Govinda Dasi replies: the REAL ISSUE regarding the book changes

Help us by “liking” and “sharing” this post!

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

govinda-dasi

Dear Prabhus,

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

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

But this is NOT THE REAL ISSUE AT ALL.

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

AGAIN, THIS ALSO IS NOT THE REAL ISSUE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your servant and sister,

Govinda dasi

Debate with Brahmananda Das (ACBSP) about the book changes

Help us by “liking” and “sharing” this post!
Srila-Prabhupada-speaks-to-Brahmananda-on-Juhu-Beach-Bombay-290x166
Prabhupada speaks with Brahmananda
—–
The following exchange between Brahmananda Das (ACBSP) and myself took place on the Facebook profile of Palaka Dasa. I have deleted comments not related to the specific exchange between Brahmananda Prabhu and myself.

In ’72 Gita in every Text for the Sanskrit words “sri bhagavan uvaca” the Synonym is “The Supreme Personality of Godhead Said” but the Translation is “The Blessed Lord Said.” Why are the Synonym and the Translation for the same Sanskrit completely different? I think I know the answer to this but does Palaka Dasa and Ajit Krishna Dasa know?

Dear Brahmananda Prabhu! Dandavat pranam! Jaya Srila Prabhupada!

The ultimate reason it is there is because Prabhupada approved it. He and Hayagriva worked on the BG before it was printed in 68. After that Prabhupada gave lectures from it and read it. And in a conversation he approved that the verses as they were in the 68 edition could be used for the 72 edition also.Another thing is that Prabhupada would often give one word in the word-for-word and another in the translation. That is often seen in his books. That is his prerogative as author. And it gives us the possibility to see both words.

All for now,
Your humble servant,
Ajit Krishna Dasa

Here is the place where Prabhupada approves of the verses from the 68 edition being used also for the 72 edition.

Prabhupada had all the chances in the world to change “The blessed Lord” to “The Supreme Personality of Godhead”, but he didn’t. Then on what authority can we change it?

Hayagriva: I would like to see that in going over mine. I’ll have to go over it chapter by chapter. But I will compare the version I have with that version, and… I know the translations themselves, they were somewhat changed in Bhagavad-gītā As It Is as it came out in Macmillan. Did you like those translations?
Prabhupāda: Whichever is better, you think. That’s all. You can follow this Macmillan.
Hayagrīva: That was the second… They’re good. I think they’re very good.
Prabhupāda: Yes. You can follow that translation. Simply synonyms he can add, transliterations.
Hayagrīva: And we have all the purports. We can include everything. Nothing will be deleted. Everything will be in there.
Prabhupāda: That’s all right.
(Discussion with BTG Staff, December 24, 1969, Boston)

 Brahmananda Das

BTW it was not Hayagriva who was the main editor of BG; it was Rayarama, who edited BG for two periods of time. I personally took the ms. away from H. and gave it to R. on SP’s order when H. went into maya. Till this day I still recall H.’s brutal words against SP when he wanted to crack our faith in SP. “The incident of Kirtanananda and Hayagriva chapter may now be closed. We shall always pray to Krishna for their recovery and we should not seriously take their counter propaganda. I am sure they will flap for some time without any effect on our Krishna Consciousness, service. Let us go ahead with our work and everything will be all right. Most important thing at present is to deal with MacMillan Co. Regarding editing of my books it was rightly entrusted to you from the very beginning but Kirtanananda wanted that the editing should be done by Hayagriva. But I understand from your version that in some places of Gita Upanisad he (Hayagriva) has followed Swami Nikilananda who is quite unaware of Krishna Consciousness. By their present behavior it appears that Hayagriva belongs to the same feather and Krishna has saved His Gita Upanisad by transferring the whole thing into your hands. Now please do your best and hand it over to MacMillan Co. for necessary action.” SPL to Rayarama 67/11/15

 Ajit Krishna Dasa

Dear Brahmananda Prabhu! Thanks for your answer.

