The Change Disease / Book Changes

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Macmillan Edition

This is a very nice article written by Sriman Rupanuga Prabhu, that I found on the Sampradaya Sun this morning. It gives us some more information of the history of the Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1972 Macmillan Edition, and the changes that have transpired since. Very informative!

…That new Gita was to prove big and heavy and only so many could be crammed into a bookbag, but people were to become immediately attracted to the gorgeous, colorful paintings; besides, where could they find such a book with so many color illustrations, and for how much? It was Srila Prabhupada’s transcendent genius to conceive of such a way to reveal to people the deepest philosophy and the highest truths comprehensible to human beings. No other volume of supposed philosophical content could compare to that Gita, decorated as it was with paintings allowing a view of the Spiritual Sky. Along with Prasadam, those paintings were Srila Prabhupada’s secret weapons.

…To reiterate, after examining and rejecting new paintings for the Krsna Book, Srila Prabhupada formulated the following instructions for paintings in his books:

“If a painting is to be replaced it must be the exact same pastime, same scene, but better technically; to take out an approved painting and replace it with a different one was not allowed; and a painting may be added but there is no question of removing anything.”

In other words, Srila Prabhupada was explaining that if he were to replace a painting as they were proposing, it would be only with a better painting technically, with the same scene. But once approved by him, a painting could not be replaced; but more, bona fide paintings could be added. The conclusion is that paintings personally approved by Srila Prabhupada were not to be changed or replaced then, or in the future. It’s noteworthy that he strongly resisted replacing illustrations or paintings he had previously approved, and often took the time to demonstrate how proposed replacement or additions were misconceived.

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Letter on Book Changes


Letter on Book Changes
by Govinda Dasi (ACBSP)

Dear Yashoda Dulal Prabhu,

Pamho. Yes, the BBT always gives that one worn-out example of cattle, and of course the other one, planet of the trees. Yes, those are typos, mistakes. They fail to mention the other four thousand and nine hundred and ninety eight changes they made!

And had these two errors been corrected, along with any misspelled words, etc. there would have been no cause for alarm–or for a million dollar lawsuit with bbt defending the edited version–one which they lost in the courts. That court case is the only reason that now the world has an option to read Prabhupada’s original words. But the 5000 changes that were made, and changing the “writer’s voice” was unwarranted and factually criminal.

In a meeting at Honolulu temple some years back, Jayadvaita M. actually stated, “Oh, those (original) books were horrible!” Those “horrible” original books, filled with Srila Prabhupada’s divine mercy, made thousands of devotees in the ’70s. More books were distributed then than now.

It seems you believe the propaganda that Hayagriva was never around Prabhupada much, and there were many editors etc. What can I say? This is simply not true. I knew Hayagriva from the time I joined Prabhupada in San Francisco, January of 1967. Hayagriva was there, and was already editing the Gita, and spending hours every day with Srila Prabhupada going over every verse!

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