"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.
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."
Dialogue on Book Changes
Author:Vyapaka Das Added: 07/05/2006 Type: Summary Viewed: 7063 time(s)
" ... no instruction to edit the Bhagavad Gita As It Is ..."
The following three emails are a discussion between myself, Vyapaka dasa, and His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami. The first two are email responses to Jayadvaita Swami discussing alleged authorization of his Bhagavad Gita As It Is changes. All of his comments and my responses are included with no substractions or editions relevant to the book change topic. There are some important revelations which should be brought to the attention of the devotee community so these emails are being publicized for the enlightenment of the devotee community.
These revelations are:
1. Jayadvaita Swami again confirms that there was no instruction to edit the Bhagavad Gita As It Is by Srila Prabhupada.
2. Jayadvaita Swami states that NOT all the changes were presented to the GBC, BBT Trustees and ISKCON leadership as previously understood.
3. Jayadvaita Swami reveals that even he himself does not know how many and where all the changes have been undertaken and is unwilling to compile a full list.
Just who is speaking can be confusing so we have added notes on each paragraph to aid the reader. We apologize for the length but felt the readership should understand the circumstances leading up to the following essay dealing with the many points contained in this email discussion re. book changes, etc.
Email reply to Jayadvaita Swami (JAS), April 14, 2006 from Vyapaka dasa
Sent: Friday, April 14, 2006 Subject: Re: Oversight of Book Changes
JAS> PERSONAL. NOT FOR PUBLICATION.
[Vd] I really don't understand the need for privacy as these are public issues which need to be discussed as the devotee community has a huge stake in the quality of Srila Prabhupada's books. But for now, I will not publish any of your or my comments.
> > > Vd: Your Holiness Jayadvaita Swami,
Obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. > JAS:> If you so choose, please accept my less-than-humble obeisances. All > glories to Srila Prabhupada. > > I have received your latest letter and gone through it carefully. > >>> [JAS] I consider letters to me "respectful" when written in a sincere >>> spirit of dialog, without copies sent to public websites and lists >>> of "bcc's." >> >> [Vd] I find this a bit surprising since my email was a direct reply to >>your email sent to a public website. > >[JAS] Did my e-mail you're talking about take the form of a personal letter > to someone, with a copy sent to a public news site? Or was it a > straightforward letter to the site, with no pretense of being a > personal letter?
[Vd] You sent the letter to both myself and Sampradaya Sun. > Vd>>I find this interesting because I do not feel any contempt towards >>you. My actions merely question your authority, attitude and actions >>towards the editing of Srila Prabhupada's books. > JAS> Suppose you were to get a letter whose content boiled down to > something like this: > > "Dear Vyapaka Prabhuji, you're acting contrary to all material and > spiritual authority, your attitude sucks, and your actions are > indefensible. Yours respectfully, . . ." > > Interesting, no?
[Vd] Yes and it would make me stop and consider what actions I am performing that would cause such a reaction. If the assertions were true then I doubt if I would find any disrespect unless some profanity was used. > [JAS]> And suppose whoever wrote it to you sent it not only to you personally > but also to a public internet site and a list of bcc's. > > Is that the way you'd like your godbrothers to bring up an issue with > you? Is it how you think Srila Prabhupada would like us to deal with > one another?
[Vd] If Prabhupada was here we wouldn't be having this discussion. Personally, I would follow his directions to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, some BBT editors have a history of a contrary nature. But let us be honest, I have read several emails where you have been quite cynical and hard-hitting. Changes to Srila Prabhupada's books is a very incendiary issue. > [JAS]> See my point?
[Vd]You are making a mountain out of a mole hill regarding my signoff. Obviously, you are offended and that is unfortunate since it was not my intention. But I described the situation according to the information I had and have at hand. There is groundswell of disagreement against a direct instruction by Srila Prabhupada regarding capitalization of "divine pronouns" as a "circumstantial comment." And to date, you haven't reallly provided me any information that would have caused me to change my mind. That is where it all has started. > Vd>>The correspondence in reaction to my email to you and Sampradaya Sun >>is running ten to one in favour of the points I made, so you seem to >>be in the minority who feel the letter contained contempt. > JAS> Do you know anything about statistics?
[Vd}No. > [JAS]> Was the Sun's question neutrally worded? Have we ensured that the > respondents represent a fair cross-section of the population? Is the > number of respondents large enough to provide a statistically > significant sample?