I think the real question is not who was the main editor behind Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is or what the editors said or did. The main thing is Prabhupada’s relationship to his Bhagavad-gita As It Is. We find no information, as far as I can judge, in your statements or quotes that can be used as sufficient or necessary evidence to support any posthumous changes in Prabhupada’s books. It would be nice if you could point out precisely what you think is the necessary or sufficient evidence, so that we can all see and evaluate it. You said in your first comment that you had some special knowledge about how “The Blessed Lord” came to be in the translations. Maybe you can tell us about it?

Your humble servant,
Ajit Krishna Dasa

End of exchange

A Letter on Book Changes

Help us by “liking” and “sharing” this post!

govinda-dasi

By Govinda Dasi (ACBSP)

Srila Prabhupada often said “Krishna has written these books.” So tell me, how can a conditioned soul improve on what Krishna has said or written??

Dear Yashoda Dulal Prabhu,

Pamho. Yes, the BBT always gives that one worn-out example of cattle, and of course the other one, planet of the trees. Yes, those are typos, mistakes. They fail to mention the other four thousand and nine hundred and ninety eight changes they made!

And had these two errors been corrected, along with any misspelled words, etc. there would have been no cause for alarm–or for a million dollar lawsuit with bbt defending the edited version–one which they lost in the courts. That court case is the only reason that now the world has an option to read Prabhupada’s original words. But the 5000 changes that were made, and changing the “writer’s voice” was unwarranted and factually criminal.

In a meeting at Honolulu temple some years back, Jayadvaita M. actually stated, “Oh, those (original) books were horrible!” Those “horrible” original books, filled with Srila Prabhupada’s divine mercy, made thousands of devotees in the ’70s. More books were distributed then than now.

It seems you believe the propaganda that Hayagriva was never around Prabhupada much, and there were many editors etc. What can I say? This is simply not true. I knew Hayagriva from the time I joined Prabhupada in San Francisco, January of 1967. Hayagriva was there, and was already editing the Gita, and spending hours every day with Srila Prabhupada going over every verse!

And later, just before the first Gita was printed, in late 1968, Hayagriva LIVED with us in Los Angeles. (I was Prabhupada’s secretary for the whole year of 1968 and part of 1969) Daily they would spend hours in Prabhupada’s room, going over every inch of the final edits. I am an eye witness to this.

At this time, I even did the cover drawing for the first MacMillan Gita (the purple one) with Prabhupada guiding me, literally over my shoulder, watching the drawing develop. The purple Gita cut out a lot of that meticulous work done by Srila Prabhupada and Hayagriva; Macmillan wanted to save money, to make it smaller. So they greatly edited Prabhupada’s manuscript, and he was unhappy with it, but accepted it as “a blind uncle.”

But at his first opportunity, he printed his manuscript in total, the Original Gita, the one with Jadurany’s reddish battlefield painting on the cover. Srila Prabhupada was extremely happy with that Gita–he finally got his carefully nurtured manuscript into print! He was overjoyed!

The “Edited Edition”, with the blue battlefield cover, done by Parikshit das, with Krishna carrying a whip rather than his Panchajanya (conch) as directed by Srila Prabhupada, was done AFTER Srila Prabhupada’s departure from this world. Both the editing and the cover were done after his departure, yet they inserted his preface and signature of 1971–as if, with 5000 changes, it was the same book! How unethical!

Most of Prabhupada’s disciples did not even know this editing mischief was going on; they were grieving the loss of Srila Prabhupada from this world. Only later, when the dust had settled, did many of us learn of this travesty.

So I really do know what happened in those days. I even met with MacMillan in New York prior to the printing.

Jayadvaita M. had not even become a devotee in early 1967, so how would he know?? He says many things that are not in keeping with what really happened, since he was not there; perhaps he is relying on hearsay, I don’t know. Neither was Jayadvaita M. in Los Angeles in late 1968 when Hayagriva lived with us for weeks on end, completing the editing work.

