The other day a devotee friend of mine gave me a 1998 copy of a magazine entitled "Responsible Publishing: Why and How the BBT Publishes Revisions of Srila Prabhupada's Books." On the front cover below the bottom of a photo showing Srila Prabhupada translating it says, "The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International Inc."
The issue of the changing of Srila Prabhupada's books is an on going issue and I will not labour over it here. I am not a scholar by any means, but personally I believe the issue has been settled and won by those scholars who believe as I do, that the vast changes and indeed the continuing changes and published changed books are unnecessary and a waste of time and vast resources.
If the BBTI will say that their 1982 version is as identical to Srila Prabhupada's original version in regards to conclusions, spiritual potency and effectiveness on world societies then this must be proven to those scholars who challenge them that their version does not. A very daunting task for sure and one they must answer to as they are the ones saying that the original 1972 Gita is faulty.
Suppose a teacher gives the student an addition of numbers adding to the total of 18 using the numbers 3 plus 6 plus 9 in that order. The original numbers in the order given are to be accepted as they are, as well as the conclusion. One may change the number of numbers and the numbers themselves even using fractions, but the conclusion must be the same. For example, one may change the numbers of the original formula to 1 plus 2 plus 1 plus 3 plus 2 plus 9 equaling 18. Fair enough, the conclusion in the changed mathematical set up is the same. The question is why change it? The process or work done to change the formula in order to reach the same conclusion is a waste of time and resources if one is sincerely wanting to present the original conclusion and be faithful to the original teacher and his work.
For the sake of argument let's accept the fact that the BBTI's revised edition is better in relation to the language of the original, that spelling mistakes have been corrected, that certain words have been retranslated from enhanced recordings, and so on. However they must agree that their changed version must reach the same conclusion, have the same spiritual potency and effectiveness on world societies as the as the original 1972 edition, meaning that they are being faithful to the original teacher and his work. That being so then again, why change the original formula in order to come to the original conclusion as the original?
The original Srimad Bhagavatam in its' Preface says "The reading matter is so arranged with its original Sanskrit text, its English transliteration, synonyms, translation and purports so that one is sure to become a God-realized soul at the end of finishing the first nine cantos." If the BBTI is sure that the changes to their revised Bhagavatams are correct and bona fide, then they must agree that the above conclusion in Srila Prabhupada's original pre-1978 version should exist in their revised edition. If so, then why change the original, unless there is no interest in sharing the original conclusion.
That has been done before throughout history. I suspect that tens of millions of dollars have been spent over the years to change and reprint Srila Prabhupada's original pre-1978 books. Then there were the countless hours and staff to do all the work to in the end, REACH THE SAME CONCLUSION AS THE ORIGINALS? Could it be that what has simply taken place after 1978 has been a massive make work project in order to justify positions and profits? After all, the conclusions are the same… or are they?