Bhagavad Gita



Srila Prabhupāda speaks on his original books and unauthorized book changes

1. The reviews have very much encouraged me. Especially those of Prof. Bhatt and Prof. Vajpeye. I have personally written a letter of thanks to Dr. Bhatt, that he has so much encouraged me. Dr. Vajpeye's review we are going to print and widely distribute, especially in Bombay and Madras,  where there is so much propaganda from these bogus gurus and yogis . He has got practical experience of how they are cheating the innocent people in foreign countries and  he has written; "The authorized edition of Bhagavad-gita will help to stop the terrible cheating of 'gurus' and 'yogis' who are false and unauthorized.'' I hope this meets you well.

Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
(Letter to: Svarupa, Ranadhira ,Mayapur-3 February, 1976)

2. "That is his tendency, to correct. That's very bad. He should not do that. The system is: whatever authority has done, even there is mistake, it should be accepted." (Room Conversation -- February 27, 1977, Mayapura)

3. Srila Prabhupāda: So this is the position. The whole Vṛndāvana is full of Māyāvādīs. We have to be very, very cautious and careful. I was there. That Brahmānanda protested against that Aurobindo. And then “Don’t speak of Gītā.”

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, that’s what they told him.
Jayādvaita: They shouldn’t speak of Gītā. They should speak of whatever other thing they want.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Then why call it Gītā-pratiṣṭhāna?
Jayādvaita: That’s Prabhupāda’s promise. He’s establishing Bhagavad-gītā.
Srila Prabhupāda: Eh?

Jayādvaita: The actual establishment of Bhagavad-gītā is being done by Your Divine Grace. They should admit that, “We have our philosophy, but as far as Bhagavad-gītā goes, Śrīla Prabhupāda is establishing it all over the world. We have something else, our own idea.” They can say that.

Srila Prabhupāda: Now find out the way how to stop this class of men speaking in our halls. [Room Conversation 1-VRNDAVAN – November 03, 1977 ]

This shows that the Bhagavad Gita as it is 1972 edition was and is already potent enough and its establishment is already done, so there is no need for its editing. This is a solid proof that shows the editors themselves knew that 72 edition was the only bona fide original established edition.

4.Svarūpa Dāmodara: Oh, yes. They change so many things in our article. And it was on the telephone. I was speaking to him in Atlanta from Los Angeles. And I told him that "This article should not be printed because they have made so many changes." And I didn't like that. Then they answered that "It has already been offset, and BBT policy is always to be rushing. It's always BBT policy." Then I told him that "If you sacrifice quality on the strength of rushing, then it is your business, but that's not my way, so please don't print it." But in any case, they have printed anyway that article. And we all had a bad reaction.

Prabhupāda: So you bring this to Satsvarūpa. They cannot change anything.
Prabhupada: The rascal editors, they are doing havoc.

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.

Tamala Krsna: They should have a board of Satsvarupa and Jayadvaita.
Prabhupada: Hm.
Tamala Krsna: Those two men are both in Los Angeles now.

Prabhupada:   So write them immediately that . "The rascal editors, they are doing havoc, and they are being maintained by Ramesvara and party."  (S.P.Conversation, "Rascal Editors,"June 22, 1977, Vrndavana)

5. “ Therefore, we are presenting Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. No change. Others they are interpreting in their own way. That is not Bhagavad-Gita. That is something else.” (Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, Paris, France, August 5, 1976)

6. Prabhupāda: You can show Bhagavad-gītā. ...

Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: A very authoritative presentation. For example, here's the original Sanskrit śloka, word for word
Guest (3): For example, sāṅkhya-yoga. You have a separate book? Then sthita-prajñā. You have a separate...?
Prabhupāda: No separately. It is there in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Guest (3): But that way, your volumes are dealing with each chapter of Gītā?
Prabhupāda: Yes.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Each śloka. Each chapter.
Guest (2): No, no. Not inside the book. Different volumes. Like eighteen chapters, but eighteen volumes.

Prabhupāda: No, no.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: No. It's in one book. Twelve hundred pages
Guest (3): And the interpretation is by you yourself?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Not interpretation. I am explaining as it is. You can read one.

Guest (3): Have you tried to compare with Gītā written by Gyaneshvara, or by Vinoba Bhave or by somebody else?

Prabhupāda: According to Bhagavad-gītā, if you don't follow the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā, you may be very learned scholar, whatever you write, it is lost. We follow that principle. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2 ). Find out this Fourth Chapter.

Guest (2): Have these books been reviewed in foreign papers?
Prabhupāda: It is very widely read.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: For example, in the Fourth Chapter Lord Kṛṣṇa says, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ sa kāleneha mahatā yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa (BG 4.2 )

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa says that this Bhagavad-gītā has to be received by the disciplic succession. And sa kālena yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa. Because that disciplic succession is now broken, that yoga system is now lost. So all these interpreters, they are interpreting in their own way. Therefore it is lost. So there is no use of consulting this lost version .