[Vd]Why are you berating me about the polls on Sampradaya Sun. I have never ever referred to them. My comment was about unsolicited emails regarding my email on "divine pronouns" and the later one questioning your editing policy. You should approach the editorsof Sampradaya Sun re. their polls. I have nothing to do with them. > [JAS]> If the answer, on any of those counts, is no, the poll--sorry--is > statistically worthless. And in the instance before us, the answer is > no on all three counts.
[Vd] I might caution you that there are many devotee upset with your editing efforts. I think that you are fully aware of that and the poll is very much a secondary issue. Perhaps you need to make a greater effort towards public relations (another subject I know little about). Or perhaps you are dead wrong about editing Srila Prabhupada's books posthumously. It seems that one of the two are right (that could be logic). But which one? > [Vd] > And so any talk about "the majority" or "the minority" of those who > voted is statistically meaningless, and any attempt to make it seem > otherwise is either ill-informed, ill-motivated, or Illinois.
[Vd] I vote for Illinois, Maharaja. My understanding is that the devotees there are also quite upset with your editing efforts. > Vd>>I simply replied to your email which was publicly >>published on the Sampradaya Sun website. Your memory seems short and >>selective. . . . > JAS> You are trying my patience sorely. The letter I wrote calls no one's > service into question, calls no one's attitude into question, makes no > oblique attempts to accuse anyone of treason towards his spiritual > master, and goes in for none of the other forms of--what should we > say?--"refined Vaisnava discourse" you offer in your letter.
[Vd] Yet you provide both an unedited manuscript and an edited one and are surprised that devotees react adversely. Frankly, you don't seem to be able to defend your policies and statements very well. Why is that? But what can I do as I have no control over your patience or lack of it. I would prefer to deal with the issues rather than with emotion to be honest. I don't think I have accused you of treason. Certainly not explicitly. My impression though is that you are wrong on the issue. But I do not question your chastity or dedication to Srila Prabhupada. I apologize if I have come across that way. > [JAS] > Yet I wrote a public letter and you wrote a public letter, so we're > supposedly "even Steven." > > I don't quite see it that way. But maybe I'm stupid or something.
[Vd] Obviously, we are not seeing the issues in the same light. So please provide some incontrovertible evidence that will change my mind. I have no opinion re. your I.Q. and I don't understand why you are bringing it up. You are senior to me both in ashrama and seniority and I have never dealt with that at all. I am trying to deal with the issues as I see them and feel that I have a right to stand up for my spiritual master as I see fit. I am totally prepared to stand down if you can prove my assertions wrong. But to date, I remain unconvinced re. your stance towards editing Srila Prabhupada's writings post-samadhi. I only wish the details of your plans were brought up to His Divine Grace before his departure. You were fully aware that some of the editing work disturbed Srila Prabhuapda greatly and he expressed strong opinions about it. And opinions that don't seem to validate your claims. > Vd>>You have neglected to answer even one question posed by my published >>email and merely reply with emotion. > JAS> Your first letter to the Sun got a polite, dispassionate, unemotional > response, answering your question merely by offering documentation > that pretty much spoke for itself. And what did that elicit from you?
Vd: The same! But it was delivered with questions and opinions that you don't like. But that doesn't make them necessarily wrong. But something also happened in the meantime and that was over "divine pronouns." In my opinion, Maharaja, you really erred on that one. It appeared (and probably was) an insidious attempt to make important changes to Srila Prabhupada's books. Obviously, it didn't pass the test but with all due respect it damaged you somewhat.
Maharaja, you are known to be a strong debater and not one to mince words. But I do agree that my response was hard-hitting but it was coupled with the pronoun issue and not simply your address to the BG and CC changes. > JAS> Now, as for your questions. . . > Vd. >>1) Do you have explicit instructions from Srila Prabhupada >>authorizing you to make post-samadhi changes to his books? > [JAS] > Answer: > > No.
[Vd] Unfortunately, that comes as no surprise. > [JAS]> I was authorized--in fact, requested--to take up the work by the BBT > trustees (of whom at the time I was not one).
[Vd] My understanding was that they were partially reacting to a presentation by your good self re. the necessity of editing the B.G. Is that true? > [JAS] > Srila Prabhupada, in the signed legal document by which he founded the >BBT, said he had "full confidence" in the manner in which his trustees > would govern the BBT, and he specifically invested in them "all powers > and authorities. . . available under the law" to carry out the BBT's > work.
[Vd] But editing his books was never mentioned in the founding document of the BBT. The responsibilities of the BBT Trustees were described as follows:
"The proceeds allocated to the Book Fund shall be used for the following purposes, all in the discretion of the Trustees, in whom I have complete confidence: Printing and reprinting of books; Directing and managing all publicity and distribution of my books; Processing all copyrights and legal rights to my books; Allocating funds as they see fit to ISKCON Press and directing the operation of the activities of ISKCON Press in the printing and reprinting of said books.
