His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
the Hare Krsna movement)
His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
the Hare Krsna movement)
this is an email we received as a reaction to Makhancora's article Why Are The Original Books Changed? from Ujjvala Prabhu. Makhancora's response follows below
Dandavat Pranams Prabhus!
Once again you folks are making the same exact argument that the rascal editors of today are making and you don't seem to realize it. They also claim that they are reverting the books to the "original intention"! The fact that Srila Prabhupada authorized the editions we have now, before his passing, from which he did lecture and from which he preached and ordered others to distribute and preach from is good enough authority for any of us. Do you folks actually think that the analogies utilized are the same as distributing his own works, or actually stating that "all you need for go back to godhead is in my books? Did he mean "my books will send you back, but only after some future devotees fix them nicely for me after my departure, since right now they are simply full of errors"? Did Prabhupada tell his disciples to distribute Ramakrishna Mission books also?? All logic and honest assessments point to the fact that Srila Prabhupada wanted these things to remain stable and not change. Once you open the door to this nonsense of questioning and "finding the original intent" then you are also in Arsa Prayoga.
Not only that, but again, the door you are opening also leads to; who is authorized to "restore" the "original books"? This issue of authority is crucial, since none of you had ANY vapu contact with Srila Prabhupada nor were any of you directly given authority (neither directly nor indirectly) to work on the books like the BBT and Jayadvaita Swami. In other words, in the competition of "authority", they will always win and we will always lose for obvious reasons that ANY court of law in any country can make quite clear. Stating that "we are loyal and they are not" is not enough in these things because we are not talking about the practice of our path, we are talking about authority and legitimacy.
What this article does is actually TERRIBLE for the advancement of Srila Prabhupada's movement and he would have found it deeply offensive because it throws a HUGE wrench into the credibility of his books and even the teachings themselves. By opening this pandora's box, you are single-handedly diminishing the importance and value of Srila Prabhupada's books and also allowing plenty of other rascals to make the same arguments and change even further. Do you folks actually believe that Srila Prabhupada would have accepted this bogus notion on his behalf?
We MUST keep this very simple and be very ORTHODOX on this topic, this is supposed to be what actually distinguishes us from "them", the fact that we respect and DON'T alter anything, that we keep it orthodox. If we begin to get weak at the legs also, we are doomed.
All the books approved and published under Srila Prabhupada's authority (obviously prior to his disappearance) are the absolute siddhanta and transcendental works that we should study. Even the approved variations between these books while Srila Prabhupada was present are part of his "corpus" and are fine. But, ANYBODY, no matter who they claim to represent, who advocates and/or changes anything in the books post Srila Prabhupada's disappearance is a rascal demon that must be rejected and ostracized.
Also, ANYBODY who casts a shadow of doubt over their absolute validity is a rascal whose true fruit will be the destruction of Srila Prabhupada's movement and preaching mission, which was his life and soul.
No matter which direction the rascal editor takes the books, the books are now written in stone, there is NO WAY of getting Srila Prabhupada's additional authority to edit anything, once the author is not available to correct, then things remain as they were. This is BASIC etiquette in all fields.
I am amazed that all of you seem to be oblivious to this very basic problematic in your approach. It is a great example of "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
MAKHANCORA PRABHU RESPONDS
Hare Krsna, dear Ujjvala Prabhu
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
You have raised a valid point about the authority of Srila Prabhupada's books being questioned here. We might have different opinions about the different editions and whether they are "authorized" or not based on our imperfect speculations and argue until the end of the golden age of Lord Caitanya's movement but this leads nowhere. The best is therefore to inquire from Srila Prabhupada directly. We should study what he himself considers to be an authoritative scripture. Srila Prabhupada when asked about the modern Bible where changes were made said: When you change, then the authority is lost. Just like in our society, sometimes they do something nonsense and they say, "Prabhupada said." (laughter) They are doing that. We know that. It is deteriorated like that. (Room Conversation with Carol Cameron -- May 9, 1975, Perth) Srila Prabhupada said: Hayagriva has changed so many things. (Conversation, "Rascal Editors," and Morning Talk -- June 22, 1977, Vrndavana) So the wrench was thrown by Srila Prabhupada himself, not us. It was Srila Prabhupada, not us, who pointed out that his original editions contain changes that he did not approve. What to do now? Again, we should not speculate, but follow Srila Prabhupada's direction: "The next printing should be again to the original way." (Conversation, "Rascal Editors," and Morning Talk -- June 22, 1977, Vrndavana) This is a very logical solution by His Divine Grace. If there is a change done by the editor, go to what I have originally wrote. Simple. Who is authorized to edit the books back to the original way? Anyone. It is not a big art. Simply do not to change. Then the authority is preserved. And this is not difficult to verify nowadays, whether the words are changed or not. Please note: Prabhupada says: “Regarding Srimad-Bhagavatam, please send me the chapters which you have already revised. I want to see it, how it is being done. I am glad that you are not omitting anything, but just making grammatical correction, and phrasing for force and clarity, and adding Pradyumna's transliteration, that is very nice.“ ( Letter to: Hayagrīva - Los Angeles 18 November, 1968) Here Srila Prabhupada is glad that Hayagriva is not omitting anything. Why then in the final printing we see so many passages omitted. For example:
“That should be the standard of recitation of Bhagwatam so that the real purpose can be served and Lord Sri Krishna can be realised without any difficulty.” (1.4.1 purp. Delhi edition)
“That should be the standard of recitation of Bhāgavatam, so that the real purpose can be served without difficulty.” (1.4.1 purp. 1970, 1972)
Why was Krsna removed from this passage? So we want to put Krsna back as Srila Prabhupada originally wrote. Why is it a crime I do not understand. The real question is where is the instruction to keep the changes in the books although Srila Prabhupada said they should be removed? Certainly Srila Prabhupada had physical association with the editors, but that does not justify their changing his books! Does physical association with the acharya automatically makes you immune to error? The history says quite to the opposite. Many of Srila Prabhupada's closest secretaries have later on became the greatest offenders. If Srila Prabhupada says there are changes, they should be removed. Now if someone says: But Prabhupada told me to edit like this. Who will trust him if he already changed the books? It is very difficult to trust. He might have be given some special instructions, but who will not trust him? Please let us know. Prabhupada says: Unless it is there from me in writing, there are so many things that "Prabhupada said.'' Therefore Srila Prabhupada's original writing (manuscripts, dictations, lectures) always remains authoritative and the work of these early editors always questionable. I am sorry. This is just plain truth.
your humble servant Makhancora Dasa