Most of what the bbt says in this regard is based on fairy tales, hearsay, and perhaps some personal ambition as well. I do not know how they can skew things in this way and still sleep at night.

But what I do know is that Srila Prabhupada wanted NO FURTHER CHANGES TO HIS BOOKS. HE EXPRESSED THIS ON MANY OCCASIONS. A little research can easily prove this point.

Arsha Prayoga Part II

Help us by “liking” and “sharing” this post!

srila-prabhupada-reading-his-own-books

By Locanananda Dasa (originally posted on his blog)

Srila Prabhupada’s desire was to see his books translated into all of the major languages of the world. By 1970, numerous centers had opened in countries outside of the United States and translation work had begun in Germany, France, Canada, South America and Japan. When the German devotees undertook the translation of the Srimad Bhagavatam, they discovered what they thought were grammatical discrepancies in the original English. The translators reasoned that if their spiritual master could publish his books with flaws included, then their own translation work could also contain mistakes and no harm would be done. In a very strongly-worded letter, Srila Prabhupada chastised his disciples for thinking they could imitate their spiritual master and explained that to avoid this offense, they must follow the principle of arsha prayoga.

One should not see mistakes in the books written by his spiritual master, nor should one think he is able take the same liberties taken by him. His Divine Grace warned his disciples that only if they were able to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world as he had done could discrepancies in their translation work be overlooked, otherwise not.

“So far your telling me that some devotees consider that because there may be some grammatical discrepancies in my Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto, then they may also be allowed to translate with errors accepted, that is just like imitating Raslila. When you do all other things like Krishna, then you can do Raslila. So if these other writers can do like me and spread Krishna consciousness all over the world by becoming big Vedic scholars, then they can do.

“If one is too big, there is no mistake. Arsha prayoga means there may be discrepancies but it is all right. Just like Shakespeare, sometimes there are odd usages of language, but he is accepted as authority. I have explained all these things in my preface to First Canto.” (Letter to Mandali Bhadra dated 1-20-72 )

Srila Prabhupada wrote, “If one is too big, there is no mistake,” so when the BBT [Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.—not the authentic Bhaktivedanta Book Trust established by Srila Prabhupada] decided that his books were full of mistakes and had to be re-edited, they made Srila Prabhupada look very small, and that is their great offense.

Sometimes, the editors try to justify their actions by claiming that scholars would have found fault in our books had they not been revised. The many, many letters Srila Prabhupada received from world-renowned scholars that glorified his phenomenal literary output contradict this false propaganda. The academic community was astounded by the magnitude of his undertaking and showed its appreciation for the exactness with which he translated and the profound devotion he expressed in his Bhaktivedanta purports. We have chosen one such letter which exemplifies to what extent Srila Prabhupada’s extraordinary efforts were acknowledged by the educated class of men. We advise the reader to keep in mind that these comments refer to the original BBT printing of his books.

Excerpted from a letter written by Sri R. Subrahmanyam, M.A., Deputy Research Director of the National Parliament of the Central Government of India:

“To teach this science of God to people everywhere and to aid them in their progress and development towards the real goal of life, Srimad Bhagavatam is most eminently fitted. In fact, this great ancient work of Vyasa will fill this need of the modern times, for it is a cultural presentation for the re-spiritualization of the entire human society. His Divine Grace, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of the ISKCON movement, has taken upon himself, in addition to his ceaseless travels and other multifarious activities in the service of the Lord, the stupendous task of translating this Sanskrit work into English in about sixty volumes for the welfare and happiness of mankind.

“So far, eighteen volumes of this most beautiful literature on God have been brought out by ISKCON, and the rest are under preparation. Needless to say that in keeping with the excellence of their other publications, the publishers have seen to it that the printing, get-up, and pictures in these volumes are also of the highest quality, as though to serve as an ornament to the divine contents of the books.

