From: "Madhudvisa dasa" <email@example.com>
To: "... "Kavicandra Swami (GBC Japan)
CC: ... Subject: RE: Jayadvaita Maharaj's Book Changes
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 18:18:34 -0700
Dear Kavicandra Maharaja
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
I am a little surprised that you, a staunch supporter of Srila Prabhupada in so many ways, are supporting the undocumented and unauthorized changing of Srila Prabhupada's books.
The issue is not the person who is changing the books, or if the changes are actually an improvement or not or even if the changes bring the books closer to the original manuscript.
The issue is Srila Prabhupada did not ever instruct anyone to make such changes. Even Jayadvaita Swami admits Srila Prabhupada did not request him to "revise and enlarge" (as JAS has called his edition of the gita) his Bhagavad-gita As It Is. And Prabhupada had six whole years to give this instruction to Jayadvaita Swami if he actually wanted the gita "revised and enlarged" by him.
If you would like to read the "Rascal Editors" conversation in the folio with Srila Prabhupada, Tamal Krsna and other devotees, you will see that TKG is trying to get Prabhupada to agree that JAS can go though the books and make "corrections," however the conclusion of that discussion is that Prabhupada states they can not change anything, the next printing should be the original way. So this question was put to Prabhupada, "Can JAS correct the books?" and Prabhupada rejected the idea, "No, the next printing should be the original way."
The precedent that has been created here is horrendous and I think if you honestly consider what has been done you must have concern for the preservation of the teachings of Srila Prabhupada for future generations. JAS has set the example that a BBT editor can go through Prabhupada's books and change anything at all he feels should be changed without any system of authorization at all, without anyone else even knowing what he has changed, and then the BBT print the changed books, without any idea at all what has been changed.
Now other BBT editors are doing the same thing. It will not stop with JAS. He has set up the standard. Any BBT editor can change anything he feels should be changed without any documentation and without any authorization and without any system of checks and balances. Krsna book has now gone through 4 different editions. The current BBT Krsna book has been changed 4 times and each time the changed version has been changed again, and according to JAS this should continue every time a new edition is printed. You are a thoughtful person Maharaja, and I am sure that you know if this system is allowed to continue it will not be long before the "Prabhuapda" books printed by the BBT are very different from the original books published by the BBT under Prabhupada's direct personal guidance.
Dravida has made thousands of changes to Krsna Book and thousands of changes to the Caitanya-caritamrta. He has made all these changes by himself, on his own authority and in at least one case he has admitted to changing the book because he feels what Srila Prabhupada has written does not tally with the way such things are understood by today's ISKCON. We know of one such change, there are most likely many such changes where Dravida has adjusted things Prabhupada said to fit them within his concept of how things are understood today in ISKCON.
There is a comparison of Srila Prabhupada's original Caitanya-caritamrta and Dravida's changed version which you can study yourself at:
I have not yet had a chance to study it extensively, however I have seen that there are thousands of needless pedantic changes that absolutely should not have been made. There are so many changes where the original text is perfectly good and the changed version is no improvement whatsoever, simply change for the sake of change. These are the least talked about changes which are being made by to Prabhupada's books by the BBT because on the surface these changes do not seem to make any difference. For example:
When Vasudeva Ghosa performed kirtana, describing Lord Caitanya and Nityananda , even wood and stone would melt upon hearing it.
When Vasudeva Ghosa described Lord Caitanya and Nityananda while performing kirtana, even wood and stone would melt upon hearing it.
One may think this makes no difference, but because of the sheer number of such changes, perhaps 5000 such changes in the Bhagavad-gita alone and a similar number in Krsna book, and in Caitanya-caritamrta, cumulitavly such changes have a huge effect on the experience we get from reading Prabhupada's books.
Everyone of these tens of thousands of unauthorized changes by the BBT editors, if analyzed minutely, changes the meaning of what we read in Prabhupada's books. And taken together all these changes completely destroy the authority of Prabhupada's books. When we read Prabhupada's original books we know that we are reading the same books Srila Prabhupada himself read personally daily and the same books he gave all his classes from, the same books he approved of completely and did not request anyone to change. Rather he forbid the devotees from changing his books and when it was brought up by Yasoda Nandana that changes were being made to the Isopanasad by the BBT editors Prabhupada called them rascals and forbade them from making any changes at all and ordered that the next printing should be the original way. That has still not been done except for a token printing of Prabhupada's original Sri Isopanasad by the NA BBT. The mass distribution books the BBT print are still the unauthorized changed editions even though there is a clear recorded order from Srila Prabhupada that the original books should be printed. And so many devotees, understandably, do not want to distribute these changed books. Therefore this book changing is devastating the very mission of Srila Prabhupada, the printing and distribution of his books on a massive scale. There is no more effective way to sabotage Prabhupada's Hare Krishna movement than by making unauthorized changes to his books. And that is what the BBT editors are doing, knowingly or unknowingly, sabotaging Prabhupada's Hare Krishna movement. Prabhuapda said this movement can only be destroyed from within and that is what these devotees are doing.
