We highlighted previously in [IRM] newsletter No. 20, how Bhakti Caru Swami's Bengali translation of the Srimad Bhagavatam had omitted a very key verse from Srila Prabhupada's original version. The omitted verse in question would itself have destroyed the GBC's position that they were duly authorised to be Diksa Gurus in ISKCON. This of course was shocking, since it showed that Srila Prabhupada's books were being 'edited' not to bring them closer to the originals as claimed, but rather doctored to prop up the GBC's bogus Guru philosophy.
Though we had also been aware of many other controversial changes made to Srila Prabhupada's books, the BBT had always claimed that they were made to actually correct 'errors' made by Srila Prabhupada's 'hippie' editors. Thus they were not actually changing Srila Prabhupada's books, but Hayagriva's 'incorrect version' of the books, and thereby actually RESTORING the books BACK to how Srila Prabhupada actually wanted them. However, thanks to the diligent efforts of His Grace Dhira Govinda Prabhu, the Chairman of the ISKCON Office of Child Protection, we now have evidence that the current BBT, which is controlled by GBC supporters, are making changes motivated slowly by the desire to doctor Srila Prabhupada's books so that they fit in with whatever happens to be the prevailing view instituted in ISKCON by the GBC.
Some time back many devotees had noticed that the new 9 Volume edition of the Caitanya Caritamrta had made a deliberate change from Srila Prabhupada's original version, not unlike the one made by Bhakti Caru Swami mentioned earlier. Srila Prabhupada's Caitanya Caritamrta states the following:
"Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura accepted Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, who “initiated” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who in turn initiated Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji." (CC, Chapter 1)
In the new BBT doctored 9-volume edition, the same passage reads:
"Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura accepted Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, the spiritual master of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who in turn accepted Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji."
In other words it has been decided that contrary to what Srila Prabhupada states, Jagannatha Das Babaji did not really INITIATE Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura after all. Now the reason for the BBT changing Srila Prabhupada's teaching here is very significant since the GBC maintain that the relationship between Jagannatha Das Babaji and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was based not on 'formal initiation' but rather only on the transmission of transcendental knowledge'. Once it is accepted that the transmission of divine transcendental knowledge ALONE constitutes INITIATION - then the objections made by the GBC to the Ritvik system of initiation crumble, since Srila Prabhupada could also “initiate” us with transcendental knowledge.
Thus the BBT could not allow Srila Prabhupada to teach that Jagannatha Dasa Babaji actually “initiated” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, for that would indirectly sanction Srila Prabhupada “initiating” for many generations to come simply via his transcendental knowledge, with the 'formal initiation' administered via the Ritvik system that he set up. In any case the teaching given by Srila Prabhupada above is totally consistent with what Srila Prabhupada has taught about Diksa and initiation in the Caitanya Caritamrta itself:
"Diksa actually means “initiating” a disciple “with transcendental knowledge” by which he becomes freed from all material contamination." (Madhya-lila, 4:112, Purport)
Of course just the very fact that the BBT is deliberately changing the main legacy left by Srila Prabhupada - his teachings - is horrendous enough.
However the fact that it was done specifically to keep the positions of the GBC within the crumbling Guru system intact, is totally shameful.
But just when you though it could not get any worse, it does. For the BBT have now become so arrogant in their campaign against Srila Prabhuada's teachings, that they have even tried to JUSTIFY this change. Dravida Das, the BBT editor, upon being asked by Dhira Govinda Prabhu to justify the change, first sums up the reason for NOT changing Srila Prabhupada's teachings as follows:
"On the side of not changing the "initiated" phrases we have the strong bias against changing the books unless absolutely necessary and the fact that Srila Prabhupada did indeed say that Jagannatha das Babaji initiated Bhaktivinode." (BBT Editor, Dravida Das)
Please note that Dravida clearly ADMITS that Srila Prabhupada "DID indeed say that Jagannatha das Babaji initiated Bhaktivinode."
