the ongoing debate over which is the real “original books”

compiled by yasoda nandana dasa

Hare Krsna-below we shall find some  errors in Jitaratis research and thinking as shown in what he has written. over what constitutes the “original books” or not And also what should be printed. 
And this short analyses does not even get into the justification over Jayadvaits  then and continual “editing” practices

damaghosa das

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From Jitarati to Yashodanandana:

Dear Yashodanandana Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Below is your quote from an article you wrote in August 2018. Your request for proof of authorisation for changes in the 76 SB prompted me to go take a closer look at this article.

I am writing only to you and I am not copying anyone nor will I ever copy anyone as I have discovered that the mistake you have made here is quite embarrassing for you. I am hoping that you will be honest enough to admit your mistake.

Your quote:

“Here we find the same mistake which Srila Prabhupada had criticized and disapproved of on June 22, 1977, wherein the word sadhu was translated as “this is relevant”. This shows that Srila Prabhupada did not approve of that version of the first Canto which Jayadvaita claims he had just edited and sent to Srila Prabhupada for his approval. Srila Prabhupada did not approve that version which was being read in his garden. He requested that the books, including that 1976 unauthorized revised edition, be returned the original way, i. e., the first edition.

Srila Prabhupada specifically disapproved of the 1976 Srimad-Bhagavatam edition and its unauthorized changes which had just been read in His presence. He criticized and disapproved it as of June 22, 1977.”

Jitarati: First of all the translation for Sadhu is not a mistake. I have explained that all before so will not repeat it again here. It is exactly the same in the 76, 72 and Delhi version. The real point here is that you seem to completely misunderstand what book is being read and therefore have come to a wrong conclusion. The version that was being read on June 22/77 was not the 76 version but the 72 version.

You have quoted the relevant proof from the conversation as follows:

“Srila Prabhupada: That… Find this verse, munayah sadhu prsto ‘ham… [SB 1.2.5].

Tamala Krishna: There’s no index. It’s not a new Bhagavatam. There’s no index in this Bhagavatam.”

Only the 72 has no index in the first volume but the 76 has complete index in all volumes. Obviously they were reading from the 72, not the 76 as you try to claim above.

Secondly, the mistake “munayah—of the sages; ” is only a mistake in the 72 version but is corrected in the 76 and is correct in the Delhi version.

Here is the rest of the letter from Jitarait to Yasoda

Prabhu, you have made a very serious blunder here and have misled many devotees on this subject. I beg of you to please correct this mistake and set it right for your sake and all the misled devotees.

In the same conversation Prabhupada has repeated many times that Jayadvaita is good and that he and Satsvarupa should be written to, to correct this problem of rascal editors changing his translations.

You also quote this undeniable confirmation of Prabhupada: “in a letter dated September 7, 1976, “Concerning the editing of Jayadvaita Prabhu, whatever he does is approved by me. I have confidence in him.”

Just what more do you need?

What Jayadvaita did after Prabhupada left is an entirely different story. None of us are confused on his abuse of Prabhupada’s trust in him. Also the principle of Arsha Prayoga after the departure of the Spiritual master is disregarded by him.

You tell the story of Prabhupada slamming down the paperweight and saying to you not to change one word.

I will leave you with a very relevant and poignant verse from the SB to illustrate who is changing Prabhupada’s translations and who is correcting them to the original way and how so important the original way is for all of us in this important verse.

SB 1/17/22 – 1972 version:

TRANSLATION: The King said: O you, who are in the form of a bull! You know the truth of religion, and – you are speaking on the principles that if one knows the location of irreligious acts, one will know the perpetrator. You are no other than the personality of religion.

1976 version:

TRANSLATION: “The King said: O you, who are in the form of a bull! You know the truth of religion, and you are speaking according to the principle that the destination intended for the perpetrator of irreligious acts is also intended for one who identifies the perpetrator. You are no other than the personality of religion.”

Delhi version:

TRANSLATION: “The king said, oh you are one who knows the truth of religiosity in the form of a bull, you are speaking just on the principle that the place which is fixed up for the person engaged in acts of irreligiosity, is also the place for the identifier. You are no other than the personality of religiosity.”

So it is easy to see that the 72 version has a completely different meaning.

Fortunately Prabhupada’s purport saves the day even though one would be perplexed why the verse makes no sense at all and has nothing to do with the purport.

Yasodanandana Prabhu, I sincerely hope that you can see your mistake and admit the truth. It will benefit you and all those who depend on you for the truth.

