Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Unauthorized Book Changes

Unauthorized Book Changes: by Bhakta Sam

I watched Hari Sauri Prabhu's short video wherein he defended book changes. I could not find any substantial arguments for book changes in that video. He mentioned that six GBC members were consulted by Jayadvaita Swami. 

[PADA: This is the same GBC that declared that 11 conditioned souls are acharyas in 1978.]

On this, I have the following questions:

But how about the 5,000+ Prabhupada disciples? Were they consulted? Who were these 6 GBCs and how were they more qualified than all other disciples of Srila Prabhupada to approve book changes?

[PADA: Right, the GBC also votes in gurus that almost none of the other disciples approve of as gurus, they simply do not consult with their God brothers, plain and simple.]

Jayadvaita Swami and crew made 500+ changes to the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Did they tell all the GBC members about all these changes, or did they just give them an overview of changes and kind of lie to them to get their support for book changes? Can Jayadvaita Swami and Dravida Prabhu and their crew tell us what process was followed to get the book changes approved by the GBC?

Then Hari Sauri Prabhu talked about changes to the translation Bhagavad-gita 2.12. I checked both the 1972 edition and the 1983 changed edition. Both have the same following translation: "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be."

So, what was Hari Sauri Prabhu talking about? Then he gave a very lame example, the 'planet of trees'.
So, Hari Sauri Prabhu used obfuscation without any substance in that video to defend unauthorized book changes. Now let us look at changes to the translation of Bhagavad-gita 2.13.

The 1972 edition: "As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change."

The 1983 unauthorized changed edition: "As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change."

Notice the words, "a sober person" in place of "the self-realized soul". Proponents of unauthorized book changes claim that they made book changes to make Prabhupada's books more understandable to common people, especially non-devotees. I did a short survey at my work place about what people understand by the phrase, "a sober person". I asked the following question to them:

"What do you understand by the phrase, 'a sober person'?"

Here are my survey results:

* A Caucasian non-devotee man said: not drunk, having sober judgment, well thought out

* A Caucasian non-devotee woman said: not drunk or not on drugs, recovering alcoholic

* An Indian non-devotee man said: not drunk, reserved

* An Indian non-devotee woman said: not drunk

* An Hispanic non-devotee man said: not drunk

* An African non-devotee man said: not drunk

So non-devotee common people think about a person not using alcohol or drugs when they read the phrase, "a sober person".

Matajis and Prabhujis - you can do similar survey in your home country with English speaking non-devotee people.

Now think about the situation: A person is dying - about to leave his/her body. Is being sober enough qualification not to get disturbed when a person knows that he/she is going to die soon? Isn't "a sober person" very weak phrase in this context?

If you had watched any of your relatives or friends on their death bed, you would have seen how people on death bed get so disturbed regardless of whether they were sober or not in their earlier life.

In my humble opinion, Srila Prabhupada very carefully used the phrase, "the self-realized soul" in the translation of Bg 2.13. How does this particular change make Bg 2.13 "more understandable to common people"?

I invite Jayadvaita Swami to explain this change in the translation of Bg 2.13. I checked in, but could not find an explanation for the change in translation of Bg 2.13.

Bg 2.13 is a very important verse, and along with 2.12 is at the center to the concept of reincarnation. If you change the translation wantonly, the meaning changes completely and the essence of that verse is lost. Now I invite proponents of unauthorized book changes to answer the following questions:

Isn't it true that many ISKCON leaders and Gurus are opposed to book changes, but they are fearful of losing their position of power in ISKCON, and also fearful of losing their place in Arlington National Cemetery er... a Samadhi spot in Vrindavan?

Can you remove the gag order on ISKCON leaders and Gurus, offering them immunity and allow them to speak their mind on this issue? Can you have a referendum among ISKCON devotees on this issue? I make the following appeal to ISKCON devotees who are opposed to unauthorized book changes:

This nonsense of unauthorized book changes is going on too long. Please sincerely pray to Krishna – do extra rounds of chanting and ask Him to put a full stop to this bogus practice. If we all pray sincerely and collectively, Krishna will listen and make necessary changes.

[PADA: Hari Sauri is always going to bat to defend these bogus GBC gurus. ys pd]


The "Book Changes" Conflict

Parasuram das (UK) We arrived in Scandanavia for the Rathayatra tour (7 Rathayatra festivals). The first words I heard from a local devotee were "thank you for defending Srila Prabhupada's original books". Then I noticed devotees wearing T-shirts promoting BBT printing. Yep, we have a conflict.

In this age of Kali there are few things we can agree on. At least we all agree on the Mahamantra being chanted, and we used to be able to agree on the purity of the books. It was an argument that set us above other "religions" who had watered down their books. But now we are in danger of disunity again over something that could have been avoided. Even the famous barking dog video revolved around the book changes.

All the deviations in our history had one thing in common: the concept that Srila Prabhupada was inaccessible or insufficient. Zonal Acharyas, Gopi Bhava Club, Narayana Maharaj, Hinduism, etc. Some groups still remaining within ISKCON still believe that Srila Prabhupada's books are not Sabda Brahman. Not one word nor one full stop should be changed. Srila Prabhupada taught us this principle:

"So unless one is self-realized, there is practically no use writing about Krsna. This transcendental writing does not depend on material education. It depends on the spiritual realization. You'll find, therefore, in the comments of Bhagavatam by different acaryas, even there are some discrepancies, they are accepted as asat-patha. It should remain as it is." (Lecture, Vrindavana, March 31,1976)

It was Krishna's arrangement that Jayadvaita Swami and Dravida prabhu made so many mistakes and unnecessary changes, as it has highlighted our offence of seeing Srila Prabhupada's books in a relative way. Even though Srila Prabhupada said that discrepancies should remain unchanged the BBT ignore this, and even worse, make changes when there is no discrepancy. There are many cases where the manuscript and the original edition are in agreement, and with perfectly good grammar. One example is the many times that "owner of the body" has been changed to "knower of the body". The BBT conveniently avoids talking about this.

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