To any sane person, this would be the ONLY reason required to NOT tamper with Srila Prabhupada's teachings in any manner whatsoever.
But hold on.
Dravida Das has a reason that far outweighs a mere detail such as what Srila Prabhupada himself actually taught. Rather he states we must change Srila Prabhupada's teachings to ensure they conform with what is currently understood within ISKCON in regards to initiation:
"Leaving one or both "initiated"s will strongly imply that the use of the phrases "direct disciple" and even "accepted [as his disciple]" indicate formal initiation as we know it in ISKCON, which is far from the truth." (BBT Editor, Dravida Das)
Dravida then adds that this reason was paramount in justifying the change:
“This last was the weightiest argument, in my view, for changing the passage.” (BBT Editor, Dravida Das)
Thus to summarise, what Dravida is saying is this: That whenever Srila Prabhupada's teachings differ from the way 'we know it in ISKCON', then they must be changed to conform with the way we DO 'know it in ISKCON'. And of course the way 'we know it in ISKCON' is dictated by whatever ridiculous philosophy the GBC happens to be preaching at the time.
So the fact that we have had a bogus Guru system imposed on us in ISKCON by the GBC means that even though we may find that Srila Prabhupada teaches something else, we must modify Srila Prabhupada's teachings to agree with the way things are understood in ISKCON. Instead of changing the practices and understanding of ISKCON to conform with Srila Prabhupada's teachings - which of course is what a spiritual society based on following Srila Prabhupada would do. Not only is it bad enough that ISKCON is NOT run according to Srila Prabhupada's teachings, but now Srila Prabhupada's teachings must also be changed to fit in with the way we happen to be doing things in ISKCON.
What makes this shocking state of affairs even more ludicrous is that the way things are 'known in ISKCON' are themselves constantly changing anyway.
1) Thus from 1978-onwards, in ISKCON we 'knew' one thing in regards to the process of initiation - that you could ONLY take it from 11 people, and then ONLY whichever of the 11 people 'owned' your geographical area.
2) Then from 1986 we 'knew' something else about initiation - that you could take it from many others providing they had received the necessary number of votes.
3) Now we 'know' something else - that whoever you get initiated from, do not forget that you must not worship him too much and that Srila Prabhupada is also doing some important things, and indeed maybe even more important than the person who does initiate us.
4) And what's the betting that this 'understanding' will also change in the next year or so?
5) And just because we happen to 'know' at the moment that initiation must mean the 'formal ceremony', therefore any teaching in Srila Prabhupada's books that imply otherwise must be doctored.
And this is a very sinister development for yet another reason. For this justification is laying the ground for making ANY further change to Srila Prabhupada's teachings that the GBC deems fit. Thus in the future if it is 'known in ISKCON' that 'women are as intelligent as men' say, then we will be able to alter all of Srila Prabhupada's statements where he says that women are less intelligent, since then it would not conform with the way things are 'known in ISKCON'. Or if in the future we begin to 'know in ISKCON' that Lord Siva is just as worshipable as Krishna say, then whenever we encounter the word 'Demi-God' in Srila Prabhupada's books, then all those instances must be changed. And so on.
Of course someone may argue that the philosophy as 'we know it in ISKCON' will never change and will always be faithful to Srila Prabhupada's teachings, and the above fear is unfounded. (Of course Pigs May Also Fly).
If the last 23 years is anything to go by, the only thing we can say with certainty is that the GBC will ALWAYS be deviating from Srila Prabhupada's teachings, and the ONLY SAFEGUARD WE HAVE IS SRILA PRABHUPADA'S TEACHINGS.
And once we change Srila Prabhupada's teachings to fit in with whatever nonsense we happen to believe, then all will be lost - as seems to be happening now.
How much longer must we put up this with this madness that is leading to the destruction of Srila Prabhupada's movement. No wonder devotees, life members and members of the public, are turning to support the IRM in their droves.
From: Adridharana Dasa, Temple President ISKCON Calcutta