Those funds allocated to the Building Fund shall be applied in the sole discretion of the Trustees in the following manner: Purchase of properties for the construction of new temples or renovation of old temples."
There is no mention of any authority to change the books. > [JAS] > He authorized the trustees, and they authorized me.
[Vd] At first glance, I personally do not see any given authority re. the re-editing of books after Srila Prabhupada's departure. Perhaps you have other documents validating their authority. If so, I'd appreciate seeing them. Looking at the document at hand, it seems the BBT Trustees don't have the authority to appoint you in the first place. > [JAS] > You may disagree with what they decided, or think they went beyond or > against the purposes of the trust. But he authorized them (not you), > and they authorized me.
[Vd] Yes, I disagree and again it has not been shown that they have the authority to empower such action.
You have already admitted that there was no order from Srila Prabhupada to edit his books after his passing. So my guess is that you are on thin ice and your authorization may be worthless. To repeat, further authentication of powers or edict from Srila Prabhupada would help out your case immeasurably. So far it is unconvincing.
[JAS]> I did what the authorities duly constituted by Srila Prabhupada asked > of me.
[Vd] Please refer to the above paragraph. > [JAS] > I know that such submission is now long out of style, but back in the > old days--remember?--we generally used to think that following the > authorities Srila Prabhupada appointed meant following Srila > Prabhupada.
[Vd] Srila Prabhupada never told the devotees that they should be mindless followers. Unfortunately, I don't find it surprising that by asking questions and pointing out obvious failures on the part of "authorities" is met with retorts of guru-aparadha. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since the good ole days and I think we all need to be aware of that.
> [JAS] > He even told us as much. Remember? > >IT IS VERY GOOD THAT YOU WANT TO BECOME VERY LEARNED IN KRISHNA >CONCIOUSNESS. WHAT GOOD IS SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT PRACTICE "Obedience >must be there, so by being submissive in this way and > following the direction of the temple leaders is practicing the > knowledge of Krishna Consciousness. Disciple means discipline. Without > discipline there cannot be any spiritual progress. Therefore our > system is to follow the authority or our superiors, no[t] that we can > independently question, not this is right and this is wrong. That is > not the way." --letter to Sankarsana, 23 July 72.
[Vd] You missed the first sentence of that letter and I have added it above in upper case.
Do you really think Srila Prabhupada was refering to the adulteration of his books after his passing in this letter? It seems very much out of context. This was a letter to a devotee requesting more study time and being denied it by Visnujana Mja. There is also a suggestion that he is not practicing properly. Just how he is not practicing properly is not defined and I would be unwise to extrapolate too much on the details. But to quote you from the Folio: "This is by no means to say that the instructions in his letters can simply be waved away as “relative.” But one must be careful to understand how, when, and to whom he intended them to apply." I think your wisdom applies well to this citation.
But I echo this statement of following the authorities or superiors back to you. Where is your authority to change Srila Prabhupada's books? You admit not to be instructed by Srila Prabhupada and there is no authority in the BBT legal documents authorizing this action. So upon whose legitimate authority are you basing your actions upon? This is an important component of the devotees' disagreement with you re. editing. We do not see Srila Prabhupada's sanctioning your and the Trustees' action. Maharaja, this is not disrespect. It is a fundamenal difference in understanding Srila Prabhupada's will on this matter.
[JAS]> "Your comment is well taken that you have little or no knowledge of > the politics. So you remain uninvolved and just continue to simply > follow the authorities and concentrate on improving the Deity worship. > If you chant at least 16 rounds daily and read our books, no > contamination can touch us." --letter to Gangamayi, 9 May 74
One paragraph of a personal nature has been deleted here. It has no bearing on the discussion of edits.
[Vd] But this letter again begs the above question. Where is your authority to change Srila Prabhupada's books? You admit not to be instructed by Srila Prabhupada and there is no authority in the BBT legal documents authorizing this action. So upon whose legitimate authority are you basing your actions upon?