Your servant,

Jitarati das

Jitarai says…Your (Yasodas)quote:

“Here we find the same mistake which Srila Prabhupada had criticized and disapproved of on June 22, 1977, wherein the word sadhu was translated as “this is relevant”. This shows that Srila Prabhupada did not approve of that version of the first Canto which Jayadvaita claims he had just edited and sent to Srila Prabhupada for his approval. Srila Prabhupada did not approve that version which was being read in his garden. He requested that the books, including that 1976 unauthorized revised edition, be returned the original way, i. e., the first edition.

Srila Prabhupada specifically disapproved of the 1976 Srimad-Bhagavatam edition and its unauthorized changes which had just been read in His presence. He criticized and disapproved it as of June 22, 1977.”

Jitarati: First of all the translation for Sadhu is not a mistake. I have explained that all before so will not repeat it again here. It is exactly the same in the 76, 72 and Delhi version. The real point here is that you seem to completely misunderstand what book is being read and therefore have come to a wrong conclusion. The version that was being read on June 22/77 was not the 76 version but the 72 version.

You have quoted the relevant proof from the conversation as follows:

“Srila Prabhupada: That… Find this verse, munayah sadhu prsto ‘ham… [SB 1.2.5].

Tamala Krishna: There’s no index. It’s not a new Bhagavatam. There’s no index in this Bhagavatam.”

Only the 72 has no index in the first volume but the 76 has complete index in all volumes. Obviously they were reading from the 72, not the 76 as you try to claim above.

Secondly, the mistake “munayah—of the sages; ” is only a mistake in the 72 version but is corrected in the 76 and is correct in the Delhi version.

Prabhu, you have made a very serious blunder here and have misled many devotees on this subject. I beg of you to please correct this mistake and set it right for your sake and all the misled devotees.

My comments on just this first part of Jitaratis comments/criticisms

1.First off Jitaratit says….. “First of all the translation for Sadhu is not a mistake.

I have explained that all before so will not repeat it again here. It is exactly the same in the 76, 72 and Delhi version.”

So Jitarati says the translation of sadhu as “this is relevant” is NOT a mistake.

What does Prabhupada himself say?

Here is Prabhupadas answer and version….

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Munayaḥ—of the sages; sādhu—this is relevant…”

Prabhupāda: The nonsense, they are… They are correcting my trans… Rascal. Who has done this? Munayaḥ is addressing all these munis.

…Prabhupāda: Yes. Sādhu means they are very pure. What can be done if it goes there and these rascals becomes Sanskrit scholar and do everything nonsense?

Also Jitarati says this sadhu is releveant mistake was not present in the Delhi version-he is wrong it is the same mistake there, same mistake in 1972 and 1977 and 1978

So the first objection of Jitarati– is wrong-if you accept Prabhupada and not Jitarati.

2.Next point–Jitarati also mentions they were not reading from the ’76 SB version but the ’72 version because there were not indexes. Jitarati seems to feel that the ’76 version was correct since Jayadvaita said he has recently corrected this mistake and others

However when I consult the two SB versions I have here on hand in my ashram, I find that this same mistake (sadhu-this is relevant)_is present in my ’78 SB version as well as the Delhi version originally brought to us by Prabhupada himself.

So if Jayadvaita corrected this mistake, why it is still present in a later 1978 printing?

And if it is present in 1978 then it must have been there (and it was) in 1977 also when they were reading it to Prabhupada.

And it is also in the very first printing done in Delhi in 1965 or prior to that

So my conclusion to this is that when Prabhupada had his first SB’s printed in Delhi, there were many mistakes made and he could not possibly catch them all. That is why the- “sadhu-this is relevant” mistake was there and the devotees later on not knowing what was correct or not, just reproduced that same mistake when the first printing came out-and then repeated this same mistake subsequently-at least up to 1978.

And Jayadvaita made the same mistake and is still making thousands of mistakes to this day.

3.As to why there were no indexes in that SB book they were reading, who knows why or where or when that book was published.? This information was not given in that conversation. To say which year it was is only guessing-unless somebody like Yasoda actually looked at   the actual book  from which they were reading. Or somebody  has all the actual copies of SB printed at that time.

The relevant points is they must again print the original way. That was Prabhupadas order.

And to correct ALL mistakes before publishing. Unfortunately that was not done.

June 22 1977 Room conversations

Prabhupāda: Where are others?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Shall I get other people? Śatadhanya Mahārāja? (long pause)

Prabhupāda: That… Find this verse, munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo ‘ham… [SB 1.2.5].

