Confidential E-mails From Ramesvara Leaked (Dec. 2014)

Just recently three confidential e-mails were leaked and posted on facebook. They reveal what Ramesvara Prabhu thinks about the changes made the Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita, the editing policies of the BBTI and they shed light on what happened when the GBC and BBT trustees “reviewed” the 83 Gita. ramesvara1 Below are some quotes that will rock the boat, but please visit the website at the end of this article to see all three e-mails in their entirety and thus get the full picture. Quotes From confidential email no. 1:

“The problem with the “Responsible Publishing” paper is that it is simply not the entire body of instruction, and it‘s critics point out that it is one-sided and obviously leaves out many of Prabhupada’s cautionary instructions against unnecessary change,”

[…]

“That analysis with Dravida Prabhu left me with my deepest concern: if the changes didn’t have substantial merit but were made anyway, then regardless of the justification of “making it better” the door, the “change disease” as Srila Prabhupada called it, had been dangerously opened for anything to happen in the future after we are all long gone.”

[…]

“The Lilamrita interviews I found tell of Srila Prabhupada’s direct instructions regarding the size of the books, the artwork to be kept in the books, etc. – things that have already been changed so many times in the past 20 years, without understanding of Prabhupada’s orders, that it makes the “official” opening of this “change” door more ominous for the future, in ways we can’t even imagine.”

[…]

“…an absolute position has to be reached so that before we die, we know that within the BBT and ISKCON there could never again be one single change, for any reason, ever made to Srila Prabhupada’s books.”

From confidential e-mail no. 2:

“The “Responsible Publishing” (RP) paper has either a significant misleading or a significant historical inaccuracy. There are sites which claim to list more than 5,000 changes. Certainly there were thousands of changes. The RP paper states that every change to the translations was reviewed and approved by the Trustees, leading ISKCON devotees, the CBC, etc. Later the RP cites or implies in its endorsements that all the changes were approved. Of course, NO ONE other than the editors ever saw back in 1981 or 1982 ALL the changes.”

[…]

“I have always admitted that my great failure as a trustee was not carefully reading every proposed change, and instead, relying on the endorsement of Hridayananda and Satsvarupa- along with Jayadvaita.”

[…]

“I know that in talking years ago with others on that committee, that they also admitted performing only a cursory review of the proposed changes,…”

[…]

“No one back then did their job or acted with full responsibility for what they were endorsing. l assure you that NO ONE on that Committee ever even asked to see all the changes, and we would have been astounded to have learned in 1981 or 1982 that there were thousands, maybe more than 5,000 changes. I lazily assumed that the work done on manuscripts as close to the original as possible was the only thing that mattered. I failed to consider all the other Prabhupada instructions, the ramifications for making changes if they didn’t ultimately change the meaning; the effect of changes that in some cases loses the flavor of the Gita we had been studying for 10 years, and most importantly, that breaks the etiquette of changing a Sampradaya Acaraya’s books after His disappearance and opens the “change door” for possible future other changes over the decades and centuries to come. The RP paper implies that the changes were carefully reviewed and approved throughout the leadership of the BBT, GBC and ISKCON. I am certain that by interviewing all the leaders of that time, we would find most guilty of the same mistake that i made. It is true to state that the leaders of ISKCON at the time endorsed the changes. However, it is overtly misleading to state or suggest that the leaders actually performed a careful review. And getting back to the fact that there are thousands of changes, no leader, including the BBT Trustees, was ever shown every single change. No one! That is the sad historical fact…”

From confidential e-mail no. 3:

“I find it embarrassing that on the site BBTEdit.com, in the section about editing posthumously, the only quote to support touching the works of a departed Acarya is that Srila Jiva Goswami was working posthumously on Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. Seriously – how can any living entity compare themselves to Sri Jiva Goswami, or think because he touched the work of Sri Rupa Gosvami, therefore an editor in the lower stages of bhakti, not yet fully situated in the perfected stages of bhava (what to Speak of prema) can touch and change the words of a departed Sampradaya Acarya. Not a good example in my lowly View – it begs the question of What our editors think of themselves and their level of Krsna Consciousness. Oh well…”

Please find all the three e-mails in their entirety here: http://jayasrikrishna.weebly.com (PDF and Word). You can also see and download the e-mails here as PDF and Word.

Response to the author of “No More Cattle Raising on the Planet of the Trees”

Book Change Rebuttal

Response to the author of “No More Cattle Raising on the Planet of the Trees”

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 13.22.21

In the following we will discuss the article “No More Cattle Raising on the Planet of the Trees” that was recently posted on the Dandavats website (http://www.dandavats.com/?p=14403).

The author attempts to prove that Srila Prabhupada instructed his editors to make changes and corrections to his books after his disappearance. In support of his conclusions the author quotes from the “Rascal Editors” conversation and from a mail exchange between Ramesvara Dasa and Tamala Krishna Goswami.

