swami’s “Then it is alright” argument defeated

On BBT International’s website we find this video:

Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlqbnzzL_28

In the video Jayadvaita Swami says:

”I went back and re-edited especially the translations in the first canto. Especially the first perhaps three chapters where I thought their were a lot of short comings. And I typed up all the translations – after I finished all the work, I typed up all the translations in one manuscript and put them in an envelope, and Prabhupada was coming to New York where I was at the time. Prabhupada came, and I put all the translations in an envelope, and I wrote a cover letter explaning what I have done, and asking him whether it was okay. And then I brought it up to Prabhupada’s quarters at 55th Street in New York–the New York temple—with the idea that I would leave them with his secretary and come back later. But Prabhupada was right there, and so he…I offered obeisances, and he had me, you know: ”What do you do in here?” ”What have you come for?” Not in those words, but, you know, he inquired was I was doing. And I explained that I had come to deliver this. So Prabhupada had me start reading right in his presence. And I began, I read the first verse, the second verse, the third verse. I went through a few verses, and Prabhupada stopped me. Prabhupada was listening very carefully, he stopped me. ”So what you have done?” And I said: ”Well, Srila Prabhupada, I have edited to try to bring it closer to what you originally said.” Prabhupada said: ”What I have said?” I said: ”Yes, Srila Prabhupada!” Then Prabhupada: ”Then it is alright!”, and that was it. ”Then it is alright!” ”What I have said?”, ”Then it is alright!”

 A few points about this story:

1. Jayadvaita Swami’s story is merely anecdotal evidence which is considered a rather unreliable and dubious support of a  claim. No one is really able to investigate the truth value of his story. To use anecdotal evidence as the foundation for changing the books that are supposed to guide mankind the next ten thousands years will surely create doubt about the authority of the changed books.

As Srila Prabhupada said about such stories:

“Just like in our ISKCON there are so many false things: “Prabhupada said this, Prabhupada said that.””
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 7/11/1972)

“They misunderstand me. Unless it is there from me in writing, there are so many things that “Prabhupada said.”” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, 2/9/1975)

And as Jayadvaita Swami says:

“If Srila Prabhupada didn’t clearly and definitely say it, and if it first came up after 1977 whatever it is, don’t trust it. Rule of Thumb.” (Diksa-Diksa, Where the Rtvik People are Wrong,  p. 85, Jayadvaita Swami)

Jayadvaita Swami started circulating his story after the book changing controversy started, and there is no evidence to support that it is true. Therefore, “…don’t trust it. Rule of Thumb.”

Skærmbillede 2013-12-06 kl. 20.59.15

2. Jayadvaita Swami seems to conclude that since Prabhupada approved the verses that he brought him, then he also approved that he could change all his books using the same method – even after his disappearance. But this is an unwarranted extrapolation, because Jayadvaita Swami extrapolate far beyond the range of available data, namely from one single instance of editing to more or less all future instances of editing. But from his story no justification for such an extrapolation can be found. The only conclusion to be deduced (if the anecdote is at all true) is that what Jayadvaita Swami did to the very specific verses he brought Prabhupada was okay.  No more, no less.

3. If Jayadvaita Swami’s anecdote is true, then Prabhupada told him that if he had made the text closer to what Prabhupada originally said, then it was okay.

However, in my previous articles to Jayadvaita Swami I have referred to articles where it is clearly documented that he has:

  • Deleted many of Prabhupada’s own chosen words and sentences (even those also found in his ”original manuscript”)
  • Added his own words and sentences (which means they are also not to be found in the ”original manuscript”)
  • Changed Prabhupada’s own personally typewritten sanskrit translations.

The article ”The Duty of the Finger” demonstrates all these types of changes made to Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

https://arsaprayoga.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/enjoying-the-self-within-or-the-duty-of-the-finger-bg-4-38/

Now, I think most devotees around the world would like to know what Jayadvaita Swami thinks Prabhupada would have said if he had told him:

”Well, Srila Prabhupada, in my editing I have deleted some of your own chosen words and sentences! And I have also invented some completely new words and sentences and put them in where I felt they would do a good job! And since we at the BBT International are now ”accomplished sanskrit scholars” we have gone through some of your own typewritten sanskrit translations and changed them also.”

What do we, honestly, think Prabhupada would have answered? Then try to extrapolate that answer to the changes Jayadvaita Swami has made to Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Question to Jayadvaita Swami: What would Prabhupada say to you?

