Dear Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my humble obeisances, and kindly forgive my offences.
vande ham sri-guroh
sri-gurun vaisnavams ca
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master and unto the feet of all Vaisnavas.”
I am writing to you Srila Prabhupada, because letters addressed to your Divine Grace must by necessity, be truthful. You can read the mind of your disciples, therefore submissive, honest inquiry, is required. Also I write to you because in our ISKCON society today, being truthful, is often viewed as being offensive.
Today in this letter I wish to address some of the controversy that is taking place amongst the devotees over the changes to your books. Some devotees feel that your original writing, prior to your departure from our material vision, has more potency than the changed books that are being printed today by the BBTI. Some devotees, such as myself, feel strongly about only reading and distributing your original books. That the changes made to your books were unnecessary and unfounded. And furthermore, were not authorized by you.
Ever since I was a new bhakta, and a book distributor, the one thing I heard repeatedly from my senior god brothers, was how potent and powerful your books were. That if we simply put one of your books in the hands of a conditioned soul, if he simply saw it or touched it, took one home, or gave some laxmi; his life would be forever changed. Everything we needed to know, in order to become fully Krsna conscious, and return back home, were contained in your approved original writings.
64 million were distributed before your departure, and I was told they were like transcendental time-bombs! You stressed the importance of distributing these transcendental literatures, so much. And now, in retrospect, I can understand why. You could undoubtedly foresee the changes that would occur after you left our vision. And therefore, stressed the importance of distributing them while you were with us.
Some time back I was reading from the Forth Chapter of your Bhagavad-gita “As it is”, text 2.
“This Supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in the course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.”
I was struck dumb, how was it lost? I should know this? So I read with great interest from your purport to this verse:
“Certainly Bhagavad-gita was never meant for the demonic persons, who could dissipate its value for no one’s benefit and would devise all types of interpretations according to personal whims. As soon as the original purpose was scattered by the motives of the unscrupulous commentators, there arose the need to reestablish the disciplic succession. Five thousand years ago it was detected by the Lord Himself that the disciplic succession was broken, and therefore He declared that the purpose of the Gita appeared to be lost. In the same way, at the present moment also there are so many editions of the Gita (especially in English), but almost all of them are not according to authorized disciplic succession.”
The Bhagavad-gita must be accepted without mundane interpretation. Are we in danger of again losing this link with the disciplic succession by the changes that are currently being made to your books?
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 1, Ch. 15, Text 27 you state in your purport to this verse;
“The merciful Lord left behind Him the great teachings of the Bhagavad-gita so that one can take the instructions of the Lord even when He is not visible to material eyesight”
In much the same way you yourself, left us with these great teachings so one could be consulted in all critical times, even when you are not visible to our material eyesight.
I think one of the mistakes that your GBC have made since your departure, was not opposing the changing of your books, despite your repeated warnings not to change anything.
I also believe that to retain the true potency of the Hare Krishna Movement, we all need to be reading and distributing the same Bhagavad-gita, and offer obeisances to the same spiritual master, just as we all chant the same Mahamantra and worship the same Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In closing I am reminded of two of my favorite verses;
“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the Spiritual Master, are all the imports of Vedic knowledge, automatically revealed”
“O Krsna, I totally accept as truth all that you have told me. Neither the Gods nor Demons, O Lord, know thy personality”
I am certainly not a great soul or learned scholar, but I have implicit faith in your instructions, and accept as truth all that you have told me. And I remain chaste to the original books you have given us.
Begging to remain forever in your Divine service
Your insignificant servant