A Fake Letter on the Editing Principles of the BBT

BBT — By on December 18, 2013 6:51 pm

A letter claiming to be from Jayadvaita Swami, the head of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust,  was recently submitted to the Sampradaya Sun.

Jayadviata Swami has introduced a revisionist system of editing Srila Prabhupada’s books and his policy is every time the BBT reprint one of Prabhupada’s books it must be different from the previous printing. And by making incremental revisions to the philosophy in Prabhupada’s books gradually the books are becoming quite different from the original books.

The letter [reproduced below] accurately summarizes the editing principles of the BBT and really does capture the mood of Jayadvaita. The Swami claims he did not write it, that it is a fake, and that is most likely true. But the change to Srila Prabhupada’s Sri Caitanya-caritamrta revealed in this letter is a real change. And this change, claiming that the living entity is permanently in the marginal position, is such a good example of the thousands of other changes of this type made by the BBT editors which introduce the editors personal philosophical misunderstandings and mistakes into Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Old 1975 version, Cc Madhya 20.117:

“The living entity is called the marginal energy because by nature he is spiritual but by forgetfulness he is situated in the material energy. Thus he has the power to live either in the material energy or in the spiritual energy, and for this reason he is called marginal energy. He is sometimes attracted by the external illusory energy when he stays in the marginal position, and this is the beginning of his material life.”

Clarified version, in the 2011 Folio:

“The living entity is called the marginal energy because by nature he is spiritual but by forgetfulness he is situated in the material energy. Thus he has the power to live either in the material energy or in the spiritual energy, and for this reason he is called marginal energy. Being in the marginal position, he is sometimes attracted by the external, illusory energy, and this is the beginning of his material life.”

This is a real change, the letter may be fake, but this change has really been made along with thousands of others constantly being made by the BBT to Prabhupada’s books. So it is important to take some time to carefully note how this one small change has dramatically changed the meaning of what Srila Prabhupada’s Sri Caitanya-caritamrta says.

The editor has his own philosophy and wants to inject that into Srila Prabhupada’s purport here. The editor wants to claim that all living entities are always in the marginal position. That they can never get out of this marginal position. But this concept is completely incorrect and shows a complete lack of understanding and realization of the philosophy of Krishna consciousness.

Firstly we need to clearly understand exactly what the marginal position is. The example given by Srila Prabhupada to explain this is the area of the beach which is sometimes covered by water and sometimes open. So it is that area of the beach which is sometimes covered by the water and sometimes not covered by the water that is called the ‘marginal position’. In this analogy it is very clear. We can stay in the marginal position, the area of the beach that is sometimes covered by the water and sometimes not, or we can go deep into the water and always be covered by the water or we can go up onto the shore and never be touched by the water. This is the correct understanding. It is not that the living entities have to stay in the marginal position at all.

If the living entities were always in the marginal position there would be no meaning to the Sanskrit words nitya-siddha and nitya-badha. Nitya-siddha refers to a living entity who is eternally liberated, who never enters the marginal position at all, and nitya-badha is an eternally conditioned living entity who is always in maya and never enters the marginal area either.

So the real, actual truth is the living entity can stay in the liberated (spiritual) position, he can stay in the conditioned (material) position or he can stay in the marginal position. That is our independence. We can choose to be in Krishna consciousness or in maya or we can choose to stay in the marginal position, being sometimes in Krishna consciousness and sometimes in maya. Srila Prabhupada very clearly defines this in the sentence before the change but it seems the editor did not read it, or at least did not understand it?

“The living entity is called the marginal energy because by nature he is spiritual but by forgetfulness he is situated in the material energy. Thus he has the power to live either in the material energy or in the spiritual energy, and for this reason he is called marginal energy.”

So Srila Prabhupada is clearly telling us here that the living entity has the power to live in the material energy or in the spiritual energy and this is why he is called the marginal energy. So it is very obvious that being called the “marginal energy” does not mean the living entity has to live in the marginal position. He can live in the marginal position, being sometimes in Krishna consciousness and sometimes in maya, but he can also come up onto the beach and never be touched by the water [nitya-siddha] or go deep into the water and be always in maya [nitya-badha].