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This letter was sent to Jayadvaita Swami the 6th Dec. 2013:

Dear Jayadvaita Swami! Dandavat pranam! Jaya Srila Prabhupada!

Some weeks have passed since our last e-mail exchange. I hope  you are in the process of answering the questions I linked to in my first two e-mails to you? Otherwise they are here:

E-mail 1: https://arsaprayoga.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/letter-to-jayadvaita-swami-23rd-oct-2013/

E-mail 2: https://arsaprayoga.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/e-mail-exchange-between-jayadvaita-swami-and-ajit-krishna-dasa/

These are questions that thousands of devotee’s around the world would like to see answered as soon as possible.

While awaiting your promised answers, I am constantly researching the changes made to Prabhupada’s books. Recently I saw this video posted on BBT International’s website:

Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlqbnzzL_28

In the video you say:

”I went back and re-edited especially the translations in the first canto. Especially the first perhaps three chapters where I thought their were a lot of short comings. And I typed up all the translations – after I finished all the work, I typed up all the translations in one manuscript and put them in an envelope, and Prabhupada was coming to New York where I was at the time. Prabhupada came, and I put all the translations in an envelope, and I wrote a cover letter explaning what I have done, and asking him whether it was okay. And then I brought it up to Prabhupada’s quarters at 55th Street in New York–the New York temple—with the idea that I would leave them with his secretary and come back later. But Prabhupada was right there, and so he…I offered obeisances, and he had me, you know: ”What do you do in here?” ”What have you come for?” Not in those words, but, you know, he inquired was I was doing. And I explained that I had come to deliver this. So Prabhupada had me start reading right in his presence. And I began, I read the first verse, the second verse, the third verse. I went through a few verses, and Prabhupada stopped me. Prabhupada was listening very carefully, he stopped me. ”So what you have done?” And I said: ”Well, Srila Prabhupada, I have edited to try to bring it closer to what you originally said.” Prabhupada said: ”What I have said?” I said: ”Yes, Srila Prabhupada!” Then Prabhupada: ”Then it is alright!”, and that was it. ”Then it is alright!” ”What I have said?”, ”Then it is alright!”

 A few points about this story:

1. Your story is merely anecdotal evidence which is considered a rather unreliable and dubious support of a  claim. No one is really able to investigate the truth value of your story. To use anecdotal evidence as the foundation for changing the books that are supposed to guide mankind the next ten thousands years will surely create doubt about the authority of the changed books.

As Srila Prabhupada said about such stories:

“Just like in our ISKCON there are so many false things: “Prabhupada said this, Prabhupada said that.””
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 7/11/1972)

“They misunderstand me. Unless it is there from me in writing, there are so many things that “Prabhupada said.”” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, 2/9/1975)

And as you yourself say:

“If Srila Prabhupada didn’t clearly and definitely say it, and if it first came up after 1977 whatever it is, don’t trust it. Rule of Thumb.” (Diksa-Diksa, Where the Rtvik People are Wrong,  p. 85, Jayadvaita Swami)

You started circulating your story after the book changing controversy started, and there is no evidence to support that it is true. Therefore, “…don’t trust it. Rule of Thumb.”

Skærmbillede 2013-12-06 kl. 20.59.15

2. You seem to conclude that since Prabhupada approved the verses that you brought him, then he also approved that you could change all his books using the same method – even after his disappearance. But this is an unwarranted extrapolation, because you extrapolate far beyond the range of available data, namely from one single instance of editing to more or less all future instances of editing. But from your story no justification for such an extrapolation can be found. The only conclusion to be deduced (if your anecdote is at all true) is that what you did to the very specific verses you brought Prabhupada was okay.  No more, no less.

3. If your anecdote is true, then Prabhupada told you that if you had made the text closer to what Prabhupada originally said, then it was okay.

However, in my previous e-mails to you I have referred to articles where it is clearly documented that you have:

  • Deleted many of Prabhupada’s own chosen words and sentences (even those also found in his ”original manuscript”)
  • Added your own words and sentences (which means they are also not to be found in the ”original manuscript”)
  • Changed Prabhupada’s own personally typewritten sanskrit translations.

The article ”The Duty of the Finger” demonstrates all these types of changes made to Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

https://arsaprayoga.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/enjoying-the-self-within-or-the-duty-of-the-finger-bg-4-38/

Now, I think most devotees around the world would like to know what you think Prabhupada would have said if you had told him:

”Well, Srila Prabhupada, in my editing I have deleted some of your own chosen words and sentences! And I have also invented some completely new words and sentences and put them in where I felt they would do a good job! And since we at the BBT are now ”accomplished sanskrit scholars” we have gone through some of your own typewritten sanskrit translations and changed them.”