> [JAS] > "My request to you is that you try to follow the authorities there, > the temple president, the GBC, etc.-co-operated nicely with them. Our > movement is based on love and trust, so if we do not co-operate, then > how is that love and trust? Follow all of the rules and regulations > very strictly without deviation, chant 16 rounds, attend class and > mangala arati and then everything will be alright." --letter to > Krsnavesa, 16 Jan 75)
[Vd] It seems to me that the love and trust has been destroyed by those on top rather than by us peons. In the beginning, I fell for the Zonal Acarya scam as presented. It was when they started falling off the vyasasaan stoned on acid, caught in the mall holding hands with a teenage girl, engaging in sodomy with children devotees, etc., etc., etc. that questions and loss of love and trust began manifesting. It was the authorities that let us down. And frankly the situation doesn't seem to have improved much from my perspective.
After all, how can the authorities ask the rank and file to follow authorities when they themselves refuse to do so. What goes around comes around, don't you think?.
> [JAS]> By the way: > > Do you have explicit instructions from Srila Prabhupada authorizing > you to ask your question?
[JAS] In a previous email, I wrote and you agreed: Vd: >>I think there are various instances where Srila >>Prabhupada encouraged his disciples to step up and question >>"authorities." The situation with Bali Mardan when he was >>experiencing difficulties way back in New York comes to mind. > JAS: > You are right, and I sympathize.
[Vd] So I must respond affirmatively that there are incidents from Srila Prabhupada that authorities can be questioned.
[JAS]> I don't say you shouldn't ask it. But if your principle is that one > can only do what Srila Prabhupada has explicitly authorized one to do, > then where is *your* authorization?
[Vd] As above to name one example.
Maharaja, you can't equate my asking challenging questions about actions seemingly incongruent with Srila Prabhupada's wishes to be on the same level as changing his writings. I do agree with you that there are changes that can be substantiated and realize that you want to make these changes based upon a sincere desire to serve Srila Prabhupada. Perhaps we are both sincere re. this issue, but obviously, we can't both be right. According to my reading, there is more weight for caution in regards to editing than otherwise. > Vd:>>2) Are we to understand that you are negating all of Haygriva dasa's >>edits and the implicit approval and guidance Srila Prabhupada showed >>him in his editing effort? > JAS: > Answer: > > No. > > The assumption that I am "negating all of Hayagriva dasa's edits" is > so uninformed, and so far from the truth, that I don't know what to > say to you.
[Vd] Well others are thinking it and if you can dispel that using some facts it might help the discussion. But frankly, it is not an important part of the debate. Your use of an original manuscript to support your changes and another edited one to support others is hard to understand. The manuscript provided to authenticate your changes, was it an original or had it also been edited previously? Why didn't you go back to transcriptions of the original CC dictation tapes as well but refered to edited versions. It seems inconsistent. > Vd: >>3) It was also reported recently that you are establishing a >>committee to examine both the original and revised versions of the >>Bhagavad Gita As It Is to chronicle your edits. Is this true? > JAS: > Answer: > > No. The project is broader in scope than that. It's meant to provide a > substantial editorial and production history for each book. I am not > the person directly in charge of the project, it doesn't pertain only > to the Gita, it doesn't involve only my edits, and it doesn't involve > an "examination committee."
[Vd] So how many edits have been done. Some claim up to 5,000. Is that in the ball park? Were all the changes made presented to the oversight committee and templepresidens as you have claimed? If they weren't, then why weren't they? You claimed to Madhuvisa dasa that your edits were much broader than what was presented. I think you replied to that publicly and didn't deny it. It doesn't seem just that we are tar and feathered because a transparent overview of the changes was not taken as alleged. That doesn't develop trust either. > Vd: >>4) In the case of B.G. 2.31, can it be documented that "varnasrama >>dharma" is used incorrectly instead of "higher authorities?" Will you >>publish the edited manuscripts which Hayagriva Prabhu worked on to >>see how this alleged mistake occured? > JAS: > Answer: > > I doubt that any level of documentation would be persuasive for you.
[Vd] My fear is that you can't present any level of documentation that will persuade me. Is that my fault or can you take part of the blame for that. Remember, Maharaja, I am reacting to your words here. Your inconclusive proof is not convincing so don't put the blame on me. > [JAS] > I shared with you the relevant text from Srila Prabhupada's > manuscript, and what did I get for it from you but more arguments?
[Vd] As above. Excuse the saracasm but I found your evidence to be more a circumstantial comment than explicit proof. > [JAS]> Question: What would it take--what evidence would be enough--to > persuade you you're barking up the wrong tree?
[Vd] Explicit authority from Srila Prabhupada would help but you have already admitted that he didn't authorize you to make the changes. What else do you have to offer? > Vd: >>5) Is it standard that a first draft, unedited manuscript nullify the >>published copy? > JAS: > Prabhu, your question reflects such deep misunderstandings of the way > I and other BBT editors have worked that I would hardly know where to > begin to try to straighten those misunderstandings out.
