Responding to Dravida Prabhu’s “defense” of the book changes (Jan. 2014)

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By Ajit Krishna Dasa

This a a response to Dravida Prabhu’s article “The Book Changes – A Defense” (posted on the Sampradaya Sun (01.13.2014).

Basically Dravida Prabhu’s attempted defense boils down to two wellknown fallacious arguments often presented by the BBT International:

1. Prabhupada trusted Jayadvaita Swami pre Nov 14th 1977. Therefore the editing Jayadvaita Swami has done after Prabhupada’s disappearance (post Nov. 14th 1977) is also approved.

2. The books are made “closer to Prabhupada” by making them closer to the so called original manuscript (which is really only a draft).

Let us look at each of these fallacious arguments.

Continue reading

BBT(I) has deleted the complete foreword of Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The text below was sent to the BBT International through their website (http://www.bbtedit.com/contact) and to Jayadvaita Swami and Dravida Prabhu’s personal e-mails (jswami@pamho.net, jayadvaita.swami@pamho.net, dravida108@gmail.com) the 7th Feb. 2014. We asked them to comment on the points raised.

So far we have not received any reply.

Excerpt from a letter called “Please Explain, Jayadvaita Swami, Dravida Prabhu & Company” originally posted on the Sampradaya Sun.

“BY: A GROUP OF SRILA PRABHUPADA DISCIPLES & FOLLOWERS

Dear Jayadvaita Swami, Dravida Prabhu & Company, please explain why you have done the following:

(1) Why is it in the revised edition of the Bhagavad-gita, you and company have completely removed the foreword by Professor Edward Dimock that was printed in the original Macmillan version of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is which Srila Prabhupada regularly read from?

Readers, please visit the website and see the video on YouTube of Srila Prabhupada lecturing on the Bhagavad-gita.

There, in the very immediate beginning (very first few minutes) of this video, you will find Srila Prabhupada praising the foreword by Professor Edward Dimock. This particular video clip is taken from one of the 19 Double layer DVD’s produced by Nrsimhananda Prabhu and his associates at ITV. It is the particular DVD named Bhagavad Gita as It Is, with Krishna and Arjuna on the chariot, and sky background, and is in the very first part, called “Introduction”.

Srila Prabhupada is reading the foreword himself, praising it, mentioning Edward Dimock’s name, and praising Edward Dimock for a particular comment that he had made, as follows:

“Swami Bhaktivedanta comments upon the Gita from this point of view, and that is legitimate. More than that, in this translation the Western reader has the unique opportunity of seeing how a Krsna devotee interprets his own texts”

Srila Prabhupada in the video explains this particular statement by Edward Dimock, on how a Krsna devotee interprets his own texts, by explaining that just as a family member only is qualified to give the best knowledge to others about his own family, similarly, only a Krsna devotee can properly explain to others about Krsna. Srila Prabhupada appreciates this particular point made by Edward Dimock in the video.

Thus, not only has Srila Prabhupada authorized this particular foreword in the Macmillan Bhagavad-gita, but had himself read, it, and praised certain points made by the person who wrote this foreword. Yet you, Jayadvaita Swami, Dravida Prabhu & Company, have the audacity to remove this foreword completely in your revised version. The proof of how you have offended your Spiritual Master is on public video record, as those who watch will sadly but easily be able to understand this particular deviation of yourselves in either revising or omitting your Spiritual Master’s works and words by using your fertile imaginations.”

[End of excerpt]

Below there are several instances where Prabhupada shows appreciation for the foreword by Edward Dimock. Please note that Prabhupada said that this foreword will “appeal to the scholarly class”. And we see here that Prabhupada in fact used the foreword to preach to professors, scholars, cardinals and journalists. As can be seen from the below quotes Prabhupada appreciated the foreword because it underscored some of his own points about this specific edition of the Bhagavad-gita, namely the As It Is version.

But the BBT International under the leadership of Jayadvaita Swami have now removed this foreword by Professor Dimock without ever explaining why. Certainly Prabhupada never asked for its removal.