Guest (3): So you just give it as it is.
Prabhupāda: That is... Therefore my Bhagavad-gītā is named Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. No interpretation.

Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Each word is the original Sanskrit śloka, English transliteration, word by word meaning, so there's no room for manipulation. There's a translation and purport. Every book that Śrīla Prabhupāda has written has the same format and each book is illustrated. (Room conversation, December 29,1976, Bombay)

7. "I don’t think that Hayagriva is at fault. He has not changed the meaning or the philosophy in any way. But if you like to use the original manuscript, then if it is possible, you can use it." (Letter to Hamsaduta, Jun 8, 1975)

8." He should not think his authority mistake. He's such irresponsible man. He should not be given any responsible work. Our first business should see how he is advanced in devotion. scholars. " (Room Conversation -- February 27, 1977, Mayapura)

9. "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 the Bhagavad-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)

10. 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)

11. “There is a verse in Srimad-Bhagavatam that a book or poetry in which the Holy Name of Krishna is depicted, such language is revolutionary in the matter of purifying the material atmosphere. Even though such literature is presented in broken language or grammatical inconsistency or rhetorical irregularity , still, those who are saintly persons adore such literature. They hear such literature, and chant it and adore it, simply because the Supreme Lord is being glorified in this literature. In other words, we are not meant for presenting any literary masterpieces , but we have to inform people that there is a fire of maya which is burning the very vitality of all living entities, and they should guard against the indefatigable onslaught of material existence. That should be our motto." (Letter to: Krsna dasa – Los Angeles 13 Feb, 1969)

12. " 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. Hoping this finds you and your husband well." (Letter to Lilavati -- Bombay 31 March, 1977)

Śrīla Prabhupāda has stated: "Bhagavad Gītā As It Is presents and explains the Gītā's verses without changing their timeless meaning."

Unfortunately after Prabhupāda's demise in 1977, some of his leading disciples, such as Jayādvaita Swami, have unauthorizedly changed and edited most of Śrīla Prabhupāda's original translations and books, thus perverting and misinterpreting the real meaning and rendering them useless. Therefore the readers might be warned to only read the original pre 1977 published books of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Otherwise students might be mislead by bogus philosophy preached by Iskcons false successor gurus.

Śrīla Prabhupāda comments:
"Why you are, I mean to say, killing others and yourself by interpreting Bhagavad-gītā?"

Śrīla Prabhupāda...."So if you read Bhagavad-gītā as it is, that is mad-āśrayaḥ. But if you interpret Bhagavad-gītā according to your rascal imagination, that is not Bhagavad-gītā. Therefore it is called mad-āśrayaḥ, "under My protection, as I am ..." We are therefore presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is. We do not change. Why should you change? What right you have got to change? If Bhagavad-gītā is a book of authority, and if I make my own interpretation, then where is the authority? Can you change the lawbook according to your interpretation? Then what is the meaning of that lawbook? That is not lawbook. You cannot change. Similarly, if you accept Bhagavad-gītā as the book of authority, you cannot change the meaning. That is not allowed. What right? If you have got some opinion, if you have got some philosophy, you can write in your own book. Why you are, I mean to say, killing others and yourself by interpreting Bhagavad-gītā? You give your own thesis in a different way. But these people, they take advantage of the popularity of Bhagavad-gītā and interpret in a different way according to their own whims. Therefore people do not understand what is Kṛṣṇa. That is the difficulty. And the purpose of Bhagavad-gītā is to understand Kṛṣṇa. And all the so-called scholars' and politicians' commentary is to banish Kṛṣṇa or to kill Kṛṣṇa—the Kaṁsa's policy. The Kaṁsa was always thinking of Kṛṣṇa, how to kill Him. This is called demonic endeavor. So that will not help you." (Śrīla Prabhupāda's Lecture : Bhagavad-gītā 7.1 -- Hyderabad, April 27, 1974)

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Originally I wrote Bhagavad-gītā As It Is in the form in which it is presented now.
When this book was first published, the original manuscript was, unfortunately, cut short to less than 400 pages, without illustrations and without explanations for most of the original verses of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.
In all of my other books—Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, Śrī Īśopaniṣad, etc.—the system is that I give the original verse, its English transliteration, word-for-word Sanskrit-English equivalents, translations and purports. This makes the book very authentic and scholarly and makes the meaning self-evident. I was not very happy, therefore, when I had to minimize my original manuscript. But later on, when the demand for Bhagavad-gītā As It Is considerably increased, I was requested by many scholars and devotees to present the book in its original form, and Messrs. Macmillan and Co. agreed to publish the complete edition. Thus the present attempt is to offer the original manuscript of this great book of knowledge with full paramparā explanation in order to establish the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement more soundly and progressively. (Bhagavad-gītā As It Is - Preface)