[Vd] I admit that there could be some misunderstanding and to what extent I cannot say. The word on the street is that you and Dravida have seperate responsibilities re. which books you edit with little to no oversight. So what is that oversight? Let us see if it stands up to the light of day. You must recognize that these are important issues. > [JAS] > And I wouldn't be the right person anyway, because you don't trust me. > I guess I should leave it at this: > > Professional editors dedicated to faithfully serving their authors > follow well-established criteria for determining if and when one > version of a text should be held to represent more reliably than > another what the author intended. > > If you wish to find out more about this, you can go to a library and > do deep research about it on your own, as I have.
[Vd] You may have missed the point here. You don't seem to have been given the authority to undertake any editing so your claim on the specifics of the editing process is a secondary point. From my understanding neither the GBC or BBT Trustees have the authority to do so. If I am wrong, again, please provide explicit instructions from Srila Prabhupada. But as you have already admitted, you can't. It seems that the burden of proof is on your shoulders, not mine. > Vd: >>6) Are you suggesting that any change not contained in the original >>draft is in error? > JAS: > Answer: > > No.
[Vd] Then why do you go back to the original draft and negate the published copy? I have emails out asking for details re. claims on the internet that Srila Prabhupada was directly involved in the early days re. editing and publishing. So is it unfair for us to consider that Srila Prabhupada made changes to the BG after the manuscript you refer to? And if so, then going back to the original (if that is what it is) does not suffice. I think the responsibility is on your shoulders to prove or disprove this. Which manuscript are you using and does it betray Srila Prabhupada's last minute efforts in making corrections to the Gita? > Vd: >>If not, then why are you returning to an >>un-edited version as your authority and then proceed to make changes >>to it? > JAS > Answer: > >I consult the unedited version because it represents the primary > available source for what Srila Prabhupada said before the editors > revised it.
[Vd] But can you document that some of the changes were not authorized by Srila Prabhupada? We are looking for authority here. Can you provide it? > [JAS] > Do you think what the author originally said matters? Do you think his > original words have a claim to some sort of authority?
[Vd] Maharaja, please don't get saracastic as it isn't going to move this discussion along.
> [JAS] > I do. That's why I consult the original manuscripts.
[Vd] Therefore, do you think that Srila Prabhupada's authorized edits (if they indeed occured) have less authority than his earlier mansucript? Are you able to document the changes that Srila Prabhupada authorized after the writing of the manuscript? If not, could you be undoing specific changes made to Srila Prabhupada's books by Srila Prabhupada? Senior devotees from the N.Y. temple have stated on the Internet that Srila Prabhupada was directly involved in the latter stages of the production of his books. Is this true that he was invovled at later stages of the publishing effort? If so, then I think you are playing with fire.
> Vd: >>7) Are you suggesting that any change not contained in the original >>draft is in error? > > Answer: > > No.
[Vd] Then you seem to be on thin ice here. The opportunity to make mistakes could be legion. > [Vd] >>8) Why are you returning to an un-edited version as your authority >>and then proceed to make changes to it? > > Answer: > > You've already asked this. Please see my answer to question 6. > Vd: >>9) Could it be concluded that your editing efforts are motivated by >>an anti-Hayagriva bias? > JAS: > Answer: > > Why the passive voice? "Could it be concluded" by whom? By you? Of > course, you can conclude whatever you like. > > Now, if you were to ask, "Could a fair-minded person reasonably > conclude, on the basis of available evidence, that my editing efforts > are motivated by an anti-Hayagriva bias" I'd say no.
[Vd] I am prepared to accept that. But others have voiced this concern. To repeat, it really isn't central to the discussion. > Vd: >>10) Are you able to inform us why Srila Prabhupada originally had >>Hayagriva Prabhu edit the manuscript if he didn't want any changes in >>the first place? > JAS: > Answer: > > Huh? > > Didn't want any changes in the first place? > > Excuse me?
[Vd] Why did Srila Prabhupada have Hayagriva Prabhu edit the original BG manuscript if he didn't want any changes? Your going back to a manuscript seemingly pre-dating Hayagriva's efforts invalidates Srila Prabhupada's trust and sanction of his work. I am not arguing that there wasn't mistakes made. But your changes (alleged to be up to 5,000 edits) seem to go beyond professional courtesy. You have also admitted on the Internet that later printings of the BG would correct mistakes you also made. "I worked on both the first edition and the second (many of the first-edition blunders corrected in the second edition were my own), and I don't claim to be more than a fallen conditioned soul. Jayadvaita Swami" (http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET0301/ET31-7766.html)
So how do we build our trust after that type of statement? > Vd: >>11) Shouldn't an oversight committee be established to review all >>your changes? > JAS: > Answer: > > Why ask me, a person for whose judgment you have little regard? > > Someone a lot more qualified than me--or you--ought to answer the > question. > > The GBC has given an answer. The BBT trustees have given an answer. > The problem is, it's an answer you don't like.
