Open Letter to the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Author: Madhudvisa dasa
Viewed: 7878 time(s)
| Open Letter to the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust |
On such an important issue as the authorization and validity of changes to Srila Prabhupada's books, a point which is fundamental to the credibility and authority of the entire ISKCON movement, this is not a very satisfactory reply.
>From: Jayadvaita Swami
>To: H. N.
>Subject: Vedabase editions & book revisions
>18 April 97
>Dear Mr. N.,
>Hare Krsna. Since you've already decided what books you will accept
>as bona fide and what you will criticize as bogus, and since you are
>already sure enough of your convictions that you think it worthwhile
>to express them in a self-righteous and abusive manner, I have
>nothing to say to you except that I see no need for us to correspond
>Best wishes. Hare Krsna.
It would seem to us that the BBT have given absolute authority to Jayadvaita Swami to change anything he likes at all in Srila Prabhupada's books without anyone even checking or approving of what he does. Of course that may not be that case, however that is what appears to be happening. So it is a very dangerous position for ISKCON as, really, everything in ISKCON depends on the authority of Srila Prabhupada's books. Srila Prabhupada's books are the real asset of ISKCON. They are the attractive principle.
"I was very glad to learn how our devotees are coming out
victorious in the preaching to the university professors and
students. Other groups have no philosophy nor do they have any
idea of spiritual life, what to speak of living it. Our movement
is authorized. Our books are based on the statements of the most
exalted devotees. And if we follow strictly the guidelines for
devotional service as they are given in the Nectar of Devotion and
Nectar of Instruction, then no one can touch us. Our position is
definitely due to our books, therefore I am always pressing on
this point. All the groups are declining including the Christians.
We are being harassed by the authorities and they are all
Christians. Because they are losing ground, and we are increasing,
they are trying to stop us. There is always this battle between
the demons and the devotees, but the devotees always win because
they are protected by Krishna. (Letter: Bahudak 76-01-11)
If someone is making changes to Srila Prabhupada's books, but is not prepared to justify them, and if the BBT refuse to make the source-material which authorizes such changes available, it does not look good.
I am also most distressed about Jayadvaita's editing of Srila Prabhupada's "Krsna Book". That is completely heart-breaking. Srila Prabhupada's original "Krsna Book" is so transcendentally wonderful. I can't put it into words. It's not possible to explain how wonderful that book is. Of course you know that well yourself. But Jayadvaita's editing has COMPLETELY changed it...
Prabhupada liked, regularly read from, 100% approved of and relished reading his original "Krsna Book". Satsvarupa Maharaja's editing is very nice. I'm sure he has not changed the meaning from Srila Prabhupada's dictation tapes. The English is very good. There are some Sanskrit errors and typos of course. If they were corrected who would complain? But Jayadvaita has practically re-written the book! He has completely changed the editing style, removed all the words he considers redundant, in places added in what appears to be his own preaching, and he has used your translation of the Tenth Canto to "correct" Srila Prabhupada's Krsna Book... It is a disaster and heart-breaking to me... Who authorized him to "correct" Srila Prabhupada's "Krsna Book"?
With all due respect, I don't want to read Srila Prabhupada's books "corrected by Jayadvaita Swami". And I really don't think anyone does. Even the scholars, university professors, etc. Srila Prabhupada's books are literary classics. The scholars and university professors liked them as they were originally published! There are so many rave reviews. Everyone likes them. They are transcendental gems. They are priceless. Every word is spiritual. The whole thing is 100% transcendental. Even though there may appear to be some small discrepancies to our material eyes...
Who would be interested in any of the worlds great literary classics "corrected by Jayadvata Swami"? It is ridiculous. People want to read the original book!
And "Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers"... That has been "re-edited" by Sita devi dasi... Who is "Sita devi dasi" anyhow? What gives her the right to change Srila Prabhupada's books? She has deleted so many things from "Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers"? What is the explanation? I don't think the BBT even told anyone they changed the book!! Did the GBC approve of these changes?
We have the original transcript of the conversation and the text which has been deleted from the new edition is in the original transcript of the conversation. She has deleted Srila Prabhupada's instruction that performing devotional service for some material benefit is business not devotion, she have deleted Bob asking Srila Prabhupada, "You mean by following these [regulative] principles," and Srila Prabhupada replying "Yes." She have deleted a whole discussion about miracles, "Miracles are for the ignorant". She has deleted Srila Prabhupada saying "Our knowledge is perfect." She has deleted Srila Prabhupada saying chanting Hare Krishna is a yogic process! Srila Prabhupada's instruction that one who does not have perfect knowledge should not teach has been completely removed... And what to speak of Srila Prabhupada's four page discourse on independence and the fact that we are always controlled either by maya or Krishna. It has been completely deleted from the new version along with so many other things. How can the BBT delete so much text from such a small book?? Who instructed Sita devi dasi to do this?
No one in the BBT is prepared to explain WHY? And WHAT NEXT? Perhaps they will get Sita devi dasi to do the next edition of Bhagavad-gita? The "Women's-Lib Edition" I see you have had some email correspondence about...
Some of the ISKCON Matajis may be a little pacified by all these changes to Srila Prabhupada's books... But is that really the business of the BBT? And where has this idea of changing Srila Prabhupada's books come from in ISKCON? Why are the Matajis demanding Srila Prabhupada's books be changed? Do they no longer have any faith in Srila Prabhupada and his books? Who has taught them this??
Surely the BBT has a far greater responsibility, the responsibility to print and distribute Srila Prabhupada's books as he approved of them? Without changing the message in the books? Perhaps with real typos and Sanskrit errors corrected. If that is all the editors do then who would complain?
"Too much editing is not required. If Satsvarupa has already edited it, there is no need of further editing." (Letter to Rayarama 21-Dec-67)
Srila Prabhupada's books are the only hope for this world (and the only hope for us!) so the BBT and ISKCON should be busy making plans to print them in unlimited quantities and distribute them widely to save the world... Not making plans how to change them and make them more "acceptable" to the public and the ISKCON Matajis...
"So Krsna is very popular in India. In every home, Krsna is
worshipped, and there are many millions of temples of Krsna in
India and followers also. Followers means almost all Hindus are
followers of Krsna. They read this Bhagavad-gita. So I have
recently published Bhagavad-gita As It Is. It is published by
Macmillan Company, and this book is very nicely being received. It
is being reviewed by several papers. I have got many others books.
They are being gradually introduced. Perhaps you have seen in our
counter. We have got books, magazines, calendar, and other
literatures. So it is a very scientific movement. It is not a
sentiment, bogus hoax. Anyone who wants to understand this
movement philosophically, scientifically, they will be very much
satisfied with this. The idea is that any religious movement
without philosophical basis, it is simply sentiment or fanaticism.
And philosophy without idea of God is simply mental speculation.
Therefore religious principles combined with philosophy, that is
perfect. So the younger section become attracted to this movement
because we are giving some religious principle based on
philosophy." (Interview 680201iv.la)
How can we make Prabhupada's books "acceptable" to people in maya? We have to make the people in maya Krishna conscious then they will not only accept, but they will relish Srila Prabhupada's books. But if we water-down the books to make them "acceptable" to the public and the feminists then the potency will be lost and they will no longer be relishable by the devotees either. It is like sweet-rice with sand in it. It's still sweet undoubtedly but how can you enjoy it mixed with sand?
I pray that you will consider what I have
written and write back, not like Jayadvaita, calling me
"self-righteous and abusive". But an honest reply.
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!
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