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Srila Prabhupada vani
Voices! - Letters (active link)

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  Srila Prabhupada said:

"Srila Vyasadeva revealed these statements after perfect realization and therefore they are perfect, for liberated sages like Vyasadeva never commit errors in their rhetorical arrangements. Unless one accepts this fact, there is no use in trying to obtain help from the revealed scriptures."  -- CC Adi-Lila Chapter 2 text 86 purport.

"If you concoct, 'I am more intelligent than my Guru,' 'I can make additions and alterations,' then you are finished." -- Srila Prabhupada lecture July 12, 1975 Philadelphia Pa.

"We cannot water down the philosophy to make it more palatable. Our books must remain as they are." -- Srila Prabhupada letter to Lilavati devi dasi March 31, 1977.


  Notable Quotes:

Jasomatinandan prabhu:  " ... commonsense dictates that except for typographical mistakes such as "planet of the trees," no editions and subtractions should be done from 1972 edition."



Hidden Co-Authors
Author: Krsna Krpa Dasi
Added: 05/30/2005
Type: Review
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Part II - Hidden Co-Authors



It is clear that Srila Prabhupada was the author of his books, and the editors were his assistants.  Also, he fully controlled the editing and publishing process. For his books, he determined the content, meaning, purpose, audience, style, illustrations, binding, paper, publication dates, etc.


So why do some, including some BBT editors, erroneously claim that Srila Prabhupada did not really write his books?  Why do they mistakenly refer to “Hayagriva’s Bhagavad-gita” instead of “Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita?”  The answer is that they confuse writing with editing.


Factually, editing is not writing because editing polishes something already written.  First the author writes, and then the editor edits.  First, Srila Prabhupada wrote the translations and purports for Bhagavad-gita, and then Hayagriva edited them.


Writing creates the content, meaning and purpose.  Editing polishes that work to make it more presentable to the readers, but editing does not change the author’s meaning and purpose.  Srila Prabhupada created the transcendental content of his books.  He conveyed the meaning of Krsna consciousness within the Vaisnava parampara (disciplic succession).  And he imbued his books with the purpose to spread Lord Caitanya’s mercy all over the world.  Srila Prabhupada’s books contain his potency to transform sincere readers into pure unalloyed devotees.  To assist him, Hayagriva polished the Bhagavad-gita manuscript by correcting the irregular composition without changing Srila Prabhupada’s meaning and purpose.


Editing differs from writing because the editor suggests changes and consults with the author for approval.  Hayagriva proofread the Bhagavad-gita manuscript.  Proofreading is the process of finding and correcting errors in spelling, conjugation, capitalization, grammar, syntax, italics, etc. as well as conformity to the publisher’s format (font size, margins, indentations, footnotes, etc.). 


Hayagriva also suggested other changes to the manuscript.  Like a good editor, he discussed the changes and asked for Srila Prabhupada’s approval of them.  Other disciples acting as editors followed the same approval process with other books.  It is clear that Srila Prabhupada wrote his books and that Hayagriva and other disciples edited them.


Another misconception is that Srila Prabhupada’s books can be edited without his knowledge and consent.  This is erroneous because, as explained above, editing requires discussions and approval from the author.  And the author makes the final decisions about what is published.  Therefore, no editing can occur especially after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance (in 1977) because he is no longer available for consultation.  The only exceptions would be found in his orders for specific changes to specific books.  Regarding the unfinished Srimad Bhagavatam, he personally trained and assigned only Pradyumna das to finish the translations and purports.


Still another misconception is that Srila Prabhupada gave orders to change his published books after his disappearance.  No evidence exists to support this claim.  In fact, he gave many orders not to change his books.  “Yes, there is no need for corrections for the first and second Cantos.  Whatever is there is alright.”  (Letter to Radhaballabha, May 4, 1976)  Regarding the Bhagavad-gita manuscript prepared for the 1972 MacMillan publication, he wrote, “So far changing the working of verse or purport of 12:12 discussed before, it may remain as it is.”  (Letter to Jayadvaita, March 17, 1971)  Apparently Srila Prabhupada rejected Jayadvaita’s suggestions in favor of leaving the manuscript “as it is.”  Yet three words in that purport were changed for the unauthorized 1983 revision.  