[Vd] Granted. But doesn't the legal documents preclude GBC involvement?
"This trust shall exist independently of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and the Trustees' functions and duties stated herein shall be separate and not dependent on the Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness."
And per the statues provided earlier, the Trustees aren't authorized either. What a conundrum? > [JAS] > So for the answer you're fishing for, you'll need to fish somewhere > else.
[Vd] It seems to me the fishing ain't so good in these parts and I might as well give up. My regret is that it comes as no surprise. > Vd: >>12) Didn't Srila Prabhupada instruct the BBT to revert back to an >>earlier edition of the Sri Isopanisad since he was unhappy about >>certain edits? If so, was this ever done? If not, why not? > JAS: > Answer: > > What he said, precisely, was "The next printing should be again to the > original way." > > The BBT corrected the mistakes Srila Prabhupada expressed concern > about.
[Vd] Good news. > [JAS] > By the way: Why are you asking? The edits you speak of were done by > Hayagriva Prabhu. Do you have an anti-Hayagriva bias?
[Vd] Never met the man so don't have an opinion either way. But I am not fond of any mistakes made by any of the editors to be honest. If that is a bias, then I am guilty. > Vd: >>13) Have all the changes to both purports and translations been >>reported publicly? > JAS: > Answer: > > No. > > And I'm not inspired enough to invest my time and energy in such a > task.
[Vd]Frankly, Maharaja, I don't think we are speaking about inspiration but rather responsibility. Therefore your claims that the changes to the BG were submitted to a GBC review and to a consultation with Iskcon leaders in 1982 seems imprecise. If all the changes were not authorized by the GBC and BBT Trustees, then the claim of securing their backing seems specious. > [JAS] > Your Madhudvisa (who, by the way, is not our godbrother) seems to have > some sort of computer routine that can compare one text and another > and flag all the differences. I think he has done it for > Caitanya-caritamrta, so you can ask him to do it for the Gita as well. > Fine with me.
[Vd] He is not my Madhuvisa and why do you suggest it? I happened to meet him recently for the first time and the subject of book revisions never came up. In fact we hardly spoke other than him selling me a copy of ITV videos. What does it matter if he isn't a godbrother? If he makes good points then where is the loss? Perhaps you can enlist him and his computer program to document all the edits. That might save a lot of time and effort. > Vd: >> What was your purpose, if any, in presenting an >>incomplete inventory of the edits as alleged by Madhuvisa Prabhu (if >>it is indeed true that you made those comments to him)? Did you make >>those remarks? > JAS: > I don't know what remark you're talking about. Anyone who has made a > civil inquiry from me about any particular edit has received a civil > and open reply.
[Vd] If you like I think I can reproduce a letter he wrote and a corrected version from your good self. Frankly, you have already answered this question by admitting that you are unable to list all the changes so obviously you couldn't have presented all of them to anyone. You simply admitted this to Madhuvisa dasa and again confirmed it here. > [JAS]> The answers for more than 200 such questions are available to anyone > online. And anyone who still has a question about some other edit is > welcome to ask. For all civil and reasonable questions I receive, my > policy is to offer civil and reasonable replies.
[Vd] And we appreciate that very much. > Vd: >>We eagerly await to hear your answers to these important questions. >>Hopefully, you will do so. BBT may be the legal copyright holder for >>these books, but they are in actuality the defining treatises of our >>spiritual lives and we all have a stake in their philosphical >>reliability. I hope you recognize this. > JAS> I do. And I would take very seriously any instance where reasonable > evidence shows that any passage in the Second Edition suffers from > philosophical unreliability.
[Vd] That is good news.
But it isn't a question of philosophical unreliability but rather unreliability to what Srila Prabhupada wrote that is the question. As in the Gita verses cited previously, higher authorities may not be a philosophical deviation but is it what Srila Prabhupada wanted in print. Higher authorities could easily be interpreted as the GBC, etc. but the GBC seems to have little interest and ability to develop this component of Srila Prabhupada's teachings. So in the end the change may be significant though philosophically correct. > [JAS] > By the way, as a stakeholder, how do you feel when you read Srila > Prabhupada's books and you come upon passages you know to be factually > or philosophically not only unreliable but downright wrong, or > scrambled beyond our ability to understand?
