Can I Trade For That Original One?

Prabhupada with Sri Sri Radha London Isvara at Radha Krishna Temple Soho

Recently I met one nice young gentleman and presented Prabhupada’s books to him. I went through my whole presentation and explained how it’s the original, unedited pure wisdom. He then all of a sudden, without saying anything at all, just turned and went to his car, reached into it and pulled out a BBTI Bhagavad-Gita and walked back to me. He said, “Can I trade for that original one?” I, a bit nervous about what was going on, replied, “I don’t distribute those books. They are completely different, why do you want to trade me for that one, what’s wrong with it… what happened?” In a very irritated mood, and slightly angry he told me, “Look this one’s been revised, I’ll show you in the front of the book, look right here” and he immediately opened right to the front of the book and pointed to the big bold faced words “REVISED“. He continued to say, “I don’t want anything that’s been changed, I want the original stuff.” With a totally disgusted look on his face he told me, “I bought this book off somebody thinking I was getting the pure stuff and it turns out it isn’t, it’s been revised! Is there any chance I can get that one instead?” I gave him Srila Prabhupada’s pure unadulterated original Bhagavad-Gita and we both stood there looking at his revised BBTI version. He asked, “Do you want that one?” I had to be honest and tell him, “No, sorry, maybe just give that one away to someone who doesn’t care about these things, there are still a few people out there who don’t care about these things”.

This reminds me of several years ago when I personally approached one scholar at a university teaching a course on eastern philosophy. I presented Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-Gita with the offer that if they would consider using it as course material then I would beat whatever price they were paying for the version they were presently using. This scholar’s reply was: I know you people from ISKCON, I know you have changed Swami Prabhupada’s Gita after his demise, so how can I use such a book.

I am not any type of scholar or editor or anything like that, but I am a sincere seeker of the pure unadulterated truth. I was thinking about all this editing stuff and one thing that has stuck out in my mind is how for many years now Jayadvaita Swami has claimed to have what he calls as an original “manuscript” of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-Gita and he claims to be changing Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita to become closer to that so-called “manuscript”. So I looked up the word manuscript in the dictionary:

man·u·script [man-yuh-skript] –noun

1. the original text of an author’s work, handwritten or now usually typed, that is submitted to a publisher.

Then I got the idea to look up the word draft:

draft [draft, drahft] –noun

1. a drawing, sketch, or design.

2. a first or preliminary form of any writing, subject to revision, copying, etc.

From this it appears to be incorrect and misleading to call what Jayadvaita Swami has a manuscript because it was never submitted to the publisher (Macmillan). What he has is simply a rough draft that was never intended to be published. A draft is, as it says here, a first or preliminary form of any writing, subject to revision, copying, etc. This is a perfect description of what Jayadvaita Swami has. The manuscript is what becomes the actual published book. The manuscript is verbatim to the 1972 Macmillan Bhagavad-Gita. So with that being cleared up, the question is whether it is such a good idea for a conditioned soul to revert a published, approved manuscript of a Maha-bhagavata Acharya Sad-guru back to a previous unpublished draft without his direct permission. Jayadvaita Swami: “I never got an explicit word from Srila Prabhupada to do this work at an explicit time.”

Also all the reviews by world famous scholars that the BBTI have placed in their revised edited Gita are not reviews of that revised edited version, they are reviews of Srila Prabhupada’s original approved version.

It amazes me that there are so many thousands upon thousands of dollars being spent on so many elaborate international propaganda campaigns, books being written and distributed, websites and videos created, all for the sole purpose of simply trying to spin the minds of all the innocent, simple devotees into thinking that Prabhupada’s approved, authorized books are not any good, and need to be continuously changed without end. But I ask, what will be the result of all this besides people completely loosing faith in Srila Prabhupada’s books due to the intensive revisions that they have undergone?

Imagine if all that same money, propaganda, resources, websites, videos, time, energy, manpower, intelligence etc. was used to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books instead of just continuously changing them (and desperately trying to justify those changes)? Just think how many more thousands of poor, fallen conditioned souls miserably lost and drowning in the ocean of nescience and illusion without a glimmer of hope in all directions could have gotten to hear from Srila Prabhupada, if all those same resources where used to distribute Prabhupada’s books?

Why not just accept Srila Prabhupada’s original books the same way Srila Prabhupada and all those scholars did? Srila Prabhupada would daily read his own books and Srila Prabhupada accepted them. All those big, big scholars accepted them. While Srila Prabhupada was still personally directing and overseeing things the devotees accepted them, and distributed them. Prabhupada was pleased by this. Now after Srila Prabhupada is not there any more personally overseeing everything there is so much change. What would we think if someone started revising say the original published texts of Sanatana Goswami, Jayadeva Goswami, or Bhaktisidanta Saraswati Thakura? Would anyone tolerate the revision of even a mundane document like the constitution of the USA? So why do we tolerate the revisions on Srila Prabhupada’s books?

This reminds me of a funny quote in this regard from Hari Sauri Prabhu’s Transcendental Diary where he recalls what Srila Prabhupada said about his disciples changing things: “You must do something new. If you have to put your feet upward and head down, walk on your hands and clap your feet, but do something new!” He shook his head in slight exasperation. “This is your American disease. Always changing! Change every few minutes. Our qualification is we don’t change anything.” Then he quoted Bhagavad-gita 4.2: “This supreme science was thus received in disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.” “This changing will ruin everything.”

