Prabhupada on Brahma-Samhita: It should be left as is!

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Sri_Brahma-Samhita-cover

In Brahma Samhita by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Introduction, page xvi (page 7 in the PDF):

“…As per Srila Prabhupada’s instructions regarding the publication of this volume, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s somewhat technical and sometimes difficult prose has been left intact and virtually untouched. Fearing that any editorial (grammatical and stylistic) tampering with Bhaktisiddhanta’s text might result in inadvertant changes in meaning, Prabhupada asked that it be left as is, and the editors of this volume have complied with his wishes…”

Ramesvara Prabhu remembers regarding that same publication og Brahma Samhita:

“What about the incorrect grammar? “Prabhupada’s reply, “You cannot change one comma, not even a comma, not even a punctuation mark, that is the etiquette.” So that was just another one of those super heavy instructions that the etiquette in dealing with a great acarya’s books is that whatever he has done it’s eternal and it can never be changed. And I believe that all of this was part of Prabhupada’s training us . He wanted to train people who would be entrusted with his books.” (Ramesvara, Interview 1979)

The Brahma-Samhita was published with only very slight editing done:

  • Typographical errors was corrected.
  • Capitalization was standardized.
  • Sanskrit terms in devanagari script appearing within the English text was transliterated.
  • Already transliterated terms have been adjusted to international standards.
  • The original devanagari text was added for each verse. It was followed by roman transliteration, and then by a word-for-word translation into English (none of these appeared in the original edition).

This very limited editing of Brahma-Samhita were made under the instructions of our Sampradaya-Acarya, Srila Prabhupada, who is a pure unalloyed devotee of the Lord. No mistakes and no offenses would be made as long as he supervised and approved the work. In addition, the editors were honest and wrote in the introduction precisely what they did to the original work. The BBT International should also be honest by letting the readers know what they did to Prabhupada Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Something like this ought to be written:

Despite the fact that Srila Prabhupada educated us in the vedic principle of arsa-prayoga that state that the words of the acarya should not be corrected, we, the editor’s, have made extensive posthumous changes and corrections to Prabhupada’s personally typewritten sanskrit translations. We have also added completely new words, sentences and paragraphs and made re-arrangement of words and sentences. Original paintings and pictures have been removed and exchanged with new ones. We have also removed the foreword and changed the cover. All editing is done without the approval of the author. We can’t guarantee that our editing is free from mistakes, or that the author would be pleased with the editing.

Time for honesty from the BBT International

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Text by Bhajahari and Palaka Prabhus

If the present editors of the BBT(I) insist on continuing their unauthorised revisions of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is – they should at least make it clear that what they are now publishing is NOT the original.

Simple honesty would be good.

Don’t you think?

1485908_574307139305587_32311085_o

This is really how the BBT(I) editors should do their gita cover with regard to full disclosure so the buyer is fully aware it is a revised edition they are looking at.

See Rupanuga Prabhu’s article on this specific subject matter of EDITING PROTOCOL.

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

New video with Ramesvara Prabhu from “Prabhupada Memories” about the book changes

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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

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

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By Rupanuga das, ACBSP

rupanuga

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

E-mail exchange between Jayadvaita Swami and Ajit Krishna Dasa (Part 2)

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JSportraitJayadvaita Swami

What follows is a continuation of an e-mail exchange between me, Ajit Krishna Dasa, and Jayadvaita Swami (Part 1 can be accessed here).

Jayadvaita Swami answered my e-mail in the following way (29th October 2013):

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

[Ajit Krishna Dasa:] What other topic ought to be prioritized higher than this?

[Jayadvaita Swami:] For you, from what I hear: Following the four regulative principles.

From what I understand, you are living with a woman to whom you are not married. Since the laws for the next ten thousand years so deeply concern you, you might want to start with the first four.

Bye.

My reply to Jayadvaita Swami (6th November 2013):

Dear Jayadvaita Swami! Dandavat pranam! Jaya Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my e-mail despite your kartik vows to focus more on chanting and reading.