So this change is completely incorrect and completely insane and is just another example of unauthorized, incorrect, disastrous changes Jayadviata and Dravida have made to Srila Prabhupada’s books and the BBT do not care. They allow them to change absolutely anything they feel like changing.

Srila Prabhupada has prohibited such changes to his books. These changes are being made in direct disobedience to Srila Prabhupada’s orders. There is no authorization for these changes, not even from a second person apart from the editor who makes the change. There is no documentation of the changes, there is no indication or warning on the books that are printed by the BBT that they have been changed.

Anyhow please read the complete letter below. It may as well have been written by Jayadvaita Swami. It does perfectly capture his mood.

Be very careful to only read Srila Prabhupada’s original books which you can purchase at www.KrishnaStore.com and read online at www.PrabhupadaBooks.com and you can download the PDF files at http://krishna.org/series/pdf-download/

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Madhudvisa dasa

 

An Open Letter by Jayadvaita Swami on the Editing Principles of the BBT

BY: H.H. JAYADVAITA SWAMI

Dec 14, 2013 — INDIA (SUN) —

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisance. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I am aware that our BBT editing of Srila Prabhupada’s writings is subject to much examination, even controversy. And this is expected and necessary. This point becomes strong after clear thinking. If the followers of Srila Prabhupada were not closely examining the work done to improve the presentation of his message, then this lack of discernment would indicate badly. So I take the pithy comments on our BBT editing to be a healthy sign. However, as the volume of comment is high I have as a policy restrained myself from individual replies as this would take much time away from the original service of editing Srila Prabhupada’s words in a way that will make his message clear for many generations to come. Now, in this open letter meant as a catch-all general reply, I hope to clarify the principles that guide our editing. In this way many of the questions that have arisen in regard to the editing will be automatically answered and all reasonable doubts satisfied.

To understand the BBT editing principles, we must look back in time. When Srila Prabhupada left in the late 1970′s we were all very immature in realisation of Srila Prabhupada’s message. The problem was how could one edit Srila Prabhupada’s works if one had an incomplete understanding of his message? That is not the case today; forty years of study and editing have passed and Srila Prabhupada Siddhanta is now more deeply understood. It is this core realisation of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings that guides the BBT editors, especially myself, in their efforts to get the message across to scholars and the general public. If the BBT editors find that the English of Srila Prabhupada can be improved to get his message better understood, the change is made. This principle underlies all the BBT editing: present the message more clearly and avoid leaving a chance that Srila Prabhupada’s words could misinterpreted, deliberately or otherwise.

For example: There still remains controversy over the fall of the soul from Goloka Vrndavana. Srila Prabhupada spoke strongly and clearly that the soul is personal associate of Lord Krishna who has fallen from Goloka Vrindavan due to envy of Lord Krishna’s supreme position. Influenced by groups outside of ISKCON, many devotees do not accept this but present themselves as followers of Srila Prabhupada nonetheless, even while serving within Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON. Of course, this confusion should not be allowed to spread to outside ISKCON, adversely affect the preaching mission to the scholars and general public. Therefore to give Srila Prabhupada’s words more force and clarity, words that might be used to aid this confusion are altered to avoid misuse. This the practical application of the core BBT editing principle in action.

By way of illustration of this core editing principle, kindly consider the following editing:

Old 1975 version, Cc Madhya 20.117:

“The living entity is called the marginal energy because by nature he is spiritual but by forgetfulness he is situated in the material energy. Thus he has the power to live either in the material energy or in the spiritual energy, and for this reason he is called marginal energy. He is sometimes attracted by the external illusory energy when he stays in the marginal position, and this is the beginning of his material life.”

Clarified version, in the 2011 Folio:

“The living entity is called the marginal energy because by nature he is spiritual but by forgetfulness he is situated in the material energy. Thus he has the power to live either in the material energy or in the spiritual energy, and for this reason he is called marginal energy. Being in the marginal position, he is sometimes attracted by the external, illusory energy, and this is the beginning of his material life.”

What is the improvement?