A careful analysis, however, reveals that the author’s conclusions are invalid. He is correct when he says that after the “Rascal Editors” conversation Srila Prabhupada approved that further editing could be performed. This is revealed in the mail exchange between Ramesvara Dasa and Tamala Krishna Goswami (see Appendix 2 in the author’s article). But his conclusions about HOW editing could be continued, and FOR HOW LONG it could be continued are fallacious. He specifically commits three logical fallacies that invalidate his conclusions:

  1. SELECTIVE EVIDENCE/CHERRY PICKING
  2. NON SEQUITUR
  3. TAKING A QUOTE OUT OF CONTEXT/CONTEXTOMY

In order to properly understand Srila Prabhupada’s last instructions on editing (that we know of) we have to take a closer look at the letter Tamala Krishna Goswami wrote Ramesvara Dasa (see Appendix 2 in the author’s article), because a crucial sentence has been left out of the author’s analysis (reproduced here in bold):

“Your suggestion that in the future any mistakes which are found can be reported to Satsvarupa Maharaja, Jayadvaita Prabhu, Radha Ballabha Prabhu, or yourself, and after sufficient investigation and confirmation these mistakes can be rectified is accepted. As we are working on this Fifth Canto planetary system, whatever corrections are required to be made, we will get approved by His Divine Grace and then send them on to you so that the new edition will be free from any of these discrepancies.

[…]

“Although He has certain doubts in regard to the perfectness of our service, He is quite confident that you will do the needful to make any corrections that are required. [handwritten:] I explained the contents of your letter and Satsvarupa’s, and Radhaballabha and He seemed satisfied that things were not being unauthorizedly changed, while at the same time whatever corrections needed to be done were being made.” (Letter to Ramesvara from Tamala Krishna, July 22, 1977)

From these quotes we can understand that Srila Prabhupada did not want any more editing that was not “sufficiently investigated” and “confirmed”. Nothing should be “unauthorizedly changed”. Now, the questions is:

WHO will ultimately confirm and authorize the editing?

We get a hint about whom by looking at the sentence that the author has left out:

“As we are working on this Fifth Canto planetary system, whatever corrections are required to be made, we will get approved by His Divine Grace…”

So it seems the four above mentioned devotees were not just changing the books themselves. They were sending their changes to Srila Prabhupada for final approval. This seems to be the procedure that Tamala Krishna Goswami is talking about.

By leaving the sentence about the edits to the fifth canto out the author commits the fallacy of “selective evidence” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking_(fallacy).

Some might argue that MAYBE the changes to the fifth canto were the only changes that were sent to Srila Prabhupada, and not any other changes. But “maybe” is guesswork. And we do not make changes to the books of the acaryas based on guesswork (maybe, I think, perhaps etc). A principle of caution must be observed in editing Srila Prabhupada’s books. Better safe than sorry!

So contrary to what the author argues we find no evidence in the exchange between Ramesvara Prabhu and Tamala Krishna Goswami to support the conclusion that these four above mentioned devotees could edit without having Srila Prabhupada approve or disapprove all their changes.

The author’s conclusion about posthumous editing simply does not follow from it’s premises, and therefore he also commits the logical fallacy “non sequitur” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_sequitur_(logic)) which cover all arguments in which the conclusion does not follow from the premises.

Another very important point is that neither in the “Rascal Editors” conversation nor in the exchange between Tamala Krishna Goswami and Ramesvara Dasa do we find any information about posthumous editing. They were spoken/written within a context where Srila Prabhupada was around to approve or disapprove the editing work of BBT. The conversation and the letters came into existence because Srila Prabhupada and some of his disciples were dissatisfied with some of the editing work done by the BBT – not because anyone asked Srila Prabhupada about how editing should be done after his disappearance.

The burden of proof is on the devotee who states that we can project, extend or expand the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada on book editing from one context (when he was around) into a completely different context (when he is no longer around). In connection with the book changes no one has been able to lift this burden of proof successfully, and the author’s attempt also fails:

The author argues that since the letter written by Tamala Krishna Goswami states that “in the future” the editing should follow the above mentioned procedure, and since Srila Prabhupada never asked them to stop this procedure, therefore this procedure must still be followed after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. There are several problems with this argument:

  1. The letter was signed by Srila Prabhupada, but was written by Tamala Krishna Goswami. So we cannot know for certain how Srila Prabhupada understood and interpreted the words “in the future”. We cannot even be sure he took special notice of the words.
  1. We humans often use “in the future we should do such and such” in a very unspecified way – and often it is implicit that there is a timeframe involved, or that if certain factors are changed then the procedure must also be changed or stopped. For example, if I tell my wife that “in the future” the procedure is that she should have my breakfast ready at 9:00a.m., then I do not also have to state the obvious fact that if I die today, then she should stop that practice tomorrow. Similarly, based on sastra and Srila Prabhupada’s clear instructions on the arsa-prayoga principle it can be argued that he did not also have to tell his editors that if he leaves his body, then they should stop the editing. At least there is NO PROOF for the contention that the editing should continue.
  1. If one states that the words “in the future” also refers to the time after Srila Prabhupada left his body, then one is clinging to the same faulty reasoning as the ritviks. Ritviks state that the word “henceforward” in the famous July 9th letter (also written by Tamala Krishna Goswami and signed by Srila Prabhupada) should be taken to mean that ritvik initiations should continue after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. But neither the author nor any other ISKON leader will accept that interpretation of the word “henceforward” in the July 9th letter. Thus they have a double standard – i.e. they apply a different set of principles for similar situations. Unless the author wants to fall prey to the same faulty reasoning as the ritviks, he has to admit that there is no proof that “in the future” refers to the time after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance.

