Great article on “no change” to the books‏

January 29, 2014 in Ajit Krishna Das, Damaghosa Dasa by KHD

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By Ajit Krishna Dasa

This a a response to Dravida Prabhu’s article “The Book Changes – A Defense” (posted on the  Sampradaya Sun (01.13.2014).

Basically Dravida Prabhu’s attempted defense boils down to two wellknown  fallacious arguments often presented by the BBT International:

1. Prabhupada trusted Jayadvaita Swami pre Nov  14th 1978. Therefore the editing Jayadvaita Swami has done after Prabhupada’s  disappearance (post Nov. 14th 1978) is also approved.

2. The books are made “closer to Prabhupada” by  making them closer to the so called original manuscript (which is really only a  draft).

Let us look at each of these fallacious arguments.

 

The “he is good”  argument

I have posted an article on my blog defeating this fallacious  argument so often presented by the BBT International:

Is Jayadvaita Still Good?

BBT International and their supporters often  attempt to justify the changes made to Prabhupada books by Jayadvaita Swami by  pointing out that Prabhupada a couple if times spoke highly of his editing  work.

This article will show that these statements by  Prabhupada can’t be construed to mean that Jayadvaita Swami’s editing work after  Prabhupada’s disappearance is pleasing to Prabhupada.

From BBT International’s website:

“Of course, regarding Jayadvaita Swami, the BBT’s  chief editor, Srila Prabhupada wrote, “Concerning the editing of Jayadvaita  Prabhu, whatever he does is approved by me. I have confidence in him.” (letter  to Radhavallabha, 7 September 1976)

BBT International and their supporters often speak  about this quote from Prabhupada as if it was some kind of blessing from  Prabhupada that makes Jayadvaita Swami and his editing infallible even to this  very day. This, of course, makes no sense and even Jayadvaita Swami himself  admits that he sometimes commits mistakes in his editing. One example of this is  his changing “Visnu Form” into the “Visnu platform” (Bg. 2.61)

So it’s obvious that we can’t take the statement  “…whatever he does is approved by me” too literal. In order to be continuously  approved by Prabhupada Jayadvaita Swami need to continuously meet certain  criteria set forth by Prabhupada and sastra in regard to editing protocol. If it  can be argued in any way that the editing policy of BBT International  compromises the transcendental potency of Prabhupada’s books, or if Jayadvaita  Swami becomes an atheist or a mayavadi or falls down and or if he somehow goes  against the direct instructions of Prabhupada in his editing proces, then we  must conclude that his editing is unauthorized and must be stopped. He can then  no longer be “approved”.

This blog and several other websites have for  years been showing that there is no evidence to support even the slightest  change in Prabhupada’s books. It has been shown how Jayadvaita Swami does not at  all perform his editing work according to the accepted protocol set forth by  Prabhupada (“NO CHANGES”), sastra (arsa-prayoga) and even academic scholars. We  have shown how he is actually sabotaging the books – however well-intentioned he  may be.

So even though Prabhupada spoke highly of  Jayadvaita Swami’s editing 40 years ago it does not make Jayadvaita Swami  infallible, and it does not mean that he can just do whatever he likes to  Prabhupada books.

The other quote that BBT International and their  supporter often refer to is this:

From BBT International’s website:

“And in the conversation where Srila Prabhupada  complained so strongly about “rascals editors,” Srila Prabhupada said about  Jayadvaita, “He is good.””

So 40 years ago Prabhupada said about Jayadvaita  Swami that he was “good”. Does it then follow logically or experientally that he  is still “good”? Obviously not! There are several examples of Prabhupada at one  point praising some of his disciple, and then at a later point criticized them  severely.

Prahlada-Nrsimha Prabhu has written a very nice article about this (published on bookchanges.com):

“Just because Srila Prabhupada at one point said  someone was a good man, does that mean that they are one now? Srila Prabhupada  liked many devotees at one point and at that point put them in positions of  power and authority and praised them, but later on down the road he changed his  opinion about them and/or they went astray or deviated to one degree or another.  So although at one point Prabhupada approved of someone and complimented them,  that does not mean that from that point on they are bona-fide no matter what  they do. Here are a few examples to further examine this point.

One Prabhupada disciple did HUGE service for  Prabhupada, pushing on the book distribution mission (probably) more than any  other Prabhupada disciple in ISKCON’s history, and was pretty much running  ISKCON at one point. But later he changed the basic rules of the four regulative  principles to three. Does that mean because he had so many thousands of  disciples, and at one point was so dear to Srila Prabhupada that Prabhupada even  commented on how he was so intelligent and empowered, that now we should all  only have three regulative principles instead of four and continue to follow  this devotee?

There were so many big, big devotees that Srila  Prabhupada personally gave sannyasa to but later on Srila Prabhupada became so  fed up with their deviations that he said that they should give up those  positions as sannyasi! Srila Prabhupada even said “This should be strictly  outlawed, no more sannyasis….there will be no sannyasi anymore.”