1) In the old Srila Prabhupada 1975 version, we see that the reader may come to erroneous conclusions opposite to Srila Prabhupada siddhanta, but similar to the conclusion of Gaudiya groups outside ISKCON. These erroneous conclusions can be twofold: 1) that jiva’s attraction to the external energy is only taking place “when he stays in the marginal position”; 2) this implies that when jiva is in Goloka Vrindavan, he cannot become attracted by the external illusory energy because Goloka is not the marginal location (the Causal Ocean). Actually jiva does fall down from Goloka Vrindavan. But this purport by Srila Prabhupada apparently teaches otherwise and so should be edited for clarification.

2) In the improved edited version, we see that the replacement text implies that jiva “being in the marginal position” is liable to be attracted to material energy any number of times repeatedly because “being in the marginal position” is his permanent status. Thus, even in Goloka because jiva is “in the marginal position” he is “sometimes attracted by the external illusory energy”. Therefore by this editing change the readers’ conclusion will be that jiva may fall repeatedly from Goloka Vrndavana, and did so originally.

I hope the above, makes clear to Srila Prabhupada’s followers the basic editing principle by which Srila Prabhupada’s books are being improved. Here at the BBT the editors wish to clarify the words of Srila Prabhupada and at the same time eliminate any chance that his words could be twisted into philosophical misconceptions. In the case above, the misconception would be that the jiva falls from the marginal position, the Causal Ocean, and cannot fall from Goloka Vrindavan. However, now for generations to come this mistake has been removed and Srila Prabhupada siddhanta protected.

I hope this open letter has clarified the BBT editing changes policy and has answered some of the many questions that I don’t have the time to answer individually.

Your humble servant,

Jayadvaita Swami

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4 Comments

  1. Karen says:

    Greetings, Madhudvisa dasa!

    Hare Krsna!

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada! The original books are the only ones I read (since they were first published). I am 63 years old. They are the originals from the disciplic succession of the order of acarya, which is what Srila Prabhupada was (is). He was (is) Krsna’s representative on earth. Nothing else be said. No editing is required. It is an offense.

    With humility and thanks,
    Karen

  2. Tejiyas d. says:

    At the end of that disturbing letter: “…I don´t have the time to answer individually”.
    Yes you have, Jayadvaita naswami. You have 10000 years of ongoing reincarnation to make sure Prabhupada´s books stay as THE AUTHOR wants them to stay. Isn´t that a nice service to pay off your criminal acts?
    Write your own books if you have such a need to display your bloated egomania. In the letter: “…here at the BBT the editors wish to clarify the words of Srila Prabhupada . . .now for generations to come this (read his) mistake has been removed”.
    This is just the rascal puffed up attitude which do not belong amongst true vaishnavas. You say it took you 40 years to understand the deeper knowledge (?!?) For all truly humble souls it take a day to understand that Krishna PERSONALLY chose Prabhupada to become the charming messenger for whole the planet. That´s the satsiddhaguna of Prabhupada – supernatural attractive charm – which light is present in his own (undisturbed) written words. He didn´t authorized anyone to touch his books. But the stupid foolish kid has to still touch what was forbidden to be touched.
    Madhudvisa has already correctly explain how awful the example are from the letter (Cc Madhya-lila example).
    Enough is enough. BBT, GBC and sanyasis standing behind all the changes should go back to gurukula, preferable Yamaraja´s kula.
    If the example with Tamal Krishna, Jayatirtha, Harikesa, etc, do not wake them up then I do not know what said further.

    In respect of Prabhupada´s mercy. Tejiyas d.

  3. it is nonsensence to tuch srila prabhupada books it is sure that they will be ruin by the curse of all sp’s sinceare disciples and sp’s own curse, who gave authorisation to these nonsence people, what they thinking of themselves.. nonsense rascales do this kind of job only it is very shame for all of us and dangereous. stop this nonsense of toching Srila Prabhupadas books and making chnging any more…

  4. Hare Krishna JAS,pamho,AGTSP, it is for your good only we are telling do not touch srila prabhupada books for any corrections or new editings.. if you want serve sp there are so many other ways to serve him(sp). but pls dont touch sp’s books for any change are better understanding, if it so, it is just like a you are become more then sp do not think like that, that is simply nonsense and that will impossible for any one in this world and please remember this…. we all experienced what happened for previously who are so much personnel ambitious devotees.

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