Summing this point up:

Nothing seems to suggest that the instructions on book editing given by Srila Prabhupada in the “Rascal Editors” conversation and in the exchange between Ramesvara Dasa and Tamala Krishna Goswami can be extrapolated into a context where Srila Prabhupada is no longer around. So by insisting on this unjustified extrapolation the author is effectively invalidating his own argument by committing the logical fallacy of quoting out of context/contextomy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context).

We do not have one single instruction from Srila Prabhupada where he allows for posthumous editing of his books. However, he actually taught us how to deal with the transcendental mistakes of the acaryas.

First of all he gave philosophical instructions about the dangers of violating the arsa-prayoga principle:

“If one is too big, there is no mistake. Arsa-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, Jaipur 20 January, 1972)

“So unless one is self-realized, there is practically no use writing about Krsna. This transcendental writing does not depend on material education. It depends on the spiritual realization. You’ll find, therefore, in the comments of Bhagavatam by different acaryas, even there are some discrepancies, they are accepted as arsa-prayoga. It should remain as it is.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.23-24, Vrndavana, March 31, 1976)

Prabhupada: This of should be strictly forbidden.
Radha-vallabha: So no corrections. That makes it simple.
Prabhupada: They can divide the synonyms. That’s all.
Radha-vallabha: Synonyms. So even…
Prabhupada: That is his tendency, to correct. That’s very bad. He should not do that.
Radha-vallabha: So I’ll just forget this, then.
Prabhupada: The system is: whatever authority has done, even there is mistake, it should be accepted.
Radha-vallabha: Oh.
Prabhupada: Arsa-prayoga. That is ha… He should not become more learned than the authority. That is very bad habit….

[…]

Prabhupada: Why finish it? Whatever is done is done. No more….
Radha-vallabha: Well, now that this system of no corrections anywhere, that makes it very simple. Then he can’t do anything. I don’t think he wants to, either. It makes it more simple for him. It makes him very uncomfortable.
Prabhupada: No corrections.
(Room Conversation 27 february, 1977)

Srila Prabhupada also taught us by his own practical example. The article “Srila Prabhupada’s Instructions on editing are in his own books” (by Prahlada Nrisimha Dasa) reveals how Srila Prabhupada himself dealt with the transcendental mistakes made by the previous acaryas (he did not change or touch them). Here are two examples from the article:

“In the Caitanya-caritāmṛita, Madhya-līlā 9.358, Srila Prabhupāda cites his spiritual master Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, who points out that in the seventy-fourth verse of this same chapter there is an apparent error made by Kṛṣṇa dāsa, Kavirāja Gosvāmī. Srila Prabhupāda, just to teach us the principle of arsa-prayoga, [please see quotes from Srila Prabhupāda on “arsha-prayoga” at the end of this article] does not touch the words of Kṛṣṇadāsa Kaviraja Goswami, but leaves this apparent error as it is, out of respect for the transcendental book. Even though Srila Prabhupāda’s own spiritual master, the most pure and intimate confidential devotee and associate of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu himself, had clearly pointed out that this is an apparent error and is apparently wrong.

Furthermore in the purport to that seventy-fourth verse, mentioned above, Srila Prabhupada mentions nothing; only at the end of the chapter, after Srila Kṛṣṇadāsa Kaviraja concludes his narration, does Srila Prabhupāda even mention the apparent mistake.

That Caitanya-caritāmṛita, Madhya-līlā 9. 358 purport is cited here for your reference:

“Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura points out that in the seventy-fourth verse of this chapter it is stated that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the temple of Śiyālī-bhairavī, but actually at Śiyālī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the temple of Śrī Bhū-varāha. Near Śiyālī and Cidambaram there is a temple known as Śrī Muṣṇam. In this temple there is a Deity of Śrī Bhū-varāha. In the jurisdiction of Cidambaram there is a district known as southern Arcot. The town of Śiyālī is in that district. There is a temple of Śrī Bhū-varāhadeva nearby, not Bhairavī-devī. This is Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s conclusion.”

This is a very good lesson to make a clear and prominent note of how Srila Prabhupāda, the teacher by example, has chosen to edit (or rather not edit) the words of the spiritual masters or previous acharyas’ writings.”

[…]

“We will cite another place were Srila Prabhupāda left a seeming mistake as it is, even though it may be considered “wrong.”