For further reading on this subject of manuscript or draft there is a nice article by a very senior Prabhupada disciple at:

OK, back to the nectar! I was distributing books at one of the last big concerts of the summer. I was wandering around back stage (how I get into places like this even surprises me sometimes, and reminds me that Krishna and Prabhupada are the doers and I just have to go along for the ride) and I bumped into the head sound guy. I was checking out all his high-tech sound equipment and he showed me how he was broadcasting the whole show live to some local radio station. Anyway, I showed him Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-Gita and did my little presentation and he patiently listened to me and had a big grin on his face the whole time. Then he just said, “This is totally synchronistic”, and handed me a $20. So I gave him Prabhupada’s Gita, KRSNA, and an Isopanishad. Then I asked him what was so synchronistic about it. He told me that he was just reading a book by Robert Anton Wilson called “Prometheus Rising” and he explained that in that book the author gives examples of some synchronistic events that may happen in our life, and if any of these events happen then it is some type of very special occurrence. He explained that one of the examples of synchronistic events he gives in the book is someone walking up to you and handing you a Bhagavad-Gita!

If you would like some of Srila Prabhupada’s original, authorized (pre-1978) books to bring with you in your daily life to distribute, please goto

9 thoughts on “Can I Trade For That Original One?

  1. By all means you haven done your good homework, ALL GLORIES TO SRILA PRABHUPAD’S ORIGINAL BHAGAVAD-GITA AS IT IS! not the REVISED one.

  2. As a 32 years now devotee of Prabhupada’s books, him, his ideals, still a devotee working for it all…I have to say…he worked from Bhaktisidhantas Bengali Books…did not know Sanskrit..those books..are fanatical..from BSST, known fact, in India, so we got fanatical books. To take them down to more correct Sanskrit standard scholarly level is what I suppose the BBT is trying to do. I read the new Gita, and it sucks. It’s unreadable. I can’t believe what they’ve done, trying to make it have a million parenthasys to include all possible thoughts and interpretations….whoa…i know Prabhupadas gita by heart, and I could not find all my favorite verses because the translations are so different. So while I see the one side, I think they blew it on the other. Too much changed, whoa. Oh well, what happens, if you’re serious, is you REALIZE each verse. I have. It took Jyotish to clarify it for me though…the truth, of SriK’s omnipotence and pmnipresence, is TOTAL. Glories to God. Thank you Abhay. You’re the man!

  3. There is nothing remains now pure in today’s ISKCON.
    I have been associated with ISKCON devotees since many years when Srila Prabhupada was physically alive on this planet.
    In his presence some how or other way, every thing was going so smooth & every activity was spiritually very pious.
    Nothing in so called today’s Iskcon centers like:deity worship, prasadam, prayers, reading Bhagavatam, books distribution, 4-basic principles to be followed by every devotees, chanting minimum 16-rounds on jap tulsi-beads is as Pure as was taught by Srila Prabhupada. It is so sad & hearts me to stay away from ISKCON.

  4. Every center of Iskcon world-wide has changed to a “business organisation” from it’s original Spiritual form that Srila Prabhupada had dreamed to be.
    The temple management & so called matured & seniors devotees even seem to be more interested in collecting money rather than tactfully attracting/teaching spiritual wisdom to any new comers/visitors to Temple.

  5. Jai Shri Krishna! I happened to visit your website and was shocked to note how much changes have been made to Srila Prabhupad’s books! This is indeed abominable. ISKCON, when I and my family got associated with it way back in mid-eighties, is sadly far different from what it is today. Today, the so-called leader’s emphasis is Pad Prathishta (high positions and respect from others) and of course, money! They are others’ well-wishers only in print. Willing to spent Srila Prabhupad’s servants’ hard earned money in costly lawsuits, megalomaniac projects, and of course, their own adoration and guru pujas! Only Srila Prabhupad can save his ISKCON fron what it is today!

  6. ISKCON is not able to attract new people as it used to in the early seventies when Swami Prabhupada was present. It’s down in the negative region if one compares the ratios. The reason, no proper Sankirtan either through chanting names of Krishna the bonafide way or book distribution. Changed books are nothing but a shadow of the real book distribution. Just like we have Naamabhas- a shadow of chanting holy names of the Lord. Though it appears that Krishna’s names are chanted, it remains a shadow. Similarly, the book distribution of the “Changed” ones is nothing less than a shadow of book distribution. It won’t have much effect, as the purity of the book is being compromised with every sunrise.

  7. Prabhu

    PAMHO. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    Preserving prabhupada’s original edition is a great thing. Wonderful service to Prabhupada and his mission.

    My request is – do not try to explain english words like.. dictionary meaning of manuscript etc.. it only dilutes the point you want to say.

    PRABHUPADA’s original edition should not be changed as per prabhupada’s instructions and that is all is needed.

    What should be done to protect Prabhupada’s original edition ?


    1. If you want to protect Prabhupada’s original books purchase the cases of Prabhupada’s original books and go out and distribute them to the people. That is what we need now. BOOK DISTRIBUTORS….

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