Prabhupada: That’s all. So this Bhagavad-gita, at least, should be introduced in all colleges. And Professor Dimock has recommended. Just…
Professor: Well, it is quite widely read, the Bhagavad-gita.
Prabhupada: Eh?
Professor: The Bhagavad-gita is quite widely read.
Pradyumna: This is an introduction by Professor Dimock.
Professor: Yes, I’ve seen it. I read it. But it is quite widely read, you know. I mean the translations… (Room Conversation with Sanskrit Professor, Dr. Suneson — September 5, 1973, Stockholm)

Prabhupada: That has been written by Professor Dayal, Dimock, that “Sanskrit scholars should get good opportunity, and nobody, I think, will deny Swamiji’s scholarship.” He has said that. (Room Conversation — September 21, 1973, Bombay)

Bhagavan: There are many copies of Bhagavad-gita, but the unusual happening with this version is until this was presented, there was no devotee…
Prabhupada: Professor Dimock has said very nicely.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, we have also many translations. Yes.
Prabhupada: You have not brought by the fruit?
Nitai: Yes, Satsvarupa Maharaja did.
Monsignor Verrozano: We have here one translation of the commentary of Professor Zehner(?) from Oxford.
Prabhupada: Here is my foreword by Professor Dimock.
Yogesvara: This is a professor from Chicago University who wrote the foreword to this edition. He makes an interesting comment.
Prabhupada: You read, read it.
Dhananjaya: Yes.
Prabhupada: Professor Dimock’s.
Cardinal Pignedoli: It’s very strange and famous. That’s the gospel.
Prabhupada: Read it.
Dhananjaya: (reading) “Swami Bhaktivedanta comments upon the Gita from this point of view. And that is legitimate.”
Prabhupada: Yes. That is legitimate.
Dhananjaya: “More than that, in this translation the Western reader has the unique opportunity of seeing how a Krsna devotee interprets his own texts. It is a Vedic…”
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes.
Prabhupada: A Krsna devotee interpreting on Krsna, and a nondevotee interpreting on Krsna. There is far difference. (Room Conversation with Catholic Cardinal and Secretary to the Pope — May 24, 1974, Rome)

The introduction by Mr. Dimock is nice and it will appeal to the scholarly class. (Letter to: Rupanuga — Sydney 4 April, 1972)

Krishna is the source of all human cultural contributions, and His book is the most widespread read all over the world. So if you can convince this education minister that this KC Movement is cultural. One big, big Professor Dimock has given in his introduction to my Bhagavad-gita As It Is that every college student should read this book. Syamasundara. can send you a copy of his statement if you require. So if in other colleges beyond India it is so recommended, why not in India. So the education minister must advise this books should be read. This will give us example for approaching central government. There are so many things to be done. (Letter to: Giriraja — Sydney 12 April, 1972)

Speculators cannot have definite knowledge. Therefore our Professor Dimmock has said, “Here is definite definition of Gita.” What is that? Just see. Then it is so. He has appreciated it. You cannot see, of the…
Devotee: They only put two lines of what he said in there. He says this…
Prabhupada: Yes. That is his word.
Devotee: Oh.
Prabhupada: Read it all.
Devotee: “Definitive English edition of Bhagavad-gita. By bringing us a new and living interpretation of the text already known to many, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has increased our own understanding manyfold.”
Prabhupada: That is a definite, not vague, speculative. That is the difference between my translation and others. Therefore I have given the name “As It Is.” So we will be no spoke or speculation. As soon as you speculate, you are rejected. Therefore others are seeing some danger that “This Bhaktivedanta’s…, this Bhagavad-gita As It Is accepted, then where we are?” (George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel)

Prabhupada: “Dimmock. He has given very good appreciation. And gradually it will be printed in other languages. German, French, Spanish, Denmark, Holland…” (Conversation with Dai Nippon — April 22, 1972, Tokyo)

Prabhupada: “Somehow or other.” This is science. “Somehow or other,” “maybe,” “perhaps.” This is their science. [break] …speculation. The whole Western countries, their all knowledge simply speculation. Nothing definite. [break] …Professor Dimmock has “Definitive…” What is that translation, or something like?
Harikesa: Definitive.
Prabhupada: Definitive, then translation of Bhagavad-gita, like that. [break] (Morning Walk — June 30, 1975, Denver)

Prabhupada: Yes, yes, yes. You just read one big professor’s remark here. You see?
Faill: Yes.
Prabhupada: Professor Dimmock of Chicago University.
Faill: “A new and living interpretation.” This is you, is it?
Prabhupada: This is…? Yes.
Faill: That’s you.
Prabhupada: Yes. If you read these books and write regular articles on the basis of my talk with you, it will be actually great benefit to the public. (Room Conversation with Bill Faill (reporter) — October 8, 1975, Durban)

Pusta Krsna: In the United States… These are many letters we have, just some of them, from different professors who are actually using Prabhupada’s books, professors from respectable universities such as Harvard, Yale, Duke. Professor Dimmock, who is the leading scholar of southeastern languages at the University of Chicago, he very much appreciates Prabhupada’s books.