Those familiar with Srila Prabhupada’s management understand that he would have given important orders to change his published books to the BBT Trustees, the GBC members, and Pradyumna, his highly qualified translator.  So why are there no orders from Srila Prabhupada to his important leaders?  Why would he grant permission to rewrite his Bhagavad-gita to devotees who were not important leaders before his disappearance? 




What is so-called editing that is independent from Srila Prabhupada’s order?  Factually, it is not editing, it is rewriting of his books.  The so-called editors are acting like authors.  They are really co-authors because they are rewriting books written by another author, i.e., Srila Prabhupada.  And, they are really hidden co-authors because they rewrite his books while hiding behind the good name of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.  The hidden co-authors present their own translations and opinions hidden within Srila Prabhupada’s books.


In contrast, honest co-authors always publish their names, and sometimes they describe their individual contributions.  In any case, their readers understand that two or more authors wrote the book.  A famous example of co-authoring is a book about grammar and writing, The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White (Fourth edition, 2000, published by Longman Publishers).  In it, White explained his role as co-author and his changes to Strunk’s original book.  White also claimed credit for writing the section on style.




The problem of hidden co-authors even occurred during Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence.  Some disciples deviated from the honest relationship between Srila Prabhupada as author and the disciples as editors.  Such persons changed his manuscripts and printed books without his permission and knowledge.  After discovering these unauthorized changes, Srila Prabhupada strongly chastised the persons involved and demanded the removal of the changes.  For example, during a Srimad Bhagavatam class, Nitai das read a manuscript translation which contained unauthorized changes. 


Nitai: “At the time of death, Ajamila saw three awkward persons… His small child, Narayana, was playing a little distance off, and with tearful eyes and great anxiety, he called the name of his son very loudly three times, ‘Narayana, Narayana, Narayana!” (SB 6.1.28-29)

Srila Prabhupada: Is there “three times?”

Nitai: It said in the manuscript.  The manuscript said “three times.”

Srila Prabhupada: Who said in the manuscript?  There is no three times.  Not “Narayana” three times.  One time, “O Narayana,” that’s all.  So did I say “three times?” No, it is not said here.  You should correct it.  Once, “O Narayana,” that’s all.  There is no reason of calling three times.  There is no mention here.  Once is sufficient.  (laughter) …Uccair ajuhava, very loudly, “Narayana!” Like that.  That’s all. Uccair ajuhava akulendriyah.  So you edited it?  Not yet?

Nitai: No.

Srila Prabhupada: So you should keep at least what is there. (Transcription of recorded lecture for S.B. 6.1.28-29, Philadelphia, July 13, 1975)


Despite his continual efforts to rectify and train his editors, they continued to make unauthorized changes.  By June of 1977, Srila Prabhupada expressed his doubt that his leading editors would follow his order to remove over 100 changes to the Sri Isopanisad and publish it as the original (1969) printing.   He said, “It is a very serious situation.  You write one letter that ‘Why you have made so many changes?’ And whom to write?  Who will care?  All rascals are there!  Write Satsvarupa that ‘This is the position.  They are doing anything and everything at their whim.  The next printing should be again to the original way."  (Conversation with with Srila Prabhupada and Yasoda-nandana, June 22, 1977)


After Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance, the hidden co-authors made major changes to Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972 edition).  A major change is the language, the writing style, of the Bhagavad-gita translations.  For example, Srila Prabhupada originally published (1972 edition), Chapter 7, verse 24 as “Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality.  Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.”  In contrast, the hidden co-authors (1983 revision) rewrote the verse as “Unintelligent men, who do not know Me perfectly, think that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, was impersonal before and have now assumed this personality.  Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is imperishable and supreme.”