The topic we exchanged about was the changes made to Prabhupada’s books, and you said you were busy. So even though I am happy to receive your reply I am surprised to see that you are prioritizing the topic of my marital status higher than answering the questions regarding the changes made to Prabhupada’s books. In your reply you didn’t mention anything at all about the changes made to Prabhupada’s books.

You once wrote an introductory manual to debate and argumentation called “Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking“. Over the years you have given seminars from this book, and it has been used at the Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education. A seminar can be downloaded from your personal website.

stss-jas-vihe-title

The topic for the first section of “Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking” is “Arguments”. Among other things you here mention different types of fallacies. One of them is called “Topic Switching”. You write:

Topic Switching

Also known as Diversion, Changing the Subject, and Red Herring.

[…]

Avoiding the question: Your opposer says something which does not answer the question he was asked.

[…]

REMEDY:

Refuse to be diverted. Restate the original topic and stick to it.”

(Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking, p. 10)

You have not answered the questions regarding the book changes, but have instead switched the topic to my personal marital status. According to your own manual I should refuse to let you divert me and instead restate the original topic:

The changes made to Prabhupada’s books!

In addition, switching the topic from the changes made to Prabhupada’s books to speaking negatively about my personal marital status is a specific type of “Topic Switching”, namely “Argumentum ad hominem” also called “character assassination”, “poisoning the well” or “Give the dog a bad name and hang it”. You mention this type of fallacy on page 17 in your manual:

Argumentum ad hominem

”attack on the person”

Instead of addressing the argument, one tries to discredit the person who made it.

This form of argument is famous as “the refuge of the scoundrels”.

It may involve innuendo or direct name-calling.

[…]

It can be a powerful device before a sympathetic audience.

[…]

REMEMBER: Knocking the person does not knock out the argument.

(Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking, p. 17-18)

You mention five ways to deal with the attack. Out of the five I have chosen:

3. Point out what is going on–your opponent is stooping to name-calling.

4. Demand the person give evidence to back up his personal attacks and show that they are relevant.

5. Accept the pejorative label & then demand that your opponent address himself to the real argument.

(Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking, p. 17-18)

Regarding the fourth and fifth option I have the following comments:

It is a fact that I am living with a woman, Bhaktin Anna, to whom I am not yet married [we got married (civil marraige) 22nd Nov. 2013]. We do follow the regulative principles, and do not engage in illicit sex unless you want to use the hyper-strict definition that also includes living together as engaged, but without physical intimacy. If you are not referring to this hyper-strict definition, then you lack the evidence to back up your accusation that we don’t follow the four regulative principles.

Anna and I are looking for a qualified, pure brahmana to perform the Vedic marriage ceremony. In our understanding being pure includes being loyal to Prabhupada’s teachings/his original books. We are actually in the process of arranging a stay on Hawaii, because we know some of your godbrothers there whom we consider very loyal disciples of Srila Prabhupada. They are dedicated to printing and distributing his original books. We hope to have the fire sacrifice done there [That plan did not work out so far].

The Danish yatra is small, and the propaganda for the BBT International’s book changes has been extensive for decades. Therefore, even though things are now gradually changing, to find a person who has both the overall purity, the skills to perform the fire sacrifice and the loyalty to the original books is difficult. So for now Anna and I have to settle with just wearing engagement rings on our fingers and are planning to have a civil marriage, because finding a bona fide brahmana is so difficult.

I do value any advice regarding my marital status, if it comes from a true well-wisher. However, I sense you’re raising the topic for some other reason! And since the topic of my marital status has no logical connection to the truthvalue of my conclusions about the changes you have made to Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is (and other books) I humbly beg you to follow the guidelines regarding arguments and fallacies that you yourself teach devotees through your Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking manual and seminars.

Strong speaking will not suffice when it comes to the topic of the changes made to Prabhupada’s books. We are thousands of devotees eagerly awaiting your promised answers flavored with some straight thinking– and directly related to the points I raised in my blogposts and the e-mails I have sent to you.

I beg to remain your servant,

Ajit Krishna Dasa

BBT International does not follow the correct editing protocol for posthumous editing (Govinda Dasi)

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govinda-dasiGovinda Dasi

I think the primary issue at hand is the posthumous editing protocol that has NOT been followed by the BBTI.