What do you, honestly, think Prabhupada would have answered? Then try to extrapolate that answer to the changes you have made to Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Your servant, Ajit Krishna Dasa

Prabhupada: “It is not the ornamentation, it is the ecstasy.”

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From “Srila Prabhupada and His Disciples in Germany” (emphasis by Arsa Prayoga staff):

sp-disciples-germany

“On September 9th, Asoka-kumara and I arrived in Los Angeles. Asoka-kumara came along to transcribe and compose the translations, but unfortunately he could not use the BBT typesetting equipment immediately. Special fonts for German, with diacritic marks for the Sanskrit transliteration, had to be ordered, and that took a couple of months.

“Dr. Wolf, a friendly gentleman in his late sixties, was glad to have us there. He was fluent in six languages, and he was eager to help us to bring the translation of Prabhupada’s books up to a more academically acceptable level. But his involvement turned out to be a double-edged sword. He had many valuable suggestions to improve the style, but his vision was flawed by mundane considerations. He found many of Srila Prabhupada’s original English expressions objectionable and wanted to change them in the German edition. For example, he felt it was simply unacceptable to compare Krsna’s legs to elephant trunks.

“In the following weeks, we had several heated discussions, and when Dr. Wolf saw that I was not prepared to change Prabhupada’s words just because a description didn’t fit his conception, he began to question Prabhupada’s position. Having fled Nazi Germany, he felt that our vision of Prabhupada’s authority was dangerously similar to the inflated image of Hitler in the 1930s. Finally he stopped coming. But he sent me a letter explaining his stand on the way our books should be presented. He mailed a copy to Prabhupada, who replied to him as follows.”

I beg to acknowledge receipt of a copy of a letter sent to Sriman Vedavyasa dated January 14,1976.

Mundane books are written by imperfect persons. Everyone has his own theory, which means he is imperfect. The Srimad-Bhagavatam says if there is a real presentation of spiritual understanding, then, even if it is presented in broken language, it is accepted by high, saintly persons, because it glorifies the Supreme Person. On the other hand, if literature is highly metaphorically composed, if it does not glorify the Lord, it is compared to a place inhabited by the crows.

Actually, if some literature doesn’t carry any real knowledge, what is the use of ornamental language? We are not interested in presenting ornamental language.

In India the system is that people go to see the Jagannatha Deity. The Deity is not very beautiful from the artistic point of view, but still people attend by the thousands. That sentiment is required. Similarly with our kirtana we are only using drums and karatalas but people come to the point of ecstasy. It is not the ornamentation, it is the ecstasy. This ecstasy is awakened by sravanam kirtanam by devotees. I hope this makes everything clear.”

The actual letter from Srila Prabhupada:

Letter to: Dr. Wolf

Mayapur
29 January, 1976
76-01-29
Los Angeles
My dear Dr. Wolf,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of a copy of a letter sent to Sriman Vedavyasa dated January 14, 1976.
Mundane books are written by imperfect persons. Everyone has his own theory, which means he is imperfect. The Srimad-Bhagavatam says if there is a real presentation of spiritual understanding, then even if it is presented i broken language, it is accepted by high, saintly persons, because it glorifies the Supreme Person. On the other hand, if literature is highly metaphorically composed, if it does not glorify the Lord, it is compared to a place inhabited by the crows.
Actually, if some literature doesn’t carry any real knowledge, what is the use of ornamental language? We are not interested in presenting ornamental language.
In India the system is that people go to see the Jagannatha Deity. The Deity is not very beautiful from the artistic point of view, but still people attend by the thousands. That sentiment is required. Similarly with our kirtana we are only using drums and karatalas, but people come to the point of ecstasy. It is not the ornamentation, it is the ecstasy. This ecstasy is awakened by sravanam kirtanam by devotees. I hope this makes everything clear.
Hoping this meets you well.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
ACBS/tkg

E-mail exchange between Jayadvaita Swami and Ajit Krishna Dasa

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JSportraitJayadvaita Swami

I sent this e-mail to Jayadvaita Swami (23rd October 2013):

Dear Jayadvaita Maharaja! Dandavat pranam! Jaya Prabhupada!

I have written several times via the contact form on the BBTedit.com website. But I have not received any replies.