“Ambikāvana is situated somewhere in the Gujarat province. Ambikāvana is said to be situated on the river Sarasvatī, yet we do not find any Sarasvatī River in the Gujarat province; the only river there is Savarmati. In India, all the big places of pilgrimage are situated on nice rivers like the Ganges, Yamunā, Sarasvatī, Narmadā, Godāvarī, Kāverī, etc. Ambikāvana was situated on the bank of Sarasvatī, and all the cowherd men and Nanda Mahārāja went there.” (KRSNA Book 1970 edition Volume 1 Chapter 33 / Vidyādhara Liberated and the Demon Śaṅkhāsura Killed)

In this quote from Srila Prabhupāda’s original KRSNA book, Prabhupāda mentions that although it says, “Ambikāvana is said to be situated on the river Sarasvatī, yet we do not find any Sarasvatī River in the Gujarat province…” Prabhupāda does not change the text to correct the seeming mistake.” (Prahlada Nrisimha Dasa, Srila Prabhupada’s Instructions on editing are in his own books)

The article has additional examples and many other interesting points in regard to the topic of book changes.

Sastra also confirms that the mistakes of the acaryas should not be corrected:

“Anyone who finds any fault with a devotee’s description of Krishna is a sinner. If a devotee writes a poem, no matter how poorly he does it, it will certainly contain his love for Krishna. A fool says ‘visnaya’ while a scholar knows the correct form is ‘visnave’, but Krishna accepts the sentiment in either case. If anyone sees a fault in this, the fault is his, for Krishna is pleased with anything the pure devotee says. You too describe the Lord with words of love, so what arrogant person would dare criticize anything that you have written?” (Chaitanya Bhagavata 1.11.105-110)

The conclusion is that there is no mention of posthumous editing in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings other than:

1) The clear statements about not changing the works of an acarya (the arsa-prayoga principle).

2) Srila Prabhupada’s own example of not touching the mistakes of the previous acaryas.

3) Sastric injunctions on not to correct the mistakes of the acaryas.

As cited above Tamala Krishna Goswami writes to Ramesvara Dasa:

“Your suggestion that in the future any mistakes which are found can be reported to Satsvarupa Maharaja, Jayadvaita Prabhu, Radha Ballabha Prabhu, or yourself, and after sufficient investigation and confirmation these mistakes can be rectified is accepted.” (Letter to Ramesvara from Tamala Krishna, July 22, 1977)

Besides the obvious problem that none of the changes made post-1977 can be approved by Srila Prabhupada, there is also the problem that HARDLY ANY of the changes made to the Gita have been “sufficiently investigated”. The changes were made by Jayadvaita Swami – more or less alone. And as we see there are many discrepancies in his editing. And most of his changes are directly violating clear instructions from Srila Prabhupada. For example, Srila Prabhupada did not want any needless changes.

“As you know, and as we kept in mind while doing the work, Srila Prabhupada staunchly opposed needless changes.” (Jayadvaita Swami, Letter to Amogha Lila, 1986)

But the Gita (and other books) is filled with thousands of needless changes. Many of these are mentioned in the e-book “No Reply from BBTI” which is easily found by searching the internet.

This e-book shows how the attempted justifications used by the BBTI are very problematic. BBTI usually argue that:

  • We are changing Srila Prabhupada’s books back to what he actually said in his original manuscript.
  • We are making the book “Closer to Prabhupada”.
  • We are only correcting grammar, commas, capitalization etc.
  • We are only correcting the mistakes of previous editors.
  • No unnecessary changes have been made.

But the articles in the e-book documents that the BBTI has needlessly:

  • Deleted many of Srila Prabhupada’s own chosen words and sentences (even those also found in his ”original manuscript”).
  • Added their own words and sentences (which means these words and sentences are also not to be found in the ”original manuscript”).
  • Changed Srila Prabhupada’s own personally typewritten sanskrit translations.
  • Made needless change of syntax (sentence structure).

So even if we – for the sake of argument – accept the conclusion that some changes could be made posthumously (for which there is no evidence), then we would still be in a situation where the BBTI has violated the instructions on how Srila Prabhupada wanted his books edited while he was still around to supervise the work.

All the articles in “No Reply from BBTI” have been sent to Jayadvaita Swami, Dravida Dasa, BBTI and the author of “No More Cattle Raising on the Planet of the Trees”. But so far we have received no replies to the points raised – hence the name “No Reply from BBTI”.

We humbly ask you to read this e-book, and also visit the many different websites made by devotees who are skeptic towards the changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books. The author of this article shall promptly send you links to “No Reply from BBTI” and other relevant websites on your request.

Your servant, Ajit Krishna Dasa

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.

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

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The Change Disease and Windows to the Spiritual Sky

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Skærmbillede 2013-10-11 kl. 10.00.12

44 deleted color plates

By Rupanuga Dasa (originally posted on the Sampradaya Sun)

When Srila Prabhupada signed the final version of the Macmillan contract for his Complete Edition of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is published in 1972, it included certain additions he made in the following section of that contract:

Competitive Material
XII. During the term of this agreement the Author shall not publish or permit the publication of any material written in whole or in part by him that is derived from or competitive to the Work or the rights herein granted without the prior written consent of the publisher. [Then Srila Prabhupada added]: except for Back-to-Godhead Magazine, and any present or future works using the Work as reference, as well as the 48 pages of illustrations for which the Author reserves the right to publish for any purpose he may determine.

Srila Prabhupada made other notations also, including his right as Author to translate into foreign languages if the publisher failed to do so within 18 months. He then signed as the Author. The contract was dated March 6, 1972 and countersigned by the ISKCON representative, “Rupanuga das Adhikary”.