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: There’s no index. It’s not a new Bhāgavatam. There’s no index in this Bhāgavatam. Munayaḥ sādhu…? “The Effects of Kali-yuga” chapter? Is that the verse, about the effects of Kali-yuga? No. (background talking, looking for verse)

munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo ‘haṁ

bhavadbhir loka-maṅgalam

yat kṛtaḥ kṛṣṇa-sampraśno

yenātmā suprasīdati

[SB 1.2.5]

“munayaḥ—of the sages; sādhu—this is relevant; pṛṣṭaḥ—questioned; aham…”

Prabhupāda: No? What is that? Sādhu? What is that? Munayaḥ?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Says, “sādhu—this is relevant.”

Prabhupāda: Relevant?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That’s what it’s translated as, “this is relevant.” May be a mistake.

Devotee (1): It’s a mistake.

Prabhupāda: Munayaḥ?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Munayaḥ—of the sages; sādhu—this is relevant…”

Prabhupāda: The nonsense, they are… They are correcting my trans… Rascal. Who has done this? Munayaḥ is addressing all these munis.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: It’s addressing the munis?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Sādhus, great sages.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Sādhu 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…? Śacī-suta? Śacī-sandana?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Jaya-śacīnandana?

Prabhupāda: And they are maintaining them. Different meaning.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Bhavadbhiḥ—by all of you; loka—the world; maṅgalam—welfare; yat—because; kṛtaḥ—made; kṛṣṇa—the Personality of Godhead; sampraśnaḥ—relevant question; yena—by which; ātmā— self; suprasīdati—completely pleased.” Translation: “O sages…”

Prabhupāda: 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—”munayaḥ—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?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “O sages, I have been…”

Prabhupāda: No, they cannot be reliable. They can do more harm. Just see here the fun(?).

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah. We’re finding out in the Fifth Canto that there’re words that are so off, the meaning is completely changed, completely changed. I mean, in the three chapters that we read, Bhakti-prema Mahārāja made at least half a dozen corrections of serious corrections. They had changed the meaning.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: Some of the mistakes in the numbers, the figures.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Oh, yeah, they’re all…

Prabhupāda: So how they can be reliable, so-called, this way…? (background whispering) Hm?

Yaśodā-nandana: In the Gurukula we were teaching Īśopaniṣad class to the children. So we took… [break] …Prabhupāda and the words which the recent edition of the Press is wrong. Many changes were brought. They were trying to make better English, but sometimes, to make better English, I think they were making philosophical mistakes also. There is no so much need of making so much better English. Your English is sufficient. It is very clear, very simple. We have caught over 125 changes. They’re changing so many things. We are wondering if this is necessary. I will show you today. I have kept the book.

Prabhupāda: I know that these rascals are doing. What can be done? How they can be relied on?

Svarūpa Dāmodara: It’s not the responsibility of the BBT trustee, to see these things don’t change without Prabhupāda’s sanction?

Prabhupāda: And Rāmeśvara is indulging this. The great rascal is that Jagannātha? He’s there in Los Angeles.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Jagannātha dāsa?

Prabhupāda: Maybe.

Indian devotee (2): Jagannātha-suta.

Prabhupāda: Jagannātha-suta.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No…

Prabhupāda: And the one rascal is gone.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Nitāi.

Prabhupāda: It is starting. What can I do? These cannot… These rascals cannot be educated. Dangerous. Little learning, dangerous. So how to correct? The leader of these dangerous-Rādhā-vallabha.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Rādhā-vallabha?

Prabhupāda: Hm. He’s a dangerous, who maintains these rascal with this work. He’ll always have questions and alteration. That is his business. That is American business. They take that always. What can I do? Ultimate, it goes for editorial. They make changes, such changes.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Your original work that you’re doing now, that is edited by Jayādvaita. That’s the first editing.

Prabhupāda: He is good.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He is good. But then, after they print the books, they’re going over. So when they reprint…

Prabhupāda: So how to check this? How to stop this?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They should not make any changes without consulting Jayādvaita.

Prabhupāda: But they are doing without any authority.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: I think we should make whole survey, all books already printed, before printing the next batch and check any mistakes so that it should be all corrected. Otherwise, if the scholars find out that there are so many mistakes in the books, then the quality and the appreciation will be reduced.

Girirāja(?): (indistinct)

Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes. We find so far that they are appreciating so much within the scholarly circle, and we want to maintain that actually.

