These are the results and conclusions of an in-depth examination on the modifications in the revised book “Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead”, also known as “Krishna-book”. Due to the expensive kind of the examination, only four chapters have been analyzed, viz. the chapters 6, 11, 78 and 88.
STATISTICAL RESULTS OF THE CHAPTERS 6 AND 11 WITH SHORT EXPLANATION
Modifications 1: Spelling mistakes, commas, punctuation marks.
Some of these modifications are justified, some of them are not necessary. However, it would be ridiculous to protest them.
Chapter 6: 11
Chapter 11: 5
Estimate (whole book): 720
Modifications 2: Modifications according to tape recording.
These modifications may be justifiable somehow, because the original edition doesn’t follow the tape recording. Well, I can’t say that they ARE justifiable indeed, because personally I wouldn’t dare to face Srila Prabhupada if I revised his books after his disappearance without his unquestionable and direct order to do so, even if all the modifications were completely according to the recordings. There are various considerable facts, NOT to modify the original edition, even if it isn’t completely according to the tape recording, which are discussed later. However, most of this modifications are completely unnecessary anyway, because the meaning remains the same as in the original edition.
Chapter 6: 7
Chapter 11: 5
Estimate (whole book): 540
Modifications 3: Modifications not according to tape recording while the original edition also doesn’t follow the tape recording.
Here it is really difficult to understand the mind of the reviser. The original edition very often does not follow the tape recording exactly, because the recording is of bad quality, or the composed sentences need some edition. Mostly the reviser ignores this (otherwise he had to revise practically each sentence of the book), but sometimes, and it is not understandable why, he modifies the original edition, although it is not necessary and his editions too are usually not according to the tape recording (and they can’t be, because of the indistinct sections). Sometimes there are modifications to the meaning. There are some examples below (see “Examples for Modifications 3″). To properly count this kind of modifications is impossible. The number below is the number of the “groups” of this kind of modifications. Such a group usually consists of one, two, three or more modified sentences.
Chapter 6: 10
Chapter 11: 22
Estimate (whole book): 1260
Modifications 4: Modifications not according to the tape recording while the original edition follows the tape recording. Minimal effects on the message of a sentence.
This are not justifiable modifications. The original edition is correct and it follows exactly the tape recording, but nevertheless the reviser modifies. Usually this modifications seem to be due to make “better” English. All of them are completely unnecessary and the effects on the meaning of the text are minimal. The reviser seems not to like some of Srila Prabhupada’s expressions, and he very often replaces them with his favorites. Sometimes, however, he doesn’t do it. Again there seems to be no system behind this kind of modifications.
Chapter 6: 16
Chapter 11: 33
Estimate (whole book): 2160
Modifications 5: Modifications not according to the tape recording while the original edition follows the tape recording. Effects on the meaning of a sentence.
This are the ones why many devotees are (rightfully) claiming, that the books have been modified. This are full-fledged modifications. The original edition is exactly according to the tape recording, but the reviser nevertheless modifies the text and changes the message of the sentence too. Examples below.
Chapter 6: 2
Chapter 11: 4
Estimate (whole book): 270
EXAMPLES FOR MODIFICATIONS 3
(Modifications not according to tape recording while the original edition also doesn’t follow the tape recording exactly.)
Chapter 6 (sparks and fire)
TR: … as there are many minute particles of a spark of the original fire. So these sparks can be covered by the influence of maya, but not the original fire, or Krsna.
OE: … they are minute particles or sparks of the supreme fire, but are not the original fire, or Krsna.
RE: … they are minute particles or sparks of the original fire. So these sparks can be covered by the influence of maya, but the original fire, Krsna, cannot.