I have done studies of some of the changes made to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and my conclusion is that there are some problems. I would very much like your reponse to some of the articles on my new blog:

https://arsaprayoga.wordpress.com/

The amount of devotees concerned with the editing of the BBT International increases. Information is being spread like wildfire via facebook and other social medias.

Here are the 5 articles I have sent via the contact form on BBTedit.com. I hope we will receive your replies to all the points raised in all the 5 articles:

https://arsaprayoga.wordpress.com/category/no-reply-from-bbt-international/

Our intention is to publish your answers along with our comments (if we have any). If we do not get answers that will also be posted.

Everything will be shared using facebook, twitter, pinterest, e-mails, google+, linkedin and more.

This e-mail will also be posted and shared!

We hope you will have time to reply!

Hare Krishna
​Your lowly servant,
Ajit Krishna Dasa

Jayadvaita Swami’s preliminary reponse (25th Oct. 2013):

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
Not for publishing, quoting, forwarding, etc.

Dear Ajit Krishna,

Please accept my best wishes. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I wish to acknowledge receiving your letter.

I have 70 letters now in my in-box, more come every day, and during Kartika I spend more time reading and chanting. So I may not respond quickly. But I *will* look at what you wrote and respond.

As a general note:

Rather than first write me directly, you have chosen first to express your concerns through propaganda on the internet. I regard this as a sort of rowdy, uncultured behavior. I doubt that any competent Vaisnava spiritual guide has advised you to act in this way.

The approach you have chosen complicates communication. It conveys a poor impression of your worth. And it sends your letter down, not up, my priority list.

I do value critical input, but I value it more when given personally, in a gentlemanly fashion.

Anyway, as I said, I will look at what you wrote and respond.

Hare Krsna.

Hoping this finds you in good health,

Yours in Srila Prabhupada’s service,
Jayadvaita Swami

PS:

My apologies for your not receiving replies to the messages you sent to BBTedit.com. I am not the person to whom messages sent there automatically go. And I don’t have control over that part of the site’s infrastructure. When time allows, I’ll write to the person who controls it and try to break the jam.

Hare Krsna.

Ajit Krishna Dasa (28th October 2013):

Dear Jayadvaita Swami! Dandavat pranam! Jaya Prabhupada!

Thank you very much for your kind reply to my e-mail! Very nice to
hear from you!

As I wrote in my first e-mail this correspondence will be made public.
The debate about the book changes ought to be in full disclosure,
exposed to as much light as possible. Prabhupada’s books are, after
all, our law books for the next ten thousand years, so we want
complete transparency when changes to the books are being made.

I know thousands of devotees would love if you would prioritize this
debate more than any other topic. But if you do not agree to my public
approach and find it “rowdy” and “uncultured” you are, of course, free
not to engage in the debate. But before you do that, kindly consider
that BOTH sides of this debate for years have been making “propaganda”
(a term Prabhupada mostly used with positive connotations) on the
internet and elsewhere for years.

For example, BBTedit.com use typical propaganda tools like claiming
they dispel the “myths” promoted by those opposed to the book changes.
They also publish videos with small, carefully selected snippets of a
long video with Madhudvisa Prabhu aiming at creating doubts about his
personality and statements (Why can’t we see the full video?).

You are yourself publishing articles wherein you use sarcasm as a
propaganda tool. Examples are these articles:

http://www.jswami.info/images_planet_trees

http://www.jswami.info/content/bbt_calendar_unauthorized_changes

I try my best to not use sarcasm and other such tricks on my blog
https://arsaprayoga.wordpress.com and I will guarantee you a nice
treatment if our exchange continues.

My plan is that I will systematically go through the complete gita and
send you all my questions. I will post them on my blog with the
following notice:

“This article was sent to the BBT International through their website
(http://www.bbtedit.com/contact) and to Jayadvaita Swami’s personal
e-mails (jswami@pamho.net and jayadvaita.swami@pamho.net) the
date-month-year. We asked them to comment on the points raised. So far
we have not received any reply.”

Everything will be spread through social media like facebook etc.

The picture that the BBT International tries to paint is that:

1. You are authorized by Prabhupada to change his Bhagavad-gita.

2. You are only making corrections back to the so called original manuscript.

3. That you have made no unnecessary changes.

4. That you honor the arsa-prayoga principle by not correcting
Prabhupada’s sanskrit and personally chosen words, but only the words
of the previous editors.

However, in my studies I (and others) have found:

1. Corrections made to Prabhupada’s sanskrit translations and chosen words.

2. New words which are not to be found in the so called original
manuscript or in the 1972 edition being added to the gita.