That new Gita was to prove big and heavy and only so many could be crammed into a bookbag, but people were to become immediately attracted to the gorgeous, colorful paintings; besides, where could they find such a book with so many color illustrations, and for how much? It was Srila Prabhupada’s transcendent genius to conceive of such a way to reveal to people the deepest philosophy and the highest truths comprehensible to human beings. No other volume of supposed philosophical content could compare to that Gita, decorated as it was with paintings allowing a view of the Spiritual Sky. Along with Prasadam, those paintings were Srila Prabhupada’s secret weapons.

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Ramesvara Dasa speaks about his 1979 interview

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Ramesvara Prabhu writes about the recently discovered interview with him from 1979-1980 made for the Prabhupada Lilamrta:

Ramesvara-sharp-memory-tiff

And:

ramesvara-editing-facebook-tiff

If Ramesvara Prabhu have not already given the above information to the BBT International we hope he will do so soon. How can we change paintings that Prabhupada personally designed?

Here is the text:

“Hare Krsna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! I was very surprised to discover that the full unedited transcript of my Prabhupada Lilamrita memory interviews in 1979-1980 survived and were discovered during a visit to the Bhaktivedanta Archives in 2012. These recollections were given when my memory of Srila Prabhupada was fresh and sharp. Kindly excuse any deficiencies in this recounting. I beg to remain your aspiring servant, ramesvara dasa” (Facebook update from Robert Grant (Ramesvara Dasa) 09.07.2013)

and…

“Dear Respected Prabhus, Pamho, AGTSP!
The total body of instructions given by Srila Prabhupada about editing his divine books go far beyond these few recollections. I would draw your attention however to Srila Prabhupada’s selection of art paintings published in his books. What many may not know is that His Divine Grace, planned, and in many cases personally designed the paintings in The Krsna Books and the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, even going as far as sometime sending a line drawing sketch of his own to the artists. Under his divine direction, and being empowered by him, devotional artistic abilities were awakened in his artists. Being thus empowered by his order, they produced 63 paintings for the Krsna Books in one year, and more than 50 paintings for Bhagavad Gita As It Is in one year. The full story of Srila Prabhupada creating ISKCON Press and getting this divine production out of literally a handful of surrendered artist disciples is a true miracle, as amazing as any other marathon in ISKCON history! Your aspiring servant, Ramesvara dasa” (Facebook comment from Robert Grant (Ramesvara Dasa) 09.07.2013)

Debate with Jahnu Dasa (editor for BBT International) on the book changes

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The below debate took place on Govinda Dasi’s Facebook profile in May 2013. It is mainly a debate between Jahnu Das aka. Jahnu Dvipa Dasa who is editor for BBT International on one side and Kim Møller, Torben Nielsen and Ajit Krishna Dasa on the other side.

Jahnu Das is from Denmark but now lives in Mayapur where he is engaged in translating BBT International’s 1983-edition of Bhagavad-gita in collaboration with Lalitanath Dasa. Even though informed about all the arguments against the book changes, they are still intent on doing this job dispite the outcry of many Danish devotees who are concerned about the editing of Prabhupada’s already authorized books.

Jahnu Das used to be disciple of Harikesh Swami (who started BBT International and was behind the closing of Prabhupada’s original BBT). After Harikesh Swami’s fall he took reinitiating from Jayapataka Swami.

In the below I have deleted postings unrelated to the debate going on between Jahnu Das, Kim Møller, Torben and myself, Ajit Krishna Dasa. I have also deleted certain elements from Facebook such as “like” buttons, dates etc.

A link to the following article was posted on Govinda Dasi’s Facebook profile: Jayadvaita is Wrong — still he insists on justifying his blunders? (article by Govinda Dasi)