The above change in the statemnet about Vasudeva Ghosa by Dravida has been made on the strength of his own mental speculation. He is thinking "Vasudeva Ghosa performing kirtan describing Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda" is wrong. That is the idea in his mind because he has "corrected" it in the current BBT Cc. He has made it Vasudeva Ghosa describing Lord Caitanya and Nityanda while performing Kirtana. Which is a completely incorrect and nonsense statement if analyzed carefully. Vasudeva Ghosa was performing Kirtana describing Lord Caitanya, just the way it is described in Prabhupada's original Cc. Dravida has turned this into meaningless nonsense. He does not realize one can describe in Kirtan, instead he has Vasudeva Ghosa describing while performing Kirtan. Which is not possible. When one is performing Kirtan his mouth is busy performing Kirtan, how can he describe Lord Caitanya and Nityananda WHILE performing Kirtan??? It is complete nonense. And so many of the thousands of needless and -- on the first inspection -- apparently harmless changes, are actually not harmless at all. Apart from being completely unnecessary and simply a result of the editors personal preferences and style, so many of these changes turn perfectly correct, clear and authorative statements of Srila Prabhupada into meaningless gibberish.
If you study the changes in detail, which I very much encourage you to do, you will see what I am saying is true. And I hope that you are honest enough to do this. Maintaining the authority of Prabhupada's books is the most essential element to the future of Srila Prabhupada's Hare Krishna movement. Almost all of us became devotees by reading Prabhupada's books and the BBT is busy changing those very books that have convinced us that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that we should surrender to Him and dedicate our lives to Him. It is a very, very dangerous thing.
The changed BBT books are not authorative. They have thousands of unauthorized changes and no thoughtful person will ever accept them as being "Prabhupada's books." They are Prabhupada's books changed by JAS and Dravida. Prabhupada's books are the books which he himself printed with his BBT. All the work was done under his direction and authority and the final books were read by Srila Prabhupada daily and he gave all his classes from them. JAS will try to tell us that Prabhupada had no idea what was in his printed books, and that he has discovered and corrected so many errors that Prabhuapda was unaware of. However we all know that one of Prabhupada's main pastimes was reading his own books and hearing his devotees read his books. We have so many tapes of devotees reading the Bhagavad-gita and Prabhuapda listening and commenting on those points. There are examples where Prabhupada has commented on a point in the Gita after a devotee has read it, clearly accepting it and expanding on it, and that point has been removed or changed in JAS's version. At ITV we have films of devotees reading Prabhupada's books to him, so we know it, Prabhupada was very attached to reading his books and hearing his devotees read them.
Srila Prabhupada's mission, more than anything else, was to print and distribute books in the English language. That is the order Srila Bhaktsiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gave to Srila Prabhupada, it is his life and soul. The very mission of his life. And JAS would have us believe that Prabhuapda was unaware of what was printed in his books and that he has been able to "revise and enlarge" them and correct so many "errors" that Prabhuapda did not spot. It is such an offensive attitude to take. "Prabhupada had no idea what was in his books..."
The whole idea is so offensive, the result is the authority of Prabhupada's books is being destroyed and the pure message of Krishna consciousness that is so purely and effectively transmitted through Prabhupada's original books is being changed and destroyed in the changed versions of the BBT books.
I am sure the BBT editors are within themselves very sincere and thinking they are improving on Prabhupada's books. But that is simply the covering of maya, and that is creating a great disturbance to Srila Prabhupada, to the Vaisnavas and to the whole world. We have seen so many "sincere" devotees doing so much nonsense and this has caused Srila Prabhupada and his ISKCON so much grief. We have to be mature enough to spot nonsense and correct it even if it may hurt the feelings of a couple of "Prabhupada disciples." Prabhupada's mission is so much more important than the feelings of a couple of misguided disciples. We can not let them lead the whole movement astray just because we are to polite to correct their errors in understanding.
This book changing mentality is the greatest disaster and the most significant reason for the problems ISKCON is currently facing. And it is simply caused by a couple of BBT editors who have the "American disease" as Prabhuapda called it. They simply want to change, change, change. They have no respect for the authorized books read by Prabhuapda daily, the books that have proven their potency and effectiveness by making attracting so many conditioned souls to Krishna consciousness... NO. They want to change, change, change... It is a disease, it has to be rectified and you are an intelligent man and very outspoken on many issues in ISKCON and in many ways you are standing up for Srila Prabhupada, so on this most important issue I would humbly respect that you actually study in depth what changes have been made to Srila Prabhupada's books for yourself and make your own informed decision. If you can fight for Srila Prabhuapda in this battle to preserve his teachings for the current and future generations, that will be very pleasing to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, I know that from my personal experience.
Prabhupada wants his original books preserved, printed and distributed in massive quantities. If we do this the world will become Krishna conscious, there is no question about it, but if we change the books and distribute changed books the potency is lost and everything is spoiled. This change, change, change mentality is poison and very much against the mood of pure devotional service.