3. Words that are both found in the so called original manuscript and
in the 1972 edition being removed from the gita.

4. Unnecessary change of syntax (sentence structure).

There are thousands of devotees following this debate and eagerly
awaiting your comments to all the points raised both in this e-mail
and in all the blogposts I have previously sent to you and the BBT
International.

What other topic ought to be prioritized higher than this?

We all hope you will find time to answer these important questions!

Have a wonderful day,
Your lowly servant,
Ajit Krishna Dasa (Denmark)

PS: I forgot to mention a 5th point, namely that I also found in my studies of the book changes that Prabhupada never authorized you (or anyone else) to re-edit the Bhagavad-gita.

Ys, Ajit Krishna Dasa

We are now awaiting Jayadvaita Swami’s reply.

Read PART 2 here

Jayadvaita undoes Prabhupada’s work on Gita Manuscript

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By Madhudvisa Dasa in 2010 (originally posted on bookchanges.com)

ISKCON now distributes a Bhagavad-gita that contains more than 5,000 unauthorized changes. Srila Prabhupada gave all his classes from his original Bhagavad-gita As It Is and read from this book personally on a daily basis and listened to his disciples read from it, and commented on the philosophical points as they read. With the exception of a couple of obvious typographical errors, Prabhupada never at any point of time ordered that his Bhagavad-gita be changed. He most certainly did not authorize the production of a revised and enlarged edition of his book.

Jayadvaita Swami agrees that Srila Prabhupada did not ask him or anyone else to “revise and enlarge” his Bhagavad-gita As It Is. So how did it happen? Where did the authority come from for ISKCON’s current “Revised and Enlarged” edition? It seems just after Srila Prabhupada left our material vision, Jayadvaita thought it was a good idea to revise and enlarge Prabhupada’s Gita, so he did it.

“Comparing each verse in the book with the text of the manuscript, I made only those changes that to me seemed worthwhile. I tried to be conservative and not make needless changes.”
(Jayadvaita’s letter to senior devotees, October 25, 1982)

And what is his “authority” for this you may ask? As he said in the letter to senior devotees, “the text of the manuscript.” “I have made it closer to the original manuscript.”

And what is this so-called “original manuscript”? You can see it here.

This is not a manuscript at all. It is the first draft of the book. No author intends that the first draft of his book be published. He appoints an editor and together they work on the book to produce the manuscript which will ultimately be submitted to the publishers. In this case,  Prabhupada wrote the first draft and then worked with Hayagriva and other editors to prepare the manuscript for hisBhagavad-gita As It Is, which was ultimately presented to Macmillan & Co. for printing.

Imagine you write the first draft of a book and appoint an editor. You work with your editor on a daily basis for months until together you produce a manuscript you are happy with and your book is published. Your book becomes a worldwide best seller and you are very happy with it. It is a spiritual book and by reading it many of the readers have life-changing experiences. They also become very attached to your book. Your book is praised by scholars worldwide with rave reviews. Then many years later, after you have left your body, somebody finds the first draft of your book and decides to “correct” your published book based on your first draft. Of course you were never intending to publish this first draft. That is why you spent so much time and energy working with your editor on that first draft to transform it into a manuscript you actually wanted to present to the publishers. How angry would you be with this fool who wants to undo your work and your editors’ work by going back to the first draft?

Jayadvaita Swami, by going back to the first draft, is eliminating so many corrections and so much work that Srila Prabhupada personally did on his book with Hayagriva and his other editors. This is a great disservice to Srila Prabhupada.

The Swami is insisting that his version of the history of the editing of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is is correct. And what is his version of the history? He has turned to “smoke and mirrors” to try and bewilder the devotees into believing a false history. In the “history according to Jayadvaita’s imagination”, Srila Prabhupada only typed and dictated the first draft of his Bhagavad-gita As It Is and handed it over to his editors and did not work with his editors on the book. In this way he claims the first draft that he has is authoritative and he is justified in changing the printed book if he can find something different in the first draft.

On his website he debunks “The myth that Srila Prabhupada and Hayagriva together carefully reviewed the completed text of Bhagavad-gita As It Is“. He does this by debunking a statement by Govinda dasi, who saw Srila Prabhupada and Hayagriva working together on editing Prabhupada’s books in 1968 in Los Angeles. Prabhupada and Hayagriva were actually working together on editingSrimad-Bhagavatam at that time. And according to Jayadvaita, that “proves” that Prabhupada and Hayagriva did not work together on editing the Gita. Strange logic, but we are expected to believe the Swami anyhow.

