" Make your own field and continue to be Ritvik and act on my behalf."
- Śrīla Prabhupāda: July 31, 1977.
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Srila Prabhupada on Editing His Books
Prabhupada: "The rascal editors they are doing havoc. The next printing should be again to the original way."
Prabhupada: The nonsense, they are… They are correcting my trans… Rascal.
Prabhupada: The rascal editors, they are doing havoc.
Prabhupada: So you bring this to Satsvarupa. They cannot change anything … So on the whole, these dangerous things are going on. How to check it?
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. (Conversation, “Rascal Editors” – June 22, 1977, Vrndavana)
Prabhupada: Change of government… Just like they say, a change of theories by the rascals. Change means rascal. Anything change means it is the domain of rascals, pandemonium. Just like in Manu-samhita it is said that, nasyam svatantratam arhati, women should not be given independence. Once said, that is fact. If you want to change, you suffer. That’s all. (S.P. Morning Walk December 14, 1975, New Delhi)
Don’t make addition, alteration. Then you become rascal. Immediately you become rascal. And many times they give me very great credit that I have done wonderful. Yes, I have done wonderful. But what is the reason? Because I am not a rascal. I speak what Krsna has spoken. That’s all. Very easy. Everyone can do that. Not only I. Any of you, you can do this. Simply speak what is…, what Krsna has said. That’s all. Don’t make addition, alteration. Then you become rascal. Immediately you become rascal. (Srimad-Bhagavatam Lecture 1.5.29 Vrndavana, August 10, 1974)
The Principle is No Change:
“One should accept the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by bowing down at the lotus feet of the Lord. This means that anything spoken by the Personality of Godhead should be taken as it is, with great care and attention and with great respect. It is not our business to amend the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or make additions or alterations, as it has become a custom for many so-called scholars and swamis who comment on the words of Bhagavad-gita. Here the practical example of how to accept the instruction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is shown by Prthu Maharaja. This is the way to receive knowledge through the parampara system.” (SB 4.20.17 P Lord Visnu’ s Appearance in the Sacrificial Arena of Maharaja Prthu)
Regarding your editing, I would very much like it. I am sending my lecture copies to you. I think my other copies are lying on the left side of my seat in a cardboard box which please find out. Please be careful not to change the ideas. (Letter to Kirtananda, Feb 10, 1967)
“Brahmananda & others cannot change the style. They want to see if there is any grammatical discrepancy.“( Letter to Satsvarupa, Jan 22, 1968)
I have dictated the missing purports from Chapter IX and they are set enclosed herewith. So far changing the working of verse or purport of 12:12 discussed before, it may remain as it is. (Mar 17, 1971)
I am very glad to learn that you are translating the Bhagavad-gita As It Is into Portuguese. Be careful not to change anything but present it exactly as it is. This is how we receive Bhagavad-gita through the disciplic succession as stated in the Fourth Chapter. By this translating work you will learn our philosophy very nicely. It is very important to broadcast Krishna consciousness all over the world. This is the great need of modern civilization. (Letter to Frederico, Oct 24, 1974)
No, the printing of the Gitar-gan cover this fashion is not at all approved by me. You have done most nonsensically. Why change the cover? When people look to see theBhagavad-gita they expect to see Krishna and Arjuna, not the picture of Krishna with cow. You have done a great mistake by changing the front picture and it will hamper the sale. In future you don’t do any changes without asking me first.
Simply because there is no stock of books, we can do anything whimsically??? Is this logic? Gita is not spoken in Vrindaban, it is spoken on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, but this is Vrindaban picture. That chariot driven by 4 horses, that is the real Kuruksetra picture. It is not that because there is no stock we can do whimsically as we like and lose the idea, that is rasa-bhasa. Because there is no bread, you take stone to eat? There is no stock of bread so you will take stone??? The front picture is most important thing and you have changed it. It must remain standard, and not change. Also, the lettering is not nice on the cover. You could have taken a color picture of Krishna and Arjuna and used it black and white (one color) on the front cover. Just as you did with the inside back cover of the Bhagavat darsana, the original picture of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in color but you have printed it in black and white. You could have done this on the front cover with Krishna and Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, but the cover must not be changed. (Letter: Bhargava, May 29, 1976)
You may title this book, Teachings of Lord Kapila, but it must be subtitled, “The Son of Devahuti”. That will remain, do not try to change it. The Americans may like it or not like it, but we must make the distinction between devahuti putra kapila, and the atheistic Kapila. Do not try to change anything without my permission. (Letter to Radhavallabha, Aug 26, 1976)
Titling of the Ninth Canto as Liberation is good, and the Tenth Canto should be called “The Summum Bonum”. As far as the 11th and 12th Cantos are concerned they shall be named when they are presented. The title which you have given to the Eighth Canto was a little hard to understand at first but if it refers to pralaya, then it is alright.You must consult with me on such matters. Do not manufacture anything.(Letter to Radhavallabha, Oct 7, 1976)
Please accept my blessings. With reference to your letter to Harikesa dated 21st inst., regarding the purport, 2nd paragraph to Bhagavatam 2.2.38, it is clear. Do not try to change anything. (Letter to Gopiparanadhana, Sep 28, 1976)
BBT Editors Were Making Unapproved Changes:
I will have to see personally what are the mistakes in the synonyms and also how you intend to correct them. I was not satisfied with the corrections that were made before. I saw some changes which I did no approve. Nitai may correct whatever mistakes are there, but the corrected material must be sent to me for final approval. So reprinting the volumes will have to wait until the mistakes are corrected and approved by me. In the meantime you can supply the standing orders whatever new volumes are published. (Letter to Radhavallabha, Jan 5, 1976)
Prabhupada: The nonsense, they are… They are correcting my trans… Rascal. Who has done this? Munayah is addressing all these munis. Tamala Krsna: It’s addressing the munis? Prabhupada: Yes. Tamala Krsna: Sadhus, great sages. Prabhupada: Yes. Sadhu means they are very pure. What can be done if it goes there and these rascals becomes Sanskrit scholar and do everything nonsense? One Sanskrit scholar strayed, that rascal… He take… What is his…? Saci-suta? Saci-sandana? Tamala Krsna: Jaya-sacinandana? Prabhupada: And they are maintaining them. Different meaning. Tamala Krsna: “Bhavadbhih – by all of you; loka – the world; mangalam – welfare;yat – because; krtah – made; krsna – the Personality of Godhead; samprasnah – relevant question; yena – by which; atma – self; suprasidati – completely pleased.” Translation: “O sages…” Prabhupada: Now here is “O sages,” and the word meaning is “of the munis.” Just see. Such a rascal Sanskrit scholar. Here it is addressed, sambodhana, and they touch it — “munayah – of the munis.” It is very risky to give to them for editorial direction. Little learning is dangerous. However proper Sanskrit scholar, little learning, dangerous. Immediately they become very big scholars, high salaried, and write all nonsense. Who they are? (pause) Then? Tamala Krsna: “O sages, I have been…” Prabhupada: No, they cannot be reliable. They can do more harm. Just see here the fun(?).