Prabhupada: He has written one foreword.
Pusta Krsna: So these books are being accepted as the authority, at least in America and England, so far as studies of Indian culture are concerned, philosophy, sociology. And you can see the beautiful presentation. Each Sanskrit is there, transliteration so that anyone can chant, word-for-word Sanskrit to English translation, translation in English, and then the purport, a commentary.
Prof. Olivier: That’s right. This is a good edition. Good edition.
Pusta Krsna: Professor Dimmock, he says that there are many, many translations of Bhagavad-gita, and he says that “By bringing us a new and living interpretation of a text already known to many, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has increased our understanding manyfold.” So although it’s been prevalent in America… I know that when I was studying Humanities in college in the University of Florida, Bhagavad-gita was required. And we read one edition, but it was very much limited. Until we come in contact with Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the understanding is very much limited. But it’s not a sectarian approach. It’s purely scientific and realistic. There are many such reviews.
Prof. Olivier: Well, this is a good letter. (Room Conversation with Professor Olivier — October 10, 1975, Durban)

Prabhupada: Therefore rascal. (laughter) Therefore rascal. We definitely know Krsna, the origin of everything. That is definite, not “It may be.” We don’t say “Krsna may be.” No. Definitely. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam [SB 1.3.28]. Here is Bhagavan. Here is God. That is definite. Therefore our professor…
Hamsaduta: Svarupa Damodara?
Prabhupada: No, no. Who has written foreword to my Bhagavad-gita?
Harikesa: Dimmock.
Prabhupada: Dimmock. “Here is definitive…”
Hamsaduta: Version.
Nitai: “Definitive edition.”
Prabhupada: “Definitive edition.” That is the credit. Not “may be.” No “maybe,” sir. That is rascaldom. (Morning Walk — November 26, 1975, New Delhi)

Prabhupada: Dimmock said that “Here is the commentation who has practiced devotion in his life.” (Morning Walk — December 17, 1975, Bombay)

Jayadvaita Swami: There are warts on Prabhupada’s books

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Parasurama_leading_kirtan_in_OsloParasurama Prabhu leading kirtan

Reposted from the Sampradaya Sun:

Warts on Books

BY: PARASURAM DAS

Dec 15, 2013 — UK (SUN) — Are there warts on Srila Prabhupada’s books, or are there no warts? (Warts on Books, Part 4b, 4.28) A difference of opinion (difference of understanding) has arisen- should the books be changed to fix these warts? No changes as the books are perfect? And the warts are only in the minds of the academic editors?

A strong divide has arisen in regards to the “changes” made to Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita since 1977. I was asked recently about the difference between the two Bhagavad-gitas: “This one was written by Lord Krishna through Srila Prabhupada and the other one I am not sure.” I apologise in advance as I admit to being confused, as many of us are, and I was hoping that the audio attached may throw some light.

There is a serious concern as on Saturday 3rd May, 2013 at Bhaktivedanta Manor during class, HH Jayadvaita Maharaj was asked the 84 million dollar question: “When will there be an end to the editing, “changing”? The Definite Bhagavad-gita (Part 4a, 5.20) The answer being, when himself and Dravida prabhu leave their bodies… (Part 4a 6.57) but no guarantee of no changes even then.

Alarm bells are ringing… number of changes already made to the book and a licence to continue. Pictures changed and omitted, Mayavad philosophy inserted and only recently removed, editing out Srila Prabhupada’s unique style of language…

I believe HH Jayavaita Maharaj has overstepped the mark, creating division and uncertainty over the law books for the next 10,000 years. Then again, who am I? Not the sharpest pencil in the pack! But this topic should be addressed soon, as in the future there will be great confusion. There is another 10,000 years to go.