In a recent blog post [“Book Changes: History Really Does Back the BBT“] Jayadvaita continues to try and distort and change the history:

“And so the image of Srila Prabhupada sitting with Hayagriva in December of 1968 carefully going over every verse of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, seeing to the finishing touches, is a persistent image of something that never took place. That’s the truth. Here’s the timeline. See for yourself.” (Jayadvaita Swami)

Then he goes on to present many quotes from Srila Prabhupada that are supposed to prove that Srila Prabhupada did not work with his editors on the Bhagavad-gita As It Is at all. However, Krishna slipped one quote into his article that completely blows his cover:

December 14, 1967: Srila Prabhupada writes Rayarama, “I have already sent you the purports of each and every sloka that you sent me for correction. . . . As soon as you finish the Gitopanisadbusiness and the matter is handed over to the Macmillan Co. we begin on the Bhagavatam work without delay.”

Here Jayadvaita is letting us know that Rayarama, while he was editing Bhagavad-gita, was in constant contact with Srila Prabhupada and was asking many questions about the editing, which Srila Prabhupada was answering. “I have already sent you the purports of each and every sloka that you sent me for correction.” So even with Rayarama’s editing he was asking Prabhupada many questions and Prabhupada was sending him many corrections to his “first draft”. None of these corrections by Srila Prabhupada are present in what Jayadvaita refers to as “the original manuscript.” This alone completely destroys any justification for using this document as any sort of authority, as it does not include the many corrections that Srila Prabhupada made to it while Rayarama was working on editing his Bhagavad-gita.

The real world is quite different from Jayadvaita’s imaginary world. Even though the Swami constantly says, “It’s not true!” Srila Prabhupada and Hayagriva did work together for almost three months in 1967 editing Bhagavad-gita As It Is, during this period Hayagriva Prabhu was consulting Srila Prabhupada daily on almost every verse in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. It’s not a myth, it’s history, and this history completely destroys any justification at all for changing Prabhupada’s Gita based on Prabhupada’s first draft of the book (or the “original manuscript”, as the Swami calls it).

If you ask Jayadvaita about this he will lie and tell you: “It could not have happened. Prabhupada and Hayagriva were never living together. It’s an Internet myth…” All lies and deception, unfortunately. It is frightening to think that such a deceptive, dishonest character has been given full authority to change anything at all he wants to change in Prabhupada’s books without any system of checks and balances at all. He can change anything, print the changed books without even disclosing what he has changed. And he smiles and says, “You just have to accept it…”

The proof that Srila Prabhupada and Hayagriva worked together daily editing Bhagavad-gita for almost three months in 1967 can be found in Hayagriva Prabhu’s wonderful book, “The Hare Krishna Explosion”:

The_Hare_Krishna_Explosion-cover

January 17, 1967: Prabhupada arrives in San Francisco from New York. Hayagriva Prabhu is there to meet him. Prabhupada is still translating Bhagavad-gita and Hayagriva is there with him:

“Swamiji continues translating Bhagavad-gita. He is so eager to print it that we begin negotiations with a local printer. Prices are very high. In New York, Brahmananda continues his pursuit of publishers.”

So Hayagriva is negotiating on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf with a local printer to print Prabhupada’sBhagavad-gita As It Is. Finishing his translation of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, working with Hayagriva Prabhu to edit it and getting it printed are clearly the most important projects on Srila Prabhupada’s agenda at this time.

Hayagriva is still in San Francisco on January 29th, two weeks later, for the big concert featuring the Grateful Dead.

Hayagriva is still with Srila Prabhupada in San Francisco in February:

“The days of February are beautiful with perfect temperatures in the seventies, fog rolling off early, skies very blue and clear, sun falling bright and sharp on the lush foliage of Golden Gate Park. The park encloses the largest variety of plant and tree life to be found in any one spot on earth. We are at a loss to identify plants for Swamiji.”

Hayagriva has settled down in the ISKCON San Francisco temple (a storefront near Golden Gate Park) and he is working there:

“I rent an electric typewriter, set it up in the back temple room, and continue typing up stencils forBack To Godhead, writing and editing [Bhagavad-gita] while Harsharani sends people after food, and cooks noon prasadam.”

Hayagriva is the only devotee living in the San Francisco temple and is the “Temple Commander”:

“Being the only person living in the temple proper, and one of the senior devotees besides, I’m naturally looked to as the temple commander, a role I often find myself regretting.”

