From: Madhudvisa dasa [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 25, 2005 8:55 AM
To: Bolaji; Kavicandra Swami (GBC Japan)
Subject: The Original GBC Decision
Dear Kavicandra Maharaja
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila
Thank you very much for seriously considering this issue of the changes to
Srila Prabhupada's books. There is nothing more important or serious than
Srila Prabhupada's books and anything that harms the authority of
Prabhupada's books is the greatest danger to Srila Prabhupada's Hare Krishna movement.
As you know the original decision to allow JAS's "Revised and Enlarged"
edition of Srila Prabhupada's gita to be printed was made by the GBC by a
very small margin. So it means that more-or-less half of the GBC members at that time were against it. That is confirmed by Jaydavaita Swami himself in the letter below. It is also confirmed in that letter by Jayadvaita Swami that the GBC were unaware of the extent of the changes made to Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is "Revised and Enlarged Edition."
Unfortunately, at that time, the GBC members had no idea at all of the
magnitude of the changes JAS had made to Srila Prabhupada's gita. JAS
presented the GBC with what he was then calling a "complete list of the
changes," but that was a list of changes to translations only and probably
not complete also. As you know there are also very extensive changes to
Srila Prabhupada's purports but none of these changes were included in the "complete list of changes" JAS presented to the GBC and circulated around some of the senior devotees in ISKCON at the time.
His whole mood was there were not changes, rather corrections to errors
Hayagriva and the other editors had made...
So even though the GBC at the time had no information whatsoever as to the extent of the changes, still the idea that Jayadvaita Swami could correct some obvious errors and produce a second edition of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is was rejected by almost half of the GBC members.
Jayadvaita Swami has never requested any further authorization for his
massive changes to Prabhupada's books. Under his direction we have had three re-edits of the Krsna Book, a huge revision of the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, a huge revision of "Perfect Questions Perfect Answers," plus so many other unauthorized changes. In addition to this he is busy having foreign language books retranslated from his changed books thus replacing the foreign language books with translations of his changed books... He has not requested the GBC or anyone else for authorization for these changes. He believes he is the authority and he or anyone else he likes to appoint can change anything at all they want to within Prabhupada's books. That is the problem.
I really want to make it clear that I am not unreasonable and I am not
against correcting obvious typos in the books. But that is simply NOT what JAS is doing. He is changing the style, making thousands and thousands of needless changes -- for at least 99% of the changes the original text is perfectly good and the change is no improvement at all -- and in many cases the text in the changed books is much worse than in the original and so many subtle [and not so subtle...] points in the philosophy have been changed in the new books in this way...
Anyhow I am very inspired that you are seriously considering this and hope you will be able to stand up for Srila Prabhupada on this most crucial issue and try and do something to get Srila Prabhupada's original books once again approved in ISKCON and get them distributed by the book distributors.
We know it for a fact that if Prabhupada's original books are distributed
widely the Krishna consciousness movement will expand unlimitedly. We have seen that happen in the 70s, it is proven and tested. But we do not have any such guarantee with JAS's changed books.
This philosophy of Krishna consciousness is very delicate. Changing one word can spoil everything. Such changes can not be allowed to be made simply on the basis of one man's authority without even the knowledge of anyone else, what to speak of the authorization of anyone else.
You know, perhaps more than most other devotees, that somehow ISKCON has done many crazy things in the past and allowing JAS & co. to make these tens of thousands of unauthorized changes to Srila Prabhupada's books without any other devotees even knowing what he is doing is by far the most crazy and disastrous mistake the GBC have ever made. But it can be rectified and I am sure if this is done, and if the devotees start reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's original books again, there will be a huge renaissance of the Hare Krishna movement. In Krishna consciousness the proper authority is the most important thing. These unauthorized changes of Prabhupada's books are a huge attack on the authority of Srila Prabhupada's books which form the foundation and the very basis of the Hare Krishna movement.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Clarification from Balavanta Prabhu
>From Jayadvaita Swami
Posted April 1, 2004
In 1983, when the GBC body discussed the then-forthcoming Second Edition of
Bhagavad-gita As It Is, were the members aware of the extent of the
My sincere thanks to His Grace Balavanta Prabhu for sending me, two days ago, the following clarification:
>To Whom It May Concern
> The following quotation was attributed to me on the internet with regard to the editing of Bhagavad Gita As It Is:
> > "The vote was close but the majority agreed to allow some editing
> although I don't believe anyone knew the extent to which it would be
> taken. The idea was that only minor corrections to more closely conform to the tapes and gramatical corrections would be made."
> > While I did say that, the substance of the statement is not entirely
> accurate. The vote was close as I remember it. However, I stand
> corrected as to whether the GBC knew the extent of the changes which
> were proposed. Information was circulated and made available to the GBC members, who certainly had access to it.
> Your servant,
> > Balavanta das
Again, my sincere thanks to Balavanta Prabhu.