“This is a rare opportunity for people and leaders of every country, race and community in the world to know and understand the glorious science of God and work for their perfection.”

We challenge the BBT managers and their editors to produce a single letter from any recognized scholar agreeing with them that Srila Prabhupada’s original books were full of mistakes and had to be revised for his message to be properly understood. Since their purpose in making these revisions was to impress scholars, we hereby challenge them to come forward and produce evidence that there are indeed scholars who approve of the thousands of changes they made to Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Another argument presented to support the BBT’s questionable editorial policy was that their editors, by dint of their many additional years of experience, had become more qualified than Srila Prabhupada’s earlier staff of editors, and this had supposedly earned them the right to review all of the books after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance and make whatever changes they thought were necessary. In the late 1960′s, Hayagriva had similarly offered to redo some of Rayarama’s editorial work, thinking himself more academically qualified than his godbrother, but Srila Prabhupada did not approve of his proposal. Although Hayagriva was an accomplished professor of English at Ohio State University, contrary to his opinion (and that of today’s BBT managers), Srila Prabhupada affirmed that academic credentials are not the primary qualification to edit transcendental literature. In his reply to Hayagriva, he wrote:

“Rayarama may not be as qualified as you are, but his one qualification that he is fully surrendered to Krishna and his spiritual master is the first class recommendation for his editing any one of our literatures, because editing of Vedic literatures not depend on academic education.” (Letter to Hayagriva dated 1-15-68 )

It is evident from his letter that Srila Prabhupada considered his early editors to be fully competent because they were depending upon Krishna and the spiritual master to give them the ability to perform their service. His Divine Grace was very satisfied with the quality of their work and, to show his appreciation, he later wrote to Hayagriva, “I want your company always for editing my writings very nicely.” As far as we have been able to ascertain, he never contemplated having anyone redo the work of his editors.

It is also a fact that Srila Prabhupada’s involvement in the preparation of his books went far beyond his original dictation, although the BBT’s propaganda would lead one to believe that his participation ended there. The truth is that in order to guarantee a very high standard of presentation, Srila Prabhupada personally supervised all proofreading and editorial work and did not allow any significant changes to be made in the text of his books without his approval. It is customary that once a writer accepts an edited draft of his book, it immediately supersedes an unedited draft. When the BBT editors decided to work again from Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscripts, they were, in effect, rejecting the proofreading and editorial work that Srila Prabhupada himself had overseen. This is not how one shows appreciation for the spiritual master’s endeavor to publish his books, or for the service offered to him by others.

BBT(I) MYTH: Hayagriva’s memory failed him

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

Did Hayagriva Prabhu’s memory fail him when he said that he was working closely with Srila Prabhupada in the spring of 1967?

Fra Hayagriva Dasa’s The Hare Krishna Explosion:

“Daily, I consult him [Prabhupada] to make certain that the translation of each verse precisely coincides with the meaning he wants to relate.”

The_Hare_Krishna_Explosion-cover

On BBT International’s website it is stated:

“Hayagriva does speak of consulting Srila Prabhupada “daily” throughout the spring of ’67. But Hayagriva’s memory must have been tricking him: In the time he speaks of, he was in San Francisco, Srila Prabhupada in New York.“

How did Jayadvaita Swami reach this particular conclusion? No matter how I analyze the situation, I reach the conclusion that Hayagriva’s explanation holds true.  I could be wrong, so if anyone has some input, I am all ears.

Let’s look at history :

We know that Prabhupada was in San Fransisco where Hayagriva was also from 19th of January 1967 until April 9th 1967. This can be seen by looking at Prabhupada’s letters. Hayagriva wrote in his book The Hare Krishna Explosion that Prabhupada arrived in San Francisco the 19th of January 1967, and that is also precisely the day when the first letter from Prabhupada is sent from San Fransisco. Hayagriva also wrote that Prabhupada took off from San Francisco April 9th, and the last letter Prabhupada sent from San Fransisco is sent 7th of April. The first letter he sent from New York, where he left to from San Fransisco, was sent 10th of April.