All this time Hayagriva is living with Srila Prabhupada and his main service is editing Bhagavad-gita:

“Apart from kirtans, I find myself spending many sunny hours in the park, walking past the tennis courts to large, quiet bowers surrounded with hybiscus and eucalyptus. And at times I sit in the shade beneath the white and pink rhododendrons and edit Bhagavad-gita. After editing, I sometimes visit the museum and stroll through the replica eighteenth century gardens, chanting my daily rounds while perusing the curlicues of rococo art.”

Hayagriva is still in San Francisco together with Srila Prabhupada on February 27th. This is now six weeks in the personal association of Srila Prabhupada, working with him editing his Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

He is still there with Srila Prabhupada in March:

“Golden Gate Park is redolent with March flowers. The morning fog disperses early, and the days are cloudless and blue. Thousands continue to flock to San Francisco from the midwest and east, and our Sunday kirtans attract big crowds… On Tuesday evenings, we go to the beach with Swamiji and hold unforgettable Pacific Ocean sunset kirtans. Sitting on the sand, we watch the tide roll in, or chant and wait for the sun to dip below the horizon. After chanting, we roast potatoes and smear them with melted butter. Swamiji eats with us, sitting on a big log. And after potatoes, we roast marshmallows, and red apples stuffed with raisins and brown sugar.”

All throughout this time (now over two months) Hayagriva is working editing Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is, consulting Srila Prabhupada on almost every verse:

“Although I write on the Lord Chaitanya play through the spring days, my primary service is helping Swamiji with Bhagavad-gita. He continues translating, hurrying to complete the manuscript but still annotating each verse thoroughly in his purports. Daily, I consult him to make certain that the translation of each verse precisely coincides with the meaning he wants to relate. “Edit for force and clarity,” he tells me. “By Krishna’s grace, you are a qualified English professor. You know how grammatical mistakes will discredit us with scholars. I want them to appreciate this Bhagavad-gita as the definitive edition. All the others try to take credit away from Krishna.”

“I am swamped with editing. Since much of the text is equivocal due to grammar, I find myself consulting Swamiji on nearly every verse. It seems that in Sanskrit, Hindi, and Bengali, phrase is tacked onto phrase until the original subject is lost.”

March 21: Hayagriva is still in San Francisco working daily with Srila Prabhupada on editingBhagavad-gita As It Is… So far this is almost nine weeks constantly with Srila Prabhupada…

April 9:

“Swamiji leaves for the airport. Before entering the car, he stops, cane in hand, and gives a long look at the little storefront temple. It is a look that says a great deal. Gurudas snaps a photo at that very instant. ‘That’s a farewell look,’ I think to myself.”

So Srila Prabhupada and Hayagriva worked together on editing the Bhagavad-gita daily during the almost three months while Hayagriva Prabhu was living with him in the San Francisco temple, from Janurary 17, 1967 until April 9, 1967.

Jayadvaita Swami [desperately]: “IT JUST DID NOT HAPPEN!!!”

The history is the history. Srila Prabhupada worked on the first draft of Bhagavad-gita As It Isextensively with both Hayagriva Prabhu and Rayarama Prabhu. In the three months Hayagriva went through practically every verse with Srila Prabhupada and Prabhupada also sent many corrections to Rayarama Prabhu later on.

At that time Macmillan were only able to print 400 pages, so Rayarama abridged Prabhupada’sBhagavad-gita As It Is. Prabhupada was not happy with this and wanted to publish the complete edition. Hayagriva was again called on by Srila Prabhupada for producing the manuscript, which was submitted to Macmillan for the publication of the complete 1,000 page edition in 1972. At this time there were at least exchanges of letters between Srila Prabhupada and Hayagriva and Prabhupada was still giving him many instructions related to the editing and answering the questions he had in regard to the editing.

So Jayadvaita’s “history” that Srila Prabhupada did not work with his disciples on editing Bhagavad-gita is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It is a dishonest attempt to mislead the devotees and cover-up the real history.

The authoritative edition of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is is the final published 1972 “Complete Edition.” Not the first draft that Jayadvaita calls the “manuscript.” Srila Prabhupada spent considerable time, energy and effort working with his editors Hayagriva Prabhu and Rayarama Prabhu to take his first draft to the real manuscript — the manuscript which was submitted for publishing to MacMillan.

Changes to the final published book cannot be justified by referring to the first draft. This is a great mistake.