Yes, many devotees agree that no editing should have been done, other than the very few things mentioned by His Divine Grace (like the cattle raising and trees).  But most devotees think the thousands of changes are unwarranted.

Yet, there are others who find the edited Gita more to their liking.  And they prefer to read and distribute this Gita.

So now both are available from the BBT.  And devotees can choose which they prefer, or better yet, buy both and compare them.

But the REAL ISSUE here needs to be addressed.

That is: the correct protocol for posthumous editing MUST BE INTRODUCED by the BBT in order for Srila Prabhupada’s books to be considered authentic.

At the present time, the edited books are not authentic or true copies of the originals.  Without dating the editions, numbering them, and placing the editors’ names on the cover and/or title page, the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, so-called Srila Prabhupada’s Gita, is now considered by the academic community to be a non-authentic replica, not true to the original writings of His Divine Grace.

In other words, what is being pawned off as “Srila Prabhupada’s works” is really not authentic, and therefore is not respected by the world of scholars. It is seen as an undated edition, a conglomeration not to be trusted or considered worthy of study or scholarly examination.

When a book is posthumously edited, and changes comprise more than a certain percentage of the text, certain protocol must be followed in order for the book to be considered a genuine work of the author.  This has not been done by BBT.

Academic acceptance was quite important to Srila Prabhupada; there is much evidence of this.  He was quite eager to receive scholarly reviews for his writings, and to publish them in his books.

However, the academic reviews that are printed in the “new edition”, the posthumous edition, were in fact written and intended for the original edition, published while Srila Prabhupada was present.  The BBT has simply tacked these reviews onto the edited Gita, as if they were written for it–when in fact, these scholars never saw the posthumous edition.  This is not only unprofessional, but it is unethical.  This greatly compromises the status of Srila Prabhupada’s works.

This is an issue we should all be concerned about.  This is the issue that needs to be corrected by the BBT.

The correction is quite simple.  There are many websites devoted to such correct protocol.  Simply including the editors names, the date of editing, and the number of the edition will go a long way in correcting this glaring anomaly.  The BBT should take action on this as soon as possible, before scholarly reviews expressing this very fact become public.

Thank you for your time and concern,

Govinda dasi, ACBSP
HareKrishnaHawaii.com

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

“Phalanx” in Bg. 1.2 and Bg. 1.11 (Jayadvaita Swami’s double standard)

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Back-To-Godhead-Jayadvaita-Swami

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.

Regarding the word “Phalanx” in Bg. 1.2 Jayadvaita Swami writes on the BBT International’s website:

“In the old edition, the idea of a specific military formation (vyudham) is omitted.”

So we see that Jayadvaita Swami feels free to not only override Prabhupada’s editorial decisions regarding Bg. 1.2, namely to omit “military phalanx”, but also to unnecesarrily add the word “formation” instead of “phalanx” (Prabhupada often used the word phalanx. We find it many times in books like Bhagavad-gita, Krishna Book, Nectar of Devotion, Caitanya Caritamrta, and also in lectures, conversations, earlier essays and poems).

Jayadvaita Swami continues:

“In the new edition, I revised “phalanx” to “military formation” because a phalanx (originally) is a particular type of formation peculiar to ancient Greek warfare. Greek columns on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra didn’t seem right. Hence the revision.”

Then why did Jayadvaita Swami not remove the word “phalanx” from Bg. 1.11?

“All of you must now give full support to Grandfather Bhisma, as you stand at your respective strategic points of entrance into the phalanx of the army.” (Bg, 1.11, BBT International 1983 edition)

“Phalanx” is also found in the purports to Bg. 1.3 and Bg. 1.11 in BBT International’s 1983 edition.

Something doesn’t make sense!

In retrospect: “Phalanx” has come to refer to any military formation, so perhaps I should have been less picky. But at any rate, the new translation gets in the idea that the old one left out.”

So will Jayadvaita Swami again add the word phalanx to Bg. 1.2? Or will he remove it from Bg. 1.11 and add “formation”? Changing back and forth – again and again and again…ad infinitum?

Is that what Prabhupada expected from his editors? Is this how the world comes to respect Prabhupada’s books and ISKCON?