[Vd] That is a tough question. Previously, I was leaning to the idea that there should be an oversight committee; however, after reading the conversation entitled Conversation, "Rascal Editors," and Morning Talk, June 22, 1977, Vrindavana, I am not sure that would be the best course since Srila Prabhupada denied Tamal Krsna Goswami's repeated request to have an editorial board overlook changes. Prabhupada's order was to return them to their original form. Do you have any other information contrary to this? This date was obviously very close to Srila Prabhupada's departure and in my opinion should be considered authoritative. Perhaps he could see future problems. He certainly was aware of the past ones.
> JAS: >>> Only after millions of lifetimes does a living entity become as >>> fortunate as you and receive the seed of devotional service from a >>> pure devotee. Are you *sure* that writing critical public letters >>> like the recent ones you've sent me is in line with Srila >>> Prabhupada's teachings and in the best interests of your invaluable >>> devotional life? >> Vd: >>Frankly, if the changes you are making to Srila Prabhupada's books >>are unauthorized, I'd be more worried about your invaluable >>devotional life. > JAS: > That, of course, avoids my point. I was hoping I might touch something > within you. I guess I failed.
[Vd] I think we both failed, Maharaja, in making our point clear to the other. Personally, I'd have no reservations over presenting these points to Srila Prabhupada if I could. I'd give anything to have his day-to-day inspiration back. Thankfully, we have his books. > [JAS] > Anyway, thank you for expressing your concern. And if I felt I had > done something "unauthorized," I hope I'd be worried too.
[Vd] Frankly, 5000 changes seems excessive. Were the changes made strictly devoted to sanskrit and mistakes by the editors? Or has there been some style changes attempted as well? > [Vd] >>I think there are various instances where Srila >>Prabhupada encouraged his disciples to step up and question >>"authorities." The situation with Bali Mardan when he was >>experiencing difficulties way back in New York comes to mind. > [JAS]> You are right, and I sympathize.
[Vd] To be honest, Maharaja, Iskcon is a very difficult organization to be around if you are not on the upper echelons or self-supporting. So many of our godbrothers and old friends are nowhere to be found. It is so sad.
> [JAS] > On the other hand, these days one hardly needs the encouragement. Any > know-nothing new bhakta can find a soapbox on the internet and, as the > slogan went in the good old 1960's, "Question Authority." That is, > anyone can rant on about anyone and anything, and it's all okay > because that's what Srila Prabhupada supposedly wanted us to do.
[Vd] My understanding is that one should not accept authorities blindly. The process of accepting a spiritual master comes after both aspiring disciple and spiritual master have had sufficient time to check each other out. The example of Jiva Goswami being put to menial tasks by Rupa Goswami comes to mind. Again, I have no problem accepting authority but that authority must come from Srila Prabhupada. In this instance that doesn't seem to be the case. I am not saying that all of your edits are unnecessary or invalid. But there has been little to no oversight and the changing process does not seem to be authorized. > [JAS] > I wonder whether it's too late to put in a word if not for Vaisnava > etiquette then at least for ordinary good manners.
[Vd] You seem to be going overboard as illustrated by your "divine pronoun" policy. You seem to have shot yourself in the foot on this one and it has seriously eroded your credibility. Perhaps I was the most vocal in pointing that out but I do have the right to make my opinion heard. And it worked. I guess we have to judge things by their results. But I get little pleasure out of it. I've been on the Internet and Folio all day researching these things instead of being in the garden. We grow approx. 70% of Gaura Nitai's vegetables here and if we weren't moving, probably would provide a good quantity of Their grains as well. > Vd: >>Again, >>can you provide unequivocal instructions from Srila Prabhupada to >>change his books after entering samadhi? > JAS: > Again: Can you provide unequivocal instructions from Srila Prabhupada > that after his departure his editors should stop their work?
[Vd] Yes, please refer to the conversation listed above. It seems rather unequivocal to me that the editors were making mistakes. Srila Prabhupada, though asked on several instances during that conversation, did not agree that you and Satsvarupa Prabhu should go through the books. Rather return them to their original version. > [JAS]> Can you provide unequivocal instructions from Srila Prabhupada that > when the trustees he appointed ask me to revise a book, I should > refuse?