Concerns:

1. The ongoing editing, changing and omitting with no end in sight.
2. Creating division in our society.
3. 2.61 purport… Visnu platform added (Mayavad philosophy), only recently changed back to the way it was. Shows that the editors are capable of making serious mistakes.
4. Many places changed or omitted where Srila Prabhupada had actually given class from and had even spoken about the omitted topics.
5. A major concern is that Srila Prabhupada’s unique style of language and phrases have been replaced.

Warts on Books, Part 4a (MP3)

Warts on Books, Part 4b (MP3)

Your servant,
Parasuram das

TAKING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT’S DUE (By Rupanuga das, ACBSP)

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By Rupanuga das, ACBSP

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The revised and enlarged edition of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is (BGAII), as published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) 1983, disregards the academic community’s protocols or standards governing the revised editions of the books. According to the guidelines now widely accepted and practiced by publishers and academicians, the names of editors and co-authors of such newly revised editions are to be included along with dates. This distinguishes such a 2nd edition from a publication which is only a second printing of an author’s original first edition.

A controversy was created because Srila Prabhupada, the author, was not present to consult with or personally authorize a re-edit of the book, which was first published as an unabridged, “complete edition” in 1972 by the Macmillan Company. From 1972 until 1977, the year Srila Prabhupada passed away, the book had been constantly studied by his disciples, widely distributed to the public and often favorably reviewed. During this time there were no proposals from anyone, nor an explicit authorization from Srila Prabhupada to revise the book then or in the future.

The editors of the 1983, 2nd edition, attempt to circumvent their lack of direct or explicit authorization from Srila Prabhupada by assuming and asserting that his authorization was implicit in his verbal and written approval of Jayadvaita Brahmachari’s editorial work — although during Srila Prabhupada’s time there was no expectation that Jayadvaita or anyone else would be extensively re-editing the BGAII in the future. Srila Prabhupada had noted only a few, easily rectified changes to be made in the book. Had a proposal been made to him in 1977 (the sixth year of its publication) for an extensive revision, it wouldn’t be very hard to imagine the strength of his refusal. There would be nothing equivocal about it, especially in the light of his remarks during his now famous “rascal editor” discussion recorded June 22, 1977 in Vrindavan, just five months before his disappearance.

In fact, it was Srila Prabhupada himself who created an issue about changes then being made to his books without his permission and the possibility of it happening in the future. He wanted his disciples to resolve the issue during his presence. There was no controversy, or two sides to the issue; it was a major problem to be solved and a future disaster to be avoided. Actually, since 1975 Srila Prabhupada had been giving periodical hints, guidelines and instructions along these lines to his BBT Trustee and production manager in Los Angeles and the artists as well. Unfortunately, such information was not carefully compiled, passed on or seriously implemented after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. Without such important guidelines in place, editors and trustees have gradually filled the gap with policies and standards which have become controversial, especially regarding the editing of books and paintings published during Srila Prabhupada’s lifetime.  (See The Change Disease and Windows to the Spiritual Sky).

Since an extensive revision of the BGAII was actually published in 1983, there has been and will continue to be a disagreement about it amongst Srila Prabhupada’s followers and admirers. But what is to be avoided, and what Srila Prabhupada wanted to avoid, is controversy about his books amongst the general public, especially the scholars, educators, librarians, et. al. Opinions from intelligent people regarding his books were important to Srila Prabhupada and should not be minimized as only the complicated prejudices and speculations of so-called “non-devotees”. With this in mind, the ongoing controversy may be examined here a bit more from the viewpoint of academia, at the same time keeping out in front the main objective of propagating, perpetuating and protecting Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.

According to the current Chicago Manual of Style, if 20% of a first edition has been revised, it becomes a second edition — not just a second printing — requiring the date and names of the editors. Additionally, to quote from the Modern Language Association’s Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing: “The publisher when planning a new edition of the work, may obtain revisions from a third party expert if the author refuses to make them or disagrees about their necessity… the contract… should provide that the original author and the revising author be given separate credits.” Of course the BBT editors assert that they were not new authors of the book, but merely bringing it closer to the original author’s words as referenced in available fragmental recordings or transcripts. The predominating difference is, obviously, that Srila Prabhupada was not present to consult with or agree or disagree. Nevertheless, whatever lends more weight to a closure or sealing of the book from further editing is in order. Following the prevailing academic protocols in the next printing would set a precedent signaling more finality than the present practice of editorial anonymity.