Chapter 6 (protection for Krsna)
TR: My dear Krsna, may Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is [indistinct] known protect your legs, the lord, who is known as Maniman protect Your thighs [indistinct] Lord Visnu, who is known as [indistinct: Yajna?] may protect Your legs;
OE: My dear Krsna, may the Lord known as Maniman protect Your thighs; may Lord Visnu who is known as Yajna protect Your legs;
RE: My dear Krsna, may the Lord who is known as Aja protect Your legs; may Lord Maniman protect Your knees; may Lorry Yajna protect Your thighs;
TR: Lord Acyuta may protect Your arms; Lord Hayagriva may protect Your abdomen; Lord Kesava may protect Your heart; Lord Visnu may protect Your arms;
OE: may Lord Acyuta protect Your arms; may Lord Hayagriva protect Your abdomen; may Lord Kesava protect Your heart; may Lord Visnu protect Your arms;
RE: may Lord Acyuta protect Your upper waist; may Lord Hayagriva protect Your abdomen; may Lord Kesava protect Your heart; may Lord Isa protect Your chest; may Lord Surya protect Your neck; may Lord Visnu protect Your arms;
TR: […] Lord Visnu carries His conchshell may protect Your left side; [indistinct] Godhead Upendra may protect Your upside and Lord Tarksya may protect you from the downside of the earth;
OE: may Lord Visnu with His conchshell protect Your left side; may the Personality of Godhead Upendra protect You from above, and may Lord Tarksya protect you from below the earth;
RE: may Lord Ajana protect Your left side; may Lord Urugaya with His conchshell protect You on all sides; may the Personality of Godhead Upendra protect You from above; may Lord Tarksya protect You on the ground;
Chapter 6 (glories of the devotees)
TR: …because salvation like this, [indistinct: because?] what to speak of others, who are affectionate to Krsna in the relationship of mother to [indistinct] Krsna with great love and affection for the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna who is the Supersoul of every living entity.
OE: So what can be said of others, who are affectionate to Krsna in the relationship of mother or father? The pure devotees always serve Krsna with great love and affection, for He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul of every living entity.
RE: So what can be said of those who are affectionate to Krsna in the relationship of mother, who with great love and affection render service to Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Supersoul of every living entity?
Chapter 11 (cowherd families arrive in Vrndavana)
TR: In this way, after reaching Vrndavana, the place where everyone lives eternally, very peacefully and happily, they encircled the place by keeping the cars all to[gether]. They began to construct their places of residence.
OE: In this way, after reaching Vrndavana, where everyone lives eternally, very peacefully and happily, they encircled Vrndavana and kept the carts all together.
RE: In this way, after reaching Vrndavana, where everyone lives eternally, very peacefully and happily, they encircled Vrndavana , drew all the carts together in a half circle, and in this way constructed a temporary [!] residence.
TR: Krsna and Balarama, after reaching Vrndavana and seeing the beautiful [indistinct] appearance of Vrndavana, Govardhana on the bank of the river Yamuna, felt very much happy [indistinct: in this way?] this [indistinct: while they’re growing?] by Their calves [indistinct] with Their parents and inhabitants of Vrndavana.
OE: After seeing the beautiful appearance of Govardhana on the bank of the river Yamuna, they began to construct their places of residence. While those of the same age were walking together and children were talking with their parents, the inhabitants of Vrndavana felt very happy.
RE: When Krsna and Balarama saw the beautiful appearance of Vrndavana, Govardhana Hill and the banks of the river Yamuna, They felt very happy. As They grew up They began talking with Their parents and others in childish language, and thus They gave great pleasure to all the inhabitants of Vrndavana.
TR: Everyone [indistinct] of Vrndavana felt very much happy, and in the meantime to [indistinct: precisely were] to take care of the calves. The cowherd boys are trained from the very beginning of their childhood to take care of the cows. First responsibility was to take care of the little calves.
OE: At this time Krsna and Balarama were given charge of the calves. The first responsibility of the cowherd boys was to take care of the little calves. The boys are trained in this from the very beginning of their childhood.
RE: Soon Krsna and Balarama had grown sufficiently to be given charge of the calves. From the very beginning of their childhood, cowherd boys are trained to take care of the cows, and their first responsibility is to take care of the little calves.
TR: So Krsna and Balarama were [indistinct: given?] charge of the calves in the [indistinct] in this way Krsna and Balarama along with other little cowherd boys went into the pasturing ground taking charge of the calves [indistinct] playing with playmates.
OE: So along with other little cowherd boys, Krsna and Balarama went into the pasturing ground and took charge of the calves and played with Their playmates.
RE: So along with the other little cowherd boys, Krsna and Balarama went into the pasturing ground and took charge of the calves, and there They played with Their playmates.
EXAMPLES FOR MODIFICATIONS 4
(Modifications not according to the tape recording while the original edition follows the tape recording. Minimal effects on the message of a sentence.)
All examples are according to the tape recording of chapter 6 and 11 and according to the original edition. The modifications are described in brackets.
