Can someone please explain in DETAIL the COPYRIGHT issue between the 1972 and 1983 versions of Bhagavad-gita As It Is? As shown on the Adi Vani website how they differ, 1972 copyright is under the name of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami whereas the 1983 copyright is under Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, reg. What does all this signify? Furthermore, I hear something about switching from BBT to BBTI. What are all the legal ramifications of this, along with changing Srila Prabhupada's words?
One new devotee today was asking me about the om ajnana timirandasya prayer -- I was born in the darkest region of ignorance, and my spiritual master has opened my eyes with the torchlight of transcendental knowledge -- so I picked up a revised edition, 1983 I suppose, and looked for the prayer in the beginning. And there it was, but the word "torchlight" had been changed to only "torch". "Torch of transcendental knowledge" as opposed to original "torchlight", of transcendental knowledge. The added word "light" offers a lot more richness in meaning, as in placing light on a matter. "Torch of transcendental knowledge" is different from "torchlight of transcendental knowledge". Torchlight, torch. Not only changing the original but making it less rich in meaning, less intelligible.
I honestly do not understand these actions except that there must be an ulterior motive behind making the sentence structure and word format of the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is less intelligible, less understandable. Aren't we to make Krsna consciousness as understandable as possible to the general populace so as to enhance the spreading of Lord Chaitanya's movement? Does something else take precedence over this principle?
But again, the main point is still that Srila Prabhupada wrote "the torchlight of transcendental knowledge", not that what I think sounds better and is more meaningful. With added richness to the subject matter is better. Srila Prabhupada said, "Why you think?" to one devotee , who was saying something like 'I think this and that'. In other words, independent thinking was not wanted by Srila Prabhupada unless that devotee become an empowered pure devotee. First there is thinking, then next is action. So first was thinking about changing the words of Srila Prabhupada's books, then "they" put their thoughts unto action.
But the added problem as shown above is that not one change has been shown to be an improvement. We are NOT discussing spelling mistakes. We are discussing changing, altering the words and sentence structure of a pure devotee, our Spiritual Master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. His grammar had and has richness, depth, originality, creativity, and feeling as opposed to simply intellectualness, and his grammar also contains the ultimate significance of a fully self-realized soul, 100% surrendered to Krsna, a person in complete love of God, which is extremely rare and which we had the great fortune to encounter. Only to change His word structure and grammar which attracted all of us in the first place, and which we all utilized for the 12 years he was among us, in the form of His most astoundingly wonderful books. I personally know many devotees and disciples who are turned off the activities of the BBT for the above reasons, so much that it is very painful for them to even think on the matter.
Yesterday reading the Friends of the BBT newsletter I noticed near the end that one devotee distributing books overheard a lady say that she may be killed for bringing these books home. So this devotee said to her that she is not her body. She is eternal. That's comforting to know, that we cannot be killed, though so many vicious things may happen to us. Isn't it?
[Editor's Note: This article appeared on the Sampradaya Sun - http://harekrsna.com/sun/index.htm]