As is the cases of the Bible and Koran, over time sectarian scriptures are extensively revised. In the case of the Bhagavad-gita, there are already dozens of them in different languages, all edited according to various authors’ and editors’ preferences and personal philosophies of life. Unlike the Bible and Koran, the Bhagavad-gita truly presented as it is by Srila Prabhupada is universal, which makes it even more subject to spectacular speculations. Interestingly, although the Bible has gone through many variations, or versions, the King James version is the most widely accepted as authoritative.

Similarly, it is imperative that the BGAII remains center stage as the most complete, definitive version. In this connection, it would be naive to assume that in one or two hundred years BBT editors could not fall prey to the change disease, perhaps in response to social or cultural demands. Therefore, a permanent sealing or closing of further editing of the BGAII must be attempted, even though the extensive revision of that book is already a strong precedent. Besides, it won’t be long according to present copyright law, about forty-five years, when the BGAII will be in the “public domain”. By that time it must be considered to be the most authoritative, above all other renditions. Ultimately, the BGAII is designed and destined to be the most universally accepted scripture in the world. Translated from the English, it was printed in numerous languages during Srila Prabhupada’s time. The English edition remains the most important because English is fast becoming the equivalent of the world’s second language. In any country, especially amongst the more educated, people are fluent in English.

Initially, the BBT’s 1983 edition included the phrase “revised and enlarged” in place of “complete edition” originally found beneath the title on the face page of the first or 1972 edition. Also the “Note On the 2nd Edition” was previously included in the revised edition, wherein the editors took credit for their work and explained their qualifications and purposes in rendering the revision, although they remained anonymous. But the editing continues, and the above items were edited out in later printings. The later printings also omitted Professor Dimock’s Forward, although the same literary reviews as well as Srila Prabhupada’s 1971 signature at the end of his Preface are carried over from the original 1972 edition to subsequent 1983 versions. Almost all of the illustrations from that 1st edition have been gradually eliminated or replaced and there are many changes and additions to the original text throughout the book. In other words, there is no doubt the 2nd edition meets the academic criteria for being genuinely designated as a new edition.

A reader of that revised edition might notice that there is no endorsement or acknowledgement by the original author, which is often found in such a scholarly publication. But such a reader would have no way of learning that the author, Srila Prabhupada, had passed away in 1977, since there is no such indication in a section “about the author”, or other biographical information. The original first edition reviews from “some of the world’s leading scholars” are reprinted in the second edition, explaining the special significance of the book and the outstanding qualifications of the author, as if he were still present and endorsing the revised edition.

Be that as it may, Srila Prabhupada’s present pristine reputation as authoritative author must be preserved. As he cautioned in Vrindavan on July 17, 1977, four months before his disappearance: “And people are recognizing that I am great. Don’t make me small.” Now, with Srila Prabhupada-vani in the shape of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, we are blessed with the most definitive single volume of essential spiritual knowledge published in the West since the invention of the printing press. And Srila Prabhupada has proven to be the greatest world-wide exponent of Krsna consciousness. Actually, Srila Prabhupada is already famous all over the universe, as documented by the visitation of Lord Brahma and Narada Muni, both of whom came to attend evening aratis when Radha-Londonisvara were installed in 1969. This has been confirmed by Sriman Padmalocana das, who was instructed by His Divine Grace to make two small vyasasanas for the altar in anticipation of their continuing visits. It remains the task of his followers to assure His Divine Grace’s spotless fame spreads here on Earth.

The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust is named after Srila Prabhupada because it is responsible to present his unalloyed teachings to the world. As the BBT continues to claim not only to be the bona fide publishers of Srila Prabhupada’s books but of books by other genuine Vaisnava authors as well, they will come under closer scrutiny from professionals and general readers alike. So the standards set by the publishing and academic communities should be taken seriously and followed, because Srila Prabhupada was always concerned that his books be respected in learned circles as up to standard.

Considering the current editors’ obvious confidence and conviction in their ongoing work, their somewhat mysterious policy of anonymity appears unnecessary, even contradictory. Yet, by following the standard etiquette or protocols widely in practice as mentioned hereinbefore, any apparent mystery is solved. Such an endorsement would be similar to acknowledgements found in the previous publications listed below:

1. Mukunda-Mala-Stotra, subtitled The Prayers of King Kulasekhara, published by the BBT in 1992, 157 pages, under Srila Prabhupada’s name “And His Disciples”.