 Jahnu Das Personally, I have infinite more faith in a staunch follower of Srila Prabhupada like Jayadvaita Swami, than those who criticise him…
 Kim Møller That Jahnuji think its oki for Jayadvaita Swami to change Srila Prabhupadas books and still calling him a “staunch follower” can come as no surprice since he must be loyal due to himself translating from these changed books. However there are tons of substantial evidence from both shastra and Srila Prabhupada Himself to the fact, that you can NOT change in Acaryas litterature and forsure Prabhupada never gave any order to continue this change disease forever after His demise. Prabhupada clearly stated that you cant change a singel word, even if there is a mistake, its called “arsha prayoga”
 Jahnu Das Srila Prabhupada personally asked Jayadvaita Swami to edit his books. Maharaja has a web-page, where he thoroughly explains and justifies each and everyone of his corrections and rationally points out the editorial mistakes of the previous versions of Srila Prabhupada’s books. To say that Srila Prabhupada’s books should not be edited at all is just plain dumb and not what Srila Prabhupada instructed his editors to do.
 Kim Møller Prabhupada gave the edit service to several devotees which does not indicate that they must continue to change His book in an on going flow, a few obvious corrections can be accepted, but this massive change is simply out og hand. And to this web-page Jahnu Prabhu mentions, every singel so called justification has step by step been refuted, the claim that Hayagriva didnt consult SP personaly also was refuted since both Hayagrivas own book gave other evidence and also from Brahmananda Prabhu and Govinda Dasi came other evidence and the so called “original manuscript” turned out to be a hoaxy attempt. Jayadvaita Swami him self have admitted that Prabhupada never told him to continue edit and change His books after demise. Lets not forget Prabhupada accepted, loved and preached from His original books, so my humble suggestion is that it is simply plain dumb to think we can do a better job.
 Jahnu Das You mean, ‘the planet of the trees’ being changed back to ‘the planet of the pitrs’ has been refuted? hahaha:)
 Kim Møller That is a minor thing, like i said, a few obvious mistakes can be corrected, but not this on going massive change.
 Jahnu Das So give an example of such massive changes. Lets hear it…
 Kim Møller Why comment on changes when they are forbitten by guru sadhu shastra in the first place, its called ARSHA PRAYOGA you cannot change a single word, even if there is a mistake. So it would be foolish to talk about these changes at all, plain logic.
 Jahnu Das IOW, you don’t know what you are talking about, when you say ‘massive ongoing changes.’
 Jahnu Das IOW, when you say ‘massive ongoing changes’ you don’t know what you are talking about.
 Kim Møller Well its pretty hard to avoid Jahnuji, one must be really blind if that is not obvius
 Jahnu Das I don’t see anything in that link that warrants your statement – massive ongoing changes. Maybe you can help, give us just one example of such massive ongoing changes.
 Jahnu Das The Danish phrase ’empty barrels make the most noise’ comes to mind
 Kim Møller You dont get it Jahnu Prabhu, simply dont change anything because it is an offence to Acarya to do so after His demise, so why talk about the changes at all when it is forbitten (ps. that was not my link  )
 Torben Nielsen Try to at look “Arsha Prayoga“- site in Denmark, Jahnu prabhu. Your own birthcountry. This is so obvious that you have to willfully deny it. Maybe it has to do with the fact that you, Jahnu prabhu, is translating the Gita into Danish from the unauthorized Jayadvaita Swami edition?

 Kim Møller Because of lack of argument no need to be offensive although i agree, im just an empty barrel.

 Jahnu Das In my mind, to accuse JAS of changing the message of Prabhupada’s books, like these critics do, now THAT’s offensive – especially when they cannot give one single example to back up their blitherings.
 Kim Møller You want eksample to the fact that you cannot change Acaryas litterature ???
 Kim Møller No problem!!!
 Jahnu Das I think we have established that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
 Kim Møller You have not established much my dear friend
 Torben Nielsen We invite you, dear Jahnu Prabhu, to come to the site “Arsha Prayog” , in your own language even. You´ll get plenty of evidence there.
 Torben Nielsen But you seem to run away every time you get some opposition.
 Torben Nielsen It is a standing invitation.
 Torben Nielsen Also to Lalitanath prabhu, who is your co-editor.
 Ray Berry Once again Srila Prabhupada speaks about changing the printed words of the Spritual authority;
Raddha-vallabha: Now Jagannātha had some questions on corrections in the book. In verse twenty-eight it says, “Then he worshiped Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the essence of all Vedas, with this hymn.”
Prabhupāda: Where it is? Brahma-saṁhitā?
Rādhā-vallabha: Yes.
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Rādhā-vallabha: So it says, “Then he worshiped Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the essence of all Vedas, with this hymn.”
Prabhupāda: Where it is?
Rādhā-vallabha: It’s verse twenty-eight, “Then he worshiped Śrī Kṛṣṇa.” So Jagannātha said it should be, “Then he worshiped…”
Prabhupāda: No, no. Jagannātha cannot correct. That bad habit he must give up.
Rādhā-vallabha: So we should just leave it exactly.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. You should not be more educated.
Rādhā-vallabha: He wasn’t changing any of the words. He was just…
Prabhupāda: Nothing of the… This of should be strictly forbidden.
Rādhā-vallabha: So no corrections. That makes it simple.
Prabhupāda: They can divide the synonyms. That’s all.
Rādhā-vallabha: Synonyms. So even…
Prabhupāda: That is his tendency, to correct. That’s very bad. He should not do that.
Rādhā-vallabha: So I’ll just forget this, then.
Prabhupāda: The system is: whatever authority has done, even there is mistake, it should be accepted.
Rādhā-vallabha: Oh.
Prabhupāda: Asa-prāya(?) That is ha… He should not become more learned than the authority. That is very bad habit.
Rādhā-vallabha: He was always wondering how he should think. So I’ll tell him that. He thinks, “If I think I see a mistake, what should I think?” I’ll tell him what you just said.
Prabhupāda: He cannot see mistake. He is mistake. (laughter) He should… That is being done by this rascal. I don’t want.
Srila Prabhupada’s Room Conversation — February 27, 1977, Mayapura
 Torben Nielsen Why? It´s spiritual.
 Torben Nielsen It is a standing invitation, Jahnu.
 Torben Nielsen I can hear an echo from that barrel, jahnu, ahnu, ahnu, nu, u, u
 Kris Pawlak Srila Prabhupāda:” The system is: whatever authority has done, even there is mistake, it should be accepted.” that is a great standard, we should treat all these mistakes with respect, but we should still realize them for what they are. Minor mistakes do not detract from the core message.
 Kim Møller Even if transcendental literature is written in faulty language, it is acceptable if it is written by a devotee.Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 8.39
 Kim Møller Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 12.150 – The Cleansing of the Gundica Temple:”This is a matter of etiquette. If a previous acarya has already written about something, there is no need to repeat it for personal sense gratification or to outdo the previous acarya. Unless there is some definite improvement, one should not repeat.”
 Jahnu Das The simple fact remains that Srila Prabhupada requested his disciples to edit his books so they would be presentable to academics and other educated people
 Kim Møller Ehhh “simpel fact” where is this fact?? where is the quote saying; you continue edit my books for academics after my demise ? The books that the academic community was so impressed from, that He was so proud of, that dragged thousands of people to Krishna consciousness, books that are standart teaching material in universities. Before they went to printing he wanted them edited of course and they were (also for academic) by Hayagriva who is academic, in all respect, Jayadvaita Swami is not. Lets not forget the quotation is there saying; Actually i wrote these book for my disciples. However lets see the quote Jahnu Prabhu.
“They’re ruining my books.” — Srila Prabhupada
bookchanges.comThe greatest anxiety Srila Prabhupada has is that after he’s gone we will add things to his books that are bogus, we will take things out that are bona fide, we will make changes in his books and the whole work for 10,000 years, his plan Prabhupada was working on, it will all be spoiled by us becaus…