[Vd] You should have refused because they were acting beyond their capacity. Again, did you not make a presentation to the Trustees for such action? I'd be surprised if you were not consulted due to your role as a prominent editor in the BBT. But that is conjecture. Perhaps you can clear up any misunderstanding. In any event, rightly or wrongly, you certainly have taken the instruction to heart. > One paragraph of a personal nature has been deleted here. It has no bearing on the discussion of edits.
> Vd: >>Now we would like to test your sincerity re. "your servant." Please >>answer the above questions as many devotees would like to get more >>information re. these issues. Many are feeling unhappy that a public >>discussion is not being undertaken and that valuable information is >>being withheld. > [JAS] > Before broadcasting to the public the answers I've given you, I'd be > interested to see whether you and I can reach some reasonable > understanding between ourselves.
[Note: HH JAS has yet to respond to this email so my conclusion is that a reasonable understanding amongst ourselves has not been reached. Therefore, I am utilizing his above permission to make this letter public. Vd.)
[Vd] What type of reasonable understanding would you hope for? It doesn't seem that we have come any closer in our perspectives. I do not mean you any harm with this. As you likely remember, I requested your counsel on a matter in Mayapura several years ago. I respect you as a devotee but I do not agree with the editing policy of Srila Prabhupada's books. You may not agree but I feel that is my perogative.
No Bcc's of this have been sent out either.
Vyapaka dasa > >>p.s. No Bcc's of this email have been sent. > > Likewise. > > Hoping this finds you in good health, > > Your servant, > Jayadvaita Swami > ---------------- >www.jswami.info >
July 3/06: We are still waiting to see H.H. Jayadvaita Swami's reply to the email sent April 14/06. Vd.
The following email is a reply to a second email received from Jayadvaita Swami (Apritl 25/06) to Vyapaka dasawhere he challenged Vyapaka if he would accept JAS' example of a precedent for posthumous changes to an acarya's writings.
Your Holiness Jayadvaita Maharaja,
Please accept my beisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Vyapaka dasa wrote >>Re. examples (of previous authorities changing an acarya's writings >>posthumously) that may or may not change my mind: It is difficult for >>me to answer that one until I see your reference. > Jayadvaita Swami replied: > Okay. The fourteenth chapter of the Bhakti-ratnakara contains a letter > from Sri Jiva Gosvami to Srinivasa Acarya in which Srila Jiva mentions > he was editing Srila Rupa Gosvami's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. The letter > was written after Srila Rupa Gosvami's physical departure from the > world. > > So the answer to your question--"Do you have examples where the > writings of great vaisnava acaryas on Srila Prabhupada's level has > been edited posthumously?" is yes. > > Is that good enough for you?
[Vd] No. Definitely not. You are comparing your actions to those of Srila Jiva Goswami? Isn't that a bit of a reach!
Srila Jiva Goswami was a direct disciple and contemporary of Srila Rupa Goswami, so there is a good chance that there was a direct instruction given to him to edit his spiritual master's writings. Rupa Gos. had Jiva Gos. serve him by editing his books during their time together. How can we eliminate the possibility that he wasn't given the charge by Rupa Gos. to do so. Since this is the only example that you can produce, we must conclude that either Jiva Goswami 1. followed the orders of his spiritual master or 2. acted independently and without precedent in correcting the mistakes in his spiritual master's writings. My choice is #1 and I have difficulty understanding how you can rationalize your pick of #2.
You have already admitted in writing more than once that Srila Prabhupada never instructed you to edit his books posthumously. Your supposition that Jiva Goswami received instruction or that he did it independently seems speculative.
Secondlly, the Six Goswamis were graced with the highest spiritual realization. Indeed they were gopis. In their service to Lord Chaitanya, they discussed philosophy and their writings amongst themselves. Who knows what was discussed and authorized between them. Even if you don't accept that there was an explicit vocal authorization given to Srila Jiva Goswami, you cannot imply that the same rasa Srila Jiva Goswami had with his spiritual master is mirrored in your relationship with Srila Prabhupada. I cannot see how such an imitation of Srila Rupa Goswami's activities can be authorized using such flimsy evidence.
> >>My question: >> Vd: >>If information that Srila Prabhupada didn't want books of the acaryas >>changed, will you and the BBT stop printing the edited versions? > JAS: > No. The question is too broad. > > I'm aware of a statement from Srila Prabhupada that we should print > Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's Brahma-samhita without > editing.
[Vd] Well that certainly was going to be one of my claims. But I don't accept your supposition. Why do we offer a lower standard of respect to Srila Prabhupada than he did to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Maharaja. I don't understand how the conditions set by Srila Prabhupada for the Brahma-samhita should be so different from those offered to him with his own Bhagavad Gita.
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