Prabhupāda: Very serious feature. It is not possible for me to check, and they are doing all nonsense, freedom. (pause)

Yaśodā-nandana: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Prabhupāda: What to do?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I think Svarūpa Dāmodara’s point, that all the books should now be checked before they’re reprinted again... And they have to be checked not by some so-called learned Sanskrit man but by a learned devotee. Just like you always favored Jayādvaita because his Kṛṣṇa consciousness…

Prabhupāda: Jayādvaita, Satsvarūpa...

Yaśodā-nandana: Bhakti-prema, Satsvarūpa is there.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So Bhakti-prema… That’s a good solution.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: You know, the real point is that the Sanskrit is often not translated properly in the translation, what Nitāi and others have done.

Prabhupāda: He’s a rascal. That’s… He’s finding out guru and job for filling the belly. That is the latest news.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What is he doing?

Prabhupāda: To find out some job to fill up the belly. Otherwise he’ll starve if he doesn’t get any job. And he’s finding out guru. Job-guru. Now do the needful. Otherwise everything will be spoiled. These rascal editorial… That Easy Journey, original, this (indistinct) Hayagrīva has changed so many things.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He actually took out the whole part about their going to the moon being childish. He deleted the whole section.

Yaśodā-nandana: Also in the Bhāgavatam, where Prabhupāda was talking about Lord Buddha… You mentioned that if the followers of Lord Buddha do not close the slaughterhouse, there is no meaning to such a caricature. That word was very nice. But in new book that word is not there any more. They have pulled the word. The meaning of the word is not… So many times.

Prabhupāda: It is very serious situation. Rāmeśvara is in direct…

Svarūpa Dāmodara: I think they’re working too independently without consulting properly.

Yaśodā-nandana: Sometimes they appeal that “We can make better English,” so they change like that, just like in the case of Īśopaniṣad. 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.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: That’s actually a very dangerous mentality.

Yaśodā-nandana: What is it going to be in five years? It’s going to be a different book.

Prabhupāda: 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 Satsvarūpa that “This is the position. They are doing anything and everything at their whim.” The next printing should be again to the original way.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They should have a board of Satsvarūpa and Jayādvaita.

Prabhupāda: Hm.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Those two men are both in Los Angeles now.

Prabhupāda: So write them immediately that “The rascal editors, they are doing havoc, and they are being maintained by Rāmeśvara and party.”

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Sometimes there’s a fear that some word will be unpopular, and on account of desire to gain popularity or acceptance, they lessen the strength of the word. They change the word. They choose a word which is more so-called acceptable.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: Same thing is with the Back to Godhead. Just publish some photo, try to change so many things in order to make it popularized. They have been doing that even with the philosophy. (pause)

Śatadhanya: I remember when Rāmeśvara was here, he had mentioned that in one article you had denounced the Christians strongly, so he said he left one part out because he was afraid there would be a bad reaction from the Christians in America.

Prabhupāda: That is possible. That is possible. He should be careful. Then?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I think in addition to Satsvarūpa and Jayādvaita checking the English, that Bhakti-prema Mahārāja has to check all the Sanskrit of all of the books… He’s translating now, so as he’s translating, he can check. He’s going, starting from the First Canto.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: I think this is very appropriate, because checking English doesn’t have any meaning without checking the Sanskrit, the original.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: There was one verse in the Fifth Canto. From the way that they translated it, there was no way that anyone could possibly have understood what the verse meant. I mean, it was made unintelligible by the translation. So we were reading. Finally Bhakti-prema says, “Wait a minute. This translation is wrong. They have edited an extra statement here that is not there, and it makes it completely not understandable.” Then suddenly, when he corrected the Sanskrit, it was easy to understand. It was very clear.

Prabhupāda: So what to do?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So I think we just have to be slow but sure. We have to go over all of the books and make sure that they’re perfect before they’re printed again. Not be in such a rush, print, print, and print all nonsense.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: One time I had a strong talk with Rāmeśvara Mahārāja about our article for printing in the Back to Godhead. I didn’t want them to be printed in Back to Godhead because they made so many changes…

Prabhupāda: Oh, he has dared to change yours also?

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.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: (indistinct)

Svarūpa Dāmodara: So we stopped writing article for Back to Godhead since then because…

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Now, I think, with Satsvarūpa there, you won’t have that problem of changing like that. He wrote a letter saying that one of his first things is that he will not change what is given there unless… He will not make changes.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: No, if they consult us, even with changing, that’s all right. But they just edit here and there and cut it out, certain things. They’re changing the whole meaning. And that makes sometimes nonsense instead of making sense.

Prabhupāda: So on the whole, these dangerous things are going on. How to check it?

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