To Edit or Not To Edit – That Is The Question
bookchanges.comThe 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 oc…
 Kim Møller . Even though such literature is presented in broken language or grammatical inconsistency or rhetorical irregularity, still, those who are saintly persons adore such literature. They hear such literature, and chant it and adore it, simply because the Supreme Lord is being glorified in this literature. In other words, we are not meant for presenting any literary masterpieces, but we have to inform people that there is a fire of maya which is burning the very vitality of all living entities, and they should guard against the indefatigable onslaught of material existence. That should be our motto. (Letter to: Krsna dasa – Los Angeles 13 Feb, 1969)
 Kim Møller I also do not like too much editorial work. This too much editorial work on Geetopanishad has created some misunderstanding between the members of the editorial staff. Anyway, in the future one man should edit it, and that will be sufficient for our printing. And I do not want that Teachings of Lord Chaitanya should be edited again and typed again and time wasted in that way. I have also informed Rayrama of this, and you can also inform him like this. The book should be printed immediately, without any waste of time. That is my desire. (Letter to Satsvarupa, Dec 23, 1967)
 Kim Møller Can it be more clear ??
 Jahnu Das Still, Srila Prabhupada asked his disciples to edit his books so they would be presentable to an ‘educated’ audience. He gave Jayadvaita Swami carte blanche to make any changes he deemed necessary to that end.
 Kim Møller Lets see the quote and take it from there
Jahnu Das I have it personally from Maharaja. Are you calling him a liar?
 Kim Møller Maharaja can say what he want, if we do not have it from Prabhupada it has no value, otherwise anybody can say anything, anyway this is only third hand info and so with out value, we need confirmation from source namely His Divine Grace AC Bhativedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada
 Jahnu Das I begin to understand why you have not received initiation even after your 20+ years of contact with ISKCON  Need I remind you, that everything you know about Prabhupada you know by the mercy of his disciples?
 Ajit Krishna Dasa Yes, either JAS is a liar or all the people who got the opposite instructions are liars. We now have black and white: NO CHANGES!
 Ajit Krishna Dasa Jahnu writes that he has it personally from maharaja! That is not strong evidence at all. Strong evidence are the direct statements by Prabhupada. On top of that we have all the instruction from Ramesvara Prabhu, Govinda Dasi and others who contradict JAS’ statements.
 Jahnu Das That goes for you, too. If it wasn’t for Prabhupada’s disciples we wouldn’t know anything about Krishna, Srila Prabhupada or his books.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa And we do not need to find massive changes. Prabhupada became furious even over very small changes!
 Jahnu Das Still he asked his disciples to edit his books so they would be acceptable by so-called educated people.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa So what? That is not related to this issue!
 Ajit Krishna Dasa I could have gotten something much better if the BBTI hadn’t changed the books! Then I could have made even more progress.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa He never asked them to change AFTER his departure. He asked them not to change anything. We have reference on that – many many references.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa Jahnu, you are talking about initiation – are you initiated? What is the qualification of a guru?
 Kim Møller May i remind Jahnu that everything i know about Krsna i due to Srila Prabhupada and His potencies and as a reminder, Jahnu do not know about my initiation into Gaudia Vaisnavaisem, he is just guessing again *LOL*
 Jahnu Das Do I need to remind you, that if it wasn’t for the diligent work of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, you would never have heard of Krishna, Srila Prabhupada or his books?
 Ajit Krishna Dasa Jahnu, so are ALL Prabhupada disciple correct? Just because they gave us mercy, doe it then follow logically that they must be correct? If yes, then why do they differ on the matter of the book changes? Which Prabhupada disciples should we listen to? Even better that a discussion about that would be for you to put forward som LOGICAL arguments for your case.
 Kim Møller Its all due to Srila Prabhupada, if it wasnt for Him no books no Krsna, but yes some fine disciples assisted him, but thats not the point Jahnuji, stick to the point my dear friend and not divert the topic