(Room Conversation — January 7, 1977, Bombay)

Srila Prabhupada established the GBC as the  ultimate managing authority for all ISKCON. But at one point Srila Prabhupada  totally disbanded the whole of the GBC within ISKCON due to their deviations! So  simply because at one point in time Srila Prabhupada appointed them to power and  trusted them, does that give them permanent power? No! At any time anyone can  lose their position and power and deviate or go astray and at that point one is  no longer authorized and empowered.

I feel the most relevant example is from the  concluding words of the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, dated November 10, 1974

“Now, by the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and  his Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, it is finished. In this  connection I have to thank my American disciples, especially Sriman Pradyumna  dasa Adhikari, Sriman Nitai dasa Adhikari, Sriman Jayadvaita dasa Brahmacari and  many other boys and girls who are sincerely helping me in writing, editing and  publishing all these literatures.”

But then on February 27, 1977 in Mayapura India  Srila Prabhupada says “Nitai, he’s a rascal.”

Unfortunately there are so many examples I could  mention, but in order to not depress/and embarrass all of us unnecessarily in  this article I will stop here.

In conclusion, we have shown how the above two  claims by the BBT International about Jayadvaita Swami being “good” and his work  being “approved” by Prabhupada can’t be used to justify the changes he has made  to Prabhupada’s books. And that they can’t be used as a guarantee that  Jayadvaita Swami has not comitted mistakes himself or that he has pleased  Prabhupada by his work.”

The “Closer to Prabhupada”  argument

This particular argument in flawed in two ways. The first flaw is the rather  weird idea that it is good to change a published book back to its earlier draft  format without any consultation with the author. Madhudvisa Prabhu has written  very nicely about this idea here:

“No author intends that the first draft of his  book be published. He appoints an editor and together they work on the book to  produce the manuscript which will ultimately be submitted to the publishers. In  this case, Prabhupada wrote the first draft and then worked with Hayagriva and  other editors to prepare the manuscript for hisBhagavad-gita As It Is, which was  ultimately presented to Macmillan & Co. for printing.

Imagine you write the first draft of a book and  appoint an editor. You work with your editor on a daily basis for months until  together you produce a manuscript you are happy with and your book is published.  Your book becomes a worldwide best seller and you are very happy with it. It is  a spiritual book and by reading it many of the readers have life-changing  experiences. They also become very attached to your book. Your book is praised  by scholars worldwide with rave reviews. Then many years later, after you have  left your body, somebody finds the first draft of your book and decides to  “correct” your published book based on your first draft. Of course you were  never intending to publish this first draft. That is why you spent so much time  and energy working with your editor on that first draft to transform it into a  manuscript you actually wanted to present to the publishers. How angry would you  be with this fool who wants to undo your work and your editors’ work by going  back to the first draft?

Jayadvaita Swami, by going back to the first  draft, is eliminating so many corrections and so much work that Srila Prabhupada  personally did on his book with Hayagriva and his other editors. This is a great  disservice to Srila Prabhupada.” (Jayadvaita undoes Prabhupada’s work on Gita Manuscript,  Madhudvisa Prabhu)

The fact is that bringing Prabhupada’s books closer to their draft is  actually bringing them farther away from Prabhupada.

But the “Closer to Prabhupada” argument is flawed in an even worse way–it is  false. It has survived and spread only because it is based on selective  evidence. It is a fact that Jayadvaita Swami in some places has brought the  finalized and definitive edition of Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is closer  to its earlier draft form. On their websites, articles and seminars Jayadvaita  Swami, Dravida Prabhu and the BBT International have presented these instances  in great detail in an attempt to defend their work. But they have purposely left  out all the many, many places where Jayadvaita Swami has made changes which are  not traceable back to the earlier drafts.

On my blog I have presented many of these changes. Let us look at some  examples:

There are about 127 changes made to the word-for-word translations of  Prabhupada’s Chapter One in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. The sanskrit  translations were personally typewritten by Prabhupada. Only two of these  changes were back to the original manuscript. Hayagriva Prabhu had stayed very  loyal to Prabhupada’s so called original manuscript, but Jayadvaita Swami has  made extensive corrections to Prabhupada’s own personally typewritten sanskrit  translations. I have written about this in the article “Tampering with Prabhupada’s personally  typewritten sanskrit translations“. This article also documents how  Jayadvaita Swami is actually misrepresenting the facts about which kinds of  changes he made in the editing process.

On my blog I have featured many examples on how Jayadvaita Swami has added  new sentences, deleted Prabhupada’s own sentences and and re-arranged words and  sentences in ways that are not traceable to the first drafts. They are not  traceable to anything but Jayadvaita Swami’s own ideas. On top of that come the  deleted foreword, artwork and front cover. How is that “Closer to Prabhupada”? I  have written to both the BBT International and Jayadvaita Swami himself about  these matters. But so far, after months of waiting, I have not received any  answers to my queries.

Here are some of the articles containing questions to BBT International and  Jayadvaita Swami:

The Duty of the Finger (Bg. 4.38)

Not back to the original manuscript (Bg.  13.3)

Removing “eternal” from the Bhagavad-gita As It  Is (2.30)

Lord Ramacandra removed from the Bhagavad-gita As  It is (10.31) 

These are just a few. Here are more.

I sincerely hope that Dravida Prabhu will take the time to read this response  and all the references given in it, and thereafter return with some clear  answers to our questions and concerns.

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