2. Narada-Bhakti-Sutra, subtitled The Secrets of Transcendental Love, published by the BBT in 1991 and 1997, 213 pages, 10,000 copies. Authored by His Divine Grace “And His Disciples”.

3. The last Cantos, 10th, 11th and 12th, of the BBT’s Srimad Bhagavatam, authored “by disciples of” His Divine Grace. The names of the editors are listed following the face page.

4. The Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the Macmillan Company abridged edition of 1968, with Preface by Rayarama Brahmacary (Raymond Marais), designated as the editor.

The last example was personally approved by Srila Prabhupada. (Please note the quotation from Rayarama’s Preface at the end of this essay). So the precedent is there for Srila Prabhupada’s disciples to acknowledge when their input is integrated into his books, sometimes as editors, sometimes as authors, but always as assistants or subordinates. Because no disciple, no matter how advanced, can be a hidden co-author with Srila Prabhupada. Such equality is not possible.

Presently the Movement continues to be chronicled by a number of parties, especially as more and more information becomes available on the Internet. According to Statcounter.com, a large web traffic analysis company, there are over two and a half billion Internet users worldwide, 70% of whom use the Net everyday, representing a 566% increase from 2000 to 2013. So far, as an author, Srila Prabhupada has personally escaped serious criticism and his reputation remains intact. However, every precaution can be followed to maintain the continuous good reputation of Srila Prabhupada-vani, especially his books. We look forward to the day when Srila Prabhupada will be so famous that people will clamour for his books. No doubt the BBT should have that expectation, as it’s influence and recognition increases as a respected publishing house. Reputation is important. The reputation of the Macmillan Company, both in the US and England and its endorsement of Srila Prabhupada’s BGAII was a major selling point, especially for the BBT Library Party and the college preaching programs.

So it is imperative that any dispute over the authenticity of books published by the BBT or its licensee, Krsna Books, Inc. (KBI), not be in public doubt. One certain way to help the reputation of the BBT as an authentic publishing house, as well as quell some devotee criticism, would be to comply with protocols recognized by the academic community, such as those outlined in the Modern Language Association (MLA) Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing and the Chicago Manual of Style. In this connection, we are again reminded how Srila Prabhupada was always concerned about how his books were to be viewed by the scholarly community. The protocols currently in customary practice, as mentioned herein, are not at all contrary to Srila Prabhupada’s publishing policies. This is demonstrated, for example, by his approval of Rayarama’s credentials as the bona fide editor of the abridged BGAII. Indeed that publication, along with the Preface by Rayarama, was reprinted by the BBT in 2002. This example, as well as the others, suggests that the editors take credit for their work. There is no need to continue the anonymity.

As far as ISKCON members are concerned, the editors are confident that most of them will choose to read the revised edition. The general public deserves the same option; in other words, to be informed that the second edition is a different one from the first. The editors should also be confident that the general public will also prefer a new, revised and enlarged edition. Otherwise, does not continued anonymity imply the editors’ lack of such confidence, leading them to appear surreptitious, like hidden co-authors? Of course, when it comes to Srila Prabhupada’s books, no one has a right to an extensive anonymous editing of a completed manuscript, anymore than Rayarama did when he extensively abridged the original manuscript for publication in 1968.

Unlike the examples herein of disciples finishing something which Srila Prabhupada had started, the 1983 BGAII is a thorough re-editing of a book Srila Prabhupada considered completed during his lifetime. He acknowledged only some errors and no one proposed anything more. Therefore, the editors of the revised 2nd edition are obligated to take credit where credit is due.

Controversies can take on a life of their own and both the 1st and 2nd editions of the BGAII are going on. But there is a difference. The first edition, still in print, clearly states it to be licensed by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and “is a reproduction of the book first published by Collier Books and the Macmillan Company in 1972”. This statement meets the standard protocols. Whereas the 1983 edition is now identified merely as a current printing of a “2nd edition”, without noting it to be revised (or enlarged), yet still includes the 1972 copyright of the 1st edition. There is no mention of the editors who did the revision or that there ever was one. This is not at all standard procedure and should include the normal protocols in the next printing. Besides protocols there are copyright laws also. Compliance will avoid any potential for Srila Prabhupada as an author, or his books to be marginalized, sidelined, or mixed up with categories of mundane books of dubious value.

