Book Changes even with 1948 Srila Prabhupada’s translations‏

July 26, 2015 in Yasoda nandana Dasa by Yasodanandana Dasa

Revisions – A Very Serious Situation
Dec 20, 2010 — USA (SUN) — As I read “Interpretations of Bhagavad-gita”, recently published by Sun Staff, I noticed that the English translations of the Sanskrit Gita verses quoted by Srila Prabhupada just did not seem to fit, especially for a paper that was written by him all the way back in 1948. The style and arrangement of words appeared to have been taken from a much later date than the way I felt Srila Prabhupada would have written in India in the 1940’s. It dawned on me, perhaps these English translations were not the original English translations after all. Could it be they may have been changed or edited and not actually from the 1948 versions used in the original paper as presented by Srila Prabhupada?

So I took it upon myself to compare all the verses in this article with an original 1972 Gita along with the revised 1983 Gita. Not surprisingly, the result was this: each and every verse quoted from this 1948 paper came from the 1983 revised and enlarged edition of Bhagavad-gita. How can that be, since in 1948, this revised and enlarged version of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita never even existed in the first place?

It is obvious that the original 1948 version of this “Interpretations of Bhagavad-gita” written by Srila Prabhupada has been tampered with. I suspect it too has now come under the sharp knife of an experienced BBT(i) editor, who very proudly would proclaim, “It has now been fixed”. And fixed why? To make better English? Fixed so as to make all English verse translations match exactly to the latest version as they happen to appear in this official BBT(i) 1983 Revised and Enlarged Second Edition?

One has to wonder, does this mean that every single recording, book or paper that has ever been written or spoken by Srila Prabhupada now needs to be fixed regardless of when it was originally published? Is it that everywhere, English verses that were once used by Srila Prabhupada are also now subject to this editing and change to be consistent? Is the policy at BBT(i) such that they are now in the process of going back and purposefully replacing and adding English verses that match exactly, word for word, to their latest revised/edited editions and versions? If so, that’s an awful lot of editing and changing going on over at BBT(i) corporate headquarters. Just imagine every time a verse is quoted with an older translation… are they going to have to change it over to the new way? It only makes sense if you think like they do.

So whatever happened to Srila Prabhupada’s original English translations from this 1948 paper any way? Ironically, the latest 2010 paperback version of Bhagavad-gita has also come under the editor’s fine surgical knife. This time, however, the BBT(i) no longer mentions this 2010 paperback Gita is a REVISED and ENLARGED edition. It merely states it is a SECOND edition. I wonder if this deliberate and calculated omission (editing) is to save on ink and keep the production cost down so more books could be printed or something more sinister, like they really don’t want the readers to be aware this version has been revised?

This unending editing business is the epitome of what has been called by Srila Prabhupada as the “American Disease”, or the need to constantly make everything new and improved. Now that devotees other than the BBT(i) are in the process of adding subtitles to existing recordings, which will be timed to coincide perfectly with Srila Prabhupada’s spoken words, I certainly hope we don’t discover the published transcriptions have also been tampered with. Would the BBT(i) go so far as to actually change a transcription, particularly the English translations of verses as originally spoken in a lecture simply to match their latest versions? Are they now trying to make sure that all of their BBT(i) published materials are consistent with their revised versions of Srila Prabhupada’s books? God forbid if someone were to ever find a different translation or version of the same Bhagavad-gita verse other than the ones they are now promoting and wonder why the inconsistencies? Perhaps even worse, someone was to open up a Gita and see ‘Revised and Enlarged’ and wonder, where’s the original? Are these very deliberate changes being performed out of a necessity to hide all of the inconsistencies in the first place?

We know these editors already have direct first hand experience as to what can happen when devotees pay close attention and wake up to the fact that so much has already be altered. These editors might even be feeling, if gone unchecked, that this could easily cause the same inquiries that resulted in the famous June 22, 1977 “Rascal Editors” room conversation transcription by Srila Prabhupada.

The word “transcription” is used because, unfortunately, if you or I want to actually hear (listen to) this very serious room conversation, we can’t. Somehow or other, the powers that be over at the Bhaktivedanta Archives have managed to provide us with only a transcription and never an actual recording. Why is that? A question we should all ask. They have a transcription but no recordings? I know, because on three separate occasions I have tried to secure a copy of this recording, but to no avail.

One has to wonder how much more of this “Rascal Editors” conversation has also come under their revisionist scheme? Why has this recording never been made available to the general devotee community and why for the past 33 years has it been kept locked up, along with so many other of Srila Prabhupada’s recordings? They have a copy of it, and certainly it would be nice to be able to compare the two, in light of everything we already known.

Twice in this above linked conversation, Srila Prabhupada calls these unauthorized revisions of his book(s) “a very serious situation”. That is, at least from what we have been allowed to see! Perhaps we all may want to look into this infectious practice of constantly changing and editing a bit more closely, as was show to all of us by Yasoda-nandana prabhu when he personally brought this disease to the attention of Srila Prabhupada. Who, incidentally, considered all of this constant change to be a very serious situation indeed!

Yasoda-nandana: “Sometimes they appeal that “We can make better English,” so they change like that, just like in the case of Isopanisad. There are over a hundred changes. So where is the need? Your words are sufficient. The potency is there. When they change, it is something else.”

Svarupa Damodara: That’s actually a very dangerous mentality.

Yasoda-nandana: What is it going to be in five years? It’s going to be a different book.

Prabhupada: So you… What you are going… It is 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 to 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.”