People are not so foolish. The truth is the truth. Eventually Jayadvaita’s smoke and mirrors will stop working and the blind followers will wake up and see the truth.

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Your servant,
Madhudvisa dasa

Govinda dasi and Jayadvaita Swami in Honolulu on Jan 19, 2003 (Part 2)

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(Originally posted on adi-vani.org. Part 2 of 2. Read Part 1 here)

hawaii-govinda-dasi

Govinda dasi: …that in 1966, ’67 and ’68, Hayagriva spent many, many hours alone with Srila Prabhupada, discussing the different aspects of the editing work. They went over each verse extensively, and Srila Prabhupada was actually quite clear in expressing what he wanted. He, even in the case of legal matters, or something else that he might not know how things worked, he knew what he wanted. So he had an uncanny ability to see through any situation. That’s an understatement, and I’m putting that so that people can appreciate it.

So, when the later Gita was edited, the manuscript had already been gone over, how many times? We don’t really know, I don’t really believe, I mean, joined after Hayagriva. I joined in Frisco as soon as Srila Prabhupada came to Frisco, and then I went back to LA with him. I think, Javadvaita Maharaja, didn’t you say you joined in Boston in…

Jayadvaita Maharaja: New York.

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Govinda Dasi replies: the REAL ISSUE regarding the book changes

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What follows is Govinda Dasi’s reply to the exchange between Brahmananda Prabhu and myself.

govinda-dasi

Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. You have many good points; however, in order to come to agreement, the essential issue should be addressed here.

There will always be those who favor the posthumously edited edition, and there will always be those who favor the earlier edition that was read by Srila Prabhupada in classes, and in his lectures all over the world. Therefore, many people will present this perspective or that perspective, saying such things as “Rayarama was the best editor,” or “Hayagriva was the best editor, or “Jayadvaita Swami was the best editor,” and so on and on.

But this is NOT THE REAL ISSUE AT ALL.

THE REAL ISSUE IS the correct manner of posthumous editing–if it is to be done at all. Many people feel there should be NO posthumous editing. And many people believe there SHOULD BE posthumous editing to “correct various typos and grammatical problems.”

AGAIN, THIS ALSO IS NOT THE REAL ISSUE.

THE REAL ISSUE IS THAT IF INDEED THERE IS TO BE POSTHUMOUS EDITING, IT MUST BE DONE CORRECTLY, ACCORDING TO THE ACCEPTED PROTOCOL THAT IS ALREADY ESTABLISHED IN THE WORLD OF PUBLISHING.

Otherwise, Srila Prabhupada’s books are not considered to be authentic renditions of his writings, and are no longer acceptable to scholars. There are certain requirements for posthumous editing. These must be met.

And the BBT HAS NOT met those requirements in their posthumous editions.

The posthumously edition (editions) have not been correctly labeled according to the rules of publication. It is essential that any and all posthumous editions be dated and numbered, and that the editor (editors) names be prominently displayed on the cover and/or title page. There are other elements of proper protocol as well, and these can be easily accessed.

If everyone can come to understand this most essential point, there will be no conflict. Both editions can exist simultaneously, along with any and all future editions that may be done.

But they must be properly tagged with the editor’s name, date of the edition, and number of the edition, in order to gain any respect or credibility in the academic world. This is the accepted procedure which also clearly defines what material was printed during an author’s lifetime, and whatever was printed after his demise.

We cannot change these protocol according to our whims, or our preferences for this edition or that edition. To do so simply invalidates Srila Prabhupada’s books, and means they can be changed whimsically in the future. This puts his writings at risk for becoming like the edited Biblical texts–no one really knows which edition is which, or what the original one even says.

This matter can be settled once and for all, by having all posthumous editions follow the accepted protocol. Once this is done, there will no longer be any contentious issues. The edition that was printed during Srila Prabhupada’s lifetime will clearly be the original edition, and those editions that have been printed since his demise will be properly numbered and dated, and their various editors names will appear on the cover and/or title page.

Once this is done, people can choose the edition they prefer, and there will be no grounds for criticism. There will be no accusations of shabby, unprofessional presentations (as have been made by scholars) and no deceptiveness in the matter of book reviews written for the earlier edition. This correction will establish Srila Prabhupada’s books once again in the collegiate community, as they will honor the system used by scholars everywhere.

This is what needs to be corrected, once and for all.

Thank you for your time and efforts in this all important matter.

Your servant and sister,

Govinda dasi