I pray that you please take this letter in the mood it is written of humble service to Srila Prabhuapda and with a desire to preserve, protect and distribute the original teachings of Srila Prabhupada. I know JAS and Dravida are nice devotees and sincere, but on this issue of changing Prabhupada's books they are mistaken and that mistake is slowly destroying Srila Prabhupada's Hare Krishna movement. And they are wasting so much of Srila Prabhupada's money. Just recently the BBT agreed to reprint Srila Prabhupada's Sri Caitanya-caritamrta which has been out of print for so many years now. For many months JAS and Dravida have been petitioning the BBT trustees to not print Prabhupada's original but print the changed Cc. instead. Dravida's plea is Prabhus, I have worked so hard on these changes, please print the changed books... And the BBT agreed to these pleas and printed the changed Cc. Even from a commercial point of view this is a crazy decision. The changed Cc. is not out of print. They have plenty in stock and there is no one waiting to purchase Dravida's edition. So there is no need to print it at all. It is available, in stock. However there are thousands of devotees out there waiting to purchase Srila Prabhupada's original Cc. So if the BBT print the original Cc. immediately, practically overnight, they will sell thousands of sets, thus the printing will pay for itself immediately. I spoke with JAS in New York on these points and he agreed. His only reply was the he liked the changed books, he wants to print the changed books, and he does not want the BBT to be controlled by the desires of the customers of the BBT, the devotees who want to purchase Prabhupada's original books. They want to force everyone to read the changed books by making Prabhuapda's original books unavailable. The BBT editors have been doing this successfully for many years now on the plea that "we have not changed Prabhupada's books." This has been clearly exposed as a complete lie. There are so many changes.
I made the point to JAS that if the BBT print the original Cc. every BBT customer will be happy with it. There is no BBT customer in the world who would be unhappy with Prabhupada's original Cc. Only two such customers exist. JAS and Dravida. And JAS agreed to this point. That everyone (except him and Dravida) would be happy if the BBT simply printed Prabhupada's original books. But he likes the changed books and that is why the BBT is still printing the changed books. It is being done to please only two people in the world. Dravida and JAS. But that is not the business of the BBT. It is supposed to be for printing Prabhuapada's original books.
I want to make it clear here that I am not against correcting real typographical errors. That is the job of the BBT editors. And no one will complain if simple spelling errors and Sanskrit errors are corrected. We would expect any publisher to correct such obvious errors. There are a few such errors that have been corrected in Prabhupada's books and those corrections are fine. However the vast number of changes, more than 99% of the changes, are not of this nature of correction of real errors. And that is the problem. On the plea of "fixing errors" the editors have made thousands of needless changes that destroy the authority of Prabhupada's books and change the meaning of what Prabhuapda says in his books... It is the greatest danger to Prabhupada's Hare Krishna movement.
It has been proven quite dramatically that the current BBT editors can not be trusted to discern what is a typographical error and what is a change to the book so we need a completely different system to authorize corrections to real errors in Prabhuapda's books. The principle is nothing can be changed, and every change should be resisted. And if there is a real error it has to be very clearly and openly documented and the readers must have access to documentation of every single change, they have to know exactly what has been corrected. Otherwise nothing can be changed. The principle is nothing can be changed. That is Prabhupada's principle and we have to accept it.
If you continue to support these unauthorized changes to Srila Prabhupada's books you will not be respected by anyone at all in any respect. The one issue that all of Srila Prabhupada's disciples are united on inside and outside ISKCON is that the BBT should not change Prabhupada's books. Even followers of other gurus are united on this point. NM is against the changes to Prabhupada's books, Siddha Svarupa is against it, Kirtanannda is against it, in ISKCON practically all the leaders are against the book changes and those who are not are not aware of the extent and the ramifications of the changes that have been made to Srila Prabhupada's books.
When I first heard of the changes to Srila Prabhupada's books I also did not take it very seriously. I thought it was just some devotees complaining about BBT editors fixing genuine errors in Prabhupada's books. It was not until I made a systematic study of the changes to Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is that I realized the magnitude of the problem we are dealing with. JAS's edition of Prabhupada's Gita is not at all an attempt to correct real errors, rather it is an attempt to "revise and enlarge" Srila Prabhupada's work on the strength of his great advancement as a Sanskrit scholar by going back to the original books Srila Prabhupada used when translating the Gita. Prabhupada's books are Prabhupada's books and the BBT editors do not have the right to "revise and enlarge" them by going back to the original books Prabhupada used as reference books. They are destroying everything and adding in their own concoctions and misconceptions to Prabhupada's books and they are wasting so much of Prabhupada's money printing these books. It is a disaster and if you can help to reverse the effects of this disaster by encouraging the BBT to print Prabhupada's original books again that would be the greatest service to Srila Prabhupada.
Hope you are well. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!
KAVICANDRA SWAMI: ''.....Things were put back.. the new GITA is as close
to Srila Prabhupada's original as you can back The Hayagriva one had the
''The people you are listening to are taking everything out of context.
Their agenda is simply to blaspheme the GBC and destroy devotees faith, like
are doing to you... Destroying faith is the same as killing....''
''Try reading all of the BBT books instead of the blasphemous internet
My Humble dandavats Maharaja!!! Having read your comments above, are you
saying that Jayadvaita swami's new version is same as the Prabhupada
original that devotees have been yearning for?