(Conversation, “Rascal Editors” — June 22, 1977, Vrndavana)
Books Can Not Be “Simplified”:
Our literature is not sentimental stories. It is meant to be understood by the intelligent class of men. Children and those with child-like mentalities will do better to chant “Hare Krishna” and take prasadam. We cannot water down the philosophy to make it more palatable. Our books must remain as they are. Do not waste your time anymore with such attempts. We are not going to publish it. Whatever books we have got, let them try to understand, and if they cannot then let them chant “Hare Krishna” and take prasadam. (Letter to Lilavati, Mar 31, 1977)
Even if there are Some Discrepancies, They Are Accepted:
Transcendental literature that strictly follows the Vedic principles and the conclusion of the Puranas and pancaratrika-vidhi can be written only by a pure devotee. It is not possible for a common man to write books on bhakti, for his writings will not be effective. He may be a very great scholar and may be expert in presenting literature in flowery language, but this is not at all helpful in understanding transcendental literature.
Even if transcendental literature is written in faulty language, it is acceptable if it is written by a devotee, whereas so-called transcendental literature written by a mundane scholar, even if it is a very highly polished literary presentation, cannot be accepted. The secret in a devotee’s writing is that when he writes about the pastimes of the Lord, the Lord helps him; he does not write alone.
As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (10.10), dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te. Since a devotee writes in service to the Lord, the Lord from within gives him so much intelligence that he sits down near the Lord and goes on writing books. (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-Lila 8.39)
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 asasat-patha. It should remain as it is. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.23-24 — Vrndavana, Mar 31, 1976)
The Next Printing Should be the Original Way:
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.
Change — The Western Disease
Don’t do this. Keep the old system strong, and if necessary repair it. Don’t change from this to that. That is your American disease. This is very serious that you always want to change everything. (Letter to Bhakta dasa, Nov 24, 1974)
There is no change. Therefore sastra means it is for all the time, not that sastra was meant in the past for something else, and now something else. That is not the fact.That is, means, sastra, that it does not change. The time, place and atmosphere, according to that, everything is the same. (Bhagavad-gita Class Feb 7, 1975)
That is the trouble with you westerners, always changing. No changes should be made without first consulting with my GBC representative. So, the children should immediately be allowed to chant on their japa beads. (Letter to Yadunandana, May 14, 1975)
So Bhagavad-gita, the lessons of Bhagavad-gita, cannot be changed by the whims of rascals. This is not possible. Aham avyayam. Imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam. Avyayam. This yoga is avyayam, not that with the change of time, the meaning would be changed. That is not possible. The meaning would remain the same thing. The millions of years ago Krsna said, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. That does not mean that the meaning has changed. “Because it has become old, now I can change.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam class Jan 9, 1975)
First the student must be able to repeat exactly the words of the guru and then after some time he may be qualified to apply the principles he has learned word-for-word to personal situations. It is not that we are a dry philosophy of dogmas and slogans. No. The language of Krishna Consciousness is ever-fresh and we can explain everything by it, just like my Guru Maharaja once lectured for three months on one verse fromSrimad-Bhagavatam. But every precaution must be taken to preserve our basic guiding principles as they are and not change them because we want to hear something new. (Letter to Bhakta dasa, Nov 20, 1971)
I am not much fond of the idea of changing things to accommodate the public–better to change the public to accommodate us. Therefore I suggest wherever there is Sanskrit used there should also be English spelling in brackets. In this way, the public will become accustomed to Sanskrit language so that in future we may use only Sanskrit and they will understand. (Letter to Bali-mardana Dec 28, 1971)
It is not that we should change to accommodate the public, but that we shoud change the public to accommodate us. (Letter to Yogesvara Dec 28, 1971)
You mentioned in your letter that you had read many other Bhagavad-gitas before you read mine and that none of them revealed as much to you as Bhagavad-gita As It Is. The reason is because we do not change the actual meaning of the gita at all.Many other commentators due to poor fund of knowledge tamper with the lines of Bhagavad-gita and twist the meaning for their personal motives, but we do not do like that. We present it exactly as it is; without any additions or subtractions.That is perfect in every way and therefore it is actually having a tremendous effect all over the world. The original words of Lord Krishna have unrivalled potency and anyone who is fortunate enough to hear those words and tries to apply them to his life becomes perfect. (Letter to Mr. Dennany, Mar 14, 1975)