Afterall, the people in general are the true beneficiaries of this Movement and the preliminary benediction from Srila Prabhupada has been the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, his most widely printed, distributed, reviewed, read and quoted book. And come what may in this hell-bent world — enchanted by electronics and manipulated by corporate cyber-space cadets– fortunately, one needs only some daylight or candlelight to read Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental books!

It won’t be long before Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita will be in the public domain. Well before that happens, we want Srila Prabhupada to be recognized as the only truly authentic authorized translator and commentator. Hare Krsna.

Bhagavad-gita_thanks

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

The definitive english edition of Bhagavad-gita

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By Ajit Krishna Dasa

This is the back cover of the Bhagavad-gita, As It Is (Third printing, 1973)

BG bagside-tiff

Meriam-Webster Dictionary:

1de·fin·i·tive
adjective \di-ˈfi-nə-tiv\

Definition of DEFINITIVE

1 : serving to provide a final solution or to end a situation <a definitive victory>
2 : authoritative and apparently exhaustive <a definitive edition>
3
a : serving to define or specify precisely <definitive laws>
b : serving as a perfect example : quintessential <a definitive bourgeois>
4 : fully differentiated or developed <a definitive organ>

(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/definitive)

Prabhupada:

Prabhupada: He has mistaken in so many ways. (Sanskrit) Just like our… Not Pradyumna. If somebody has boils all over the body, then where it will be operated? Better kill this body. (laughing) So he has got so many boils, this Hegel and Segel, all, because they are speculators. They have no definite knowledge. Speculators cannot have definite knowledge. Therefore our Professor Dimmock has said, “Here is definite definition of Gītā.” What is that? Just see. Then it is so. He has appreciated it. You cannot see, of the…
Devotee: They only put two lines of what he said in there. He says this…
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is his word.
Devotee: Oh.
Prabhupada: Read it all.
Devotee: “Definitive English edition of Bhagavad-gītā. By bringing us a new and living interpretation of the text already known to many, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda has increased our own understanding manyfold.”
Prabhupada: That is a definite, not vague, speculative. That is the difference between my translation and others. Therefore I have given the name “As It Is.” So we will be no spoke or speculation. As soon as you speculate, you are rejected. Therefore others are seeing some danger that “This Bhaktivedanta’s…, this Bhagavad-gita As It Is accepted, then where we are?”

(http://prabhupadabooks.com/classes/philosophy/hayagriva/george_wilhelm_friedrich_hegel – May 1976)

And

Prabhupada: Therefore rascal. (laughter) Therefore rascal. We definitely know Krishna, the origin of everything. That is definite, not “It may be.” We don’t say “Krishna may be.” No. Definitely. Krishnas tu bhagavan svayam [SB 1.3.28]. Here is Bhagavan. Here is God. That is definite. Therefore our professor…
Hamsaduta: Svarupa Damodara?
Prabhupada: No, no. Who has written foreword to my Bhagavad-gita?
Harikesa: Dimmock.
Prabhupada: Dimmock. “Here is definitive…”
Hamsaduta: Version.
Nitai: “Definitive edition.”
Prabhupada: “Definitive edition.” That is the credit. Not “may be.” No “maybe,” sir. That is rascaldom.

(http://prabhupadabooks.com/conversations/1975/nov/morning_walk/new_delhi/november/26/1975)

Prabhupada never asked that his gita be re-edited. On the contrary, in May 1976 Prabhupada still referred to his gita as “the definitive edition” comparing it to other translations of lesser importance. During the four years from 1972 to 1976 he could have changed it if he had wanted to. But he still considered his translations and purports as they appeared at that particular time (May 1976) to serve as the final solution, the end of all editions, the authoritative, the exhaustive, the defining, the precise, the perfect example, the fully differentiated and developed edition of the Bhagavad-gita EVER published in recent times. Nothing indicates that Prabhupada ever changed his mind about this.

But to many devotee’s amazement the BBT International seemed not to agree with Prabhupada! Because in 1983 (six years after Prabhupada’s physical disappearance) the BBT International deleted the foreword by Professor Dimmock wherein he says that Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita, As It Is, 1972 edition, is the “definitive edition“. They also in some (if not all) of their many publications of their changed 1983 edition – deleted the sentence “The definitive english edition of Bhagavad-gita” from the back cover. And they exchanged pictures and paintings and made 5000+ changes, additions and deletions in the translations and purports of the book.

Why?