Regarding spring, a short search on the internet shows that spring in San Francisco lies in the months of March, April and May. From Hayagriva’s book we know that the period in which he was very busy editing the Bhagavad-gita As It Is under Prabhupada’s personal supervision, and where he consults Prabhupada daily about the verses to ensure that they accurately convey what Prabhupada wants, took place between March 1st and March 21st 1967.

So there are no inconsistencies in Hayagriva’s memory when he says that he and Prabhupada cooperated in the spring of 1967. Nor is there anything at all hindering that this cooperation took place throughout the complete period of time when Prabhupada was in San Fransisco which is 82 days. Taking Prabhupada’s eagerness to send the Bhagavad-gita As It Is to the press, it would not at all be unimaginable that he was very involved in the editing of the book in these 82 days. Actually, who can believe anything else? One can do a lot of work in 82 days. Especially when you only need 2-4 hours of sleep every night.

Who knows the details of what was going on there? No one really knows the precise extend to which Prabhupada was involved in the process of editing. But in one period he was, according to his cheif editor Hayagriva Dasa, daily consulted with nearly every verse to make certain that the translation precisely coincided with the meaning he wanted to relate. Therefore the thousands of changes done by the BBT International to the verses and purports of the 1972 edition are for the most part based only on guesswork.

This is clearly an unsafe, irresponsible and unacceptable editing protocol.

If my calculation are correct – and I think they are – then the BBT International and Jayadvaita Swami ought to either correct or remove their mistaken calculation from their respective websites. If I am wrong, then I would like to see my calculation countered by another analysis done by the BBT International and/or Jayadvaita Swami.

Will they do any of these things? Or will they just let their analysis stay on their websites, even if they are wrong? Time will tell.

Lord Ramacandra removed from Bhagavad-gita, As It Is (10.31 purport)

Help us by “liking” and “sharing” this post!

This article was sent to the BBT International the 17th Oct. 2013. We asked them to comment on the points raised. So far we have not received any reply.

By Ajit Krishna Dasa
rama-nama

Changes have been made to the purport of verse 10.31 in Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita:

Here is a complete comparison of BG. 10.31 in Prabhupada’s 1972-edition and BBT International’s 1983 edition:

Continue reading

To Edit or Not To Edit – That Is The Question

Help us by “liking” and “sharing” this post!

By Govinda Dasi (ACBSP)

govinda-dasi-sp

Govinda Dasi & Srila Prabhupada

The book editing issue is a very serious one, perhaps the most serious issue in ISKCON today. I have seen the attractive and seemingly authentic website promoting these changes, but most of it is propaganda, a lot of it based on speculation of what took place. It is most unfortunate that this has occurred, as it endangers everything Srila Prabhupada came to this world to do. He came from Krishna Loka “to write some books.”

So many times, Prabhupada said, referring to his books, “NO Changes!” “Don’t change anything!” but this instruction, given repeatedly, has been glossed over by so many elaborate, and often untruthful, explanations and excuses.

The very real danger is that his books could be lost in time, as some changes lead to more changes, and “tinkering” with editing is the disease of the American nature. Prabhupada complained of this “Westerner disease” often, and there is ample evidence that he did not want his books changed after he left this world.

Posthumous editing is not respected by the scholarly community (see Dr. John Trimble, famous for his Writing with Style) nor is it respected or approved of by the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. The opinions of such famous Western scholars as Dr. Trimble, and the opinions of famous Gaudiya scholars, have not been included in this BBT-edit website — because they are NOT favorable. So the reasoning for doing this massive edit is flawed, i.e. “to make the books more acceptable to scholars…”

Continue reading