The stark contrast between the two versions clearly indicates that they were written by two different authors.  Srila Prabhupada wrote the original version, and the hidden co-authors wrote the later version.


Other Bhagavad-gita verses in the rewritten, 1983 edition display similar changes. The hidden co-authors substituted a lower level writing style not intended for college educated readers.  Therefore, the change in writing style indicates a change in audience, the intended readers.  Srila Prabhupada wrote for a college-educated, more intelligent audience; whereas, the hidden co-authors wrote for a less intelligent audience. 


The co-authored Bhagavad-gita (1983 revision) is not suitable for college classrooms.  But Srila Prabhupada’s plan differed:  “…our propaganda should be going on for drawing attention of the educational institutions to accept our books at least in the religious courses.”  (Letter to Satsvarupa, Nov. 2, 1973)  “I am so glad to learn that you are having nice success in placing my books in the libraries and in schools and colleges…. I am sure that this will revolutionize the thinking of thoughtful men of your country as well as the students and the professors and the ultimate end will be to save the world from the clutches of material illusory activities which is now causing havoc everywhere.”  (Letter to Karandhar, Sept. 13, 1970)


Why do the hidden co-authors claim to be better translators and commentators (purport writers) than Srila Prabhupada?  What are the hidden co-authors doing when they change the philosophy and preaching plans in Srila Prabhupada’s books?  What is their purpose?


The hidden co-authors usurp Srila Prabhupada’ property, his books, by making changes not authorized by him.  They seize and hold his books by force without the spiritual right to do so.  The hidden co-authors force changes without any order to do so.  They blatantly disobey his direct order to maintain the books as originally published.  They use BBT money and diplomacy to defeat opposition to their usurpation.  The hidden co-authors behave like squatters who forcibly and unlawfully take over someone’s property and use it for their own purpose.


The hidden co-authors mislead the devotees and the innocent public by publishing their own opinions under Srila Prabhupada’s good name.  What is their purpose?  They are acting like hidden founder-acaryas because they rewrite sastra (Vedic scripture) intended for the next 9500 years.  Because they reject Srila Prabhupada’s order to maintain his books as published, they freely inject their own opinions.


The proper behavior of a disciple or follower is to follow the spiritual master’s order.  Srila Prabhupada explained: “Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has stated that the order of the spiritual master is the life and soul of the disciples.  As a man cannot separate his life from his body, so a disciple cannot separate the order of the spiritual master from his life.  If a disciple follows the instruction of the spiritual master in that way, he is sure to become perfect.”  (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.24.13, 1974, 1st printing)


On the basis of this instruction, sincere devotees have the duty and the right to reject all co-authored changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books.  We must follow Srila Prabhupada, not the hidden co-authors because he can liberate anyone who follows him. 


Srila Prabhupada wrote: “Not a single person in the West became Krsna conscious before the Krsna consciousness movement was founded.  But when the same Bhagavad-gita was presented as it is through the disciplic succession, the effect of spiritual realization was immediately manifested.”   (Srimad Bhagavatam, 4.22.19, 1978, 2nd printing)


By following Srila Prabhupada, we can make spiritual progress and preach Lord Caitanya’s movement all over the world.  And Srila Prabhupada, through his Prabhupada-vani – his books and teachings, can take anyone back home, back to Godhead.



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  Article Comments   Add Comment | View All (2)
Poster: Yasoda
Added: -0/8-/2005

Brilliant summary and accurate assessment of the unauthorized book changing problem.
Poster: Varaha das
Added: -0/8-/2005

This was a very well written article against the bogus book changes. Any one who does'nt agree with what is presented here is either nuts,a guru groupie, a guru wana be,or their totally sold out to the GBC. Excellant. Thank you,two thunbs up!!

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