… but that does not mean that He was less powerful. [that deleted]
We further understand from the Vedic information… [the deleted]
… tremendous vibration both on the earth and the sky… [both deleted]
She fell exactly as Vrtrasura did… [did deleted]
But all such ghosts and evil spirits cannot remain… [the revised edition says: “But no such ghosts and evil spirits can remain…”]
… all the cowherd men who went to Mathura… [“went” replaced with “had gone”]
“Where is this good flavor coming from?” [“flavor” replaced with “fragrance”]
… they began to think that it must… [“began to think” replaced with “thought”]
While the elderly cowherd man were thus… [“elderly” replaced with “elder”]
Nanda Maharaja began to smile, hearing about the… [“began to smile, hearing” replaced with “smiled to hear”]
Considering all these incidences… [“incidences” replaced with “incidents”]
Near Vrndavana there is Govardhana Hill… [“there” removed]
The child of mother Yasoda… [replaced with “Mother Yasoda’s child”]
EXAMPLES FOR MODIFICATIONS 5
(Modifications not according to the tape recording while the original edition follows the tape recording. Effects on the meaning of a sentence.)
Text in square brackets has been inserted by the reviser.
Similarly, Putana [had] killed so many babies before meeting Krsna [and she mistook Him to be like them] but now she was accepting the snake that would kill her immediately.
… may the Lord of Svetadvipa, Narayana, protect [the core of] Your heart;
The modifications are described in brackets.
… therefore Krishna might have seen His parents exchange fruits and other things by bartering grains…
[the word “exchange” has been exchanged with “acquire” (There is a difference if you exchange or acquire something…)]
The vendor who came to sell fruits saw this and was very much captivated by the beauty of the Lord, so he immediately accepted…
[“he” (the vendor) replaced with “she” (Prabhupada does not say in the Krishna-book that the vendor is a women, although we’ll know this, when we read the Srimad Bhagavatam. The reviser often uses his understanding of the Bhagavatam to modify the words of Srila Prabhupada.)]
The child of Mother Yasoda, who is the reservoir of pleasure for the demigods and who is the maintainer of saintly persons, caught hold of the beaks of the great gigantic duck and…
[“beaks of the great gigantic duck” replaced with “great gigantic heron by the two halves of his beak” (Again, someone seems to understand the Bhagavatam better. He may write a commentary, but his modifications are not what Srila Prabhupada dictated for the Krishna-book.)]
They were full of anxieties, but they could not turn their faces from the vision of Krsna.
[“They were full of anxieties” replaces with “Indeed” (Indeed, no one knows why this has been replaced with “indeed”.)]
EXAMINATION OF CHAPTER SEVENTY-EIGHT AND CHAPTER EIGHTY-EIGHT
This are both longer chapters. Only modifications 5 will be described. (Modifications not according to the tape recording while the original edition follows the tape recording. Effects on the meaning of a sentence.)
The modifications are described in brackets.
Some offered Him respectful obeisances, and those who were elderly great sages and brahmanas offered Him blessings by standing up.
[“respectful” replaced with “respects by standing up and then paying” and “by” replaced with “after”]
The Lord’s position is always transcendental, and because He is omnipotent He can act as He likes without being obliged to the material laws and principles.
[“to the material laws” replaced with “to follow the material laws”]
… favors received from Lord Siva are not actually beneficial to the conditioned souls, although apparently such facilities seem opulent.
[“apparently” replaced with “materially”]
When by the grace of the Lord a devote becomes freed from all designation, his devotional service is actually naiskarmya.
[“becomes” replaced with “is”]
Yamaraja advised his followers that persons who have never uttered the holy name of the Lord…
[“that persons” replaced with “that only persons” (Little word, big difference.)]
… so a devotee’s distressed condition is not the same as the distressed condition of a common karmi.
[“distressed condition” replaced with “distress” two times]
As such, the benedictions derived from demigods are appreciated by the less intelligent class of men.
[“appreciated by” replaced with “appreciated only by” (Again: little word, big difference.)]
The compassion of Lord Siva was aroused because the demon was offering his flesh into the sacrificial fire. This is natural compassion. Even if a common man sees someone preparing to commit suicide, he will try to save him.
[In the revised edition we read: “The compassion of Lord Siva was aroused NOT because the demon was offering his flesh into the sacrificial fire BUT BECAUSE HE WAS ABOUT TO COMMIT SUICIDE. This is natural compassion. Even if a common man sees someone preparing to commit suicide, HE WILL try to save him.”]
They cannot show their meritorious power by discovering something which can save man from death…
[“discovering” replaced with “inventing”]
Anyone who hears this history with faith and devotion certainly becomes liberated from material entanglement…
[“certainly becomes” replaced with “is certainly”]
In addition, a whole paragraph (The text starting with “The demons are described as duskrtinas, miscreants…”) has been moved and modified although it appears in the original edition at the same place as on the tape recording.
FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS ON MODIFICATIONS
Revised edition is a step back
We can see that in the revision way more text has been modified NOT according to the tape recording than according to the tape recording. The system of revision is not at all understandable and seem to depend rather on the weather than on any definable principles. Every sane man would consider the revision a step back.
“We have better understanding now” is ridiculous
Sometimes it is said, that “now we have better understanding”, “we are now advanced Sanskrit scholars” and so on. But this is not true. The truth is that although the devotees in the 60′ and 70′ usually were no “great” Sanskrit scholars and grammarian, they had the better spiritual understanding. They may have not been one of this dried up and proud Sanskrit scholars, but their spiritual understanding was way more nobler than mere material education. This spiritual knowledge is the driving force behind Srila Prabhupadas ISKCON and not some superficial understanding of grammatical rules and etc. And the proof for this better spiritual understanding is if we simply compare the former enthusiastic and expanding ISKCON with the dark and ailing ISKCON nowadays.
Additionally this devotees of the 60′ and 70′ realized their direct association with their spiritual master, and didn’t think of him as a “ghost” or a “disembodied being” or that he is “no longer accessible”. The editors of the original editions had the opportunity to ask Srila Prabhupada about certain things, and Srila Prabhupada advised them how to do the editions and the translations. So, how is it possible for a reviser nowadays, barely equipped with the old and hissing tape recordings, some of them missing, with a fire of scandals around him, to do a better job than the original editors? This is ridiculous.
The worst modification
Srila Prabhupada used the English language in his very special way and this is one of the things why his followers love him. Someone who doesn’t love Srila Prabhupada, can’t appreciate this, he only sees failures and bad grammar. It is a disaster if one tries to manipulate the chanting of Srila Prabhupada in the name of “better English”. Actually he injures the books and this is a big offense. It is as if someone tries to revise Shakespeare’s works in the name of “modern language” or if he wants to revise the Srimad Bhagavatam in the name of “better Sanskrit”. Once, one of the devotees of Lord Caitanya replaced the word “mukti” with “bhakti” in one verse, and even although it somehow seems to enhance the verse, Lord Caitanya didn’t like it. One word – what to say of a revision!
Srila Prabhupada’s books consist of three levels. The first level are the words, the next level is the meaning and the highest level is the transcendental sound or the chanting, the essence of Srila Prabhupada’s books. This is were Srila Prabhupada lives together with Krishna and it is this chanting that makes his books so unique and supernatural. If someone looks into this books, he looks into the face of Srila Prabhupada and Sri Krishna himself. This books are like jewels and we should be very, very careful with this most valuable treasure. It is completely unacceptable to offer this books as a sacrifice to some frustrated empiric pedants. They won’t see the face of Krishna even if there is “better English”. It requires a change of heart and not a change of English.
Only about 4 % of the book have been checked and there were no serious modifications to the main philosophy of Krishna-consciousness. The reviser doesn’t put things like “to much devotional service makes you fall down” or “the members of the parampara sometimes engage in all kind of sinful activities” into the mouth of Srila Prabhupada as some may have suspected. There are many modifications to the meaning of a sentence, sometimes serious ones, but the worst modification comes from the heart of the reviser. In the revision it is no longer the humble disciple who serves Srila Prabhupada with his editing ability. The reviser does not want to preserve the teaching of Srila Prabhupada as it is, but tries to enhance the same with his “better English” and his “better understanding of the Bhagavata”. He thinks that he can do a better job than the first editor and even than Srila Prabhupada himself. He thinks that his position is equal and even better than that of the guru. This pride pollution is subtle, but actually it is the worst modification in the book and it is like the poison of the snake that pollutes the whole tub of milk.
No revision needed!
It is not objectionable if spelling mistakes, obvious errors and missing commas are very carefully corrected. But all other modifications are not needed; there is no need for a revision. The revised editions are not authorized. No true disciple would revise the books of his spiritual master in the way described and demonstrated above; especially not without necessity and without explicit, incontestable and direct order to do so. Srila Prabhupada supports the misguided disciples with all opportunities to humbly correct their errors and prove to be true disciples and no Vaishnava will blame them if they humbly correct their errors – on the contrary!
We see that the empiric pedants are not even satisfied with the revised editions of the books, and they’ll never be satisfied. Now they even add “if this is what Prabhupada really said…” to their litany of fault-finding. And the devotees are unhappy with the revisions, even members of ISKCON. This is the wrong way.
We already have the jewels – the original editions and translations of Srila Prabhupadas books; published, translated and edited under the best possible circumstances, from Vrndavana with love, with the invaluable acknowledgment and benediction of Srila Prabhupada himself. What necessity is there for a revision?
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!
All glories to His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!