 Jahnu Das Actually, I think it is Rupa Goswami who advises us to not take part when there are disagreements between groups of superior Vaishnavas.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa As far as I know: If a disciple lies to his godbrothers by telling them that their diksa-gura elected him to be acarya (a pure devotee mahabhagavata) when that in fact was not the case, then he can not be a guru. In fact by doing this he is revealing he is an offensive kanistha. Now you put 2 and 2 together.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa Jahnu, so why are you taking part? You have been taking part for more than 20 years now. So I guess you are the last one to refer to such a quote by Rupa Goswami. Secondly, you are arguing in circles, since the very topic for this debate includes a discussion about WHETHER OR NOT these editors are actually superior. I say they are not.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa Jahnu is GETTING PAID by the BBT International despite Prabhupada’s clear instructions on the matter:”in 1974 we had , at the Mayapur festival , we had decided that we were going to give Acyutananda Swami some royalty for writing the songbook . And with that royalty he was going to use it to preach in South India which was his preaching field . Prabhupada found out about it and was furious . Just furious . He said , “No one in the BBT gets a royalty , even myself. Why he has written something , he get s a royalty? ” And Prabhupada was so angry over this principle that nobody can take a royalty for himself from the BBT , even if he ‘ s going to use it for Krsna, it doesn’t matter. So on this principle he was very angry and he forced Acyutananda to turn in all the money.” (Ramesvara Dasa)There are more quotes like that.So Jahnu Das has vested interests is promoting Jayadvaita Swami and the book changes. Jahnu is himself translating the unauthorised 1983 edition of the gita into Danish.
 Jahnu Das I never received so much as a penny from the BBT
 Ajit Krishna Dasa Okay, fair enough! I apologize if that is the case. But that is not what I have heard from other Danish devotees.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa The arguments on the website of BBT International have been debunked. The most blatant fault of the BBT International that they think they should go back to first drafts. Of course you never go back the draft without the permission of the author. Especially when you do not know enough about how the author worked personally with an editor to come from the draft to the end product.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa The new interviews with Ramesvara Prabhu ought to be the final nail in the BBT International’s coffin. The debate is over. Admit defeat. Apologize to everyone, especially Prabhupada. And let us work together in a loving spirit to spread Prabhupada’s books, As They Really Are.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa “The first of many experiences I’ve had with Prabhupada literally drilling me , pounding it into my head that you’re never allowed to change anything in his books. He trained me so intensely on this point. Even when the changes make sense he wouldn’t let me change. Just to train me.” (Ramesvara Dasa)
 Kim Møller And from the same text: “Prabhupada just explained how everyone’s a rascal for daring to touch anything in his books. The greatest anxiety he has is that after he’s gone we will add things to his books that are bogus, we will take things out that are bona fide, we will make changes in his books and the whole work for 10,000 years, his plan Prabhupada was working on, it will all be spoiled by us because of our tendency to change. And Prabhupada gave an example that the disease to do things differently is so inherent in the Americans that for the sake of doing things differently we would walk on our hands rather than our feet.”(Ramesvara Dasa, Interview, 1979)
 Kim Møller So here it is again, the thing that we think we can do a better job than Prabhupada for academics is simply bogus. More from Ramesvara Dasa: He (Satsvarup Maharaja)organized world-wide l ibrary distribution onevery continent and he changed the whole face of our movement . He single-handedly , this party gained unlimited respect for our movement, tremendous support and recognition from the leading scholars and theologians in the world , the leading universities in the world, and our movement was overnight practically recognized as bona fide . The relationships with the professon became one of our most valuable assets . It was just the momentum from this initial start just flooded America and Europe and India . There ‘ s no way to describe the joy that Prabhupada derived . He made a special note of it at the end
of his Caitanya-caritamrtas in the concluding words that he wrote , at the end of the Antya . S when it was finished . In the last paragraph he expres ses his deepest thanks and gratitude to the scholars of the world who are reading his books and appreciating them . So there ‘ s just so much pleasure that we saw Prabhupada deriving from the book distribution up to this point and now simultaneous with the on-going development of the regular book distribution and the spreading of it to other zones was now this new Library Party . So all of these things were just filling Prabhupada with so much happiness and his
disciples were hearing of this ecstasy , getting letters from him, and knowing that this was the most dearest thing to their spiritual master spurred them on to unbelievable sacrifices.
 Ajit Krishna Dasa 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 Dasa, Interview, 1979)
bookchanges.com
Soon after the intense marathon for completing the publication of Caitanya Caritamrita, Radhaballabha prabhu approached Srila Prabhupada and mentioned that the artists are now completing the paintings in preparation for the second printing. To this, Srila Prabhupada replied “NO changes”.

Without explaining why Jahnu Das left the debate at this point.